The Team Liquid LoL roster came into the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational with very little expectations. Even when they managed to make it to the Knockout Stage, many thought that it was only because the Flash Wolves, the representatives of the LMS, simply just weren’t playing as well as they did in recent years.
Up against the reigning Worlds champions, however, Team Liquid proved that, with excellent preparation and analysis from their coaching staff, they are not to be underestimated.
Unfortunately, after delivering arguably the biggest upset in recent League of Legends history, LCS’ representatives fell flat against G2 Esports in the Grand Finals. Yes, they still made history, but no in a good way, as they lost to G2 Esports 3-0 in record time.
Despite the loss, Team Liquid shouldn’t beat themselves up too much. A runner-up finish at the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational is still a notable achievement, especially since it came after pulling off an upset against Invictus Gaming. But, with greater achievements comes with more expectations, and heading into the 2019 LCS Summer Split, all eyes will be on the Team Liquid LoL roster to continue performing and do even better.
Belowe, we took a look at what worked for the Team Liquid LoL roster at the 2019 MSI and how they can still improve.
In the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational, the mid lane and jungle duo was very integral to the success of every team. For Team Liquid, a mostly bottom lane focused team, this has appeared to be a very difficult problem to address since the beginning of Spring.
Integrating Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen into the squad is difficult enough. It is doubly difficult in the level of importance that the mid lane has in the present. Case in point, the team that didn’t put as much attention and resources to the mid lane at the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational often lost games, which is one of the reasons why Team Liquid were not as successful early on because Jensen was left mostly to fend off for himself.
The Team Liquid LoL roster changed things up a bit against Invictus Gaming, with early ganks from both Jake “Xmithie” Puchero and Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in helping Jensen helped Jensen get ahead of his opponent. These early leads then affected the rest of the map, while also allowing Jensen to take over games with champions such as Sylas and let Jensen show exactly what made him such a valuable off-season pick-up.
Hopefully, Team Liquid can learn from this and start putting more attention towards Jensen.
Deepen Xmithie’s champion pool
For most of the Mid-Season Invitational, the whole Team Liquid squad outside of Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong seemed to be in a very uncomfortable spot in terms of their champion pools.
While this is a thing that the whole team will need to work on, Xmithie has appeared to be primarily suspect in the drafting phase. In the grand final of the Mid-Season Invitational, the squad did not seem to put any priority at all to the Rek’sai, a heavily contested pick for the jungle, one that is viewed as a counter to the Jarvan IV that G2 Esports always took away from Team Liquid as a first pick.
Without a pick that could answer the Jarvan IV’s aggression in the early game, Team Liquid needed to play rather defensively and ended up losing a lot of resources in the early game.
As the meta shifts towards junglers that have early power spikes due to the recent Rift Scuttler changes, expanding Xmithie’s champion pool will help free up Team Liquid in the drafting phase and open up more avenues from which they can outdraft their opponents.
Avoid defaulting back to bad habits
Team Liquid is a team full of experienced veterans that have been on some of the biggest stages in League of Legends history. Because of this, we can count on them to keep a cool head even in difficult situations, as exemplified by their reverse sweep over Team SoloMid in the grand final of the League of Legends Championship Series in the spring split.
Jitters or nerves never have to enter the conversation when talking about Team Liquid as it should not be a factor to consider due to their veteran status.
The downside of this, however, is that the members may have become creatures of habit.
Years of playing the same vision-oriented control style that had dominated League of Legends for at least half a decade may have forced these players to etch certain practices under certain conditions. Risk aversion is usually criticized by analysts in this season for a reason — with the loss of vision and the amount of gold and damage present especially in the early game, teams must be willing to seize opportunities no matter how risky they are.
To succeed, the Team Liquid LoL roster will have to learn how to gain the most from any given situation, and for that to happen, they’ll need to learn how to play aggressively and rely less on their LCK-inspired style.
Don’t be a one-trick pony
We have seen how the teams Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng and CoreJJ have been in to have a bottom lane focus.
This worked in the past. But, that was when games reached past the 40-minute mark. But, these days, as games end earlier and sooner, Doublelift will have no choice but to adjust his playstyle. Otherwise, forcing Team Liquid to play late will become their undoing later on.
Of course, Doublelift is that good of a player that the Team Liquid LoL roster can still survive while sticking to their guns. Or, so to speak. However, for them to improve and win titles, they’ll need to rely on more than just one style of play. For example, Impact showed at the 2019 MSI that he can play 4-1 split pushers with carry potential, while playing around Jensen allowed them to upset Invictus Gaming.
It’s no secret that Team Liquid have one of the most talented rosters in League of Legends.
If they can translate that talent into versatility, then they’ll be set to make just as deep of a run, if not win the title, at the 2019 World Championships later this year.
Hands up if you thought that the Team Liquid LoL roster would make it as far as they did at the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational. Because, well, we certainly didn’t.
As the runner-ups, the expectations for Team Liquid are much higher now than ever before. Luckily, they have all the tools set to improve and meet the expectations. If they can keep their performance up and more importantly, improve, Team Liquid will have a shot at becoming the best League of Legends team that North America has ever produced.
How do you think the Team Liquid LoL roster can still improve? Does their current lineup have enough talent and firepower? If so, what kind of changes do you think they should make? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.