Team Liquid’s LCS Summer 2020 Progress
From 2018 to 2019, the Team Liquid won four League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) trophies in a row, and they seemed to be the greatest roster of all time in the North American League of Legends (LoL) esports scene. It was a shock when the core of that four-time championship line-up finished the Spring split of the 2020 season in ninth place. Team Liquid had made only one change: releasing jungler Jake Kevin “Xmithie” Puchero and signing Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pederson as his replacement.
This move didn’t appear to be terrible at the time, but afterward, the team collapsed. The exact reasons are unknown but it seems unlikely that Broxah replacing Xmithie is the only reason. Moving into the Summer Split, Team Liquid traded bot laner Yiliang Peter “Doublelift” Peng to Team SoloMid and promoted Edward “Tactical” Ra to the starting position. Now, they are looking to bounce back.
Be it the coaching change or be it the bot lane change, Team Liquid looks noticeably better in the Summer split. At 4-2 after three weeks of play, the team is in much better shape than they were in the similar midpoint of Spring.
Tactical is performing well for a relative newcomer. This is his first split starting full-time in the LCS. While not a superstar, Tactical is nevertheless competent and shows promise. His Support partner in the lane, Yong-in “CoreJJ” Jo is the best performer on Team Liquid and seems to be performing better than he did in the Spring Split.
The top side of the map still has room for improvement. Eon-yeong “Impact” Jung was previously known for his stable play as the most reliable weak-side top laner in North America. He is exhibiting fewer issues than he did in Spring, but he has yet to play on a level worthy of that title.
Team Liquid still plays reminiscent of the bot-centric style they perfected with Doublelift. While they are performing better than they did in the Spring Split, they haven’t shown the clean play that marked their 2018-2019 championship seasons. It seems like they are trying to invest more into the jungler now that Doublelift is gone, but they still need to improve.
They still have far to go. Their recent messy game against bottom-performing-team Dignitas is evidence enough of Team Liquid’s weaknesses.
Team Liquid’s LCS Summer Split Outlook
Team Liquid is unlikely to reclaim the top spot from Cloud9 in the Summer split. Even reaching the finals seems unlikely with their current level of play. Still, they will almost certainly finish higher than their Spring position at ninth and are likely to be a lock-in for the playoffs by ending the regular season in the top six.
Afterward, their final placement will heavily depend on their rate of improvement relative to its competitors. Team Liquid needs to focus on growth as a squad first and foremost. They have the talent to reach a higher skill ceiling than most LCS teams, but their teamplay is lacking. Players like Impact will also need to brush up their individual play as well. Consistency is key for success in the tumultuous North American scene.
If all goes well, Team Liquid may finish in the top three to qualify for the World Championship. This is not looking unlikely in their current state, but it a long split ahead.
For a team that recently finished ninth, that would be worthy of praise. For a team that has some of the biggest names in the global League of Legends esports scene, it’s still a disappointment.
Read next: LCS Summer broadcast issues still unresolved