I’m starting off this series off with Team Liquid primarily for the fact that I have been reviewing old SK Telecom T1 VoDs for a long ass piece on Faker and because I jump at the chance to attack the management of the team.
Team Liquid doesn’t deserve its fan base. One of the most loyal, dedicated and intelligent fan bases will have to deal with another split that is ruined because of poor management. The team’s 1–3 start to the Spring Split wasn’t what the fans had wanted.
My future employment will be as a consultant — trying to figure out problems with a company or help them evaluate a future decision. I’m a fixer. So why don’t I try to fix League of Legends’ teams with the knowledge I have? This is, of course, “fantasy” as no one in their right mind would listen to a Twitter/Reddit analyst however let’s just have fun with it.
So here is why Team Liquid sucks:
With competitive eSports teams, you have to evaluate from the “top-to-bottom,” as in start with looking at management and then the players.
I’ve question Steve Archancet’s ability to build a League of Legends team for a very long time now. It might be the reason why I just can’t buy into the Team Liquid organization.
Archancet has had bad reads and isn’t really being exposed for his careless acquisitions of talent or misuse of funds on said talent. The clearest example of this has been the handling of Piglet, which has in my personal opinion as been the biggest bust in LCS history — even though if you watching OGN before his arrival, you could tell that Piglet was on the decline.
The entirety of the Locodoco-Dardoch-Piglet fiasco is a different beast in itself. Archancet — who publicly stated that he wasn’t as involved as he should have been in the situation but is shown clearly in the middle of things during Team Liquid’s Breaking Point — read of the team makes me ponder if he actually watched any of the Summer split.
In a perfect world where I had the ability of fantasy book a new Team Liquid roster, it would have been built around Dardoch. At the time, it seemed like of a lot of fans or analyst would have agreed with that statement but we should have seen it coming that Dardoch wasn’t staying when the team attempted to trade him to Echo Fox. The valuation of Piglet over Dardoch didn’t really make sense — especially with the departure of Locodoco. The only reasoning I could have of Archancet keeping on Piglet over Dardoch would simply be because of their investment into the Korean marksman — both monetary and time.
There was the belief that Dardoch was “uncoachable” but I would also say the same for Piglet, especially during his time with Peter as a coach. There was also the speculation of Reignover’s availability, but that seems to be hindsight bias at this point.
So Archancet chooses to keep Piglet and signed Reignover, which is actually a decent foundation. You have Reignover, who plays a more supportive jungle style — playing for the laners rather than himself. You have Piglet, who is an okay marksman. You bring back Matt, for synergistic purposes and Matt performed well. It now comes down to the solo laners.
This is where things get a little tricky and why the re-signing of Piglet over Dardoch is critical. The inability to seek imports in the top and mid lane forced Team Liquid to seek domestic talent in two roles where the region is thin in. To be fair, I don’t even think that FeniX would have been suitable, as his performance has been primarily mediocre and been praised because of his “stat-whorish” play. There were players available to be signed from solo queue or challenger series but the team chose to bring back Lourlo and goldenglue. Both players are veterans of the LCS but both have failed to do anything promising. It was a safe bet — a 7th place bet.
Team Liquid shouldn’t have been expecting much from the start and loyal fans understood that.
The numbers so far are matching this belief. More importantly, it defends the concern I have with Reignover, that he is reliant on other players carrying the lead he builds. There isn’t really any anchor on this line-up.
The team has a horrendous laning phase, being at the bottom of the standings when it comes to gold difference @ 15 minutes (-1852), lowest first blood percentage as a team (20%) and lowest first tower rate (20%). And if you were playing a game of “Who shit the bed,” the blame should be pinpointed onto Reignover who has resorted to excessive jungle farming, and hoping that he can carry into the late game — making himself a “budget” Season 6 Spirit. In their sole series win against Counter Logic Gaming, the team narrowly won the series off of the back of CLG’s horrendous team fight mechanics and a Nautilus, only proving to the fans that Nautilus doesn’t die.
The team was simply outclassed in its remaining series against three teams that wouldn’t get exposed in the team fights.
I’ve outlined hopefully a lot of issues with the rosters and the probability that a roster change will happen is extremely unlikely. But here are some solutions that the team could look at for the future.
Solution One: Lose the Pig
Saying goodbye to Piglet will open an import slot and allow for the organization to seek a new mid-laner and marksman freely. Both Piglet and goldenglue are replaceable as both haven’t been top performers for some time and allowing the luxury of new talent in the roles has been historically beneficial to organizations.
There doesn’t seem to be as big of an issue when it comes to Lourlo and Matt, who have performed well given the circumstances, and surrounding talent around Reignover has worked well in the past — if the laners can hold their own.
Solution Two: End the Reign
North America has proven to have potential in the jungle role, with the recent surge of domestic talent in the role in the LCS. Because of Reignover’s style of play, it may be better just to seek a replacement that could be reminiscent to that of Dardoch or Inori where they have the ability to 1v9.
Solution Three: Tank
Something that I would never recommend a business to do is tank. However, with eSports seeing a rise in popularity and with other titles growing, it may make sense for Team Liquid to simply throw this season away and put more focus onto its other brands, such as Counter Strike.
The problem with Team Liquid is that there isn’t much they can do — they didn’t understand Reignover’s abilities and banked on their carries to perform better than their previous split — which they simply aren’t doing. As of right now, the only team I realistically see performing worse is Team EnVyUs and I could even see some of their players popping off.
Why Does Team Liquid Suck?
The initial problem stands that Steve Archancet had a bad read on his players’ ability. And the problem is when you overvalue certain talent, the team becomes extremely reliant on their ability to perform when it simply isn’t reasonable. Team Liquid has a major trading piece in Reignover, but trades simply aren’t a thing.
There really isn’t anything promising to this team other than the possibility of another big off-season roster change. The team should be bracing for relegation and hope that the talent in the challenger series is as weak it seems.
The only move for the organization is to see if challenger talent can make a miracle happen.