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Why Team Liquid Is Still Going to Be a Powerhouse in Season 9

Team Liquid took this year by storm with their standout performance in both the Spring and Summer Split. They placed first in both the Spring and Summer Split playoffs, dropping a total of two games throughout the two playoff brackets combined.

They attended both the Mid-Season Invitational and the World Championship, the two biggest international tournaments of the year and did fairly well against all of them. Veteran teams like Team SoloMid, Cloud9, and Echo Fox struggled to even put a dent into their team roster.

Team Liquid is the only North American teams to only drop a total of one game each in the Spring and Summer Split playoffs on their way to securing the gauntlet. That being said, this team is on track to continue their powerhouse antics into the ninth season of the NA LCS.

With the off season in session, players are moving around, looking for better contracts and better teams. This can be a time where powerhouses are either made or powerhouses are either brought down. But by the looks of it, it seems like Team Liquid is going to be staying at the top for next year’s season. Why? A variety of reasons. But I’m going to narrow it down to the most important ones. Let’s get started!

Team Liquid’s Stacked Roster

Going into the 2018 season, Team Liquid already had one of the best super teams the NA LCS had ever seen in the entirety of its existence. They had a world-class player at every role and a synergy that knew no bounds. Some of their most notable players were Doublelift, the AD Carry that made TSM a super-team again. Then there was Pobelter, the mid laner that carried both Counter-Logic Gaming and Immortals to World Championships, despite heavy doubt and opposition.

Another notable pick was their top laner, Impact, a Season 3 World Champion and a top laner that could easily solo kill anyone that got too comfortable with him. And these were only the most notable star players to their stacked roster. They had Xmithie and Olleh the jungle and support role, two of the biggest names in the NA LCS at the time. However, even the teams with the greatest talent can’t function without a strong connection between the players. That’s where synergy comes into play.

If you take a look at Echo Fox when they had Huni, Smoothie, and Altec, you’ll see that this is a perfect example of a team that has talent but no synergy. They had a World Championship finalist and former EU LCS superstar, Huni, alongside a very notable bot lane duo.

Altec and Adrian together were one of the most solid bot lane duos at the time. They knew each other inside and out and could go head-to-head with just about anybody. But that was about as much synergy as Echo Fox had at the time. They had some of the best talent in the game but some of the worst synergy to compensate and this led to them facing a disappointing finish to their 2018 Spring Split, losing to Team Liquid in a 1-3 no contest loss.

Meanwhile, Team Liquid has had some of the best synergy we’ve seen so far. The players on Team Liquid have had positive past experiences with their teammates. For example, Pobelter, Xmithie, and Doublelift all played on the same Counter-Logic Gaming team that went to Worlds together in 2015.

Xmithie, Pobleter, and Olleh were all part of Immortals when they went to the World Championship and Impact, while he has little history with his teammates when it comes to being on the same team, has shown great communication in-game with his partners on the field. This past history has paid off in more ways than one as they seem to move as one whole unit on the Rift rather than five players doing their own thing.

The New Transfers

During the off-season, both Pobelter and Olleh left the team—with Pobelter joining FlyQuest. To compensate for two of their biggest players on and off the field, Team Liquid brought in two equally strong players: Jensen and CoreJJ. With these two, Team Liquid might become even stronger than they were before. The name Jensen is recognizable to any diehard League of Legends fan and anyone who followed Samsung Galaxy’s road to the World Championship title knows how essential of a piece CoreJJ was in their miracle run.

Since his arrival into the NA LCS, Jensen has been a top contender for the best mid laner in the North American region. In fact, there have been times where he has been considered the best mid laner in the NA LCS. His ability to mechanically dominate his lane in the early game and then transition into a very strong fighter for the mid to late game makes him a diverse and powerful player that can switch up on opponents. This is a skill very few have and it’s one that Pobelter had.

Because of this, Jensen should fit right in. Synergy-wise, his playstyle matches that of his teammates and he has history with their top laner, Impact, who played on Cloud9 alongside Jensen for part of Season 6 and all of Season 7. Basically, they’ve replaced one extremely strong mid laner with arguably an even better one which is crucial since the mid lane is one of the most important lanes in the game.

Their second transfer was CoreJJ, a World Champion support player and one who could dramatically change how the course of their season goes. Team Liquid’s AD Carry, Doublelift, is a very high investment player, meaning that he has high requirements. But if those requirements are met, then Doublelift will have a very high return for the players. Therefore, Doublelift requires an extremely strong support and throughout the years that he’s dominated, he’s only been with three major supports: Aphromoo, Biofrost, and Olleh. His selectiveness means that he needs a very good support in order to succeed.

And this year, Team Liquid managed to grab a player that can meet those requirements. His name is CoreJJ and at one point, he was the best support in Korea. CoreJJ has seen it all. He’s gone through almost every meta and situation a professional League of Legends player can go through. This gives him the experience the team needs and a wide range of playstyles that will suit their AD Carry perfectly. CoreJJ played with Ruler, an AD Carry in Korea whose mechanics were better than Doublelift’s so he’s going to have no problem matching synergy-wise with their AD Carry.

Last year, Team Liquid pooled a large percentage of their resources into Doublelift and Olleh because they were producing results that gave them wins over major teams. But the formula depended on Olleh as much as it depended on Doublelift. So, if they didn’t manage to get a suitable support for Doublelift, then things could have gone haywire extremely fast. Luckily, they were able to land Olleh and this will prove to be a worthy investment in the future.

Other Teams Had Weaker Picks

Whenever you look at the other teams, you’ll see that they didn’t manage to get the players that Team Liquid secured. In fact, it’s very safe to say that Team Liquid got the best players out of the lot. Take a look at Team SoloMid. The two players they secured during the off season were Smoothie and Broken Blade. While Smoothie may be a very good support and one that’s been recognized throughout the NA LCS, they didn’t get anywhere near the picks that Team Liquid secured.

OpTic Gaming got Gen.G’s Crown and Meteos but that’s nothing compared to the level of talent that Team Liquid picked. In fact, the only real team that can match up against Team Liquid is 100 Thieves because they managed to get the best pick of the entire off season: SKT’s very own Bang.

At one point, South Korea Telecom’s Bang was carrying the entire team of SKT on his back. In every team fight, Bang was holding down the backline and keeping the enemy away from their base. When Misfits Gaming almost took down SKT, Bang was there to stop them.

He is one of if not the most talented player that Korea has seen in its history of League of Legends. He does everything with a calculated precision that is near flawless. He positions well. He knows how to output maximum damage and his game sense is unrivaled. But that’s only one player and Bang still needs a team to lean back on at times so in this case, Team Liquid can still be considered to have the winning edge over the other players. Right now, there’s no team on paper that can match the strengths of Team Liquid.

Analyzing the Team

In order to get a better understanding of the team, it’s best to know the strengths and weaknesses of each member of the team. This will come in handy whenever the season rolls around and you want to start betting.

Impact (Top Lane)

Impact is not like most top laners. He isn’t a heavy farmer who sits back and waits for the mid game. He tries to take his opponent by surprise and hit him with a shot he’ll never see coming. His main strength lies in the fact that he’s agile and unpredictable in lane.

Whenever he’s playing a carry pick like Gnar and Jax, his opponents tend to play extra safe because they know that Impact can easily kill them if they overstep or get too comfortable with him. Therefore, Impact is one of the players responsible of pushing Team Liquid into the mid to late game. However, likewise, his aggression has bitten him in the rear before because of his tendency to fight the opponent and if the enemy jungler can capitalize on that, then Impact can find himself in a tough spot which usually leads to his death.

However, Impact has been working on this part of the game since he’s entered the NA LCS and this has led him to transition between a playstyle of playing tanks and playing carries. This means he’s more diversified and can accompany a variety of playstyles that his teammates hold, which will lead to better outcomes for the team.

Xmithie (Jungle)

Xmithie (Jungle)
Xmithie is a consistent jungler and one that knows the rules of the game. Because of this, he can be insanely hard to throw off-course. No matter how many times his opponents try to disrupt his game plan, Xmithie always finds a way to have an impact in the early game.

Whether this is securing dragons or heavy ganking, Xmithie does it all. He ensures that his team can find a way to gain a lead and that’s what makes him so deadly. With all three lanes depending heavily on the jungle, Xmithie is the perfect cornerstone to making sure that this lead is achieved.

Of course, he sacrifices his own playstyle in order to acquire this goal. He plays extremely selfless so his mechanics are usually not as strong as players like Meteos or Dardoch. If you look at him, Xmithie is more comfortable on tank and support junglers like Gragas, Ivern, and Sejuani.

And this reflects his playstyle. Rather than looking like a star, Xmithie prefers to let his carries shine while he does the gritty work and that’s why he’s so valuable. He’s willing to be the platform for his team as long as they can provide results in the future.

Jensen (Mid)

Jensen (Mid)
People are looking forward to watching Jensen play on an even stronger team. A large reason as to why Cloud9 was able to make it so far into the World Championship was because Jensen was able to go head-to-head with some of the most ruthless mid laners in the world.

His mechanics match that of a star Korean solo-queue player and he has some of the best in-game knowledge in the world. At times throughout his career, he was considered the best mid laner in North America.

He plays on a level that most players can’t understand. That means he can approach situations differently that give his team a higher chance of winning a skirmish or securing an objective. All in all, there are very few mid laners that can actually match his level.

The only piece that could be problematic for Jensen is that he isn’t going to be the star anymore. On Cloud9, he played alongside only one household name: Sneaky. This gave him the flexibility to do what he wanted for the team.

But now that he’s on a team where all five players are superstars in their own right, Jensen is going to need to adjust his playstyle to be less about him and more about the team. But when you weigh the pros and cons of the things Jensen brings to the table, there are definitely more pros than cons.

Doublelift (AD Carry)

Doublelift (AD Carry)
Doublelift was the name of Team Liquid last year and the player that really got the attention of fans. Since 2015, Doublelift has been considered the best AD Carry in the game with Cloud9’s Sneaky as his only major opposition.

Doublelift literally brought every team he played on to the World Championship since 2015. First, he took CLG to Worlds after upsetting TSM in the finals of the Summer Split. Then, he took TSM to a World Championship in Season 6 and now, he’s taken Team Liquid to a World Championship.

Doublelift is the definition of a good AD Carry. He deals the most damage in team fights and has extremely good positioning throughout. This has led Doublelift to pulling out some pretty clutch moments versus enemy teams, one of the most notable being Doublelift’s one versus three against Cloud9 in the finals of the 2016 Summer Split.

His aggression is also perfect for the early to mid game as Doublelift is very precise with his method of play and whenever he calculates a play correctly, he almost always comes out on top. In short, Doublelift is perfect as an AD Carry because he’s precise, collected, and very good at what he does.

But on the other side, Doublelift’s aggression has also betrayed him at times. If he doesn’t calculate the numbers correctly, Doublelift can die extremely easily and that showed at Worlds whenever he overstepped and was one-shotted by Samsung Galaxy’s Crown.

Another weakness to Doublelift is that he only performs well with certain supports. For example, he didn’t start playing well on Team SoloMid till they subbed out two veteran supports, KaSing and Yellowstar, for a solo-queue talent Biofrost.

The same went for his time on CLG. He only played well with Aphromoo and no one else. Doublelift requires a lot of resources and several requirements in order for the marksman to play well but whenever he gets the investment, he gives an even higher return.

CoreJJ (Support)

CoreJJ (Support)
The newest World Champion addition to the squadron, CoreJJ is going to be able to showcase his talents to the North American server. CoreJJ’s strength lies in his flexibility to play around his teammates and the utility he also brings to the table. Another strength is that he understands the AD Carry role quite well largely thanks to the time he spent on Team Dignitas as their AD Carry. He also spent some time on Samsung Galaxy as their AD Carry before switching to support.

But the fact of the matter is that CoreJJ understands what he has to do extremely well. He knows when to engage and he knows when to disengage just as well. CoreJJ’s utility makes him a threat in every team fight they participate in because he’s just as good at starting a fight as he is saving the AD Carry from an assassin looking to penetrate the backline.

Furthermore, his ability to play meta-worthy champions allows him to constantly switch things up on his opponents, meaning that there isn’t one specific champion CoreJJ can play because he can play all of them. The only weakness in his kit right now is that he’s going to be switching from one of the most competitive regions to a region known for its lackluster performances at the World Championships. This means that his skill level can go down if he’s not careful.

But the chances of this happening will be slim. Impact has kept his game in check since his arrival into the NA LCS and he’s still regarded as one of the best top laners in the league. With competition from names like Aphromoo and Smoothie, I’m sure CoreJJ will be able to keep his game up.

Predictions for the Future

I’m sure Team Liquid will have a great Spring and Summer Split next season. They have five world-class champions, each of which have attended the World Championship more than once in their career. The talent is there and the synergy is just as strong.

Players like Doublelift and Jensen are sure to standout and with the addition of Gen.G’s former support, CoreJJ, we’re sure to see some clutch plays from him. There’s a good chance that they’ll be able to place first for the Regular Season of the Spring Split.

After that, they have a good chance at qualifying for MSI as right now, it looks like 100 Thieves is going to be their only real competition. With trades sure to happen throughout the break between the Spring and Summer Split, it’s unclear whether or not the team will be able to replicate results for the Summer Split but if all goes well, it’s likely.


Team Liquid is crafting a legacy for itself. Before they built this super-team, they were a scrappy roster, trying their hardest to secure a playoff spot. But now, they’re the ones controlling the NA LCS. Last year, they were unmatched. No team could take them on.

With the next season approaching, Team Liquid is looking to do it again. They’re looking to replicate results and make sure that they dominate the North American region. But their dominance might not be situated in only the NA LCS.

In fact, we might be taking a look at the next World Championship team.

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