Ahead of the 2017 North American League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split, Team Liquid announced that they would be running two potential starting Mid Laners, Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer and Austin “Link” Shin. GoldenGlue represents the prospect of a new LCS talent, finally provided with the chance to showcase his talents on the big stage. Whereas Link, a veteran who rose up through the Counter Logic Gaming ranks, is now looking for a comeback after leaving his former roster in dramatic fashion two years ago.
For the first two weeks of Team Liquid’s Spring Split, Greyson “GoldenGlue” Gilmer has started as the team’s first choice of Mid Laner. Nicknamed Vault Boy for his uncanny resemblance to the mascot from the Fallout Franchise, Goldenglue joined Team Liquid Academy at the start of the 2016 Challenger Series.
His performances as TL Academy’s Mid Laner led the team to the Challenger Series finals where they ultimately fell short of making the LCS. He has now been moved to the front of house for the primary roster, replacing previous Mid Laner Kim “Fenix” Jae-hun.
Goldenglue’s American nationality made him an invaluable asset to Team Liquid, who were then free to employ the services of South Korean imports Yeu-jin “Reignover” Kim and Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin in the Jungle and AD Carry positions.
As a popular streamer, despite entering the fray with limited LCS experience, Goldenglue was already a relatively well-known personality within the North American League of Legends scene. Judging largely from his on-stream performances, many anticipated that Goldenglue would be a weak link in the side – at least William “scarra” Li was willing to vouch for his abilities:
People are sleeping on my boy @TL_Goldenglue for the leaked TL roster. He’s improved a lot and will surprise people.
— scarra (@scarra) 4 December 2016
@dr4chen ? he was a top 2 player on his CS team and choked for the playoff games against c9c. He’s much better than people think.
— scarra (@scarra) 4 December 2016
GoldenGlue’s first taste of action for Team Liquid’s starting roster was to travel with his new teammates to IEM Gyeonggi. After leaving their group in 3rd place, TL battled their way through the losers bracket with force, utilising the skill of GoldenGlue as their driving force.
Although their tournament run ended premature of the finals, GoldenGlue wasn’t afraid to flex his muscles, rising to the occasion in many of the games and being a strong carry for Team Liquid when they needed it.
The Mid Laners strong showing in preseason has not transitioned to the NA LCS however. Team Liquid have quickly fallen into difficulty in the standings, conceding games often as a direct result of GoldenGlue’s poor positioning. By having inconsistent play overall, seemingly winnable games have turned into a depressing series of “L” markings in the form book.
The optimistic outlook for Team Liquid fans is to hope the new infrastructure of the organisation is able to solidify GoldenGlue’s play and bring him up to scratch with the other NA mid laners. If GoldenGlue hopes to make a name for himself and solidify his role in the Mid Lane, he needs to reach a level of consistency quickly – conveniently for Team Liquid, their plan B is the epitome of consistency in the Mid lane.
Austin “Link” Shin returns to professional League of Legends after a prolonged period away from the game, pursuing an ultimately unsuccessful eSports career in the DOTA 2 scene. Link has not played LoL competitively since stepping down from CLG’s starting roster in May 2015, following the team’s elimination from the quarterfinals of the 2015 NA LCS Spring Playoffs, a 3-0 sweep at the hands of Team Liquid.
Undoubtedly a talented player, Link’s abilities are often forgotten, rather overshadowed, by the infamous 18-page letter penned by the frustrated Mid Laner upon his departure from Counter Logic Gaming.
Link has lived the career that GoldenGlue could so easily repeat. He rose up through the ranks of CLG’s challenger team to join the main roster, though he had to share his role with Choi “HuHi” Jae-Hyun, an eerily similarly circumstance now faced by the two TL Mid Laners.
Speaking on his time at CLG, Link remarked:
“Quite honestly, I don’t really like how I did things or how I ended things as well. You know, I have regrets as well, and I have matured as a person since then.”
Austin “Link” Shin
Many within the community, including former CLG coach William “scarra” Li, consider Link’s sudden ‘retirement’ to have cut the player down in his prime. Speaking some time after Link’s exit from Counter Logic Gaming, Scarra admitted to Link’s overwhelming workload during his time at CLG – in essence, Link was performing all the tasks which Scarra later appreciated, the coach was supposed to do. Link evidently wishes to change his reputation before the end of the split and, given GoldenGlue’s sub-par performances, he may get the opportunity to do just that.
Although his play wasn’t anything to shout home about, Link was known to be an incredibly consistent player, something Team Liquid desperately need right now as they stare a 2-4 record in the face. Team Liquid will need to adopt a new strategy soon if the team are to regain momentum and aim for a spot at the top of the NA LCS.