Insanity. Definition: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Example: Team Liquid’s League of Legends strategy in 2017. The organisation has announced an unchanged lineup for the forthcoming NA LCS Summer Split, mirroring the team sheet that represented the team for the opening series of the season back in January.
After a number of roster announcements over the past five months, Team Liquid have once again placed their faith in a starting roster of top laner Samson “Lourlo” Jackson, jungler Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin, returning mid laner Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer, a shift back to AD carry for Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin and Matt “Matt” Elento re-establishing his position as support.
— Team Liquid LoL (@TeamLiquidLoL) 23 May 2017
Given Team Liquid’s relegation survival struggle at the end of the Spring Split, many expected to see major changes to the team dynamic. The returning lineup have so far failed to deliver in 2017, resulting in a number of desperate roster shuffles from the team’s management in order to keep the team afloat.
Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng’s temporary acquisition from Team SoloMid to survive relegation, Piglet’s unexpected move to the mid lane after both GoldenGlue and mid-split addition Austin “Link” Shin were deemed inadequate to hold their own in the NA LCS, the failed transfer of Adrian “Adrian” Ma after Matt’s ongoing’s struggles on and off the rift – the saga of Team Liquid’s 2017 Spring Split lurched from one botched solution to another.
Immediately addressing fans understandable concerns, Team Liquid Owner Steve “LiQuiD112” Arhancet explained the reasoning behind the organisation’s decision to deploy the same roster:
“I know that folks might be thinking what the !@#, headed straight for relegation’s – same shit, how the heck do you come to that decision.
“Put simply, Cain is a major factor. My personal involvement this split is another. The meta isn’t cc-bot ADC’s and assassin only junglers.
“And lastly and most importantly, we believe in Goldenglue. He’s consistently shined in scrims, just not translated fully on stage. We recently sent him to Korea to train and believe we will see that translate to the stage this time. Time will tell if we prove folks wrong and ourselves right or not.
“Appreciate the support from our fans who will be rooting for us to succeed. TL is the new underdog.”
Steve “LiQuiD112” Arhancet
Cain has shown great leadership as head coach this week. He will debut this weekend. Impressed by his process, maturity and game knowledge
— Steve Arhancet (@LiQuiD112) 24 March 2017
Team Liquid will certainly be considered to be underdogs in the majority of their match-ups in the NA LCS Summer Split. Despite his solo bootcamp in South Korea, Goldenglue’s credentials as a top-tier mid laner are perpetually in doubt. Similarly, the loyalty shown towards the bot lane combination of Matt and Piglet, which has continually fractured over the past year, has become a frustrating reoccurrence during TL’s prolonged spells of underperformance.
Under normal circumstances, the majority of TL roster would be considered to be in the last chance saloon – but then again, this is Team Liquid.
After surviving the NA LCS Summer Promotion tournament, fans were praying the team would deliver on a roster overhaul, investing the large funds available to organisation to revamp hopes of World Championship qualification. Instead, Team Liquid fans should prepare for yet another underwhelming split competing for a mid table position, an accurate reflection of the strength of the announced lineup.