New Split, Same Old Liquid: GoldenGlue Gets Benched After Just One Series

The Team Liquid roster announcement came as a surprise to many, especially the return of previously benched mid laner Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer. After a disappointing split in which he was replaced by Team Liquid starting ADC Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin, TL expressed their faith in GoldenGlue, faith that appears to have evaporated once again as the mid laner was replaced after just one series. 

Team Liquid returned to their original 2017 roster with great confidence, citing a change in coaching staff and an evolving meta as significant factors that would help them find the success they were originally anticipating with their lineup.

Yet the 2017 Summer Split could not have started much worse for Team Liquid. Thoroughly dominated in their first series against Counter Logic Gaming, TL seemed lost in their macro decisions and failed to capitalize on significant early leads. CLG showed superior composure and a better understanding of how to transition their leads into further advantages, something Team Liquid was unable to accomplish.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

After the first series defeat of what is likely to be many to come in the NA LCS Summer Split, Team Liquid announced that Goldenglue would be replaced ahead of the team’s second series of the opening weekend against Echo Fox.

Substitute mid laner Andrew “Slooshi” Pham was promoted the starting position, a move that undermined the expressed confidence Team Liquid had displayed towards GoldenGlue as their starting mid laner just two weeks earlier. Both on and off the air, analysts and coaches were active in questioning Team Liquid’s decision to bench GoldenGlue so quickly.

Fundamentally the move failed to make any sense, as the struggles of Team Liquid in their series against CLG were more of a team issue than that of any individual. While Goldenglue did not have a great series and was outperformed by CLG mid laner Choi “HuHi” Jae-hyun, it would be incorrect and unfair to place the blame for their struggles on the play of GoldenGlue.

Outside of Piglet, no other Team Liquid member had a noteworthy performance over the weekend. Even Reignover, a former MVP and supposed star for Team Liquid, finished the weekend with a scoreline of 4/14/6 over four games.

GoldenGlue has had a well-known history of struggling on-stage, and a lack of confidence had already pushed him to fly to South Korea to practice and regroup after being benched previously towards the end of the Spring Split.

Whilst it was a bold decision, to their credit Team Liquid had stood firmly behind Goldenglue as their starter, a stance now shattered with his substitution after just one series. For GoldenGlue, the recent benching can only hamper any progress he may have made in Korea. The mid laner took to social media to express his dismay as the decision:

Source: Riot Games Flickr

For Team Liquid, the continued roster swaps at the first sign of struggle is a worrying trend for the organization and their future success. With Slooshi’s start against Echo Fox, Team Liquid have now started three different mid laners, three different ADCs, and two different supports in just barely over one split. The lack of roster stability can only stunt the growth of both the players and an organization who aspires to be one of North America’s elite.

While this may be a brand new split, Team Liquid continues to make the same old mistakes. A constant shuffling of your roster is a poor way to establish team synergy and develop players individually, leaving many questions for both Team Liquid’s players and their large fan base. For those of their fans hoping for a fresh start with the 2017 Summer Split, it took less than a weekend to crush any Summer Split aspirations.

The NA LCS Birthing Grounds Of Team Liquid

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