There’s a fine line between being a toxic teammate and one of the entertaining personalities in the league. It’s a murky territory, that Team Liquid’s Jungler, Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett, seems more than keen to continuously dip his toes into… and the community loves him for it.
After impressing as NA’s “Rookie of the Split” in the Spring 2016, Team Liquid fans were feeling quietly optimistic they would break their 4th place curse with the return of the summer LCS. Dardoch’s confidence, borderline arrogance, as the “cleanest Lee Sin in NA that isn’t an import” was a refreshing introduction to the league – the meme’s wrote themselves.
But with a home soil World Championship on the horizon and the 2016 Summer Split just a few sleepless night’s away, Liquid moved to suspend their star man for two weeks after an apparently turbulent pre-season in Korea:
“We have decided to suspend Dardoch due to his insubordinate behavior. It may come as a surprise to our fans that we’re starting the season this way.
“Yet as a coach, I believe that League of Legends is fundamentally a team game and a player who can’t see eye to eye with that and can’t put the team before oneself regardless of his skill will only stunt the team in the long run.”
Yoonsup “Locodoco” Choi
Dardoch’s past has had it’s littering of genuinely toxic moments, understandable for a teenager with professional ambitions but by no means excusable. Requesting your soloque teammates gets hit by a bus is probably deserving of a ban:
Despite his initial suspension, Dardoch returned to the starting roster packing a punch. It didn’t take long for Locodoco to go crawling back to his star rookie – after a tough 0-3 stretch at the beginning of the split, Dardoch lifted the team to a 6-4 record after five weeks – he’s the boy and he knows it.
The League of Legends’ community loves a flavour of trash talk – even Riot endorsed it as a healthy part of the scene with their somewhat cringeworthy Trash Talk video series.
Dardoch is the king of LCS savagery – long may his reign continue:
RARE!!! : PIC of Fabby learning how to move around the map!!! pic.twitter.com/A5ByqEngRl
— Joshua Hartnett (@LiquidDardoch) 6 July 2016
Don’t forget though, he’s reformed now…
I Will Climb The Highest Mountain In Esports, I Will Abstain From Whatever Is Deleterious And Mischievous. I Will Remain Pure. #TLWIN BABY
— Joshua Hartnett (@LiquidDardoch) 29 June 2016
“Honestly, I trash talk because it’s fun,
“I’m confident in my play, I just trash talk because who’s going to follow a team leader that isn’t confident?
“If I go into every set saying, ‘Oh yeah, it’s 50-50, either team can win,’ then nobody on my team is going to go in there ready to play and win.”
Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett
— Michael Artress (@MichaelArtress) 10 April 2016
Dardoch’s personality is exactly what the LCS needs – he’s self-confident and works hard to ensure his performances reinforce his boasts. The community has frequently bemoaned the lack of personalities on show in the LCS, but NA now has a raw, self-confident jungling talent to call its own – the last thing the professional scene needs is for Liquid to quash everything that makes Dardoch so exciting.