Even the most hardcore League of Legends esports fans find keeping track of every region, including the minor regions, a tall task. As a result, the majority of fans will be unacquainted with many of the teams and players attending the most prestigious LoL Esports event of the year. So Worlds Spotlight was created to help educate and inform the fans of the stories and narratives surrounding these players and teams. Welcome to our Team Liquid Worlds 2021 Spotlight.
Top: Barney “Alphari” Morris, Thomas “Jenkins” Tran
Jungle: Lucas “Santorin” Tao Kilmer Larsren, Jonathan “Armao” Armao
Mid: Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen
Bot: Edward “Tactical” Ra
Support: Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in
Head Coach: Jonas “Kold” Andersen
Regular Season Placing: 5th
Playoffs Placing: 2nd
The 2021 Summer Split was a very tumultuous time for Team Liquid. They limped through the regular season plagued by roster changes due to either health concerns or behind-the-scene drama. First, their starting jungler, Santorin, was unable to play for the majority of summer due to health concerns. Later, in a surprising move, TL subbed out their all-star top laner Alphari for their academy top laner Jenkins for a few weeks. Lastly, they even released their head coach Jatt, which further added to the storm of rumors and drama. Eventually, Team Liquid reinstated their original roster and ended 5th in the regular season thanks to their second-place finish in spring. Still, they were anything but favorites coming into playoffs.
Team Liquid’s first playoff match was against Cloud9. Due to C9 smashing TL in their most recent regular-season game and C9’s overall improvement towards the latter half of the split compared to TL, TL were the underdogs of the series. But the TL that showed up in that series was different from any other TL we have seen before. TL dominated the series 3-1 with a highly active early game centered around their jungle-mid-support trio. TL did the exact same against TSM in the next round. As a result, TL were now the favorites against 100 Thieves in the upper bracket finals. While TL did not show the same form as earlier, they defeated 100 3-2 to qualify for the grand finals. However, in the grand finals, TL underperformed heavily again, leading to a 0-3 loss and the LCS 2nd seed for Worlds 2021.
Like Rogue, TL’s most recent, fresh showing was extremely unconvincing, which is why both teams are rated so low. However, we saw the level of play TL showed in the earlier rounds of playoffs, and if they can recreate that form for Worlds, TL fans might not need the hopium anymore.
Players to Watch:
Best Top in the West? Alphari
Making his first Worlds appearance since 2017 with Misfits, Alphari is looking to prove himself not only as one of the best top laners in the West but also in the world. Throughout the year, Alphari was the main point of focus for TL. When given the resources and attention, Alphari always delivered with huge lane leads. However, a consistent problem for TL was consistently translating this top lane lead over the rest of the map. At Worlds, Alphari will not have the luxury of playing against top laners and teams he could win games against through sheer laning prowess. If TL is going to make it out of groups, it will come down to the team’s ability to play around with the leads they gain in their lanes, which will most often be the top lane.