Liquid picked up two victories on the final day of group A, finishing with a 3-3 record. The North American team had to wait for the match betweenG2 Esports and Suning to know its fate. In the end, Suning would end up winning the game, meaning that Liquid was disqualified from the event.
It was a bittersweet end for Liquid, but being realistic, the team shouldn’t have been in that position to begin with.
Liquid underperforms with four imports and two World Champions
Team Liquid is a rarity in the LCS. It’s the only team with four imports, only possible because two of them recently were granted North American residency. The team also has two former World Champions and, with the exception of rookie Edward “Tactical” Ra, all players have plenty of international experience. Looking at the experience and level of all players on the Liquid roster, there’s no excuse for the result at Worlds.
Liquid has one of the best rosters in North America with four seasoned veterans that are no strangers to the big stages. Still, the Team Liquid players made rookie mistakes and failed when it came to the macro play. Liquid had some problematic drafts; at times the team would end up with no tools for engagement or not enough damage. Those mistakes are just unacceptable for a team that comes from a major region.
The team that dominated play-ins was nowhere to be found. Liquid looked strong one game and like the worst team at Worlds the next. This isn’t just a Team Liquid problem; it's an issue that affects all the North American representatives. In group C, Team SoloMid remains winless while FlyQuest is fighting for third place in group D.
The LCS debate starts again
Like every year, the underperformance by the North American teams has sparked the debate about the region’s issues. The LCS has one of the highest average salaries in the world and that number keeps going up. Yet, the region lacks a relevant amateur scene with collegiate being the closest thing to a tier two league. There’s also the issue of the smaller player base and the high ping. These are some of the reasons, or maybe excuses, that North American teams used to explain the poor performances internationally.
Those technical issues are hardly an excuse for NA’s terrible showing at Worlds. Liquid has four veteran players, the rookie of the split, and the same coaching staff that won four consecutive LCS titles. It’s impossible to accept those excuses when LCS players are open about not caring for the Spring Split. Several players have expressed how pointless it is to play the Spring Split now that it doesn’t reward Championship points. It’s clear that high ping and small player base are used as excuses when the problem is most likely the players. Domestically, they’re not even trying and it shows.
Team Liquid getting disqualified from Worlds is just another reminder that the gap is not closing any time soon.