Ahead of the 2020 League of Legends Championship Series Summer Split, Team Liquid released their star Bot Laner, Yiliang "Peter" "Doublelift" Peng, for rookie AD Carry, Edward "Tactical" Ra, who had previously played on their Academy roster. Despite most of the focus this off-season revolving around Doublelift and TSM's side of the move, Team Liquid was convinced they won out on the deal, and in their very first match of the LCS, they got to prove it.
TSM and Liquid opened their season face to face, with Liquid and Tactical taking the victory in a solid 25 minute game. Tactical himself ended 7/0/6 with 100% kill participation compared to Doublelift's 1/3/1. Right out of the gate, Tactical proved he was a worthwhile pickup. But just like his firey debut last split on the team, he remains humble this weekend.
Tactical, you just absolutely dismantled your predecessor, Doublelift, who left Team Liquid to go to TSM. How are you feeling after that?
So I feel pretty good about the win because we've been practicing for four or five weeks now and last night I was feeling a bit nervous. So after we won today, I was relieved. This first match was high pressure because of the matchup, but now that it's over with and we won, it's pretty good for me.
I know you talked a little in the Team Liquid Tilts podcast about how you deal with stress, did you do anything leading up to this game?
I usually don't get too nervous until the moments right before the game, like until the night before the game I don't get that nervous. But then I just sort of deal with it. It's just there. I just let it stay there. I just try not to worry too much about it.
So this time you just laughed instead, putting out that video responding to Doublelift saying you should be scared. But were you actually scared at all having to face him so soon?
I wasn't worried that much. I was mostly just worried that I might let the nerves get to me, but not about the matchup.
Well it's good to remain confident. Also, I'm curious about his Kalista pick, because he and Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-in lost on the pick twice last year, but then you played it in your first two games and won both without dying. So I'm wondering why he picked it, if it was maybe BM or a good pick or what.
Haha nah, I think the meta is slightly different than before. I think now she's contested more than before because she brings strong early laning phase and brings - in most matchups - priority in the early game which gives her a lot of agency and control in the bot lane. And I think that's probably why they picked her, because they wanted agency in the early game and they want to give Doublelift prio and let him do whatever he wants in the early game. And with Taric specifically, Kalista actually scales pretty well into teamfighting, you just have to make sure you snowball in the early game a little bit to make sure it works.
Last time we talked was about a month ago, and you said you wanted to work on finding your identity and shake the rust off - which it looks like you did. But do you think you've found a more specific playstyle for yourself?
I think it will always depend on the champ I'm playing and the champs I'm playing against so that it's not always just one way but rather it depends on the game and I'll do my job accordingly. It's not like I want to say, "Okay since I don't need as many resources, don't come bot at all." Depending on the lane situation and the other champs in the game, I want to play accordingly.
What's the biggest difference around Joshua "Jatt" Leesman coming in?
He just helps bring the team together more. Like he helps us align our visions better. He's been helpful in that regard and is pretty good about doing that actually.
Yeah, I know you mentioned too that you felt like the culture was great when you were playing with the team, but it was also something Liquid wanted to work on as a whole. Any updates on that?
Yeah, I think it's still going pretty good.
What is the biggest thing on your mind for this split that you're hoping for for yourself?
For myself? Hmmm, I guess first thing is making playoffs...
Well playoffs are only top eight!
Oh yeah, well still that. Hahaha. And I'm just thinking how I'd like to go to Worlds. I think it'd be really fun and I'd learn a lot there as well.
What do you think about yourself as a player now? You've been reserved in the past saying you didn't think you had that many fans, but you really do. So I know it's only one game, but these things make a huge impression for people tuning in to the big TL vs TSM game.
Honestly, I'm still not even sure, it's only been like 30 minutes after the game. So yeah, I still don't know. I don't want to focus on that too much.
Okay well anything you want to tell your fans that I promise that you have?
Well to the fans... I hope you keep waiting for me, I'll get better over time. I'm not sure what else to say other than the typical thing.
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