Team Liquid is set to face off against Evil Geniuses in the semifinals of the 2021 League of Legends Championship Series Lock In. The winner of the best-of-five series will meet Cloud9 in the finals, who reverse swept 100 Thieves in the semifinal matchup on the other side of the bracket one day prior.
After Team Liquid won its last series, a 2-0 victory over FlyQuest in the quarterfinals, TL jungler Lucas "Santorin" Larsen sat down with Inven Global to discuss the unique experience in playing against his old organization, his thoughts on new FlyQuest jungler Brandon Joel "Josedeodo" Villegas, and acclimating to his new team despite being saddled with visa issues for the first time in his career.
It's good to see you back in the LCS, Santorin. Are you still quarantined from the team since you arrived late due to visa issues?
Yeah, I believe my COVID-19 test is a day or two after this series, and after that, I can finally meet the team. *laughs* So far, I've just been in my own apartment and playing remotely online. Our top laner Barney "Alphari" Morris had to do that at first, too, since he only came up a couple of days before the start of the LCS Lock In, so he just started playing with the team a few days ago.
It'll be nice when I get to see the rest of the team in person. I think it helps because being around each other creates a really nice feeling that helps a team come together.
It has to be somewhat of a letdown to not see your teammates yet, but you have been able to communicate with them online. What are your first impressions of your new team?
Since signing with Team Liquid, I've been talking to all of my teammates and staff. Everyone has been kind and easygoing, so it's been really nice. There are no awkward silences or anything like that; I feel like there is always something to talk about. When it comes to gameplay, everyone is really understanding of each other. If you make a mistake, other people are there to back you up like the supportive teammates one would hope to have. I've been really stoked about this roster so far.
During your time on FlyQuest, the organization improved its roster by building around you. In joining Team Liquid, you're the new guy joining a core of three players who have played together for quite some time. How does this difference change the dynamic in building synergy with your teammates?
I've been swapping teams every 6-12 months for most of my career, but then I joined FlyQuest and stayed there for a long time, so it's kind of weird to be playing for a new organization. There are a lot of new things I have to get used to because of how comfortable I felt on FlyQuest. That being said, TL has done everything possible to make me feel comfortable and it's been amazing so far.
This transition is easy because of Team Liquid's efforts, but I'm still getting used to everything. I felt really comfortable seeing the same people over and over again on FLY, so I think it's nice to have a change by coming into a roster that has already done well and just being an additional piece to that.
Was there a point where you thought you might not make it in time for the LCS Lock In? Mads "Broxah" Brock-Pedersen experienced visa purgatory as TL's jungler last year, and again on Counter Logic Gaming this year.
I was not worried in terms of my visa being denied, but I was worried about how long it would take due to COVID-19. The pandemic has changed the way that the Danish Embassy works and that affected me in ways I would never have expected. I've been playing in North America since 2014, and I've never had any visa issues.
Usually, I have an appointment, which usually would be very easy to schedule in Denmark. I go through the motions there, and then I can pick up my visa the next day. *Laughs* The whole off-season, I was afraid of Alphari not being able to make it to NA, but it ended up being me who was late!
You faced off against your old team today, who also had a jungler who arrived late in Josedeodo. What are your first impressions of FlyQuest's new jungler, and do you think both of you arriving late leveled the playing field in some sense?
I think Josedeodo played well, but I feel that as a jungler you can't really do much by yourself right now. Even when you do something by yourself, you're still very linked up with your team, so it's weird joining your team after the start of the season as a jungler.
You have to work well with your team and be coordinated, so it's hard to judge how well a player is playing right now. Once teams have more time to gel throughout the next couple of weeks, we are going to see how good these players are and how bright they shine.
I think Josedeodo played well today, and I definitely don't think he was the reason FlyQuest lost. It was really fun playing against him, especially with both of us coming in late after seeing each other at Worlds 2020 *laughs*.
Speaking of Worlds 2020, all five of FLY's players last season are on different teams now, but it's nice to see you guys tweeting about and at one another. Are you still able to keep in touch with your teammates on FlyQuest despite being on different teams?
We are all still really good friends and chat with one another pretty frequently. I'm just really happy that it seems like everyone has ended up in places that seem good for them. It's kind of weird seeing everyone on different teams. I'm usually used to one or two players going elsewhere in the off-season as opposed to the entire team moving on at once. It's really nice being able to still chat with the FlyQuest staff as well, they are really great people.
Playing against FlyQuest felt like playing my best friend. That's not something I've felt much in the past. Usually, every opponent is the same in terms of me just wanting to beat them, but with FlyQuest, for example, I dove the fountain to support FLY's charity for the bees. I'm still doing what I can for FlyQuest while not being there, but I'm still going to win in the end. *laughs* I'm not going to just int the game away to support them.
I feel that you saved the exact correct amount of bees given the circumstances. It's cool to see that you actually have a history with an organization now, which as you said, is not something that you've previously experienced in your career.
My last question is not about Team Liquid vs. Evil Geniuses, but instead Cloud9 vs. 100 Thieves. Should you defeat EG, who do you expect to face in the finals of the 2021 LCS Lock In?
I would say Cloud9. I think C9 played really well in its last best-of-three match against TSM in the quarterfinals. There were some issues, but the roster core the team has possessed is already really strong in general. C9's jungler Robert "Blaber" Huang and support Philippe "Vulcan" Laflamme work really well together, so if we get to face C9 in the finals, I'd love to play against that duo.
I think Blaber and Vulcan will be the strongest jungle/support 2v2 that I get to face throughout this season, so I'm excited to see how Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-In and I measure up.
It's hard to argue anything besides TL vs. C9 as the premiere LCS matchup right now. Thanks for the interview, Santorin. Is there anything else you'd like to say to those reading?
First, thank you for the interview. Second, to all the fans: We're going to clean things up a little bit. *laughs* We're definitely playing a bit too bloody. In the first 18 minutes or so of game 1 against FlyQuest, we were really well-synergized but ended up getting a little too loose. Some of that is because of scrims, but in general, it's something we need to work on. That being said, I'm sure we're going to clean up that aspect of our play.
Images by: Team Liquid
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