TSM looked to have an advantage against Team Liquid in the penultimate match of the 2021 League of Legends Championship Series Mid-Season Showdown after the latter team had to last-minute substitute TL Academy jungler Jonathan "Armao" Armao in place of Lucas "Santorin" Larsen.
Despite Armao starting in Santorin's place, TL managed to repeat its 3-1 victory against TSM as initially enjoyed in the first round of the LCS Mid-Season Showdown. After TSM's elimination, both the team and the coaching staff sat down for a press conference with the media to discuss the loss against Team Liquid in context of TSM's 2021 season thus far.
Bjergsen, what went wrong today since this series clearly didn't end up the way you wanted?
We lost. Team Liquid beat us three times, and I think they just played better than us today. They were a little more clutch than us in certain moments. There were certain fights around the dragon pit and the bottom side river in general that were very close, and they just came out ahead against us more often than not.
Spica, initially it looked as if Armao starting would be an advantage for TSM. Was your recent unfamiliarity against Armao when compared to Santorin a factor in the loss today?
Not really. I think I'm really familiar with his playstyle. The main problem is that this jungle meta has only four viable champions. These champions do one path, which is a full clear. He's pretty good at that, and because we played worse as a team, we lost.
SwordArt, this is your first split in the LCS. Have you met your personal goals at this point, and if not, what do you still wish to accomplish?
I don't think I've accomplished my goals in NA because we lost...*laughs* Today, I'm very sorry to my teammates because I didn't perform very well today. My teammates worked really hard so we could come back...so yeah, I don't know...I want to win every game. I don't want to just go to Worlds, I want to win every game in LCS and then go to Worlds.
PowerOfEvil, this was the first time this roster was able to play together offline. Is there something that you saw in today's games, despite the loss, that you are proud of regarding your roster?
I think our game 3 comeback took strong mental, but I actually felt like we could have had the momentum for game 4. I'm happy that we took one game away from them, but ultimately, I'm sad that the series ended 1-3. I think we could have had a better try overall.
Bjergsen, throughout the series, it felt like Team Liquid continued to provide a difficult matchup for you guys, particularly after TSM won its best-of-1 matches against TL in the 2021 LCS Spring Split. What is it about TL that makes this matchup difficult for TSM?
I wouldn't say that TL is a particularly difficult stylistic matchup. I think they're just a top team alongside C9, and those are just difficult teams to play against. What we saw from Team Liquid today was the skill of the team and its individual players, so it felt like we just had a pretty tough opponent. We've beaten every opponent we've had pretty handily, so it just feels like it comes down to how well we play on the day against TL or C9 because they are respectable opponents.
Huni, from your experienced perspective, what does TSM need to do to ensure it will represent NA at Worlds 2021?
While we may have been stopped at 3rd place, I honestly think we've improved a lot compared to our form at the start of the Spring Split. I feel like the progress was good because everyone tried hard and stayed motivated, and I think in the summer, we will have a pretty good advantage because of our performance this spring.
Obviously, it's kind of bad to lose here, but in the LCS Summer Split, we have faith that we are going to be doing pretty well. We worked as hard as we could in the Spring Split, and I think that if we continue that in the summer, we will easily be one of the Worlds representatives for NA. That's how I feel.
Spica, what positive takeaways did you get from this series despite the negative result in context of summer?
What I like about this team is our atmosphere and our mentality. Everyone just works really hard and is always striving to improve. We are five new players and we have a new coaching staff, while TL and C9 has each had multiple returning members including three each on their starting rosters. That's a really huge advantage in the Spring Split in terms of team synergy.
Initially, we showed that we were not really playing well together, but we've gotten better at that as we've played more games together throughout the season. Therefore, I think that come summer, as we continue to play more games together, we will perform much better.
Bjergsen, what are some of the biggest lessons you've learned through your first split as a head coach? How would you say your coaching has evolved from the beginning of the year to now?
Hmm...that's a good question. I think a lot of it is really just how to work with people, and I think I'm still learning a lot in that regard. When I was a player, I was very straightforward with my teammates, but I don't think I spoke to them in a way where I helped them learn in a skillful way, so that's what how I'm really trying to improve as a coach — not just telling them what to do, but help them actually learn it and understand it.
Every person needs to be talked to differently, that's something I'm going to continue to try to improve on, but I really enjoyed working with all these players in my first split as a coach.
Spica, now that Blaber has captured his second LCS MVP title, do you feel like you can bridge the gap between you two in the future, and do you ultimately see him as your rival in the LCS?
I definitely think that I will improve personally and as a team we will also get a lot better. I don't really think about rivals — as a jungler, the first thing you focus on really in any matchup is playing well with your team and what your team and its composition wants to accomplish. That other stuff isn't really on my mind, but I think Blaber is definitely the best jungler in NA right now, and I think that I definitely have a lot of catching up to do.
Bjergsen, do you feel your finish in the LCS Mid-Season Showdown puts higher expectations than before on the team in the Summer Split and beyond?
I'm not going to lie, I don't think people expected us to come in and do well this split. A lot of people rated us lower than I would have thought. While we didn't perform as well as we could have, I think it's nice to be an underdog. All eyes are going to be on C9 and TL, and I think in the Summer Split, we are going to show up and surprise them.
Bjergsen, do you think that not competing on the current live patch throughout the LCS Mid-Season Showdown has affected the way your team has prepared?
It definitely sucks for our jungle because all of the jungle champions have been nerfed on the live server for weeks now. I believe we are two patches behind the live patch, but every team here is playing at that same disadvantage, so I'm not saying we would necessarily win matches we've lost if we were on another patch.
It just sucks being behind, especially for the team that's going to go to MSI and have to face against other teams who have gotten a lot of practice on the current patch. It sucks for everybody, but it especially sucks for jungle because the jungle meta is so different now that all the meta champions have been nerfed on the live patch. Because of this, practice has been worse, but it's been worse for everyone here, so it's an equal disadvantage for everyone.
Bjergsen, do you think there's anything more that you could have done for your team after this loss?
I think there's only so much you can say after a loss. I've had many crushing defeats throughout my playing career at LCS finals and international tournaments several times, and I don't think it would have mattered what my coach said in those moments.
Of course, I want to show that I'm here for all my guys and here to support them, but I don't think there are any magic words that I'm going to come up with today to make everyone feel better. If there's anything that will make everyone feel better, it will be coming into the Summer Split to start crushing.