After its 2-3 loss to Cloud9 in the finals of the 2021 League of Legends Championship Series Mid-Season Showdown, Team Liquid addressed the media in a press conference following the conclusion of the LCS post-season.
Jatt, what do you think went wrong today in this series?
I mean, they killed our nexus three times and we only got theirs twice, so, that wasn't part of the plan. It's hard to say right afterwards; there is a chance we ran out of gas a little bit.
I just want people to understand that no matter what level of players you have individually — and I think we have really insane players on our team — when you have a piece of your roster that practices with you for two and a half month straight, and then you have to try and not slot in a new piece to the roster, it's amazing how much synergy we had given all that on such short notice, in my opinion.
I'm still really proud of what the team did and I still think we should have won this series, so it's kind of hard for me to say what we think went wrong. Maybe when I look back at it in a month, I'll see more clearly, but right now, it just feels like we should have won.
CoreJJ, as somebody who is looked at as a leader on Team Liquid, are there any particular words you had for your teammates or thoughts on your teammates' performance?
Before we played game 5, I just wanted us to play more confidently. Even though we lost, I think we showed that we are confident in how we play, and I'm very proud of how we played today. We didn't make MSI, so now it's time to aim for Worlds.
Armao, multiple people have spoken about you having a history of feeling nerves before big series' like this one, but you played very well these past two days. What have the coaching staff and your teammates to help you adjust to the team on such short notice? Do you have any words of advice for players who struggle with stage nerves?
I didn't feel super nervous, personally. The LCS staff definitely helped with that; it was kind of a weird situation. I don't think I get as nervous as I used to anyway, and I've played with all of these players before briefly in the LCS Lock In. Everyone here is super experienced and generally make you feel less nervous heading into the game, so I think that helped. Regarding other players, I don't know. It just depends on each person. You just have to do your best to play well on match days.
Jatt and Kold, was the coaching staff so confident in subbing in Armao on short notice despite Santorin playing with the team for the majority of the season?
We're pretty integrated with Team Liquid Academy. This was one of the goals we had coming into 2021. Not only did Kold and myself speak frequently with TLA, but we also had our two-way coach h4xdefender, who has worked with Jon a lot in serving as the strategic coach for TL Academy. He was also able to be here for us this weekend, so you add all that to the fact that we've played with this five man roster before during a tournament.
I think it was just knowing that we have strong players all throughout our organization. Then, it was just about everyone buying into the confidence that we can do this as this five-man unit. I actually think we proved that, but that's not going to make this feel any better. *laughs* That's why we had confidence, and Kold is welcome to add what he wants, but overall, we know Jon is a good player and we knew he would step up.
We scrim against our academy team quite a bit, and that's something we want to do to make sure we are building talent, so we see the level of play that Jon brings to practice and scrims on both TL Academy and in LCS.
I think Jon is a super good player and he showed that this entire weekend. It's weird because usually, when you have to change a player like this, you would be very nervous, but both Jatt and I were pretty confident about it. Obviously, this situation sucked. No one is going to deny that. However, I think Jatt and I were pretty confident because we know the level of play that Jon can showcase. I'm very, very proud of him, and I think all of us are, so yeah...good sh*t Jon.
Jatt, this is the first time the team has played offline in over a year. Was there any special preparation heading into that?
I think a lot of it is just about trying to make sure you're doing whatever you can to protect your team like making sure that we are bringing in as much food as we can, bringing the right snacks, speaking to production staff and other people to make sure our audio is good and any light is blocked out. We mentioned concerns of the light on Friday, but we still ended up having a delay before our game 4 because the light was on Eddie's monitor.
I'm going to change your question a little bit because I thought you were going to ask what it was like to play in this environment, and I think this environment impacts everyone, but because it's a 5v5 game, it's going to be equal.
Going from the Alienware Training Facility environment that we've been in for most of the split to playing outdoors with the wind is always going to somewhat affect the level of play. I thought we did a really good job responding to it throughout the weekend and I still think we played pretty well.
Kold, Team Liquid has made a lot of changes, but ultimately, has fallen short in reclaiming its LCS throne. What does the team need to change or improve to become LCS champion once again?
That's a good question. It's kind of funny — we were watching our series yesterday against TSM, and I thought the level of play wasn't super great. Generally speaking, though, I think we have the players to be able to play at a super high level. What we need to do more is just be better as a team.
In our first series against Cloud9 last week, I felt that we lost because we didn't play as a team. Today, we played as a team, and we got into positions where we could win the game, and then, it's about whoever plays best in the moment. C9 was just more clutch than we were. I could see our improvement today when compared to our first series against C9, but overall, I think it's just cohesion.
This is now our third month with our full team, so we need to just keep working on our team play. That's what's going to drive us towards being a good team at the World Championship, and in the end, that's what we want to do.
Jatt and Kold, in the first game, TL left open Seraphine. Can you explain this lack of a ban of a champion you would usually ban in this first game?
It's a priority champ. We know that if we get Seraphine, we win, so we dared them to play it. Once we beat C9 when they were playing Seraphine, they had to ban it for the rest of the series, so that's why we did that in game 1.
Yeah, and we also thought they wouldn't be able to win with it. We took a chance, and it worked. It made them ban it throughout the entire series, so those are the kind of mind games you play when heading into a series.
Alphari, C9 started with the unexpected lane swap in game 5, but it was a continuation of its top lane focus throughout the series. Did this change the tone that was already set leading up to the final game of the series?
I don't understand the question too well. Lane swapping changes the game drastically, yes, that's all I know.
Jatt, you mentioned it was hard to focus on what went wrong in a series you believe you should have won, so what did TL do right? You may have lost today, but the team put up a much better fight against C9 this week than last despite an emergency substitution.
I thought our 5-15 minute sequences were really solid. I thought Alphari had really, really good communication in all of the games, he drives a lot of our action. I thought Jensen was incredibly locked in today, especially with his teamfighting on Viktor. I think he had something like 1300 DPM in the first game, and I thought there were plenty of teamfights that Eddie played frame perfect on Xayah.
I think CoreJJ always finds incredible engages on Rell in really difficult situations, and he makes really good calls to turn. I thought Armao did a really good job playing his game and not trying to be someone else. He even got Blaber to ban Olaf. I don't think many people have gotten Blaber to ban Olaf.
It's really sad that we weren't able to win with all of the great stuff that happened, but I'm hoping that once we have a little bit of time to recover from this, we'll use this as motivation to actually just destroy Cloud9 next time. I'm sure every team probably feels this way when they lose, but this series definitely could have gone a lot differently. There is definitely a lot that we can build off of from this series.
Jensen, I know you've played in a ton of LCS finals, and as a viewer, this one felt very intense with the nature of the series and the pauses in-between games. From your perspective, how did this series compare to other finals in which you have competed from an intensity standpoint?
I mean, it's finals, so it's pretty intense, but I felt really, really calm the entire series. I don't even think it registered in my mind that we were in a finals in a really close series. Maybe it was the lack of the crowd, or maybe I've just played in too many finals at this point. I'm not really sure, but to be honest, I felt pretty calm throughout the whole series.