Team Liquid stumbled out of the gate in the 2022 LCS Spring Split with a loss to defending LCS champion 100 Thieves, but bounced back in their next match against Immortals to bring their record to 1-1. After the win over IMT, Team Liquid AD carry Steven "Hans sama" Liv spoke to Inven Global about winning the LCS Lock In, how support Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-in factored into his decision to join TL for 2022, and his next matchup against Cloud9 AD carry Kim "Berserker" Min-cheol.
How are you feeling after your first two matches of regular split play in the LCS?
I'm feeling good about starting off the LCS Spring Split like this, but I may not be at the top of my play yet. I expect more from myself. We went 1-1 this weekend, and against 100 Thieves, we could have taken more opportunities. I think we would have won the early game if we played a little bit better because their composition was outscaling us, but so far, it's still nice being 1-1. We're fighting hard to prepare well for next week. We play against C9 next and they look pretty strong.
You mentioned in a recent interview that you felt you sort of 'fell into the NA playstyle' in the Lock In and have since been trying to return to your standard approach regardless of your region of competition. How has that process been going?
I think it's mainly the team. In being in a different team now with TL, I've found that the game sometimes plays much slower than the aggressive pace I'm used to playing at all times. *laughs* I'm trying a lot to work on synergy with the team and I haven't really figured out my position within the team yet, but I'm doing better over time.
Compared to EU, I don't think the level of NA is much worse in my position. I played against all of the AD carries in the LEC and now I'm getting to play against all the AD carries here in NA. Everyone is different, and while I'm still learning to play against them, I don't think there's that much of a difference in terms of region. It's good to have new AD carries to play against like Berserker, who I thought was performing really well. In context of my own team, however, I'm not sure yet.
Aside from a single game in the Lock In, you and TL starting support Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-in have not been able to compete together much due to the delays on his green card, though I've been told you have practiced and scrimmed with him. What's it like building synergy with him but also TL Academy support Bill "Eyla" Nguyen for your current games on stage?
I don't really like it. *laughs* I prefer to grind with just one support. It's a lot more clear than when you have to grind with two supports. They both obviously play very differently, so I need to adjust quickly, and I don't really like it. Both Core and Eyla have their own style and they're both pretty good, so it's still really exciting to be playing with good supports.
Instead of swapping players in and out, TL have seemingly settled, for the time being, on starting Eyla to allow you and top laner Gabriël "Bwipo" Rau to take up the starting roster import slots. Has the recent roster consistency helped you adjust to a new region at all?
It's been helpful to keep the same roster after the quarterfinals of the Lock In so I can get to play with the same players, but we aren't really in the office together so the vibes feel quite different in comparison to my competitive past. I'm basically in the office with just Eyla and the coaching staff. I think it's going to be way, way easier to develop synergy and improve as a team when we are all together in person.
People were already heralding you as the best ADC in the LCS before you even played a game for TL. Do you agree with that sentiment, and if so, who aside from yourself is at the top of the role in North America?
I think I improved an insane amount last year and I considered myself to be someone who can beat anyone in the AD carry role. For now, I don't think I've shown my true potential in the LCS. I think there are a bunch of games where I've done really well, but there also have been a bunch of games where I've kind of just done 'whatever' because I'm still really trying to adjust how I should play with the team in terms of my playstyle.
I've been pretty confused sometimes, but with a clear mind and clear play, I think I can definitely be the best. In terms of the other LCS AD carries, I didn't really get to play against some of them so I can't really tell who among them is the best. However, Berserker was looking like he had a good showing this week.
Your former team Rogue hasn't lost a game in 2022 so far. Have you had a chance to watch any of their matches? Are you able to keep in touch with your former teammates from Rogue?
I write to them sometimes. I really enjoyed living with them and spending time with them before coming to TL. I just wrote to Larssen a few weeks ago. It makes me very happy that they are very successful. I think that this Rogue is such a different team from last year's Rogue. They are playing altogether so much better than we did last year. *laughs*
You can see that they are all over the place making plays in the early game and mid game. Mid lane, bot lane — they are very well synergized. I think their ceiling could be stronger than Rogue last year. I think they are smurfing. *laughs*
Your former jungler on Rogue, Kacper "Inspired" Słoma, is also in the LCS on Evil Geniuses. Have you two been able to kept in touch and share experiences of playing in a new region?
We haven't really contacted each other much. I've pretty much only stayed in the apartment and have not gone outside much because, one by one, a bunch of people have gotten COVID. It's been pretty worth for me to just not go outside and not have to worry about it. *laughs* I haven't gotten to talk to Inspired or anything since we've both been pretty busy with our respective teams.
Are you able to provide any update on when CoreJJ's green card will come through so we can see the full Team Liquid roster in the LCS?
I don't have much of an update. I think it could be pretty soon. I would be very hype to start playing more with CoreJJ because it was one of the reasons I joined TL. At the end of 2021, I had the thought that I really wanted to build a world-class bot lane together with CoreJJ. I want to build the strongest bot lane duo ever.
If TL is to make it to Worlds 2022 as many expect, which bot lanes would you want to test your mettle against alongside CoreJJ?
I would want to test ourselves against T1's bot lane. I think they've been catching the eyes of a lot of people and I'm curious to see how we would do against them. I'd say EDward Gaming's bot lane is up there as well.
It'd be cool to see you get your revenge on T1 in a best-of-five with your new team.
*Laughs* That's true! Oh my God...that best-of-five. Five years have already gone by. Wow.
Thanks for the interview, Hans sama. Is there anything you want to say to the Team Liquid fans?
Thanks to the Liquid fans for their support towards me and the team. I've been receiving a lot of messages that are quite nice and I will do my best to make TL a very strong team.