"The Fourth Place Curse"
In the NA LCS, when you hear the phrase,"4th place", it instantly reminds you of a certain team. TeamLiquid is known to always land in 4th place during the regular seasons, and they are also a team that never made Worlds. The 4th place curse was often used as a form of a joke but was also a phrase that brought tears to their loyal fans.
But after the 2017 NA LCS Summer Split, TeamLiquid started making many bold moves for their player roster. By picking up multiple 'A-S tier' players from the league, TL reinforced all of their lanes. But a question still remains. How will TL utilize these star players? How will TL perform in the 2018 Season?
Before the start of the 2018 NA LCS Spring Split, TeamLiquid had visited Korea to boot camp, and Inven Global had the opportunity to meet the team and its players.
Q. TL has acquired a lot of former Immortals players for their roster. Is there a special reason for this?
Coach Cain: IMT is a team that displayed great performances last Season. There are many great Korean players, but due to the import restrictions, it is required to find domestic talents who are just as talented. I spoke with the team owner before acquiring these players, because they have been playing with each other for a long time - their strengths are nothing to scoff at. Pobelter, Xmithie, and Olleh put a lot of effort into practice, and their team-communication is also flawless. That is why we signed these players.
TeamLiquid has acquired numerous players for their 2018 roster. As a player on the team, is it weird having so many teammates?
Doublelift: Every team has academy teams, so I think it’s normal now.
Team Manager, Michael Artress: It looks as if we have a lot of players going into the next season, but the contract database online has not been updated yet. So a lot of the players that we had in the previous iteration of TL is either in free agency or is in the process of moving to another team.
The five of you: Olleh, Doublelift, Pobelter, Xmithie, and Impact - are you guys going to be the starting lineup?
Pobelter, Doublelift, and Xmithie have played for CLG before, how does it feel getting together again as teammates?
Xmithie: I think it’ll be easier for us synergy-wise because POB and I have been playing for about a year now. We have been scrimming for about 3 days now and it has been much easier for us to play than having started off from a new roster. We basically had a head start.
Pobelter: I agree.
Doublelift: We’re a lot different to what we were in 2015. From then to today, I had joined a totally new team and I have taken a long break as well. We all went through different experiences… I actually barely remember how our team was like back then… I don’t know why we were so good.
You guys mentioned that you've all started scrimming together. Who does the shotcalls?
Pobelter: Everyone on the team is very talkative. Although the three of us, Olleh, Xmithie, and I, have playing experience together back in IMT, we have two new players as well. So we talk to each other frequently. There are confusing moments during communication, but it's just a process of getting used to each other.
TeamLiquid and Team SoloMid is being rated to have the strongest roster in the league for the upcoming Split. What do you think about this rivalry?
Doublelift: I think it’ll be a TSM vs TL Finals. We can probably beat them, but I feel like, in the regular season, it’s common for strong teams to have a bad start. The first game of the NA LCS is TL versus TSM… I don’t know, I think the rivalry will truly start when we enter playoffs.
Will TL be able to defeat TSM?
Doublelift: Yes, obviously, I do. I wouldn’t have joined TL if I didn’t think they'd have a chance to win. I have won the NA LCS twice while I was in TSM, the first time, it was a heavy botlane meta, and during the 2nd time, it was a jungle-mid meta. As for TSM, they usually find a strategy that everyone in NA finds a hard time trying to play against. Hopefully, we’re capable of creating strategies like that of our own.
(To Coach Cain) You have received a lot of criticism in 2016 regarding your 'Picks and Bans'. How will you fix your weaknesses coming into the new season?
Coach Cain: Normally, it's correct to pick the champions who are strong in the meta that you're playing in. However, you have to also consider your players' champion pool. That's why a lot of criticism comes to the teams, as fans do not know the depth of each player's champion pool. The current TL roster is comprised of many players that have been playing on the scene for a long time. So I'm confident that we can utilize many different tactics for the upcoming season.
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