After a third-place finish in the 2022 LCS Spring Playoffs, Team Liquid came out of the gate in impressive fashion for the first week of the Summer Split. TL went 3-0 and looked like the most dominant team in North America in doing so, but in Week 2, they stumbled and lost a game to TSM before nearly losing to FlyQuest, which was remedied by a late-game comeback to secure a 1st-place tie with Evil Geniuses and Counter Logic Gaming.
After Team Liquid's tumultuous Week 2 of the 2022 LCS Summer Split, TL AD carry Steven "Hans sama" Liv spoke to Inven Global about technical issues against TSM and assuming a more carry-centric role in his team.
Your strength of schedule in Week 1 was arguably more difficult than in Week 2, but TL seemed to have more trouble in the latter. What was the cause of this?
I think we just played worse this weekend. Personally, I had a lot of struggles yesterday due to the distraction of my mouse not functioning properly. Because of that, I started zoning out. I was worried about my mouse, so I should have paused, but it just didn't happen. This happened like four times in the game, so I probably should have paused.
What led to you not pausing in the game?
I don't know. I've never really paused a game in my career. [laughs] I should have just paused even if it was to reset my mental and get back in the zone.
In both games this weekend, we were in situations that were favorable for the enemy. For example, when you're playing Ezreal and Bard into Kalista and Renata Glasc, you don't really win that matchup. We took that matchup because we were confident that we could go even, but I need to be really careful because I can die at any time.
Things just didn't work out and it got to my confidence. I was like, 'Oh, wow. I've stomped every game for the last month since our Korean bootcamp, pixel-perfect.' However, when I got distracted with mouse issues, it felt like I didn't know what was going on anymore. This feeling may have translated to today's game, which is maybe why the game felt so hard. We didn't cover the right movement to Scuttle Crab and we ended up losing our lane control to Twitch, and with his Q, he had pressure on the map.
I wish today's game was just an easy, more chill type of game where nothing really happened. It was really unlucky that Twitch got a kill and got ahead. I was on the back foot for the whole game and I needed to be very strong mentally to turn that around, which I was not. For next week, I need to prepare myself and rebuild my mental.
Would you say it's you and Evil Geniuses at the top level of play in the LCS?
In terms of level of play, yeah. I would say that is the case when we are both playing our game. We might have underperformed this weekend, but this is usually not our level of play.
I think it's natural to have a period where you underperform. We performed very well for our entire Korean bootcamp, then we came back for the LCS Summer Split and performed very well in our two weeks of practice. We played well on stage in the first week and I would say we played well in this past week of practice, too. I guess we started falling off in these last two stage games, so we're just going to have to pick up for next week and work hard.
I don't feel much stress because while my mind is currently occupied with questions like, 'Why were these two games so hard?' I know that we're very good and we showed that the whole week. I just need to trust the team more and myself, too.
Hopefully, no more mouse issues either.
[laughs] Yeah, I feel like the mouse might have broken me this weekend. It definitely broke my mental - my Ezreal is always popping off every single game, and when I had mouse issues I was like 'What the f**k? I can't hit anything.' It took me so far away from the zone, so it made an impact.
Bjergsen told me yesterday that the team is trying to facilitate you more as a carry compared to last split. Can you talk about what led to the team's adjustment after finishing third in the LCS Spring Playoffs?
I wanted to be more of a carry for Summer Split. I wanted to call more stuff and be more of a pressure point. I always want to be a pressure point for my team and be in the enemy's face. I think I can shine when my teammates know what I want. Last split, I was not that player. I was following everyone, but for this split, I've been working hard on making people follow me and do things my way.
Last split, I over-respected my teammates too much and would tend to not stick to my own opinion. I'm pretty happy with how my progression has gone so far, but these two games were tough for me, so I have to come back stronger after I take a day off.
Has having CoreJJ by your side for every game for quite some time now after his green card issues in spring helped you be more vocal about getting your teammates to follow you?
Playing with Core is really nice. He always knows what I want and has a high level of game knowledge, so he instantly knows everything that I say. It's pretty impressive. Sometimes when I say things, it's difficult for me to explain them further, but Core always knows how I want to play the lane and anything we can do together in a matchup.
This split, it feels like people don't want us to get a very strong bot lane, so we've been picking weak side bot lanes. [laughs] If people give us a strong lane, they might lose bot lane very hard.
The general consensus seems to be that the top-three LCS teams of Evil Geniuses, Team Liquid, and 100 Thieves have stayed the same. Do you think the new Cloud9 roster is still the most likely team to challenge the top trio?
I think it might still be Cloud9. I value Cloud9 and 100 Thieves equally. I value EG a bit higher. They went to MSI, they did well, and it doesn't look like they've gone down since they came back. I think EG are still the strongest. TSM are doing better, but they're playing online and they lost against EG.
When I do things well, I think we are the best team. Like I said, I want to be the carry of the team. When I'm at the center, people play around me more and I think I'm very good at converting an early game lead into being a mid-game teamfight monster. Any time I can do that, we might be the best team in the LCS. I just have to work very hard on myself in terms of those values that I hold highly for this split.
Today and yesterday were huge failures. I want to show what I can do to the public every single game, so it made me very angry. I hope to put this huge negative energy into something positive next week. I know it's still early in the split, but I'm going to have to work hard to show my self-worth before the playoffs.
Doing well in the playoffs is the most important thing, though. People don't care what happened in the split if you don't do well in playoffs, so it's important for me to put as much as I can in the days leading up to that moment. I really want to do well with my team this summer, I think we can go very far here and possibly at Worlds, too. [laughs]
You were billed as the best AD carry in the LCS before you even played a game for Team Liquid. Do you still feel like that's the case, and as you said last split, is Berserker still your best challenge for that spot if you consider yourself the best?
If I'm not underperforming, I think I should be the best. I'm not sure by how much, but if you had asked me these questions two days prior, I would have been very confident about me being the best.
I'm going to have to work harder, and maybe I'll have a more confident answer in our next interview. [laughs]
Looking forward to that. Thanks for your time, is there anything you want to say to the Team Liquid fans?
Thank you for the support and thank you Team Liquid Honda. I think this week was hard, but I'm very glad that we managed to pick up a win that should have been a loss. [laughs] I'm very excited about our improvement and I'm going to work very hard to achieve what I really want. I hope you will tune in next time.