Team Liquid is back on track as they had their first 2-0 week of the season. It was somewhat late as many people expected TL to blow away the LCS with their "super team", but they went through some struggles as they collected five losses up to now. With three games to go, Inven Global had a chat with TL support Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-in. We discussed why they struggled through the season, the importance of the draft, and talked about Champions Queue.
You’re tied at 3rd place with one week left. How was this season?
When we first gathered, we practiced and prepared, thinking that we should harness our diversity. But since we were a “super team”, with each loss, we tried to pinpoint our problems. That rather made our team game get tangled up. After a while, we found a way to play as one. I think that showed well in our recent games. The practice is going well, and we’re trying to keep in that direction.
I’m not completely sure if everything’s fixed — since we were trying to fix things all the time, other issues came up. Also, we tried to do new stuff, so the level of play wasn’t as good. The positive thing is that it’s getting better, and the systems have settled in.
It’s a roster full of unique star players that have their own styles. Was it difficult to build teamwork?
That was definitely the most difficult. Even when we saw one specific play, all five players had a different perspective. That made us play differently, but recently, everyone has started to see the game in the same way.
You’ve played against Bjergsen for a long time. How is it playing alongside him?
Bjergsen is very professional. In a way, he’s a perfect player. His attitude towards the game and aspiration to improve is very respectable. You can say that he has already had quite some success in TSM, so he has his own game. That was a bit hard to blend in with, but he’s indeed a great player.
Looking at the 2022 LCS summer season, is it going the way you anticipated at the beginning?
Actually, I thought we’d do better. [Laughs] Also, CLG has come up a lot. They try many different drafts, and they’re doing much better than expected. Besides them, it’s divided as projected. There are many games where weak teams just lose without doing much.
Since you mentioned drafts, there have been several players that said the importance of the draft is higher than ever. Care to chime in?
This year, the draft is more important than any other year. The importance of the draft rises every year, and this year, it’s really difficult to win without a good draft. The strongest teams can fall to weak teams if their draft is bad. However, to make a great draft plan, the teams have to have great synergy, and they need to find great compositions through practice.
I think it’s because the game is quite old. All of the players understand the game much better than before, and everyone has improved a lot. That makes it difficult to beat the opponent through pure prowess with an unfavorable champion. There are more champions as well, so it’s also important to locate and utilize the OP champions.
Regardless of team and position, who do you think is showing the best performance in the LCS?
Well, Evil Geniuses are doing well. The team is united well with Inspired in the center. When I watched him play, he plays his own game and doesn’t get swayed by other people. I can see that he leads the game well. In that matter, I’d say Inspired is the best — but not by too much.
In TL, Bwipo has been smashing the top lane when we won. I think he’s doing well.
When I interviewed you last year, you said that the level of play around the world has dropped. It’s been almost a year and a half since. What do you think now?
I think it’s something that happens every year. In the spring season, all teams don’t perform as well. Then they do well in the summer. I used to think that it’s not too hard to build good team synergy since good players know how to make good plays, but nowadays, I feel that all players see plays differently and that it’s difficult to have everyone think one thing.
So what you’re saying is that the teams underperform in the spring since they have new rosters and that they have to build teamwork and synergy, but the teams gradually improve heading towards summer and Worlds?
Yeah. That seems about right. Most teams need to go through the process of building their teamwork. It’s important to have everyone see the same angle. Also, if there are rookies, the rookies need to learn the game more. That’s probably why that happens.
I interviewed Olleh last week. He’s kind of like the ambassador of Champions Queue. How satisfied are you with the current Champions Queue? Is there anything to improve?
They actually modified Champions Queue a lot based on the feedback, so I don’t think there’s much room to improve system-wise. What’s important is how much the players play. If the LCS players don’t play, the level of play tends to drop. If the level of play drops, the top players don’t want to play, and it becomes a vicious cycle. I’m not sure how to fix that — by not playing, everyone’s harming each other.
I guess the real solution is to have the LCS players play Champions Queue more.
Yes. We need to raise the level of play in Champions Queue, but there aren’t too many people playing on the server, so there’s not much we can do about it.
You’re currently one of the top rankers right now. Do you have your eyes fixed on 1st place?
[Laughs] Whenever it nears the end of the season, I do get my eyes fixed on the top ranks since the reward is quite significant. But I’m not too obsessed with it — if I win, super; if not, too bad. The way they divided the season makes it more competitive.
I think that’s about it. Do you have any last comments you’d like to share?
This year, Worlds is in the USA. Frankly, I can’t speak too positively about the LCS. Just now, it feels like I’m saying that the LCS players are the problem with Champions Queue. As for results, LCS teams seldom had good results on international stages.
That being said, we are a team that has much more potential than what’s shown now. I want to reach Worlds and show a good performance so that people would think differently about the LCS. Please keep an eye on us.