Team Liquid has won the 2019 LCS Summer Finals. In a 3-2 victory over Cloud9, Team Liquid won a record-breaking fourth consecutive North American domestic title and secured the 1st seed for LCS representation at the 2019 League of Legends World Championship.
Team Liquid addressed the media in a post-match press conference in which Top Laner Jeong "Impact" Eon-young, Jungler Jake "Xmithie" Puchero, Mid Laner Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen, AD Carry Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng, and Support Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-in were joined by Team Liquid Head Coach Jang "Cain" Nu-ri, Assistant Coach Kang "Dodo" Jun-hyeok, and co-owner Steve Arhancet to discuss the win, the 2019 LCS Regional Final, and Worlds 2019.
Tyler Erzberger; ESPN Esports. Jensen, there's been a lot of talk about the Mid Lane matchup this series with you being the former Mid Laner for Cloud9, and before Game 4, C9 tweeted out that you were finally going to win them an LCS title. Now that you've come back in Game 4 and 5, and beat your old team to win another title, do you have anything to say to them?
Jensen: *Laughs* I mean, I know it's just banter and they want to be funny, so I didn't think about it too much, but it feels good to beat my former team. I think if I were to lose to C9, everyone would hate me, so I'm glad we were able to win.
Joe Sloan; Checkpoint XP. Doublelift, four straight LCS titles is a level of dominance we haven't seen in North America up until this point. How does it feel?
Doublelift: It feels great. Xmithie and Impact have also won 4 in a row, but anyway, Team Liquid used to be a joke of a team with zero fans. *laughs* It's true! Let's be honest here.
I'm really happy to have been a part of turning the organization around. I think everyone here worked super hard for it. When I got kicked off TSM, I thought it might be over; I might never win again. Turns out, Team Liquid was an amazing team and a great choice.
Robert Hanes; The Game Haus. Doublelift, you said before the series that you wanted some competition. Was this what you were hoping for?
Doublelift: Yeah. Last year we 3-0'd both NA LCS Finals, and I was happy, but it didn't feel great because the matches weren't very close. This past spring, we came back 0-2 against TSM, and then we came back from 1-2 against Cloud9 today. Those are the type of Finals that feel really good, because you know it was really close.
In a series like that, you know that one play you made or one play your teammate made could change the whole series. That feels really nice, because all of the practice you put in the whole season feels like it paid off.
Nick Ray; Upcomer. Impact, in your most recent interview with us, you said you had a special pick prepared for playoffs. Is Shen that pick?
Impact: Our team thought we should play Shen, but I didn't want to, actually. However, Shen was a really good for that situation. I still have my secret pick, but it would not have worked in that situation.
Nick Geracie, Inven Global. Doublelift, in your last Finals press conference, you said that you'd rather be someone hungry for a first title than someone with several trophies. I think you're trending in the wrong direction here; do you still feel that way after this championship?
Doublelift: I think winning more is honestly not super important, but if someone beats us in Finals, or playoffs in general, they have to deserve it. It's not like I'm not trying, because it would feel bad to see the other team celebrating the win, but I will be honest: this 7th championship is not nearly as important to my life as the first one.
You have to find other sources of motivation. For example, because we played well at the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational, the 1st seed for Worlds actually matters this year, unlike last year. Locking in that 1st seed might be the difference between making it out of the Group Stage, so there's a lot of things at play regarding winning domestically. I'm not going to say I want to lose, but I want our region to be strong, so we can be a strong team.
Zane Bhansali; Cheddar Esports. Jensen, we just heard Doublelift say that his 7th trophy is not as big of a deal to him as others, but you've spent a long time looking for domestic titles. Now that you are winning them, do you still have the hunger to win as many as possible?
Jensen: *Laughs* No, I definitely still have the hunger. To me, it's more about changing the narrative around me. In my whole career before this, I was a player that would always finish 2nd, and was never able to achieve anything great. I was always in the shadow of Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg, but now, I feel like I'm kind of creating a legacy for myself as the guy who is winning everything. That's the direction I want to keep going, at least for now, so every win is super important.
Travis Gafford. Dodo and Cain, in the press conference that preceded yours, Cloud9 Head Coach Bok "Reapered" Han-gyu confirmed North America would not be bootcamping in Korea, and instead, would be bootcamping in Europe. I'm curious as to how you plan on approaching that, given that LEC is still in Summer Playoffs.
Dodo: This year, Worlds is happening in Europe, so I think a lot of teams are actually going to bootcamp there. I've contacted some LEC teams, and they are staying in Europe for the bootcamp, so I think it makes sense for us to go to Europe this time. The time difference won't be as bad, and we'll be able to scrim against a better region. I believe Korean and Chinese teams will stay in their regions before Worlds.
We will have a week or two weeks off before we go to Europe, and then we will bootcamp for around three weeks, and then we'll be ready for Worlds.
Tyler Erzberger; ESPN Esports. My question is for Doublelift. TSM, Counter Logic Gaming, Clutch Gaming, and FlyQuest will be competing in the 2019 NA Regional Final. Who is your prediction to make it out of the gauntlet and represent the LCS at Worlds as the 3rd seed?
Doublelift: Uh......wow, I actually have no idea. Honestly, I'd say it's like a three-way coin flip — Flyquest? no chance — between CG, CLG, and TSM. It's so hard to say, but if I had to put money on one team...Clutch Gaming.
Nick Geracie; Inven Global. Jensen, in your last LCS Final against TSM, you won the first domestic title of your career, but you have been criticized as not really needing to do much for TL to win. In this Final, you beat your former team, and absolutely popped off in game 5. Does the significance of this title match your first one in spring?
Jensen: I wouldn't say the title itself means as much, but the fact that it was against Cloud9 meant a lot. I feel like if I were to lose to C9, everyone would say I made the wrong choice, or that Yasin "Nisqy" Dincer was the better Mid Laner in the series. I feel like I'm already getting a lot of hate from C9 fans who are really salty towards me in general, so I'm really happy we were able to win today so people won't go after me too much.
Joe Sloan; Checkpoint XP. Xmithie, is there an element of rivalry between you and G2 Esports heading towards Worlds due to the MSI Final earlier this year?
Xmithie: I don't think we have a rivalry or a hard focus on G2 specifically. Mainly, we're focusing on our team specifically. Before MSI, our international performances had not gone that well at all, so we're focusing on how we should practice against international teams, because North American teams are not as strong.
Christopher Bilski; Ginx TV. Steve, as an organization, Team Liquid has recently experienced success across multiple titles including LoL, CS:GO, and DOTA2. Can you pinpoint a decision or a moment that started to create this culture of success?
Steve: It's pretty exciting. We had an opportunity to win The International this morning, and came very close, which was awesome. We'll have a chance to win the next CS:GO major in a couple of weeks. I don't think there's another esports organization that comes close to the level of success that we've been able to achieve.
If I had to point out one thing specifically, I'd say it's a commitment to winning. It bleeds throughout the entire organization. Other esports organizations have faltered a bit because their investors lose confidence. They're putting capital to work and they're not seeing the return on that they want in terms of success, and they're pulling out.
For us, winning is the most important thing. We're in it for the long haul, and we're here to create a legacy. That's going to take capital, commitment, and passion. We're all aligned on winning; that's the most important thing.
Tyler Erzberger; ESPN Esports. CoreJJ, you're going to Worlds, but your former team Gen.G was recently eliminated from Worlds contention in the LCK. Do you have anything you want to say to your former teammates?
CoreJJ: As opposed to Jensen; I believe Gen.G fans still love me. *laughs* I hope they can make the next Worlds.
Nick Ray; Upcomer. Xmithie, you're the only member of TL who didn't make the 2019 LCS Summer Split All-Pro Team. Do you think you deserved to be there over Svenskeren, and how do you think you'll match up against other Junglers at Worlds?
Xmithie: I think Svenskeren actually played really well, especially in this split. I think he deserved the All-Pro spot; I don't think C9 would have been 2nd place if not for him, so props to him. I don't hold any grudge against him, and especially in this match, my team just played really well.
Travis Gafford. Xmithie, earlier in the press conference, your coaches confirmed you'll have a week or two off. I was curious on how you plan to spend your free time.
Dodo: Playing solo queue.
Steve: Say the right answer, please...
Xmithie: I'll probably go vacation to Europe early so I can play solo queue.
Nick Geracie; Inven Global. Doublelift, your Worlds appearances over the past few years have been pre-dated by either underperforming at MSI, or missing it entirely. Since TL made the Finals at MSI 2019, does that change your mental approach going into Worlds?
Doublelift: I'd give myself a passing grade for MSI 2019, Worlds 2018, and MSI 2018. I don't think I played amazing in those tournaments; I had some really bad games where I ran it down, and them I had some pretty good games where I was carrying. There's a big contrast since I joined TL, because every time I played internationally with CLG or TSM, I wasn't playing as well as I wanted to. It wasn't the team's fault, and I'm still not playing as well as I want to yet, but I'm closer to it.
It feels really good that we were able to set up a better 1st seed than last year for North America with our MSI performance this year, and then we got that 1st seed ourselves today. That may be a factor in how far go at Worlds.
Christopher Bilski; Ginx TV. Jensen, did going down 0-2 to TSM in spring help you in this Final when you were down 1-2 against C9?
Jensen: I've been in a lot of reverse sweep situations in general, so I'm getting pretty comfortable with it. Still, it's obviously a bit different of an experience when it happens in playoffs. This Final specifically was different when compared to our Final against TSM in spring.
I felt like when we were down 0-2 to TSM, we were losing because we were making some really bad decisions. This time around, we were down 1-2, and Cloud9 was actually playing a lot better than I expected. I was more worried being down 1-2 against C9 than being down 0-2 to TSM. I felt like Cloud9 could actually beat us, whereas when we went down 0-2 against TSM, I kind of had a feeling that we were going to win and we were the better team.
Nick Butts, The Game Haus. Xmithie, who on Cloud9 were you most worried about facing, and how did you go about preparing to shut them down?
Xmithie: I think it was more about Nisqy and Dennis "Svenskeren" Johnsen together. They have really good Mid/Jungle synergy, but I think Jensen and I played pretty well today for most of the series. We controlled them pretty well, but I still think they're a really great duo.