Team Liquid is off to a good start of their adventure in the 2019 League of Legend World Championship. They upset the LCK's third seed DAMWON in their first match and, today beat ahq e-Sports Club in a back. They did drop their match against IG, but later on this week they'll have a chance at redemption. With a 2-1 score at the halfway point of the Group Stage, the odds are looking in Liquid's favor.
After the team had defeated ahq e-Sports, we sat down with midlaner Jensen to evaluate the game. Additionally, the Dane weighed the opponents in his group based on his experience thus far, and gives his views on the North American region at international events.
Welcome Jensen, how do you feel after that match?
Personally I feel not too happy. It almost feels worse than losing.
Yeah, because I couldn't really do much and I was just dying the whole time. I didn't have an impact on the game. That feels kind of bad, but it was a really important game for us to win, so I'll just have to look forward.
The match overall felt like a big back and forth. How did that happen?
Basically, they had a snowball comp. It was really hard for us to find the engages we needed to against them. Every single time, we got engaged on, flanked, and I would get picked off. I wasn't able to do anything then. Finding our fight was difficult for us. Every single time they were making the plays, and we were responding. That's tough for our team composition.
Even though they did have a snowball composition and managed to get ahead a few times in the game, you brought it back as well. How did you manage to do that?
We knew that our team composition would scale really well, once we would get to the team fight phase. But even then we were still losing basically every team fight, or go even, at best. I guess it was just a matter of time until we'd eventually get the right fight, but that didn't really seem to happen. I think that I was the engager because they jumped on me every single time. We still had hope because we had a good composition, but it honestly didn't feel like a good game.
Yesterday you faced off against IG, and you personally against Rookie. What did you pick up from that match?
I think that match taught me that Orianna is really strong. Today though, it wasn't too strong. [Laughs] I think it had to do with the circumstances. Orianna thrives when she is able to play aggressively and doesn't have to worry about many threats. But today they were playing five diving champions, so they'd just blow me up every single fight.
Other than that, yesterday we learned a lot about our macro—we misplayed a bit there. That made the game pretty hard. But overall the loss against IG wasn't too bad.
You're at the halfway point now, and three teams are at a 2-1 score. The matches against DAMWON and IG will be extra important if you guys want to secure a seed. Between those two teams, with the knowledge and experience you have now, who will be easier to beat than in the first match?
I think right now both teams are really competitive. Especially in the series against each other, it was very back and forth. I do think DAMWON Gaming has more potential than IG. But I mean, IG is the returning world champion, so they're definitely a team we need to watch out for. IG is probably the better team, fundamentally, but if DAMWON is in shape they're definitely the scarier team to me.
Did DAMWON not live up to their potential when you first faced them, or were you guys playing extra well?
It was a bit of both, I think. We played really well, but they didn't show their full potential. I think they played a lot better against IG. It's hard to say though. I think they have a lot of hype going into the tournament because they have good individual players, but they're a very inexperienced team. I think that showed against us. We have the advantage that we do have that experience.
Between Rookie and ShowMaker, who was the hardest to play against for you?
Hm. I throughout every single midlander I've played against in the worlds, the hardest I've played against, who pressures the most is definitely Rookie. People have been saying that ShowMaker is the next up-and-coming midlaner. He didn't really show too much against us, so it's hard to judge him off one game. I think ShowMaker could be on Rookie's level, but I don't think he's had the chance to show it yet.
Looking at your performance so far, and taking Cloud9's and Clutch's results into account at Worlds, how is NA performing, you think?
Every single time I go to an international event, I think NA is playing catch-up. It feels like the other regions are better. It's up to us to learn and adapt as fast as possible then. Right now, I'd say pretty much every other major region seems better than NA, but I think we're getting there. We just have to make improvements fast and be able to adapt.
Having played against ahq e-Sports club, who qualified through Play-Ins, do you think playing in the Play-Ins could be of help for teams in the rest of their tournament?
For sure. Everytime I've been to Worlds I had to go through the Play-Ins, except for this year. They definitely give you an advantage because you can be clear about your priorities and pick what you think is strong. Nothing is holding you back. I'd say it's an advantage in that sense. But I already knew from last year that the Play-In teams are pretty strong. You can't take them for granted.
On the other hand, it will give away some strategies already.
Play-Ins has its downsides, yeah. It's about what you value more. I think when Worlds starts and you play against the best teams in the worlds, the pick priority changes anyway. Even though you give away some strategies, you'll pick up new ones pretty fast.
In his post-game interview, DoubleLift mentioned that you can win against any team, but also lose against any team depending on the shape Team Liquid's in. What's your stance on that?
There's not really a team where I'm like: "We're never going to beat this team." I think we have a really high peak if we play well and don't make mistakes. We showed that at MSI this year. But we need to find the consistency, and pick more champions that feel comfortable to us. Then we'll be a really good team.
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