Finishing the split with a disappointing 4-14 record, Team Liquid once again find themselves competing in the North American League Championship Series Promotion Tournament. Given that a spot as a permanent partner is all but assured, Team Liquid can use the tournament as an opportunity to evaluate their recent acquisitions and current roster of players.
For Team Liquid, the opportunity to play multiple series in the Promotion tournament is a battleground upon which to test the strength and synergy of their new additions.
Team Liquid utilized the same roster for the entirety of the final week, featuring the debut of mid laner Son “Mickey” Young-min and the insertion of recently acquired jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett.
Mickey arrived in the United States only a few days before taking to the stage for Team Liquid as their starting mid laner.
Despite some questionable item decisions and a few games with a low kill score, Mickey still impressed with his lane control, sharp reaction to plays, and ability to coordinate with the team after just a few days. Given more time, Mickey could prove to be a valuable component of the future Team Liquid roster.
After a poor first week to mark his return to the Liquid organisation, Dardoch seemed far more comfortable against FlyQuest eSports and Team Dignitas.
With their current roster carrying two imports with Mickey and star ADC Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin, having a resident jungler will become a necessity if Team Liquid plans on keeping both players in the starting lineup.
After just one week together, the newly formed Team Liquid roster certainly showed potential. Though TL’s recent history of roster swaps suggests that it’s highly unlikely that all five members will return for the next split as starters on the team, the Promotion Tournament provides an opportunity for their new members to continue to build upon their momentum from the last week of the regular season.
By contrast, for the fringe members of the Team Liquid squad, the Promotion Tournament provides a final opportunity to prove they serve a purpose within the Team Liquid organisation and the NA LCS.
Unlike previous splits, the threat of relegation from the Promotion Tournament has been greatly reduced, affording Team Liquid to treat their forthcoming fixtures as little more than an ‘on-stage scrims’.
Following the announcement of a franchised system for the NA LCS, the deadline for applications as a permanent partner has already passed. The likelihood of Team Liquid’s inclusion is essentially guaranteed.
Team Liquid’s significant financial backing, and deep history in eSports and League of Legends, provides the organisation with a metaphorical safety net and a licence to approach the promotion tournament without genuine fear of relegation.
Failure to qualify for the next split through the Promotion Tournament will by no means disqualify them from earning a permanent partner position.
Instead of feeling a sense of disappointment in having to compete in their second consecutive Promotion Tournament, Team Liquid and their fan base should seize this as an opportunity to assess the new players the organisation has added in the past few weeks.
A sense of stability and consistency remains the dream for Team Liquid; the Promotion Tournament provides the organisation with an opportunity to take a step towards achieving that goal.