Jan 17 2015 - 12:46 pm

GP10 NA LCS Rankings #3: Team Liquid

Team Liquid (formerly Team Curse) Predicted Record: 12 Wins 6 Losses Roster Breakdown Top: Quas Jungle: IWDominate Mid: FeniX ADC: Piglet Support: Xpecial Although one of North America's most consistent top laners,Quasis someone you don't...
Dot Esports

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Team Liquid (formerly Team Curse)

Predicted Record: 12 Wins 6 Losses

Roster Breakdown

Top: Quas

Jungle: IWDominate

Mid: FeniX

ADC: Piglet

Support: Xpecial

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Although one of North America's most consistent top laners, Quas is someone you don't hear much about. Sure, he isn't terribly flashy, but a cool-headed player with solid mechanics is precisely the kind of anchor an emotional team like Liquid needs. Adaptable to a shifting meta and at home in any team composition, he scored the highest KDA among top laners in the NALCS Summer Split by a wide margin. Our panelists ranked Quas slightly below TSM's Dyrus and C9's Balls, but don't be fooled: he is fully capable of going toe-to-toe with the best of them.

With the departure of Voyboy, jungler IWDominate is now the longest-time member of the Team Liquid/Team Curse roster. Unfortunately, Dom is one of those players where there is the question of who is going show up on any given day. Sometimes he's great; at other times the cocoons just aren't landing and the plays aren't being made. We ranked him conservatively, on par with Crumbz and Impaler, but we could have placed him a little closer to Meteos if only he was more consistent. This is not to mention his susceptible mental state. Liquid is a passionate team liable to tilt when things go sour, and Dom is a big part of that. Nevertheless, I expect great things from him this season. It is largely on his shoulders to break the 4th place curse.

FeniX is one of Liquid's two Korean imports, replacing Voyboy in the mid lane. He comes to us from the Jin Air Green Wings Falcons where he played top lane under the name Miso. FeniX represents the mystery element of the Team Liquid roster heading into the 2015 Spring Split. As the team's own announcement confesses, they had limited time to find a mid laner. His professional record in Korea was lackluster and, despite the team's claims to the contrary, his performance versus other LCS-caliber players in solo queue has been hit or miss. Still, Liquid management seems to be confident in his mechanics and he offers two other invaluable advantages: his upbeat personality will help with morale, and his proficiency in both English and Korean will help the team to communicate strategy with Piglet, whose English is weak.

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Piglet and Xpecial form the new bot lane to watch out for. Xpecial is widely regarded as North America's best support (I'm the only panelist to give the edge to Aphromoo) and it has been a long time, possibly forever, since he has had an AD carry with skill to match. Cop and WildTurtle are obviously exceptional ADC's – WildTurtle is #1 in solo queue as I write this, with several other accounts not far behind – but Piglet is a World Champion. Of course it remains to be seen how he will perform in North America. He is an emotional person and is having trouble acclimating to a foreign country, but he certainly has the potential to shake up the NA scene. If this lane turns out to be as strong as it might be, Team Liquid will be very scary.

How they got here:

Team Liquid, the organization, is new to competitive League of Legends. They are already involved in StarCraft II, Hearthstone, Counter-Strike, Super Smash Bros. and Street Fighter, and have expanded into LoL through a merger with the organization formerly called Curse Gaming. Team Liquid's Nazgul and Curse Gaming's coincidentally-named LiQuiD112 are now co-owners of the LCS team, now also called Team Liquid. But the team is not new. Curse has been around since Season 1 and participated in every split of the LCS without ever making it to a World Championship. 2014 was particularly crushing. Curse finished the regular season in 4th place and made it to the playoffs' 3rd place match after beating CLG 3-0 and expectedly losing to C9 in the semifinals. In the best of five versus LMQ for the final World Championship spot, Curse narrowly took the first two games. They were behind for the majority of Game 1, winning the advantage back only at 40 minutes into the game with a brave 3-man Baron attempt. Game 2 was a slightly more convincing victory.

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Then they fell apart. For the first time in the series, XiaoWeiXiao finally got to play Yasuo in Game 3. Combined with Ackerman on Maokai, LMQ became too hard to teamfight and took the win. As Pr0lly noted on the analyst desk, it can be strenuous to have your momentum stopped, even if you're still up by a game. This seems to have been the case for Curse, who, after three close games, were crushed twice consecutively in Games 4 and 5. One victory away from a trip to Worlds, they gave up a backdoor sweep.

Biggest Headline: Can Liquid break the Curse?

Team Curse was aptly named. Among the four oldest, continuously relevant North American teams – TSM, CLG, Dignitas, and Curse itself – Curse is the only never to qualify for a World Championship. This is despite coming very close on numerous occasions. Where NA fields three teams for the Championship, 4th place seems to have some kind of inescapable gravity for Curse. Team Liquid represents a new era, not just because of the name change, but because the team is finally entering in on the import game. Their only experiment with foreign talent thus far was Gambit's Edward, who played support for them during the 2013 Summer Split (Nyjacky is originally from China but moved to the US long before his professional LoL career, and Quas played on the NA server from Venezuela). Edward's stint on Curse made him the first foreigner to play in North America, but Curse hasn't courted any European or Asian players since then, making them unusual. Only C9 has remained so pure.

But Koreans have had mixed success in North America. Whereas Lustboy has proven to be the support TSM needed, Seraph did not live up to expectations as CLG's top laner. Will FeniX and Piglet be able to revitalize Team Liquid?

Future Outlook

If you're a Team Liquid fan, the star of the show heading into the 2015 Spring Split is Piglet. He is quite the pickup – it's almost curious he couldn't find a better gig. While it's unwise to take for granted that he'll be great, there is a significant chance he will be a marked improvement over Cop. Team Curse was so close to breaking into the top 3 last season, it's not hard to believe that the slightest boost could push them to the status of top contender. 

Team Liquid

 

 

 

 

Author

AVERAGE:

FeniX

5

4

5

5

5

4.8

Quas

8

7

8

8

8

7.8

IWD

8.5

7

7

7

7

7.3

Piglet

8

9

8

8

9

8.4

Xpecial

10

10

10

10

9

9.8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mechanical Ability

9

7

8

8

7

7.8

Shotcalling

7

7

6

7

5

6.4

Understanding of the Meta

4

5

5

5

5

4.8

Objective Control

7

7

6

7

6

6.6

Picks/Bans

6

7

6

7

3

5.8

 

 

 

 

 

Final Score

13.9

Our panelists gave them the benefit of this doubt and ultimately placed them #3 behind C9 and TSM. This might be a tad optimistic but it reflects on the condition of the NALCS. Team Impulse, formerly LMQ, is unlikely to be as competitive without Vasilii despite the acquisition of Impact, Piglet's former SKT T1 K teammate. T8, Coast, Dignitas and Winterfox (formerly EG) are not looking particularly strong. Gravity (formerly CA) is a wildcard and, although the additions of Scarra and ZionSpartan are probably helping to turn it around, CLG was a catastrophe at the end of last season. Simply put, North America is looking weak, which means it's the perfect time for Team Liquid to capitalize and make a comeback.

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Wrap Up

This split is hard to call. The only thing I'd be willing to bet on is a 1st place finish for C9, but even that is uncertain. I think it's very likely Liquid ends up in the top half of the table, and I definitely think it's possible they finish top 3. If FeniX, at the very least, performs just as well as Voyboy, and Piglet plays like the World Champion he is, Team Liquid will be very competitive, especially in this current climate.

Previous Breakdowns:

#4:Gravity Gaming

#5:Counter Logic Gaming

#6:Winterfox

#7:Team Impulse

#8:Dignitas

#9:Team Coast

#10:Team8