It’s been a tumultuous summer for Team Liquid.
Since the start of this past split, the League of Legends team has dealt with various behind-the-scenes issues that have required drastic solutions from the coaching staff and management, which has made many fans and analysts question the true ceiling of this roster as we approach the halfway point of the season.
Although the roster was already dealing with the absence of star top laner Alphari, week four saw the perennial LCS champions lose their starting jungler Santorin to ongoing headaches and migraines he’s been suffering from for a while. This was also Liquid’s first week without their original 2021 head coach, Jatt, after he decided to step down from his position with the organization.
With two Academy players subbing into the top side of the map and a new interim head coach, the future is uncertain for one of North America’s best teams. For someone like Liquid’s young, fiery AD carry Edward “Tactical” Ra, however, the well-being of his teammates comes front and center during a difficult situation like this—even though winning will always be a focus.
“My number one thing about everyone is making sure they’re fine,” Tactical told Dot Esports. “I think no matter what, I want to prioritize that someone’s health is good. So I really don’t want [Santorin] to feel bad at all for having to take time off or take a break because of migraines or what not. I just hope he feels better eventually even if it means [he’s] not able to play.”
The 20-year-old said he sends his teammates a ton of messages in their absence, while also keeping them up to date with everything that’s going on. In a similar vein, Jatt’s departure from the team’s coaching staff is a tough situation to deal with for the rookie, since he and Jatt had practically gotten their first true chances in the LCS at the same time.
Tactical said “it was apparent that [Jatt] was going through a pretty stressful time,” and that the former coach sat down one-on-one with all the Liquid players to talk to them and explain what his plans were for the future before he announced his decision to leave the team. The talented AD carry said Jatt felt like he needed to have personal talk with everybody because he cared for them.
“Jatt and I started on Team Liquid at basically the same time, [and with] him leaving, it kind of makes me sad,” Tactical said. “It feels like there’s something missing. It’s not like we completely left a hole, like we have Albert (H4xDefender) and Kold coming in as coach. That’s not completely being left out, but it definitely feels weird. Someone I’ve been basically seeing on a daily basis for a whole year, just kinda gone.”
When talking about Jatt’s impact on the team, Tactical said he was a nice person to be around, and that it was really fun to talk to him. He was enthusiastic about the game and great at keeping debates and conversations about the game flowing smoothly.
Now, looking ahead, the waters might not look as smooth as they once were for Liquid. Yet, the roster’s focus hasn’t changed for the end of the season, which is still a championship and berth at the 2021 World Championship. But during these next couple of weeks, the roster will be gathering together to continue playing their game and remaining steadfast on what is in front of them at that specific moment.
“In the short term, with a lot of stuff happening, I’m not even thinking that much about the bigger picture—I’m just trying to focus on the present,” He said. “I think what we’re all doing really well right now is that we’re just not really thinking about the future or the past. We’re just focused on the present and what’s going to happen. I think CoreJJ is helping to keep us in that mindset.”
It helps that Tactical has played with Jenkins and Armao before. But overall, everyone on the team is committed and motivated to play and win, no matter who is playing on the roster. “Nothing is bad or worse—just different,” He said.
There is still a ton of games left to get back into the swing of things and plenty of room to grow. The team also isn’t in a horrible position to start off the second half of the season, sitting tied for third place with a 19-11 record through the combined splits and a 7-5 record for the summer. If this current iteration can continue to pull positive records through the next few weekends, then hopefully, we’ll get to see the original roster together once more when the postseason rolls around.
Catch Liquid in action when the LCS returns on Friday, July 2, when they kick off the weekend against the surging 100 Thieves.
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