Meet the Teams of the North American Challenger Series: Team Liquid Academy
Team Liquid Academy (TLA)
AD Carry: fabbbyyy
Team Liquid Academy recently beat Team Frostbite in the NACS Spring qualifier to join five other teams to fight for a chance to join the NA LCS for the 2016 Summer Split. However, some of these players might see play on the LCS stage before then. Team Liquid, the sister team who is currently in the NA LCS, announced that they would be fielding a full 10-man roster, one starter and one substitute for each position. TLA's roster makes up the substitutes for every position. The main squad has been practicing with a mix of players from TL and TLA, so should any TLA players get the opportunity to play on the big stage, they won't be completely in the dark.
Until then, the TLA players will have the challenger series as their stage. But if you've been following TLA through their journey in the NACS Open Qualifier, thenyou know that they likely won't been in the challenger scene for much longer. TLA went on a complete warpath through the bracket stage. They played four best of three matches and didn't drop a single game, and they were the only team to do so. Among the teams they beat were DatZit Gaming Fire, Flytlez, and Also Known As, a team that started former NME top laner Flarez and former H2k jungler loulex, who went to Worlds 2015 in Europe. Most shockingly was their defeat of returning challenger series team CLG Black in the round of 16, featuring players such as former NME mid laner Innox, former Copenhagen Wolves support Unlimited, and current Echo Fox AD Carry KIETHMCBRIEF.
And they didn't stop there. In the main qualifier, TLA handily defeated Team Frostbite in a three game sweep in their best of five series. Team Frostbite made the mistake of letting TLA get the exact same team composition in game 2 that they had in game 1, while Team Frostbite themselves also drafted the exact same composition. Team Frostbite finally showed some adaptation in game 3, banning away zig's Shen and picking away Dardoch's Rek'Sai and Matt's Morgana, but at that point it was too late.
Game 1 was won mainly by Youngbin's Viktor, with fabbbyyy carrying his weight with a strong showing on Miss Fortune. The rest of TLA's team composition allowed for hard CC to set up the massive AoE damage of their carries, namely the improved Miss Fortune ultimate. Every player on TLA but Youngbin racked up assists in the double digits, showing their strong teamfighting power.
The next game in the series can be best described as "second verse, same as the first," except that the heavy lifting was done by Dardoch on Rek'Sai and zig on Shen. The team composition played the exact same as the first game because of Team Frostbite's inability to adapt. This game did contain a notable first: Dardoch scored the first pentakill of the official 2016 competitive season on Rek'Sai.
Team Frostbite decided to change their strategy going into game 3. They banned Shen and picked Rek'Sai and Morgana for themselves, leaving TLA with having to choose a new top lane, jungle, and support champion. However, they were still left with plenty of options. With Malphite in the top lane and Thresh in support, TLA still got to play their wombo-combo style, and the Malphite pickup was arguably better suited for their composition over Shen.
TLA is looking like a top contender for the Summer Split promotion, with results to back it up. Even if the team doesn't make it, some of their players have a solid future ahead of them. Dardoch is quite possibly one of the best NA junglers active right now, and in a time where NA talent is needed, he's sure to have a team in the future. Support Matt has shown why his original name was Mattlife. In their series versus Frostbite, his Dark Bindings and Death Sentences were crucial to their success.
If you want to learn more about the team, check out their website at www.teamliquidpro.com, and if you want to chat with me, the author, about the article, you can find me on Twitter at @FrigidVengence.