Team Liquid has finalized its 10-man roster for the upcoming League Championship Series (LCS), filling out the unorthodox roster by bringing on its entire challenger team as substitutes for the 2016 season.
The team has picked up former Counter Logic Gaming Black top laner Samson “Lourlo” Jackson, who will replace top laner Diego “Quas” Ruiz. In November, Ruiz was suspended by the organization for reasons that still have not been made public, after which he decided to retire from the game.
In addition, the team is adding its Challenger squad Team Liquid Academy—top laner Derek “zig” Shao, Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett, Jung “Youngbin” Young-bin, Jovani “fabbbyyy” Guillen, and Matthew “Matt” Elento—as substitutes.
“The ultimate goal with the 10-man roster is to become the most successful League of Legends organization that we can,” Team Liquid assistant coach Mark “MarkZ” Zimmerman told the Daily Dot. “They will be entrenched in a professional setting where they are pushed internally by management and their peers. Competitively, LCS players know there are hungry players behind them (while having the security that they have another chance) and the Challenger players know they have opportunities ahead of them.”
That philosophy even expands to Team Liquid Academy’s living arrangements and practice regime. For several months, the squad has lived in the same complex as the main team. That training environment seems have paid off: The team is one of the final four remaining in qualification for the North American Challenger Series.
“We’ve already seen some of the benefits with TLA becoming one of the top challenger (and perhaps overall) teams in NA,” Zimmerman said. “There will, as always, be a learning curve as we implement this system and we are working with Riot as best we can to reach the maximum potential that this system can provide.”
Team Liquid is the first team in the North American LCS to actively use a 10-man roster. Other squads—such as Counter Logic Gaming, Team SoloMid, and now Cloud9—have put six-man rosters to use recently. But no team has ever kept active substitutes for every role.
The unorthodox move comes ahead of what should be one of the most competitive splits ever in the NA LCS. Teams like Team SoloMid, Cloud9, NRG Esports, and Immortals have dug deep into their pockets to field incredibly talented rosters.
Photo via Riot Games/Flickr