NA LCS champions Team Liquid and LCK champions kt Rolster just wrapped up the first game of the 2018 League of Legends World Championship main event. If you’re a North American fan, at first glance, this sucks.
We’ve all been waiting for so long to see NA redeem itself at Worlds, and to see the region’s best team open the group stage with a loss is jarring. But Liquid actually did a lot of good things during this game. Despite the loss, they left a pretty solid first impression, and they looked a lot different than TSM did last year in any of their games. And hey, there’s nothing wrong with that, is there?
The most impressive part of the game for NA was the start, and here’s why. NA teams at Worlds, particularly which Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng’s old team, TSM, were infamous for sitting around and waiting. They didn’t push recklessly forward into deaths, but they didn’t make any plays, either. They just let the world’s best teams push them back to the wall.
The lack of proactivity was a symptom of a larger issue with confidence and team trust, and we’re happy to report that that’s the exact opposite of how Liquid kicked off their game today.
They pressed hard on kt Rolster’s bot lane, and Doublelift and his support, Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung picked up first blood over the legendary Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu and Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong. Kt Rolster eventually whittled Liquid down through setting vision traps around Liquid’s jungle and in the river, and Liquid fell into them one too many times.
Something like this can easily be fixed through practice and shaking off some jitters. Confidence and playing to your own comfortable style, however, is a much deeper problem. And for once, that isn’t a problem that NA’s best team showcased today.
As long as Liquid doesn’t tilt, and they carry that confidence through to teams much less frightening than kt Rolster, like EDG, there’s certainly hope for them after their first impression today.