At the start of the season TL had a roster that on paper looked like they would dominate the NA LCS, but then they fizzled out – only managing to look strong when playing with their substitute KeithMcBrief. The team was stuck with a dilemma, #pickpiglet or #keepkeith. They looked much stronger with Keith but ultimately decided to go with Piglet, a choice that many thought would see them knocked out even before the playoffs. But this was the smart choice by Liquid, they had built this team for a reason, they knew they could be worlds-contenders with this line-up. In this article I am going to explain how successful teams need to be built properly and why a player’s play-style and team dynamic really do matter.
SKT T1 K
This roster of Impact, Bengi, Faker, Piglet and Poohmandhu was one of the most dominant LoL teams in history with winning the Season 3 World Championships and 2 seasons of Champion Korea – even winning one without dropping a single game. Most people would just pin the success of this team of Faker, but without the rest of the SKT T1 K squad there to support him they would not have achieved the success that they had. A king needs his army. They needed the right balance of players and play styles in order to bring out the best in Faker. In the top lane they had Impact, he was a strong laner with veteran experience who could carry but was also the consistent rock that the team needed. Bengi was the perfect jungler for Faker, his excellent ward control and supportive style would help give Faker the environment he needed in order to play to his fullest. Piglet is also one of the biggest reasons why this team was a success, having a strong hyper carry adc drew pressure away from faker – if you dealt with faker, piglet would be there to destroy your entire team. The team was perfectly rounded out with poohmandhu providing the brains and strategic skills needed. This team had everything; they could play the map perfectly and also be monsters at teamfighting. This team was built perfectly. They played perfectly.
Season 4 Worlds Starhorn Royal Club
This is a team that many people underrated at the season 4 world championships, even though they managed to reach the grand finals. Many people believe that it was just a fluke, how could a team that had to communicate with pings be worthy of 2nd place at worlds? Well a team with two monsters can – those monsters being Insec and Uzi. I think every team except maybe Samsung White would of been shaking in their boots when they were in champion select and saw those two names. The raw-aggressive style that these two combined to create was really scary, either a rengar would just appear to rip your face off or uzi would just kill your whole team, pick one. This style of play was further pushed forward by Zero’s strong lane pressure style. The team was then rounded out with strong players in Corn and Cola. The reason I brought up SHRC is because I think it shows that the play-style of the players when creating a team is really important. If they had a more passive adc or jungle then SHRC just would not of worked. SHRC was really strong and in my opinion and it all came down two putting two mechanical monsters in one team.
Now after exploring other teams we are back at Team Liquid. TL are different from SKT T1 K or SHRC, they are an example of time and the right meta. Potential to be exact. We all agree that Liquid looked really strong on paper but they just couldn’t do it for some reason. Even with their bad record with piglet and great record with keith they continued to #pickpiglet. Finally when a new patched rolled in all their hardwork and devotion with sticking to piglet finally came to fruition. TL with piglet actually have a really strong team dynamic: They have a toplaner who can play anything and carry, A really smart jungler, a mechanically skilled midlaner, a world championship adc and a really strong support. At the start of the season they had just not gelled together, but now they have. Against CLG they successfully pulled off a protect the adc composition, one which they had trouble running during the season. They can let piglet carry with support from Dominate and Xpecial while Quas and FeniX put even more pressure onto their opponents. The rise of tank junglers and overall tank meta really helped TL in their play-style. Dominate can now support Piglet and push him up to greater heights whilst bringing teamfight CC and nice map plays with Sejauni. This kind of play is what TL had in mind when they created this lineup. The Liquid team that showed up against CLG play smartly while putting on high pressure at the same time. The Team Liquid we see now is the team that they always knew they could be. TL is a prime example of a strong team being built and it just needing time to come together.
(photos from lol.gamepedia)