Will Team Liquid work their way back to the top? Or will it be another disappointing year for the organization?
Stabilization is the key word when discussing Team Liquids' approach to the 2024 LCS season. TL is looking to build off the foundations it set in 2023 by retaining over half of the roster while bringing back a veteran who knows how the Team Liquid organization works. ESTNN dives into TL's offseason moves, analyzing their changes and how this roster should fare against the rest of the league.
Team Liquid Remains Faithful To Their Talent
Team Liquid has remained loyal to their two NACL graduates Sean “Yeon” Sung and Eain “APA” Stearns. Starting with APA, despite some distasteful jabs made by Park “Summit” Woo-tae, the North American Mid Laner has been rewarded with his first entire season in the LCS. This was a no-brainer for Team Liquid; APA was crucial in stabilizing the roster when they needed it most and helped TL secure a spot at the 2023 World Championship. While there were raw aspects to his game, APA, both at Worlds and in the LCS, showcased he is a player who is not afraid to make plays and get scrappy with the best players in the world, a trait LCS fans have been screaming out for for many years.
Now, moving on to Yeon, the 2023 LCS rookie of the year, the year was a solid one for Yeon. He was a player who excelled in lane, with TL's bottom lane being one of the strongest in lane. Yeon boasted the highest gold difference at ten minutes and the highest experience difference at ten minutes, according to Oracle's Elixir. Yeon needs to improve his team fighting skills if Team Liquid is to compete for a championship. This was on display at the World Championship. Team Liquid had a significant lead over the eventual World Champions in T1, but down the stretch, Yeon's positioning was a detriment to his team, and he couldn't put out any damage when his team needed him. This is where players such as Kim “Berserker” Min-cheol and Ian Victor “FBI” Huang have the advantage over Yeon, who both excel in late-game team fights.
The Captain, Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in, will play on Team Liquid for his fifth year with the organization. As mentioned earlier, CoreJJ is still one of the better supports in lane, with him and Yeon being one of the strongest bottom lanes in the league last year. CoreJJ remains a solid player for TL, having made the third team all-pro in the Summer Split and helped his side reach the 2023 World Championship.
Team Liquid Royalty Returns To The Top Lane
After Team Liquid's failed attempt with Summit, they have picked up Jeong “Impact” Eon-young, a player most teams should have been looking at coming into the offseason. Despite FlyQuest having an abysmal Summer Split, no one will overlook how good a player Impact is. Yes, he may not be the lane bully that Summit is, but he will do a much better job at setting his team up for success. This signing is a 10/10 for me. Impact will be able to help APA in the same fashion he was pivotal to Joseph Joon “jojopyun” Pyun's early success.
UmTi Joins Team Liquid
With the departure of 2022 World Champion Hong “Pyosik” Chang-hyeon, Team Liquid was hunting for a new Jungler. In comes Eom “UmTi” Seong-hyeon, an LCK veteran formerly of OK BRION. This is one of those moves that could either be a shrewd piece of business by Team Liquid or another “LCS boomerang,” as Travis Gafford likes to put it kindly. According to Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles, UmTi can communicate in English, making the embedding process more manageable for the rest of the team. Having Korean players such as Impact and CoreJJ and Korean-speaking coaching staff should help UmTi settle into a new region much better. The first step towards success for UmTi is to develop a strong relationship with APA. Given his poor performance at Worlds 2023, this aggressive player will need nurturing to ensure he does not ‘go into his shell.' And being the veteran in this duo, it is on UmTi to ensure APA is comfortable so he can perform at the highest level.
Team Liquid LCS 2024 Predictions
Team Liquid, in my opinion, is once again vying for one of the top spots in the LCS. I don't believe they have enough firepower to compete for a championship, but they should be a consistent squad fighting for third or fourth in the League, which should be enough to earn them a spot at Worlds once again. With TL failing to qualify for Worlds in 2022, one appearance in three years would not be a good look for an organization that was once the standard-setter in the LCS.
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