Lucas ‘Santorin’ Larsen proved his doubters wrong in 2020, finishing the year with his best LCS finish since his time on TSM in 2015 and making it back to Worlds. Now with Liquid in 2021, he’s got his best chance yet to lift the Summoner’s Cup.
Santorin’s journey through the LCS has been a rollercoaster. From the highs of TSM in 2015, through the perilous lows of grinding Challenger Series for years fruitlessly.
Things are on the up in 2021 though. He made it to Worlds in 2020, and has moved onto bigger things with Liquid. The jungler looks in his element on the veteran squad, finding a pip in his step that he didn’t have when aligned with similar players on TSM five years ago.
Santorin: “This is the best [team] I’ve ever been on”
On paper, that statement makes sense. Liquid were NA’s best team at Worlds 2020, and made arguably two upgrades in the off-season. Their bot lane of Edward ‘Tactical’ Ra and Jo ‘CoreJJ’ Yong-in is still the best in NA, and Nicolaj ‘Jensen’ Jensen is up there in mid.
But Santorin believes it’s more than just that. It’s because he’s grown as a player — through both success and adversity. He’s matured enough to really capitalize on the opportunity, and through not being the weak link, has the chance to make this team his own.
- Read More: Josedeodo aiming high with FlyQuest in 2021
“The reason that I’m saying it is because when I was on TSM, back in 2015, I think that roster was pretty damn good, but I didn’t feel like I was ready to be a part of that roster. I put myself as one of the issues with that roster. Now I feel like I’m actually ready to be on that roster, and I’d say for sure this is the best one I’ve ever been on,” he said.
“We can play to any lane, and everyone has a really good sense of macro and how to play teamfights. For me as a jungler, I have really strong laners right now, and they almost always win their laning phases, so it makes life so easy on top of having good teamfighting, so I just feel like we’re a really well-rounded team right now.”
From TSM, to Challengers Series, and back up
Two years ago, it’d be easy to look back at Santorin’s time on TSM back in 2015 and claim he peaked then. After all, he went straight into the Challenger Series afterwards, and struggled to climb out. Luckily, FlyQuest took a chance on him, and he’s proven he’s not done yet.
“It was my home. It was the first team I’d been on for so long. I felt really comfortable, I enjoyed playing on FlyQuest, I loved my roster,” he said.
“Even though I felt comfortable on FlyQuest, I feel like I can become even more comfortable on Liquid eventually. Obviously you have to adapt to different players, different organization, but when I look at Liquid as an organization, it’s been amazing.”
There was a point where he thought he’d never make it back to the LCS. Now, he’s fresh off his second Worlds campaign, and looking to make that a third in 2021.
“I was basically losing in Challenger Series, I couldn’t even promote to the LCS on some of the teams. I think for me, from 2015 onwards, I was just looking to get back into the LCS and then prove myself and go from there.
“I had an interview at some point where I think it was Top 4 we hit and I basically cried because I was so happy — that’s not even close to getting to Worlds, but it shows where I came from.”
Redemption for himself, and NA, at Worlds 2021
Liquid is primed to not only take home another LCS title but perhaps field the strongest roster in NA’s history at Worlds. There’s some hurdles between now and then though — it only takes a look at Cloud9 in 2020 to see how the house of cards can tumble down.
“I’d say we’re the strongest team, but I do think Cloud9 is really strong as well, and 100 Thieves. Us three are the big titans right now, and all the other teams are one or two levels below us. I do see 100 Thieves or C9 being able to easily take games off us, just like how we can take games off them, so they’re really competitive matchups.”
If Santorin can’t make it at Worlds with this roster, it will likely mark the end of his path to the Summoner’s Cup. However, there’s always that little bit of hope that’ll never die.
“I think this iteration, if we don’t make it further than Groups, I don’t think I’ll find a roster where we will. I feel really confident in the four guys I’m playing with and my coaching staff that this will be the best chance I’ll ever have. I’m looking forward to doing everything I can to make it happen this time around, because this is the final push for me,” he stated.
I pushed Santorin to think about what Worlds skin he’d get if he managed to get that far. He almost laughed it off.
“I’ve never even thought about it, because I haven’t seen it as a possibility for so many years,” he said.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of Lee Sin, and he has so many skins already, so maybe that’s not the route to go with. If I actually made it and won the thing, I’d pick one of the champions I was playing there.
“Maybe even do Trundle, because I really love Trundle and I’ve been a big fan of him — so maybe Trundle will be the cool one for me.”
Liquid next play against TSM in LCS Spring 2021 Week 2 on February 13.