On the latest episode of Dexerto’s The Jungle, Team Liquid CEO Steve Arhancet sat down with hosts Christopher ‘MonteCristo’ Mykkles, Daniel ‘DGon’ Gonzales, and Christian ‘IWDominate’ Rivera, to talk Team Liquid’s championship strategy and how the team’s scrims set them apart from the competition in the LCS.
Team Liquid’s offseason rebrand was one of the most exciting in the LCS. After a disappointing 2021, the org went big on their offseason signings, picking up talent from both EU and NA in the hopes of rebuilding to their five-time LCS champion glory days.
And so far, those investments have paid off. Team Liquid won the LCS Lock In and finished first place in the regular season of the Spring split. But CEO Steve told The Jungle that he’s looking for more than just domestic success.
“One can be scared of high expectations, but I think it comes with the territory of trying to win. We’re going to build competitive rosters in the games we participate in, and this was a year that we had very high expectations. We shouldn’t have our best international performance being at MSI, we need to do well at Worlds, and this year hopefully we’ll do it.”
The TL mentality
It’s all well and good to say your team is hungry for international success – but if you don’t have the mentality to back it up, that hunger may as well be meaningless. And according to Steve, the mindset and drive of Team Liquid’s current roster is unlike anything he’s ever seen. Especially when it comes to scrims.
“I’m not just saying this, but you’ll listen to scrims and it feels like they’re playing on stage. Everyone is super tryhard, they’re communicating, nobody’s checked out. Everybody is fully f*cking present during scrims and I have never seen that before.”
“Usually you have four out of the five or two out of the five or something that’s holding you back from having effective scrims. But when these guys are done with scrims, they’re not just tired, they’re like ‘oh, my gosh, I just put everything into that last block.'”
Guys have arrived. pic.twitter.com/8eXIUnJKRG
— Steve Arhancet (@LiQuiD112) April 16, 2022
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He also talked about the team’s respect for each other, a respect that’s facilitated by head coach André ‘Guilhoto’ Pereira Guilhoto.
“What’s different about this roster is that the guys get into a room and they have a conversation, they have differences of opinion, and they come out the other side respecting each other. They’re able to communicate, and nobody’s losing that will to win – there’s no issues.”
One last shot
Focus is everything when it comes to valuable practice, and it sounds like that is something Team Liquid have in spades. But they’re not quite locked in to an LCS title just yet. A nail-biting reverse sweep by 100 Thieves has catapulted them into the lower bracket of the LCS Spring playoffs, and they’ll only have one more shot at redemption before their hopes of another domestic title are crushed.
WHAT A FINISH!
Absolutely incredible series & 100T deserves SOOO much credit for being able to bounce back after a brutal 2 first games.
100T simply adapted better than TL in draft & in series!
GG see you in finals! #LCS
— Isaac CB (@AzaelOfficial) April 17, 2022
However, Steve mainly attributed the loss against 100 Thieves to issues in the pick and ban phase, something which IWDominate was quick to echo. “It feels like a lot of teams are drafting in ways where they’re not maximizing what could screw over another team in draft. I’m really a fan of just banning teams out from the outset.”
Team Liquid will need a quick turnaround on their drafting strategy if they want to fulfill Steve’s dreams of a domestic title. They’ll face off against Evil Geniuses at Houston’s NRG Arena on April 23 for a spot in the LCS finals.