Team Liquid’s LCS off-season has been plagued by visa issues for new junglers Mads ‘Broxah’ Brock-Pedersen from Fnatic and Australian Shern “Shernfire” Tai, but days out from the opening weekend, they might have found the solution.
Team Liquid have been gearing up for a resurgence in 2020 after a disappointing finish at Worlds 2019. While the MSI finalists were expected to climb out of groups at the season-ender, they squandered their chance and fell short to DAMWON Gaming and Invictus Gaming.
To rejuvenate their LCS roster, they brought in Fnatic’s star jungler Broxah, who managed a Worlds finals appearance in 2018 and a top eight placing in 2019, losing to eventual winners FunPlus Phoenix.
They also took advantage of the new LCS Academy ruling, recruiting former Dire Wolves jungler and two-time Worlds play-in attendee Shern “Shernfire” Tai to bolster their back-up squad.
While Shernfire hasn’t played professionally in over a year, he is renowned as one of Oceania's most mechanically gifted players.
The LCS veterans hit a stumbling block with visa issues plaguing the import of both players, leaving the team scrounging for solutions weeks out from the January 25 opening weekend.
So this sucks, there are delays processing visas for Cain, Broxah and Shernfire. We hope they all may be able to compete at the start of season, but that may not happen. This has also affected our Jan team practice. We are evaluating backup options should they be required. 😢
— Steve Arhancet (@LiQuiD112) January 2, 2020
Initial reports suggested that coach and former mid laner Eugene ‘Pobelter’ Park was gearing up to start for the team, but with Shernfire finally cleared to play, the four-time LCS champions could be changing direction.
Team Liquid has hinted at Shernfire playing on stage against Cloud9 and Team SoloMid in week one after the jungler announced that he received his visa on January 19.
Mr.Trump and I have hashed things out I’ll be seeing you guys soon
— Shern (@shernfire) January 20, 2020
A photo posted on the team’s account on January 21 seems to confirm that Shernfire will be allowed to start for Team Liquid’s main roster. He has been scrimming with the main team since arriving in Los Angeles, and is listed as eligible on the Riot Global Contract Database.
While Team Liquid has said previously that Pobelter will start if Broxah’s visa isn’t cleared, with their academy jungler in town, Shernfire could be receiving an early call-up.
— Team Liquid LoL (@TeamLiquidLoL) January 22, 2020
He hasn’t played in a professional league since 2018, when he won his fourth OPL title in a row with the Dire Wolves. However, he has kept his fingers fresh, playing with NA amateur team Super Nova throughout 2019, and shining enough to earn a spot on Team Liquid’s Academy.
Team Liquid will take to the stage for LCS’ Opening Weekend on January 25, playing Cloud9 in the first game of the season. They will round out the week’s action with a game against Team SoloMid on January 27.