TL Impact made no excuses after losing to Top Esports at MSI 2024: “They’re just smarter”

Carver Fisher

I sat with Team Liquid’s veteran top laner Impact immediately after their crushing 0-3 loss to Top Esports at MSI 2024, and he didn’t mince words or make excuses. At the end of the day, he felt like the better team won.

With FlyQuest’s record-breakingly bad showing in the Play-Ins stage knocking them out of the tournament, North America’s hope at MSI this year rests solely on the shoulders of Team Liquid. And, if we’re going by the results from their first set at MSI 2024, those hopes aren’t looking too good.

Team Liquid didn’t just lose, they got dominated. Though Game 1 was pretty close up until Top Esports wrestled control of the game away, Games 2 and 3 were a one-sided affair. There weren’t many points in the series where it looked like they had a shot at winning.

And, unfortunately, Impact agreed. He lamented his performance as he walked me through what went wrong against Top Esports.

Impact blamed himself for many of Team Liquid’s faults

Impact has been around as a pro player for a long time, and a lot of the reason he’s still relevant to this day is because of his thought process. Having interviewed him myself several times at this point, I’ve noticed he has a way of sorting through his thoughts by saying them aloud. Any question about an aspect of the game launches him back into the moment as he remembers every small detail of what happened.

This thought process of his can be a heartbreaking one to bear witness to as he beats himself up relentlessly over the smallest mistakes in a loss. His frustrations after the set gave way to him ultimately blaming himself whenever he could justify it in almost any situation I asked him about.

For instance, he had a lot of thoughts about the way Game 2 started. This match would be one that saw him dying over and over again as Rumble, an uncharacteristically bad performance from the best top laner in the LCS. And he feels as if that came off of one miscommunication with UmTi.

“Xin Zhao came top through red first cause Rek’Sai was doing raptors, so I called that he’s getting f***ed actually after lvl 2 trade, [369] actually got fisted I think, he got hit by my E 3 times so like he needed to get help. So I expected Rek’Sai was gonna come because we could see Xin Zhao at the raptors. If the Xin Zhao doesn’t come, 369 will keep getting f***ed, Xin Zhao must be here coming soon. But I didn’t call in the original call, ‘Come fast so we can kill him’, I didn’t make this call. I just said what the situation was.” He regretted this and claimed it was his mistake.

“I think UmTi decided to come after raptors because he can match the Xin Zhao, thought coming up and killing him was better. So I thought that was my bad, I should have called for him to come faster cause [369] would have died. Then his lane would be really bad, then they need to use resources to fix the situation, then [UmTi] can do whatever he wants. I thought that was my bad. Also, I think he’s partially to blame, too, that UmTi doesn’t see the situation. Or, he said he saw the situation, but I still think… if he doesn’t want to gank, he should full clear. If he does want to gank, just drop the raptors and come. So, I just give feedback like that. Next time, I hope… – Ah, but that was a really good chance! (laughs)” Impact was clearly conflicted as he spoke over himself, but he ultimately laughed it off. “It’s fine, actually.”


“It’s my bad actually after that death. I knew Xin Zhao was gonna come topside again to try and kill me. UmTi was basing, and I think that’s my bad. I should cancel his base and tell him to come up, it’s too obvious that he and this guy are looking to gank first and then clear jungle. I think that whole situation was my bad, that whole thing. I didn’t call strongly. My TP play, this too was bad.”

Impact also felt as if they could have responded a lot better to the lane swaps, and thought Team Liquid should have tried to be more proactive rather than just reacting to the swaps.

“I think we should try matching, try invading, try more active play in the early game,” he explained.

It was hard for Team Liquid to find advantages, and the windows they did find weren’t used well according to Impact.

The never-ending path to self improvement

When asked about what he thought went wrong against Top Esports overall, Impact felt as if Top Esports was just the better team overall on the day. Additionally, Team Liquid’s growing pains with adapting to the laneswap meta got to them.

“I think we are not better than them as a team,” he admitted. “For example, they’d force a fight, flip a Herald situation or something, but we would get confused. If we got confused for 5 or 10 seconds, they get something more. We have to rush in these situations, and I think that’s why we’re falling behind. I think they’re also better set up to laneswap. We get something, but we don’t use our advantage,” Impact explained.

“Just in general, we try to focus on teamfighting. But they’re individually better players when it comes to mindgames. Not in any single thing, they’re just smarter in how they play.”

However, this thought process is part of him trying to better himself as a player after what happened last year with FlyQuest.

Impact was willing to speak about his learnings from their disastrous 2023 run, and they provided an illuminating perspective into why he’s being so hard on himself this year.

“Personally… I’m trying to focus on myself more. I’m always like that, but… In [2024], I wanted to be a better person to my teammates. I try to be more nice with feedback. If you’re aggressive and you flame, then they normally don’t take that feedback. If you decide to be aggressive, they’re going to bounce back with aggression too, you know? So I’m trying to fix this kind of thing, I think that was a problem last year for me. I’m trying to be a better person and focus more on my game.”


Though the result in their first MSI match wasn’t what they were hoping for, any footage of Team Liquid shows just how tightly knit this team is. Impact’s approach may be the right one, and there’s hope that this team can work further on improving the way they play together without running into the issue FlyQuest seems to have run into with tensions rising internally. This may be a roster worth investing in for international success, even if they aren’t quite where they want to be now.

That said, Team Liquid are still in the running at MSI 2024, with them having a chance to make a lower bracket run. However, they’re going to have a lot to work on if they’re hoping to take down some of the top teams at this event.