Worlds 2020 Play-In Team Preview: Breaking Down Team Liquid

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

We look at Team Liquid, their path to Worlds 2020, and how they might fare in the play-in stage.

With Worlds 2020 beckoning and League of Legends fans eagerly anticipating the start of the tournament, it’s time to preview the teams heading to the all-important play-in stage. Today, we’ll be breaking down a contender from the LCS, Team Liquid.

After qualifying as North America’s first seed in 2019, TL have struggled to recapture their former glory and enter the 2020 tournament as the LCS’ third seed. Now, they face an uphill climb towards international success starting from the play-in stage of the 2020 World Championship.

The Season

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Living up to the expectations set by four consecutive LCS titles was always going to be a difficult task for Team Liquid in 2020. Although, few expected Season 10 to start as poorly as it did for the former North American champions.

A ninth-place Spring Split regular season finish prompted big changes for the Team Liquid backroom staff with former Riot Games analyst Joshua “Jatt” Leesman stepping in as new head coach tasked with guiding the team back to success. Edward “Tactical” Ra was also handed a position on the starting roster with veteran AD carry Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng moving back to rivals Team SoloMid.

Eyebrows were raised at first but these changes turned out to be incredibly rewarding for Team Liquid as they went on to finish 1st in the Summer Split regular season. From there, they were clear favorites to lift the LCS trophy for the fifth time in their history and convincingly took down Golden Guardians to secure a top three finish.

Nevertheless, the playoffs ultimately ended in disappointment for TL as they were undone by both FlyQuest and TSM over two five-game series, putting an end to their chances of being crowned LCS champions. This also confirmed Liquid’s place as North America’s third seed heading into Worlds 2020 meaning they will have to qualify for the main event via the play-in stage.

The Roster

Top Lane – Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong

Team Liquid have two former world champions on their roster, the first of which being top laner Impact. The South Korean has participated in the World Championship on five occasions including a triumphant run with SK Telecom T1 in 2013 alongside bengi, Faker, and Piglet.

During the Summer Split, Impact boasted the most solo kills of any top laner in the LCS (7) and could be consistently relied on for teamfight utility and damage. Despite preferring tank picks like Ornn and Shen, the top laner has also showcased proficiency on carry picks throughout the season, such as Aatrox and Renekton.

Jungle – Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen

The Danish mid-jungle duo of Broxah and Jensen have been a huge component of Team Liquid’s success during the back end of the 2020 season.

Combining aggressive, early game junglers with roaming mid laners has been the secret to TL’s success in the Summer Split with Broxah possessing the highest KDA (7.8) of any jungler in the LCS regular season.

It’s clear that TL are underdogs heading into the World Championship, a position that Broxah has found himself in before with Fnatic. The European outfit’s remarkable run to the 2018 Worlds final was largely due to their jungler’s early map control and lane presence and the experience could prove invaluable for TL heading into this year’s tournament.

Mid – Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen

Jensen is Team Liquid’s biggest carry and arguably their most important player. The mid laner executed 8 solo kills during the Summer Split regular season, the most of any player in the LCS, and spread these advantages across the map to get his team ahead.

With an incredibly deep champion pool and unmatched mid lane dueling, Team Liquid will be hoping to lean on Jensen to inch out advantages in the early game and propel them through the play-in stage.

ADC – Edward “Tactical” Ra

Rarely do you see a player make his LCS debut and Worlds debut within three months. Tactical has made light work of replacing North America’s best ever ADC and has gone from strength to strength since his introduction to the team earlier in the year.

It is often the case that debutants are carried through their opening split by more experienced players but that couldn’t be further from the truth in Tactical’s case. During the Summer Split, TL’s new marksman showcased an expansive champion pool, incredible CS per minute (9.9) stats, and the highest damage share (31.7%) amongst players in his role.

Support – Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in

Team Liquid’s second former world champion is CoreJJ who lifted the Worlds trophy in 2017 with Samsung Galaxy and was also a runner-up in the 2016 tournament. Since joining the Team Liquid roster, CoreJJ has revolutionized the support role in the LCS and his talent has been recognized with two LCS MVP awards.

With the experience of four World Championships behind him shotcalling for some of the best League of Legends teams across the globe, CoreJJ could be vital if Team Liquid wish to make a run in the tournament.

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90/50/10 Predictions

90% odds that…Team Liquid qualify for the main event through the play-ins. Fortunately for TL, four teams qualify for the World Championship group stage through play-ins and they will likely be one of them. Although, they may fail to finish 1st in their play-in group as they have been matched with the LEC’s MAD Lions.

50% odds that…Team Liquid beat MAD Lions over a best-of-one during the play-in group stage, securing early bragging rights over European fans for North America. Anything can happen in a best-of-one and taking down Europe’s fourth seed is by no means outside the realms of possibility.

10% odds that…Team Liquid break the hearts of North American fans and disappointingly fail to make it through the play-ins. If they finish outside of the top two after the round-robin, TL will be forced to play two best-of-fives in two days in order to keep their Worlds hopes alive.