Leading the LCS Spring Split after dominant victories, Team Liquid now has its full roster as Corejj makes his return to North America.
Team Liquid has had a great start to the year. The team won the LCS Lock In tournament and has had very successful start to LCS Spring Split. All of this without one of the key members of the squad as Corejj was not able to secure his green card and gain US residency. With Corejj’s return, Team Liquid now has one of the strongest bot lane duo in the LCS.
Esports.gg’s Devin “PiraTechnics” Younge was on site at the LCS and caught up with Steven “Hans sama” Liv after the team’s victory over Evil Geniuses. The 22-year-old botlaner spoke about playing with Corejj, the new LCS Champions queue and Renata Glasc.
Congratulations on your win. You finally got to play with CoreJJ for the first time since the Lock-in. How does it feel to have Team Liquid at full power?
Hans Sama: It feels so so nice. I think since CoreJJ came we’ve had really good practice. I feel like everyone was playing better, me included. Me and CorreJJ at the bot-lane. I thought that we could beat a lot of people in the entire world and I still think we can be a really good bot lane.
I also like how the day is going. The team has a good vibe during the scrims and then the Champions queue, it’s also a good vibe to try the Champions Queue. So during the day, I feel very happy to practice the game.
“Champions Queue is better than EU solo queue. That’s for sure”
Tell me a little bit more about Champions Queue. I know this is a new thing in North America, but as you are just coming into this region from many years in Europe. Have you seen a massive difference in the way people play in the two regions and is that changing because of the Champions queue?
Hans Sama: Champions Queue is better than EU solo queue. That’s for sure. The Champions queue is something that I’m so happy that it’s brought in. Usually I wouldn’t be able to play as many SoloQs after scrims because Soloq is an environment where you don’t really practice the thing that you practice in scrims. It’s not the same vibe. A lot of people are not taking it seriously. There’s a lot of ping, there’s a lot of weird things. It’s not the same game that you are playing in scrims.
But the Champions queue makes it very similar. People are talking. There’s low ping. The low ping is huge, Everything just feels smooth. I feel the quality of the games are very good to improve. I just like to go to Solo Q and build a habit. So when I enter the queue, no matter how many hours I put in, I don’t mind. I play scrims from 5-6 and from 6-1, I spam the Champions Queue. And this is something new to me, because I would not be able to spam solo q from 6pm to 1 am.
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Clearly, you are not the only person that is going to get something out of Champions Queue. Do you feel like this is going to elevate North America as a region? By the time Worlds rolls around, you should be more competitive, do you think?
Hans Sama: It’s elevating a few players that I know. Me included, we like it very much and we feel that it’s an improvement. So it’s clearly elevating the level of NA for sure.
You said you felt very confident in the team especially now with CoreJJ on the roster. Obviously it’s been a very good start for Team Liquid. How confidently do you feel that Team Liquid could be going for not only the title for this split, but also as a MSI representative. Do you feel that is well within reach or are there things you want to work on still with the team?
Hans Sama: I think we are working on a lot of things and still need to work on a lot of other things. I think we are improving quite fast, honestly. Every time we look through our play, I feel we are training to build a new habit for the next games. We are getting used to each other. CoreJJ just came this week to practice. Before he was practicing but it was not like him officially playing with us.
He has his green card. Also mentally you can’t be fully there if you are worried about something else. I was thinking, “What if I’m not able to play with Corejj in the future. Is this for the whole time?” And I had to swap between Eyla and Corejj which was a bit rough.
I feel really excited to see how far we can go. But as someone who doesn’t really like to be like ‘Internationally we can do super well…” I don’t want to put this weight on me. Maybe week by week. I really want to beat CLG tomorrow and then next week, beat an even stronger team than this week. [Team Liquid won )
This week we stepped up really well in practice and the game today. I think last week, we didn’t have that many great games. We won the games but the games that we were playing weren’t good with our vision that we wanted to play. I think it’s getting there. We are a very strong team.
“Corejj just knew how to win a game and it was really impressive” – Hans Sama
You won today in 28 minutes and obviously it seemed like the biggest difference with Corejj in the roster is that the decision-making is faster. Do you feel like that in the roster that there is a quicker click in how you are all making comms and making plays?
Hans Sama: Corejj was definitely carrying the calls today. It was really nice to hear him shot-calling. He just knew how to win a game and it was really impressive. When the game is slow, it feels a little bit harder for people to make very good calls to win it. It feels like it didn’t really affect him, he knew the way to play.
I feel like in scrims the games are faster. On stage, they went slower so things such as taking vision, engaging at the time feels slower. But Corejj just knew all these steps, so that was nice.
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Hans Sama on the meta and the new Champion
Speaking of steps, you had some nice stuttered step plays on Jinx today. This meta of course has shifted a lot more in favor of scaling hypercarries. I know you are famously a player who does like to dominate lanes with a couple of champions, most notably Draven.
Are you really enjoying the way the meta has shifted since 12.1 and the season started.
Hans Sama: I’ve always enjoyed every meta I feel like. There wasn’t a single meta where I went like ‘Oh no’. Always enjoyed practicing different champions for each meta. And I ended up being quite good at all these AD Carry champions. All the time, in a meta it’s 2-3 ADCs and I enjoyed most of them I would say.
I just enjoy every single one. I try to be the best in each meta. That’s the way I feel nice. I don’t want to be like “Ok I cant play Aphelios, Jinx, I want to play Draven, Kalista’ type of mind. I don’t really like that. I’m not like that.
I really like it when the game is changing, the items change. There is more damage output for AD carries. I really like the new opportunities that I can find. The game is always changing, so I like the current meta.
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Of course next week patch 12.4 will arrive and a week or two after that in theory we will get Renata Glasc enabled, a champion that a lot of people are calling really broken. Is this something you think we will actually get to see or do you think it’s a perma-ban like Zeri. What is your take on the new champion coming out?
Hans Sama: I think this new champion might have some games in the LCS. And if he does super-insane could be perma-ban. Like Zeri (Pira corrects Danny) Penta kill, and we didn’t see that champion again. We don’t see that champion in the Champions queue, we don’t see that champion anywhere.
You can only play the champion in normal games, which is what I’m trying to do because I won’t have a chance to practice the champion otherwise. In scrims, it’s perma-banned, everyone is just banning her.
But surprisingly in LCK, they don’t think the same. Zeri is like Open, I would say, which is surprising. Maybe they just maybe they just have a different read. Usually in the region, the teams are all copying themselves. Everyone is kind of doing the same stuff low-key; they are not completely different.