Team Liquid’s press conference managed to clarify the reasons behind the recent League of Legends roster changes, and dropped a new bomb.
On June 5th, we enjoyed Team Liquid vs TSM as the opening game of week 1 of the LCS Summer 2021 split. Both teams played tremendously, TSM taking the win against their rivals. However, what instantly took the spotlight away was a surprise roster change by Team Liquid a few hours after the final match of the night ended.
Joshua "Jatt" Leesman, Head Coach of Team Liquid's League of Legends and former caster/analyst, announced Thomas "Jenkins" Tran will play in top lane. As a result, Barney "Alphari" Morris will be benched. The reason behind labelling this a surprise is due to Alphari's outstanding Spring split. The imported top laner topped the KDA charts of his role, contributing 63 kills to his team.
Steve "LiQuiD112" Arhancet and Kang "Dodo" Jun-hyeok, the Co-CEO and Owner of TL and the LoL General Manager respectively, arranged a press conference to reveal and clarify a few points to the community. The first announcement was the effective and permanent departure of Jatt. Jonas "Kold" Andersen was promoted to step in as an Interim Coach for the moment.
He is already Team Liquid's Strategic Coach so he is familiar with the organization, its players, and the goals they want to achieve. Whether Team Liquid will put their faith into him till the end of the LCS Summer split is yet to be seen.
The second notable announcement during the press conference was Lucas "Santorin" Tao Kilmer taking a break from competitive League of Legends, at least for the upcoming week. The reason behind his step away from gaming is due to suffering from constant migraines and strong headaches. Understandably, this takes a toll on the player and his performance, affecting the time he can spend in front of the PC practicing or playing scrims.
There wasn't any timeline on when he will be back. However, Steve and Kang made sure to clarify Santorin's health comes above everything. This isn't the first time we saw Santorin take time off due to physical problems. The Danish jungler missed the Team Liquid vs TSM in the LCS Mid-Season Showdown before for the same reasons earlier in the year.
The final major note in the press conference was the continuation of Alphari's benching and Jenkins handling the top lane reigns till at least June 27th as mentioned earlier. During the press conference, we got the opportunity to ask LiQuiD112 and Dodo on the similarity between Alphari and Piglet from an earlier time in Team Liquid's League of Legends roster.
Question: The Alphari incident brings back memories of Piglet. Both in terms of character, ability, and even their situation to some extent. Do you think imports who usually have this strong characters are harder to handle?
LiQuiD112: I believe Team Liquid as an organization has worked with the most import players. Probably more than any other LCS team. There is an adoption period coming to NA and that takes time. I think the difference between Piglet and Barney is that Barney is currently going through something that I feel is major.
I don't know how anyone can go through that and be the teammate you are supposed and intended to be within the team. I think that works through its way to the situation that we are at now. I have empathy towards him and his situation for sure.
I admit mistake number 1 was not taking the decision to give him some time alone prior to the beginning of the season and not after the first game of the season. This brings us to mistake number 2 which is how the communication was handled after the game which escalated the issue for no reason. The interview Travis Gafford did with Jatt added a bit more fuel to the situation, and one thing lead to another.