Spawn talks T1, Yeon, lane swaps, and more as Team Liquid exits MSI 2024.

Team Liquid's head Coach Jake "Spawn" Tiberi took the time after a 3-1 loss to T1 at MSI 2024 to talk about the series, his roster, and what comes next for the LCS champions.

North American's League Champion Series (LCS) Champions Team Liquid fell in a brutal 3-1 series to South Korea's League of Legends Champions Korea number two seed T1. Despite one very close game and a nail-biting win, it wasn't enough to keep NA in the running. Spawn talked with esports.gg after the match about the bitter disappointment of the loss, his effusive pride in AD carry Sean "Yeon" Sung, and where Team Liquid will go from here.

Esports.gg: How are you and the team feeling coming off of your series against T1 today?

Jake "Spawn" Tiberi: "Obviously disappointed. We felt like were right there with them today. We feel like game one they got the better of us, especially with how they attacked mid lane in the lane swaps. Game two and three, we feel like we should have won game two and we did win game three. Game four we had a really solid early game and a significant lead in jungle. I think that’s a game that if we play it 10 times, we convert more than half of them. So, you know, it’s a disappointing result to go down like that but I’m very proud of the team that showed up today and to be the head coach of those five players that went out there and gave it their all."

Touching on the heavy lane swap focus we saw in this series, how do you think the lane swap meta is evolving as the tournament goes on, and how do unique picks like Samira, Rek'Sai, G2's Ivern, etc, fit into this meta?

"The meta every tournament continues to evolve, and I think that the lane swap meta is very unique because it means if you index too hard into early laning phase that you can get punished quite heavily. I think that picks like Ivern, Rek’Sai, Samira, Ziggs, and Lillia all have a really interesting place in the meta right now, and all have unique strengths that, if you capitalize on them well, they just do things that no other champion in the game can do. So, I really enjoy coaching a diverse meta like this. I will say lane swaps aren’t my favorite thing in the world. But, at the end of the day, we try to make them as entertaining as possible and use them to our advantage."

Speaking of the Samira pick in game two, whose idea was it to pick Samira, and how early were you guys eyeing her to be picked?

"I’ll be honest, I wasn’t eyeing Samira at all, Yeon was. I was eyeing Kai’Sa, but I think that what happened was honestly the draft went pretty uniquely where they take both Kalista and Varus away. And then we know that they were going to target Vayne top, so we wanted an AD carry that would rip through their squishies and had good mobility.

"I think we had a really good read on their draft. I think Yeon is a fantastic Samira player. To be completely honest, it’s not something that we’ve used lately because it’s not a great meta for it. But when the draft goes like that it can be really, really effective. Credit to him, he called the shot, I said ‘if you’re confident to play this to the highest level, I’ll give it to you. He said, ‘yup, give it to me’, and he looked like an absolute machine out there today."

(Image via Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
(Image via Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

Touching on Yeon's performance this series, you've worked with Yeon for a long time. How does it feel, as a coach, to work with somebody from Amateur to LCS, LCS to the international stage and watch them pull out a crazy pocket pick to go toe-to-toe with one of the best bottom lanes in the world?

"I love working with Yeon. This is a guy I scouted in Scouting Grounds when Riot held it in North America the first year I was a Team Liquid coach. As long as I’ve been at Team Liquid, Yeon has been at Team Liquid. He’s a player that I have 110% confidence in. He is an incredibly hard worker, he’s a great person, which is very important to me. I think we have a great relationship. He’s like my little brother, so it fills me with immense pride, honestly, to be able to watch a player grow and push himself to become world-class. It’s amazing to watch, to be honest. I can’t really say anything more, I’m just so happy for him." 

It's clear that you guys feel that you should have won Game 2. APA said on the broadcast that if everybody played 2% better, you take that game home. How do you help reset the team after a game that close, to rally back for a win?

"You just show them all the good things they’re doing, to be honest. You ask them to build on that. I think we had so many amazing plays in that game and if we just, as [APA] said, clean it up a little bit, or played a little bit better, then we would have gotten the win, and they would have been really on the back foot. So, yeah, there’s not much to it with coaching. When things are going right and you can point to the things that are going right, and say ‘if we just play a little bit better’, that’s easy. When everything goes wrong, and there’s very little positives to look at, as a coach it gets pretty hard. That one was easy to remind the guys that we’re a good team and that [T1] needs to fear us as well when we go out there." 

What are you expectations for the upcoming matches between BLG/GEN.G and T1/G2?

"I really like all of the teams left. They’re very exciting to watch play, I think they all play great brands of League of Legends. I think Gen.G right now is probably the best team in the world, if I was going to pick a team. And then I think the most explosive, or wild, team in the world is actually G2. So I hope we get to see them play a final against each other because it would be very, very fun as a spectator.  I hope every series goes to five, so I can sit there as a coach and take as many notes as I can to make my team better."

Looking ahead to the LCS Summer Split, it's clear the team is hungry to get back and try to make it to Worlds to make that big splash that APA was talking about. What are you looking forwards to when it comes to Summer Split?

"Our goal is to build a dynasty. We want to make sure that we win as many titles as we can, and if we don’t win we need to go international to make sure that we’re pushing ourselves to get better. I think that the guys are hungry. As APA] said, winning the first one, if anything, it made us more motivated. You know, that taste, to be able to get there. Our goal is to make sure that we keep each other accountable, that we carry that chip on our shoulder.

"We’re from NA, people doubt us. Okay, good. That’s motivation, that’s ammunition. Let’s make sure that we continue to build as a unit, and continue that sustained success that is integral. You know, I think that’s why teams like T1, Gen.G, G2, all show that they steadily improve. Because they sit at the top for so long, and when you’re at the top, you just get better with experiences and that’s what we really want to do. T1 had more experience than us today, but we feel like we can get it in the future, if we just maintain our hunger, and our goal of being the best NA team ever."

MSI 2024 continues tomorrow, with a series between LPL champions BLG and LCK champions Gen.G.

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