LCS fans in North America who have not followed the LEC will find a new face in Barney "Alphari" Morris, who replaced Jeong “Impact” Eon-young as Team Liquid’s top laner after stints with Misfits Gaming and Origen.
Despite Origen’s abysmal performance in the 2020 LEC Summer Split, Alphari himself was still above the pack, with the highest CSD (creep score difference) @10 minutes of any player in the LEC for Summer.
With Impact moving to Evil Geniuses, Team Liquid was looking for a strong top laner, and so far, it looks like they may have found it in Alphari. After Team Liquid’s first win against Counter Logic Gaming during LCS’s first ever Lock In tournament, we speak with the man himself.
First off, congratulations on the win. This is your first game here in North America, what was it like playing against an NA team? What are some of the differences between EU and NA as far as playing in pro?
Honestly, I don't know too well what the main differences are so far since I've only practiced for two days with the team. I don't really think that one game for Counter Logic Gaming means that I know exactly what to expect for NA so far.
I have impressions of CLG and I think that some of the bottom NA teams are going to look pretty strange, like this team. I think the draft was all over the place, and it made it a bit hard for them to play and I guess they didn't play great as well. I mean, the botlane got kind of murdered. So I don't know too well what to expect exactly from NA so far, but I'm just happy with the first win, to be honest.
You mentioned you haven't had a lot of time to acclimate to being here or even being with your new team. Did you have any expectations coming into this first game or were you going to be okay, no matter how you played or the outcome?
Of course I had pretty high expectations anyway, to be honest. I think, while our practice was definitely not optimal because of the circumstances and I am still really jet lagged, I know that everyone else on the team, they're pretty comfortable, they've been here scrimming for a while. I still felt and feel really confident despite these issues for myself.
I don't think they're massive. I think I can definitely overcome them and just play my game, and that's whatever top lane I play against, regardless of having not as much practice as I would like, or being jet lagged. I still think that I should be in a fine position, right? I'm still feeling very confident, very comfortable regardless, basically.
What was it about Team Liquid that compelled you to join their roster?
So the roster was definitely one big thing, and then also knowing that there’s a higher chance to win a split in NA than in Europe, just because G2 Esports exists, unfortunately. Going to Worlds is much more likely in NA because in EU, it always seems much harder to correctly value a roster, because there were always weird rookies just coming out of nowhere.
I'm replacing supposedly talented veterans, right? I guess you saw this a lot last year. It made me a bit more sceptical of some European rosters, whereas I know that this Team Liquid roster is going to be very solid. I knew that the org was super good, and I'm very happy with the org's effort so far and they've treated me super nicely.
And ultimately, my main goal is to compete internationally again. I think that this was just by far the safest chance, to be honest, [to] make it to Worlds, make it to MSI; whatever tournament I think we have a fairly high chance just to do so.
It's completely within our power. And it's just a matter of how much effort we put in and keeping each other disciplined and holding each other accountable. Then the sky's the limit.
How do you feel about meeting Luka "Perkz" Perković again in games coming up when you face Cloud9?
I'm pretty excited, to be honest. We've had a good few years playing against each other. Unfortunately, he's typically had the upper hand but I think that's going to change this year.
I'm looking forward to bringing down his ego a little bit. I think he's really good, but he also has some really very good teammates when he was in Europe. I think it's going to be a bit closer this time around when we face against each other. I think Cloud9 is still going to be probably the team to beat for us. So it should still be challenging and I'm looking forward to it for sure.
Team Liquid's LCS roster (Picture: Team Liquid)
Do you have any thoughts on the new LCS format with this Lock In tournament and changes to the splits? NA fans are seeing this format for the first time, and this is pretty different from the LEC.
Honestly, I don't really know what the format is. I know there are groups, but I don't understand the tournament, how it works. I'm not interested in that, to be honest. I just treat every game like it's an individual game, each as they come, I just play it.
I will say I do really like the change where it's three games a week instead of two. If it were up to me, it would just be a game day every day and no scrims. I love playing competitive games. It's such a unique feeling to win, and even to lose, it's a very crushing feeling, but it's the only time I get to sense it. So I really enjoy playing on stage and playing three games, instead of two. That's the change that I know about, and it's only one that I really cared about.
I want to talk about the Camille pick. You picked it blind, and then they picked Malphite. What was the mindset going into it? Did you not care whatever matchup they picked or did you know that this was just a strong pick and you wanted to pick it regardless?
It was definitely a solid pick, for sure. Good counter picks. Malphite this game was really not one of them, but he tried, I guess.
The problem with that draft - Malphite in isolation is not terrible, but they have Twisted Fate, so they need to snowball and make sideline plays. But we have a Samira which just blocks TF stuns, so they can't make plays bot.
They have the last pick counter pick the top lane with TF. So, they have to pick a carry and snowball top lane, otherwise they can't win the game just from draft. And then they picked Malphite. So it just didn't make any sense really.
I was just feeling really confident and picking a strong carry, and I knew that Camille was one of them. I think, no matter what champion I would play though, I'd feel very confident and I'm excited to show what else I can play as well.
Alphari Camille.— Froskurinn (@Froskurinn) January 16, 2021
God speed, CLG
I know that you mentioned that you don't really know too much of the teams that well, but you do face 100 Thieves and Golden Guardians on Sunday. Do you have any thoughts regarding these match-ups?
So, Golden Guardians, I actually don't even know what their roster is. So I'm not thinking about them at all so far. I know they're a team and you can lose to any team, you can win against any team. That's always how it goes. I don't think about them at all.
And 100 Thieves, I'm pretty excited to see how Kim "Ssumday" Chan-ho does, because I know a lot of NA fans think he's pretty good. Which I would be curious just to see if he's actually good or how he plays. I haven't gotten to scrim against him, so I have no real idea how good he is exactly.
A lot of people have been saying, "Oh, it's elo hell in NA,” etc. So I think that's going to be fun for sure. And they also just beat TSM, right? So TSM is supposed to be a strong team. I think 100 Thieves is going to be a strong team as well, so they’re going to be fun.
The LCS Lock In Tournament runs from 15-31st January, and is available on YouTube, Twitch and lolesports.com.