Team Liquid has made a couple of changes to their roster for the 2021 season, picking up Barney “Alphari” Morris and Lucas “Santorin” Tao Kilmer Larsen.
However, due to visa issues, Santorin was not able to play with the team until the second week of the new LCS Lock In tournament, which acts as a precursor to the main season. After a couple of weeks of games, where Team Liquid showed us they’re the team to beat once again with a 3-0 sweep against Evil Geniuses, they faced Cloud9 in the finals, which went to five games.
Fans of both teams were nervous going into the final game, but Team Liquid rolled over them and finished in less than 30 minutes. They took the win with a grand prize of $150,000, with another $50,000 donated to a charity of their choice.
Following their triumph over Cloud9, we spoke with Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen about Team Liquid’s performance and expectations heading into the LCS 2021 season.
- Read more: LCS reveals new look for 2021 season
(Picture: Riot Games)
Congrats on the win! This is kind of a new tournament so I'm curious, have you guys been trying to have fun with the Lock In or are you taking it very seriously?
We're definitely taking it seriously. We all want to win. I would say it's mainly a serious play and approach to the tournament. It is a bit weird because we haven't had that much time together, but it's a good learning experience at the same time. I mean, we're definitely fully committed to winning this.
Right, and then you did! What do you think of the new format changes that the LCS is bringing with this tournament and the changes to the splits? I spoke with Alphari recently and he really loves the three game days versus just two.
I mean, from a growing perspective, I think it's good. It's a bit concerning when it comes to scheduling, because that means we have one less day, you know, either one less practice day or one less off day. So it does feel a bit weird in that perspective. Personally, I would rather just play more games during one day than having three days of game time.
Do you worry about possible burnout because of the extra day?
Yes exactly. Let's say— right now we have four days of practice with one off day. But then if we were to have the off day, we would only have three days of practice with the off day or then we would have to play extra games during the match day, but that's not something I'm really a big fan of.
So it does feel a bit iffy from a player perspective. I think burnout is something that is very concerning from a player, because in League of Legends we do train really hard compared to other games. So yeah, not the biggest fan of having one extra game day like that.
Right, because your schedule is pretty intensive, isn't it?
The way our schedule is right now is we would do a meeting at, say, 10:30am. And then at 11am, we usually play for six hours-ish as a team. Then we have meetings, and then we also play solo queue after, so the day does end up feeling pretty long with all the League we're playing.
Now that Santorin's here and you've been getting settled in with Alphari as well, do you feel you guys have decent synergy so far? Up until this series, you hadn't lost a game once since Santorin was able to play. So if there is room for improvement, where do you think that'd be?
I'm not really sure. We'd have to take a look at the losses specifically to really find out what we did wrong, but I do think we are getting pretty good at being on the same page and helping each other to snowball and punishing mistakes, or if we have an opportunity to dive or something, I think we're pretty well at doing that. Right now it's hard to really say what kind of thing we can improve on.
What are your thoughts on Cloud9 so far in facing them in finals, especially after your comments about them with Travis Gafford a couple of weeks ago and your comments with Doublelift, saying that you believe 100 Thieves are better than them?
It was kind of like I expected. I mean, we stomped them pretty hard the first two games, but then I think we just had some hard drafts and we played a bit bad in the next few games.
I don't rate them as highly as others might. Like you said, I think 100 Thieves is probably better than them or that they have more potential. It's not really a team I personally worry too much about.
Is that different than any other year that you've not really been worried about them, or is this definitely the split where you'd say that they're not any better with Perkz?
Yes. I mean, like I mentioned before the Lock In Tournament started, I said, I thought the old Cloud9 roster had more potential or was better. Right now I kind of still feel the same way.
But, you know, it is really early on. So it is very possible for them to get better, but I think right now they are not strong in laning phase, which is a big issue for them. So unless they can improve that drastically, I'm not going to rate them higher than maybe 100 Thieves or even TSM.
Now that we're about to move into the actual Spring Split, does your mindset change as far as how you might approach scrims or upcoming matches? Or will it be the same as if the actual split had started three weeks ago?
I think we're just going to do the same thing. Maybe we'll experiment a bit more, but I think that's something we've already done quite a bit. We've been trying to play different styles. So I don't think anything too big is really gonna change. For us, it's kind of just going to be the same thing and then look forward to the start of Spring Split.
When it comes to who's the best the mid laner, there's always been a discussion of Bjergsen versus Jensen. Now Bjergsen has retired and then Perkz comes in, people were ready to give that crown to him. Do you feel this tournament is just the beginning in showing you're the mid laner to beat?
I'd say so, right? I think we are the strongest team and I think we also have the best laners. So I'd say that's pretty fair.
"A lot of fans refuse to accept that I am as good as I am"— Travis Gafford (@TravisGafford) January 31, 2021
"Perkz is an accomplished player, but I don't think he's as good midlane as people think he is"
Jensen is looking to prove his point in this series. pic.twitter.com/vHLLcOiN1R
You can catch the first day of the LCS Spring Split on Friday 5th February.