The most unfortunate chapter in Team Liquid's history to date has now come to an end. After their, admittedly narrow, defeat of Gold Coin United yesterday, the team has exited the promotion tournament and requalified for the NA LCS. However, this was a team that already looked quite bad in the NA LCS during the most recent split, so the question must be: How will they change? If they simply go at it again with the same roster, will they simply end up in the promotion tournament again, or would they have placed higher with their new Doublelift-empowered roster either way?
Well, the second half of the question is somewhat academic and will prove to be the biggest difference between the roster that Team Liquid brought to the Promotion Tournament and the one that they will bring to the Summer Split. Doublelift has long made it known that his intent is to try out for his old spot on Team Solomid against come the offseason, and even his stint on Team Liquid hasn't changed that plan, as Reignover revealed during his post-game interview yesterday. With Doublelift gone then the team looks dangerously close to just being relegation fodder again, depending on how the team manages to replace him. With an entire offseason to play around with, it's quite likely -- not to mention quite hopeful for fans of the organization -- that they'll find a higher tier replacement. Perhaps Forgiven, who's gone on the record saying that he would be happy to play in North America? How Team Liquid replaces Doublelift will be one of the most important questions to ask over the offseason, and the answer will help us determine whether they're destined to reclaim their position in fourth place, or if they will once again prove to be relegation fodder.
The other main personnel question that Team Liquid must answer revolves around the mid lane. While Midlet has certainly worked out much, much better than anyone could have expected, it was still an obvious weakness for Team Liquid, even against challenger teams. FeniX who, ironically, is the mid laner that Team Liquid let go in order to play with Goldenglue at the beginning of the Spring Spit completely trashed Piglet in every game, which doesn't speak well for Piglet's chances against, say, Jensen or Bjergsen when those two are taking him seriously. While there's no doubt that a player as skilled as Piglet can grow into the role, there's also no guarantee that he can do it over the course of one off season. We've already seen how badly having a poor mid laner can hobble a team, as Goldenglue's mediocre performance early on in the split is part of what got Team Liquid here in the first place. If Team Liquid can, instead, find themselves a skilled mid laner, they may be able to just kill two bird with one stone and move Piglet back into the ADC position, but who that mid laner would be is a pretty open question. There aren't exactly a lot of high-profile free agent mid laners at the moment, so Team Liquid would likely have to buy one out, which they may be unwilling to do in the first place.
For fans of Team Liquid, the offseason is likely to hold more questions than answers, but we'll see soon enough whether the fan-favorite org can brings itself back into competitive relevancy, or if they're doomed to remain a bottom-feeder in the NA LCS.
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