At the 2019 League of Legends Championship Series Summer Split Finals in Detroit, Team Liquid captured an unprecedented fourth consecutive LCS title. Now clearly the most dominant team in LCS history, Team Liquid has taken lessons from their international failures in 2018, and used them to propel the team forward.
The heart of the Team Liquid organisation is clearly CEO Steve “Liquid112” Arhancet. One of the most recognisable personalities in League of Legends, Steve has been a force for good not only for Team Liquid but for the LCS as a whole. Not afraid to innovate, Steve’s guidance has helped Team Liquid become the premier organisation in the LCS when it comes to facilities, partnerships, and success on the Rift.
GINX Esports TV had the opportunity to ask Steve a few questions before the Summer Split Final, touching on the organisation, changes that have been made, and big moves that might be coming to League of Legends in the future.
What would you say is the greatest accomplishment for Team Liquid as an organisation, so far?
I would say the greatest accomplishment we’ve had on the League of Legends side has been going from promotion/relegation of 2017, when we won The International in Dota and then when we hours later won in promotion/relegation tenth place, to now being a day away from possibly winning The International and also winning LCS in the same day two years later. It’s indicative of how if you want something really bad and you don’t fall when you fail, you just get up and you keep innovating and pushing yourself, then you can achieve what you set out to do and that’s what we did. It’s pretty awesome to be in this place two years later.
I know you enjoyed success as an organisation in League of Legends last year, but it looks like you’ve taken the next step this year. What has been the single most important change you’ve made from last season to this season?
I think when we went to Worlds last year it was clear that the roster that we had was a lower likelihood of winning a World Championship. I remember being in one of the TL board meetings and we asked ourselves if we were sufficient or complacent with winning North America, if that was good enough? And it was clear that it wasn’t. We needed to level up, and the best way to do that was to build a roster that was capable of winning a World Championship.
I know a lot of people probably laugh at the concept of North America winning, but I think we’ve done that as evidenced by the Finals at MSI. At international competition, we made it happen. So the possibility of winning a World Championship today? It’s very much possible if we show up, and we can do it. That’s been the goal, and that’s why we’ve made some of the changes with the players. Then, we invested even more on the staff side. We increased the number of physical therapists we have, sports psychologists, counsellors, and so far so good.
You talked about the staff, the business side of esports. Do you think geolocation is in the future of League of Legends?
I think it’s important for the league to have teams stake a flag in a particular region. Now, what we’ve seen with Overwatch is that you may not necessarily need to play the games out of that region to develop a fan loyalty or start building a base of fans in a particular area. I wouldn’t say it’s regionalisation as much as geo-affiliation. If we geo-affiliate and then at some point in the future decide to hold games there, I think that’s the right path. It doesn’t necessarily have to plant a flag for Team Liquid as an organisation, as much as just where we are for League of Legends. So, I’m very pro geo-affiliating for League of Legends.
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