The EMEA Preview: The Favorites

February 11 2022




The EMEA Preview: The Favorites







“Gambit, [Liquid], Fnatic, Acend, BIG, and Guild, do you guys see these as the rough favorites?” I float the question at the end of a long interview on just half the teams heading into the EMEA’s upcoming regional circuit.



“Yeah,” Sliggy answers, “at least for me I do. I dunno about you Bacon, if there’s anybody that we’re sleeping on.



Team Liquid’s analyst, How’sTheBacon, is a bit more reticent. “I’m scared to call anyone a favorite ‘cause I think anyone can win...”



Headed into the new split of the Valorant Champion’s Tour, it’s easy to see where Bacon is coming from. The favorites are dropping left and right, welcoming a new guard of top-tier teams into both the NA and EMEA circuits. T1, TSM, Gen G; Vitality, Alliance, BDS, brand value and big money were not enough to save these teams from hungry rosters that were relentlessly grinding away at the B and C-tier tournaments.



Amidst a full upheaval in the qualifiers and slate of roster changes across the world, it’s only natural Bacon hesitates a bit at making statements. But, after a short pause, Bacon gets back into drawing up the favorites.



“But like, if I was an oddsmaker,” Bacon continues, “I would agree. If I was putting my Coinbase wallet on teams I would have to do that one.”



“Nice,” Sliggy tucks the word away under a little chuckle.



“Yeah, you gotta get them in, bro.”



It’s a sample of how the dynamic between the two go - and part of the value in speaking with them both. Sliggy applies a wider lens and usually a more even-keeled response. Bacon finds the specifics, puts in an example, adds needed nuance, and - at one point - states his willingness to fistfight our Hearthstone player, Sunbaconrelaxer, in the parking lot of a Nando’s in order to be the organization’s sole “Bacon.”



In short, they’re the ideal duo to give a preview of an EMEA circuit full of new faces right before the VCT starts. If you didn’t watch the qualifiers, if you don’t know why everyone keeps talking about Guild, if you don’t know who gob b is and, at this point, you’re too afraid to ask… Then you’ve come to the right place.



A Quick Reader’s Guide:



Glancing at your scrollbar, you can already tell that this isn’t a short walkthrough. Given the depth of the rosters in EMEA, itself the deepest region, there aren’t a lot of fast pathways. Still, if you want the fast rundown of each team, skip to the intros and read those. If you want to look more at the quirks and community buzz, read the questions fully. Next week, we’ll put a companion piece to this one, covering the underdog teams (with the benefit of one round played).



If you want to skip ahead, the order goes BIG, GUILD, Fnatic, Gambit, Acend, Liquid, and finally, who the analysts predict to make it out of groups. (Hint: It’s not quite the same as the favorites listed above.)



BIG



You know what? Let’s start with gob b. He’s the legendary German IGL who leads a BIG squad that has finally had its day in the sun. BIG and gob b have an endurance that’s legendary especially in the quickly changing world of esports. The org and IGL have worked together since August 2020 and despite not reaching near any A-Tier events until now, they fought on.



Until the recent qualifiers, they were the mid-tier kings, entering (and crushing) more C or C-tier tournaments than maybe any team in EU. They recently reached new heights in part through that grind, in part because their young core finished high school. Kaspe and Twisten, 17 and 18 respectively, needed to graduate so they could dedicate themselves to a roster that is clearly governed by the grind.



It’s a dedication that Sliggy and Bacon both respect, though their more interested in the German team’s vast strat book.







gob b said that BIG looked for pretty much every tournament they could compete in. What do you think about this approach as a whole?



Sliggy: I think it worked well for them. They have a few inexperienced players. I think they’ve changed their roster a few times so I think it gives you a good idea of who can perform when it matters.



I get that you can show a lot of stuff but at least from where they were, they were in a building stage still. I think for the building stage where you’re trying to get the experience and work out your team properly, I do feel like they had the right approach.



I’m kinda happy for them, they put in a lot of work. They have a lot of new stuff. gob b definitely puts in [work], we can just tell when we’ve been playing them in practice. They always have really good setups, really good punishes.



Bacon: I will say, the BIG boys are the only people that I see on first thing in the morning when I wake up and they’re the only ones on when I go to bed, so you can see those hours they’re putting in. Normally when I open my Valorant and when I shut off my Valorant, there’s no one on and there’s no one.



Ever since [their coach] KUNDIKUNDI’s came in I always see him on. The hours are definitely paying off. [...] It’s kind of fun, having a little competition between us. If I see him in a custom, I’m not stopping until he stops.



Do you guys feel like BIG is a particularly innovative team?



Sliggy: Yeah, at least when we used to play them as well, they definitely used to play Breach in a lot of maps that wasn’t normal. They do innovate, for sure. [...] Sometimes that can be the hardest to play against in this game, where it’s something new that you’ve never seen and you have to change up on the fly.



Bacon: I always feel like watching a BIG VOD is value for time cause you’re gonna see something you’ve not seen before, where you can watch a lot of games but a lot of the time it’s kind of cookie-cutter.



How much do you think this just comes from Gob b?



Sliggy: Honestly, I think a lot of it is Gob b and, judging by how much their coach is in the server, I have to give him a shoutout as well. [...]



Bacon: I think everyone felt like the Gob b story arc would have this high point coming. Like, the guy’s a beast so it was inevitable, everyone felt.



That’s pretty cool. I know some of his background but what to you guys made it feel like, “It’s gonna happen, the break is coming for Gob b.”



Sliggy: I think it’s just, in this game, keenness pays off cause it changes so much. If you’re super keen, eventually you’re gonna get places. And he’s just persistent and he has all this CS experience, he has a good brain. Ever since he switched over, we were like, “Oh this is probably a guy that’s at least good to keep on our radar cause he is gonna come up with good stuff.”



I guess his background and his work ethic was just why it was always at least worth keeping an eye on them as a team. Even when they weren’t getting results it was always worth checking what they were trying to do.






(Kespe, now owed 5 subs)



Let’s talk a bit about some of BIG’s utility pieces because they are really interesting. The one that gets me are these really high trip wires to catch Jetts when they updraft and dash in. I’m curious how viable you guys think these wires and setups are?



Sliggy: Yeah, I think it’s a thing. This is where VOD reviewing comes in, maybe they looked at the pathing of the Jetts and realized they like to do it. But definitely with the way that Cyphers are doing the normal trips [...] these trips are now catching people off. I do think a lot of it is down to when they’re like anti-stratting teams.



Bacon: We did that to Derke back in the day, do you remember?



Sliggy: Yeah.



Bacon: Didn’t work.



Sliggy [chuckling]: Yeah, it didn’t work.



What’s the story behind that? Was that a scrim thing?



Sliggy: I think we had loads of anti-strat down for this team and it was just something extra that we could do. We were just like, “Let’s look at the pathing of the Jett going in.” We realized that every single time they went B they took the same path.



Bacon: And then the bastard changed it up!



Sliggy: And then he changed his routing, yeah. He did like the same route 5 out of 6 times and we were like, “Okay, it’s pretty good.” Then every time he executed he did a completely different pathing.



What do you guy think of these [BIG] utility pieces [overall], if they’re becoming more common, a bit of BIG innovation, what the place is in the meta…



Sliggy: It’s a bit of both. Sometimes they’re meta sometimes they’re not. I think a lot of that team has it’s own unique style of play - especially, I’ll point out AslaN as well. He’s very aggressive for a smoker but he’s super confident in his ability, so…



I think they all - again, this might come back to playing as many officials as they do - they all have their own unique style of play which I think works really well for them. I think a lot of their stuff can become meta but they definitely have their own way of playing.



Guild



Guild sits companion to BIG both in the sense that they were first to qualify and that they’re first order in terms of their work ethic. Only, according to Sliggy and Bacon, Guild has an even higher chance of being the literal best in Europe. Perhaps the highest chance of any team outside the 4 returning from Champions.



Long before the qualifier, analysts and teams expected fireworks from the new Guild roster. When they debuted, they delivered, nearly clean-sweeping the qualifiers. (They dropped a single map to Rebels, which Guild attributes to the match being at 1 AM.) When asked what makes the team so good, Liquid’s coaching staff points to that same formula that makes Sentinels, Acend, Gambit, (and Liquid) good: 5 smart players, strong strategy, and firepower.



Guild has said that they’ve worked a lot harder than other teams trying to qualify. Have you seen that work at all either via scrims or what they’re putting out on the server?



Sliggy: We’ve only practiced them once, but yeah, from what I’m seeing, them and BIG are coming up with a lot of new and nice stuff on the servers and I feel like both teams have the kind of firepower to back it up. There’s a lot of teams in this tournament that are scary.



How do you guys rate them, heading into this event? Are they up there with the other top teams?



Sliggy: Yeah, super strong. I would say that - at least from what I’ve seen of them - if you were gonna have the 4 teams from EMEA that were in Champions in that group, I’d say they’re definitely on par with all 4 of us. It’s gonna be interesting to see how they actually do but at least from my camp I really rate this team.



Bacon: I think a sign of a really strong team historically, throughout the team is having 5 really smart players and then having a good strategy behind them. When I watched Guild specifically, the finals (I really hyper-focused on that series) I saw a lot of smart decision-making throughout the team.



Russ, I don’t think he got enough credit for how well he was playing. There was a Split T-side pistol and he single-handedly won the round by calling for the full rotate back even though they were just about to exec B. And he won them that round. [...] They’ve definitely got 5 super smart individuals with a load of ability and that’s a really scary combo.






(Watch the mini-map and you can see the call as it’s made.)



Is Russ their IGL?



From what I understand, they run a mixed IGL style with koldamenta taking T sides and trexx taking the CT but everyone has a lot of responsibility to call.



How could you tell that Russ was making that call?



‘Cause he was in the position to do so. Like, all 4 were on B and he was the only person on A and he heard the rotate, so only he would have been able to hear that. The others were focusing on the exec.



And then there was a smaller detail on Breeze where there was a post-plant and I could tell that he chose to force a push into CT so that they would be able to actually hold onto the site and not be completely overwhelmed. So there’s a lot of small details throughout the team.






(Russ and trexx work from opposite ends to deny the pincer and win a 3v5.)



Based on what you’re describing it feels like Guild kind of has a similar structure to Liquid. Having players with good individual decision-making and strong firepower, and a bit of a mixed IGL system. Does that seem correct or off to you guys?



Sliggy: Yeah I think that seems pretty accurate. Like I definitely think it’s good to have a main voice but I think we’re finding it definitely helps to have everyone inputting. There’s just so much that can go on in this game so it’s really good that everyone can have their own input and make decisions and make plans when it needs to be done. So yeah, I think that’s safe to say.



Bacon: And I think it's something that we’ve seen historically throughout the game, that style’s really worked. If you look at Sentinels, they have 5 smart players who can each make those calls for themselves and aren’t relying on Shahzam doing everything for them. I think it’s definitely a style that is going to be more common in the future.



The other angle of Guild I think is interesting is Sayf and his move onto duelists. [...] Do you think that the duelist role is a more natural fit for Sayf?



Sliggy: I coached teams that played against Sayf a lot. Especially before he joined Guild originally, he was playing a lot of Phoenix. I rated him the best Phoenix in Europe. Not many people played it but his Phoenix was really strong.



Then he joined [Guild] and I’ll be honest, I did always question why he wasn’t on a duelist over Yacine because I felt like that’s when he had the most impact. I think Sayf’s a really, really underrated player. I think he’s super strong, I think he’s one of the strongest players in Europe alongside Leo. I think the role really suits him and honestly I’m happy he’s got a role he feels more comfortable in.




Is this the roster to watch?



Sliggy: For sure. I’ll put it this way: I’m very happy they’re not in our group.






(Sayf on his transition into the duelist role.)



Fnatic



Of the 4 squads returning from Champions, Fnatic raises the most questions. The team had a 2021 up and down enough to be called undulating - all culminating in a strong run at Champions where they briefly looked like a favorite. After losing to KRU, they swapped a solid player in Doma for a mostly-unknown in BraveAF.



If this weren’t enough question marks, Fnatic is a mad scientist team that’s had a lot of time in the lab. Since their days as SUMN FC, they’ve been known for their unique strategies and energetic IGL - Boaster. With a long period of silence, it’s hard to say what Fnatic will look like - especially given their poor reputation in online tournaments.



Sliggy isn’t so sure on Fnatic, given the roster change and shift to online. But Bacon thinks the onliner angle is overplayed and sees a keen player in Brave.




Do you expect [Fnatic’s] style to change that much with [BraveAF’s] addition?



Bacon: Personally, I would lean towards at least their vision probably won’t change because what I imagine to be the driving force behind their vision: Boaster and [coach] Mini. When you have someone like a Boaster and a Mini to support him, it’s kind of, “How do you realize that vision more than changing that vision itself?”



So maybe they feel like Brave helps them achieve that vision moreso than Doma does. Sorry, I cut you off Slig.



Sliggy: Nah, nah I think you pretty much covered it well. [pauses] I guess I don’t know enough about the new guy to know. Obviously Derke is their main firepower and Doma was their second firepower. He, honestly, I felt he was quite consistent. I feel like the other guy has to put up some strong numbers to be on the same level.



Bacon: I know [Brave’s] keen.



Sliggy: Yeah, he’s definitely keen. Maybe that’s something they need.



Bacon: Do you remember when we scrimmed this guy on Breeze back in the old day?



Sliggy: Was he the…



Bacon: Yeah, he’s this guy.



Sliggy: Okay, he is pretty keen. Maybe his keenness will help them. It’s good to have a few keen players to bounce off each other, maybe him and Boaster will bounce ideas of each other.



Bacon: Yeah I think a really untalked about, but super important, element is the culture of a team. If you get enough players in a team that are of the same belief, that culture will really just grow. If you have a couple players that shut that down - it’s hard.



If you have 3 players - even if they’re maybe less skilled than another 3 players - if they’re all super keen and they’re bouncing ideas off each other and pushing each other to do more, it’s super easy to work in that environment. And then you’re just gonna get better and cooler stuff out of it than you would maybe the benefit of the slightly more mechanical players.






(Tombizz provides a good, quick breakdown of BraveAF.)



I’m very curious now. Can you guys tell me a little bit about the Breeze prac and what is Brave’s keenness exactly?



Bacon: Guy just had some mad lineups, mate. He just had some bangers, bro!



So when Breeze came out we just finished Iceland. The boys wanted a break but I was kind of new on the team so personally I didn’t need as much of a break. So Breeze was my little pet project for a while. [...] I felt like I had seen pretty much all the util that I would ever see. Then we get into a scrim with OBG…



Sliggy: I think it was one of those practices where we came away and we just stole a load of stuff. It was literally just like there was so much brand new stuff we were seeing, we were just writing it all down. “Okay, this is impressive, this is impressive, this is impressive…”



Bacon: So we just yoinked it all I think [chuckles].



Did that contribute at all to [your Breeze] - I felt like you guys had a strong Breeze…



Sliggy: Yeah I think it really helped. This was similar when Icebox came out. We had a Icebox comp that was okay and then we played WAVE and their Icebox lineup was so good and we literally just hand-picked and stole all their stuff. [...]



I think Fnatic has this tendency to become really strong on a map or two. Fracture at Champions or Bind before then. Do you have any insight on why Fnatic has these periods where they have a lockdown over the map?



Bacon: I think when you have an IGL who’s keen and he has an idea and that idea works and he’s super pumped about that idea, it makes it so much easier. When something’s your idea and it’s going realy well, there’s no better feeling. You’re gonna just do everything you can. You’re gonna be a little more confident.



You know that idea slightly better than everyon else cause it’s your original brainwave and everyone else is 1% worse each time it gets copied. I think when you have an IGL like Boaster, he’s probably getting these ideas on how a map should be played and you can’t really control where and when and what you get these ideas on. [...]



Fnatic are really known for their LAN play at this point. Do you think that they can replicate that level at an online tournament?



Sliggy: I guess we’ll see. Their performance before LAN and on LAN felt like giant differences, they felt like polar opposites honestly. [...] I think that’s also where the big question mark is for them. They’re definitely a team that seems to be better on big LAN tournaments.



Sliggy: I honestly have no idea [why they were shaky online]. I think they’re really good at preparing for teams and having game plans. So maybe this format will suit them better than previous online formats and maybe that’s just what it is. If it’s not that, then I dunno mate.



Bacon: It could also just be it’s really hard to play when you’re praccing something else but you don’t wanna show it for Champs.



Sliggy: That’s true.



Bacon: The thing about them not being good online, it’s from one tournament that was before Champs. This is a thing that happens in Valorant because it’s so new, one tournament earmarks a team as “LAN only” or “onliners.” I mean this was before Champs! It’d be crazy to show everything, right? So, I think they maybe deserve a bit more credit than they’re getting on that front. Back in the day, SUMN FC, that was online.



That’s a good sort of zoom out…



Sliggy: Yeah, that’s true. I didn’t really think about that either.



Acend



Halfway through Champions, something broke in Acend. The team looked shaky in their groups, to the point of potentially not making the bracket. Then, they got confident.



More than just their star, cNed, the whole team turned on, bought into a strong, aggressive style and won the tournament in convincing fashion. Talking to Sliggy, he almost sounds sad about how sure he is that they’ll be at the top.



Sliggy and Bacon both point to confidence as the core of all this. When this team is confident, they’re brutal. For what the scrimbux are worth, it seems they haven’t lost that confident stride and that they’ll stay at least near the top.





Going onto Acend, this is the biggest name heading into the event. But a lot has changed. Do you think the meta changes help them, hurt them, have no effect?



Sliggy [confidently but slightly down]: Help them. I think they look really strong right now. I think we’re gonna see a lot from them in this season. At least when we’ve been playing them in practice they look really strong. I think they have a good understanding of the current meta and I think it plays into their players really well. Honestly, I think they’re just crazy strong, it’s gonna be fun to watch them.



Bacon: Nothing like a world championship to build confidence, eh?



Sliggy: Yeah, exactly they’re super confident.



That probably helps their style right? That was part of cNed’s brilliance.



Sliggy: Yeah and even like the other players.



Bacon: I think more for the other players, I would say.



Sliggy: When Zeek and Starxo, when they have confidence and they’re hitting shots, they’re very hard to play against. When that team’s confident, they’re a bit of a nightmare to play against.



Bacon: From experience.



One of the interesting things springing from Acend is that Omen has become viable on Split, it feels like. Do you feel like this is comfortability and confidence from Acend?



Sliggy: I think it’s mainly comfort but I will also say that when teams have a unique comp and there’s something that’s extremely meta, it’s hard to practice against their playstyle. It was probably the first time we had played an Omen on Split since Astra came out, to be honest. It’s hard to practice that and it has a lot of bonuses.



Acend’s also talked about not necessarily going in a super heavy strat book and more focusing on being flexible within the game. How do you think they will handle being studied as the top team?



Bacon: I think that’s the way they like to be perceived but when I watch them I see a lot of set stuff, I see a lot of prep and behind the scenes. I think maybe there’s an element of like, “Oh we’re not doing this!” But I do think they are. There’s more going on behind the scenes than they’re letting on, either intentionally or by their normal characters.



Gambit



Acend might be at the top but Gambit are close behind - and probably had the best overall 2021 of any Valorant team. When they won Berlin, a lot of analysts pointed to nAts and certain innovations in his play. But hearing it from Sliggy and Bacon, Gambit is more the standard team that has insane fundamentals.



They’re a roster that never goes down easy - even when at a huge deficit - because they’re full of talent at every spot (including coach) and can thrive in any kind of game, against any opponent. They’re also the roster that Liquid wants to beat more than anyone. The team still feels the overtime loss that killed their chance at Berlin - and they want revenge.



Another strategic team is Gambit -



Bacon: Ah, here we go.



gob b has called Redgar the best IGL currently. I think Platchat gave him that award as well. It’s generally a common sentiment. How do you rate Redgar as an IGL and how do you think his IGL shapes this team?



Sliggy: Yeah I think he’s a really good IGL. In my opinion, they have the best defensive crossfires and I don’t know if that’s down to their coach or Redger but a lot of their preparation in terms of what to do in certain situations and what kind of crossfire to fall back on, it’s the most drilled out of any team I’ve seen in the whole of Valorant. [...]



They definitely have a very good understanding of how best to play off each other. They seem to have some of the best chemistry. That might be down to him or the coach.






(It wasn't ec1s, unfortunately.)



Bacon, you had a wonderful, “Ah, here we go.” I’m curious what’s the sentiment behind that?



Bacon: Just, fuckin’ Gambit, man! Had to go and beat us when I was at fuckin’ bootcamp and then no Berlin. Ugh. Overtime, 12-11. What more can I say?



This is almost redundant to ask but are our matches against Gambit, for you guys, personal?



Sliggy: Yeah I think so, I think everyone really wants to beat Gambit. I think we were hoping we would play Gambit later on in the tournament so we had more time to iron out a lot of our stuff but yeah, everyone’s super pumped for this game.



To me, Gambit also seems a bit ubiquitous in the sense that they can play a lot of styles and they can take advantage of a pretty orderly game or a chaotic game. How do you look at Gambit’s style?



Sliggy: I actually think they’re a really good all around team. I don’t think they have the most unique style of play but it’s just really [well]-oiled. Everyone knows that they’re doing, everyone’s really strong individually, and I just think they have a good chemistry and a good understanding of what to do in certain situations. I wouldn’t say they have the most unique playstyle but it’s probably the best fundamental Valorant you see.



Bacon: If I look at the progression of Gambit as a team, I think they have a very good understanding of their strengths and weaknesses and what they need to work on. They won Berlin and they turned up at Red Bull with a brand new style.



My understanding of it, from the outside looking in, was like, “Oh they’re trying to practice something so they get good at it and then they can integrate 2 different styles.” When they were at Berlin it was a lot more defaulty, then Red Bull they practiced a lot more faster, more exec style, set rounds. I think a team like that, who’s constantly evolving and pushing themselves to be better - even coming off of how good they were at Berlin - is really scary.



Team Liquid



Here it is, the part where we gas up Liquid, right? Not quite.



“I don’t believe we’re at the level we were at Champions,” Sliggy lays it out frankly. “We definitely have taken a lot longer to get back into our stride, so I think we’re glad that the format is a longer week. It’s gonna help us get back into, I dunno, where we were at Champions.”



For brief moments in 2021, Liquid would look “number 1 in the world” good. Champions was one of those moments. But the team has historically had the bad luck of getting upset by soon-to-be the “number 1 in the world.” Champions was, also, one of those moments.



After the upset loss to Acend, Liquid took a much needed - and earned - break. Only, the meta did not take a break. Ceaselessly churning on with 2 new agents, it leaves Liquid with some catching up to do and Sliggy and Bacon both speak with the slight reservations of a team that has not fully caught up yet.



Does this mean Liquid will get skunked out of EMEA? No. Sliggy and Bacon are still working on improving elements like their map pool and they still believe that Liquid can beat anyone. It’s just that they know the start might be a slow one.



Talking about you guys, leaving Champions in the semifinals, how did you guys approach the offseason. What did you see as the big growth points after Champions?



Sliggy: We had [a month] off for everyone to go chill out, relax, and enjoy New Year and Christmas. Then, since we’ve come back we’ve had a few issues that have been unavoidable - like family issues with some of the players. So practice has been a bit bumpy but I think that’s why we’re happy the format is how it is. So we can have longer and get to grips with all of the maps. I think the meta changed a good amount so we just need time, basically.





I feel like Liquid’s mentality looked pretty improved and you could see more comebacks [at Champions]. Do you feel like the squad’s mentality has grown better over 2021, coming into 2022?



Bacon: I think that there’s a lot to be said for confidence and - look, when you’re undefeated that confidence and belief in yourself is unwavering. That definitely helped us and losing that is gonna have an effect. Progressions not a straightforward line, if that makes sense. There’s definitely still areas where we need to improve and fix.



But there was progression. We know we can do it now. If you can individually hang around with the likes of Sentinels, you can do it with the best of them. It’s just the other things that need small fixes and tweaks here and there, but when you come to semifinals at Champions, you know it’s not impossible. You should have that self-confidence. It’s just down to the work now.



We came in[to Champions] with a bit of talk about the double-Operator and seeing that work really well in the LCQ. But it felt like it fell off a little at Champions. Can you guys explain why you leaned away from that strategy?



Sliggy: I think we still had it but a lot of the time it’s like a snowball strategy if we’re super far ahead. A lot of times in our officials we didn’t get off to the best start. Yeah, it’s something that we still use on certain maps and we have in the back pocket. [...] It just came down honestly to we got off to slow starts in pretty much a majority of our games in Champions.



Bacon: Can’t have double op if you can’t buy double op.



Looking at Champions from a map pool perspective, it felt at points like leaning away from Fracture was leaning into some opponent-favored maps. How did approach the map pool and how are you feeling about it heading into EMEA?



Sliggy: For Champions, we all decided as a team we were gonna ban Fracture. We came from the LCQ, right? So we had less time than all the other teams and we hadn’t been praccing it at all. So we felt like we were so far behind on this map that it just made more sense to focus on the others and get it strong after.



We’ve been focusing pretty heavy on Fracture to get it into a good place so hopefully in this tournament we can ban out our enemy’s best map instead of having a perma-veto.



Final Predictions



“You’re the oddsmakers, you have to decide, who are your top 3 to make it out of each group?” The question now is mostly to make things clear and see if anything changes.



“Gambit, us, and then…” Sliggy hurries, “BIG or FPX. I don’t wanna choose between BIG or FPX.” After a bit of ribbing from Bacon, he gets decisive, “Okay, I’m gonna say BIG, fuck it.”



“You go BIG? Okay, I’ll back you on BIG.” Bacon agrees.



“And then the other group - Acend, Guild Fnatic.”



“G2 with the darkhorse -”



After a block of scrims and an hour of interview, something in Sliggy breaks and he interrupts, chimes in excitedly, “Actually, actually, I’m gonna really go bold, Im gonna say Acend then Guild then G2.”



“You comin’ at Mini there?” Bacon chuckles. “Is that just to get under his skin?”



“Yeah that’s good, I can give it to Mini a bit, that’s good.”




[image loading]








Writer // Austin "Plyff" Ryan
Graphics // Matt "Jester" Eriks

















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League of Legends   Yeon: No Pressure for the Rookie 2023 saw a complete change in approach for Team Liquid League of Legends program. For fans, players, and leadership, it felt like a necessary one. Two straight years of falling short with super teams culminated in the team missing the World Championship for the first time since 2017.
League of Legends   CoreJJ’s wake-up call to the LCS The way CoreJJ sees it, if the LCS want to rival the LCK and LPL then it needs to wake-up and put in the work. He's worked with Team Liquid to put together a roster that will out-work and out-perform the rest of the league so sharply that it will wake them up to their weaknesses. "Work-life balance is a mirage," says the world champion. And now it's time to come back to reality.
League of Legends | Auto Chess   Chatting: Can the Community Outsmart the TFT Meta? Looking for an off-meta and offbeat comp for Set 8 in TFT? Well, look no further! We've spoken with the TFT community (particularly, robinsongz and Kurumx's discords) to find 3 off-meta comps that just might be able to challenge the Jax's and Yuumi's and Sett's of the world. Then we had a high elo TFT writer try out each comp and give a writeup on the strength and strategy of each one. If you want a new way to play set 8, we've got 3.
  The Liquid Review - January 2023 A new year, a new Liquid Review. Were you too busy with the holidays to keep up with all the esports? Catch up with everything Team Liquid did in December 2022 with this article. We're covering everything from the BLAST run to our new League squad, to Smash's wild year-end, to RWF, to Team Liquid's world-championship win in a surprise esport.