At a League of Legends tournament where experience is traditionally king, Team Liquid is finding a spark in its rapidly developing young superstar. With no prior international experience and only a handful of on-stage games to his name, Edward “Tactical” Ra is confidently breaking out at the play-in stage of this year’s World Championship.
These extra play-in games are a bit of a blessing in disguise for the young rookie. With a slate of warmups separating Liquid from a berth at the main event, the team will have a chance to fine tune its skills before facing off against the very best that the international community has to offer.
“Having extra games on stage is really helpful,” Tactical said. “I personally think you actually learn the most from these matches because they’re realistic. These extra games will actually be good for our team because we’ll get to learn more.”
And for a team that shot down the North American ladder over the course of a few days at the back end of the LCS postseason, Liquid can definitely use some tuning up. Although the team was surely dominant throughout the LCS Summer Split, late playoff losses against TSM and FlyQuest bumped the organization down to third place at season’s end, relegating Liquid to an appearance at Play-ins.But perhaps a few extra games here at the play-in stage is exactly what the team needs to get the ball rolling once again.
After just two games, it’s already obvious that the iteration of Liquid that we’re seeing at Worlds is more aggressive, confident, and fiery than the team that limped into Worlds on the heels of a third-place LCS finish. The players look more sure of themselves through the first two contests of their tournament run, and no one on the roster looks as confident as Tactical.
Early on at Worlds, everything is clicking for Liquid. The team “figured out exactly how they want to play,” according to Tactical. And after two games that saw Liquid win by 9,000 and 15,000 gold, respectively, it’s fair to say that the team is looking dominant on the international stage. In today’s contest, Liquid nearly completed a perfect game, as one death from Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen served as the only blemish on a game that showcased Liquid controlling every possible objective without losing a single tower.
Liquid will need to continue their play like this if they want to be able to get out of groups.