Showing posts with label Liquid Piglet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Liquid Piglet. Show all posts

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Did Piglet Deserve More? Thoughts on the Team Liquid Interview.

After the first five weeks, Team Liquid management was not content with the performance of their S3 World Champion ADC, Chae “Piglet” Gwang-Jin, and benched him for the upcoming weeks for Rookie ADC, KeithMcBrief. Team Liquid management took some time out to speak with Ongamers' Travis Gafford about their decision. This article is a reaction to that interview.

(Screenshot From the Ongamers Interview)

by Michael "Tribble" Godani

First of all, let me state that I do not normally occupy myself with the NA LCS because I'm mainly a LPL watcher and journalist, but I did take a moment to reply to their interview because of my strong feelings on it.

Before the interview even started, while watching the introductions of the management of Team Liquid, I noticed that only Peter Zhang, the team coach, seemed properly dressed for the occasion. As Travis stated (and the management of Team Liquid agreed) the situation with Piglet was quite serious, and considering they were there to explain the situation to fans and critics around the world, I feel like head analyst, Mark Zimmerman, and manager, Steve Perino, may have missed the mark in their casual appearance. 

The management discussed problems that Piglet had and how he was on a different level compared to his teammates, but I didn't take this to mean he was better or worse than them. Rather, he just had a different way of seeing the game and how they should play it.

I found myself annoyed with Steven Perino's response when Travis asked if Piglet felt lonely in the gaming house and what was being done about that specific issue. Perino said, “We would include him in every single thing that we did,” in past tense, as if Piglet was already history for the Team Liquid Management. Also, he made it sound as if it was a privilege to be there on team building nights or nights out with the team, and it struck me as unprofessional and immature.

Perino also mentions that they went through a number of translators so that Piglet could understand what was being discussed in team meeting. Let me just say that if you bring in a non-English speaking foreign player, it is your obligation to make sure that he understands. No need to act as if you did something heroic by making sure that one of your employees understood what was being said in team meetings.

Steve also says that aside from the language barrier, Piglet did understand the details when it comes to the game itself. This statement blew my mind. We are talking about a player who has won:

Champion Summer 2013
Korea Regional Finals 2013
Season 3 World Championship 2013
NLB Summer 2014
All stars 2014
Champions Winter 2014

Quite an impressive list, knowing that none of the players in Team Liquid has ever come close to any of those achievements. Piglet knows a lot about the game and understands it pretty well, not to mention about the time it took him to acquire his Master Tier slot in the NA soloQ. So, I found Steve's statement flippant. Hopefully he didn't mean it in the way that I interpreted it, but it did come out that way.

During the whole interview, Steve seemed more busy trying to save his own ass then actually contributing to the issue. When he spoke about benching Piglet, he stated that he printed out three pages “in Korean” that addressed the issues and the expectations from the Team Liquid Management.

One thing that also bothered me is that Steve said that “IWD & Xspecial really liked Keith.” I don’t think that should be an issue for professionals, should it? It makes work easier, but it isn't necessary or even mandatory when it comes to working together to win games. All that matters is that you have one goal and that is to win games by stomping your enemies as fast as possible. 

For the people that might disagree with me here, please take a look at Star Horn Royal Club from last season. Insec and Uzi hated each other, yet they still managed to get all the way to the finals of Worlds. So, it is not needed to get a long with everyone in your team.
Piglet is the biggest player that has ever been imported into the NA LCS and he still is, despite the fact that he's been benched. Bringing a world champion adc into your team like Piglet, a player who is meant to carry your team and make crazy good plays, you would think that they would have been prepared to cater the team around him. Let me give an examples so that everyone can have a clear idea about what I mean.

TSM used to focus on Top and Bot lane ganks and leave Regi to his own devices, but when they acquired Bjergsen, that changed. The team refocused around mid, giving Bjerg's lane a ton of attention with ganks and wards to help get the young Dane rolling. (Get Bjergsen rolling, GGEZ is what the fans would say.) Was it easy for the team to adjust to this? Not really. Dyrus was a “victim” of this tactic and struggled a bit when he had to adapt, but he did, which makes him a very respected and great League of Legends player. 

With all due respect, none of the players that are currently on Team Liquid have the right to look down on Piglet or to be annoyed towards him, because he is a better player overall and he has proven that time and time again. Team Liquid would do well to have the team adapt to Piglet's playstyle rather than the other way around, I mean really, you get a player like Piglet just to bench him because he doesn't like the way that the team plays? He's the big name, he should be the one that carries the game by having four people play for him. 

The general feeling that I get here is that Team Liquid’s management find it easier to bench Piglet then to try and make it work for him and the team. Yes, it’s easy to remove the person who is being bullied out of a group instead of trying to solve the bullying and make it work.

I truly hope that Piglet will leave the NA LCS and return to a team with professional management who will work to accommodate him. So I will end my article saying #FREEPIGLET!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Dignitas Capitalizes on Liquid's Mistakes

Review : Dignitas vs Team Liquid W3D2

by Chris "Aaro" Mouton

     Team Liquid faced off against an almost entirely revamped Dignitas last Sunday in what was one of the most intense showdowns of the week. Liquid had started off the split with an incredibly strong 2-0 record despite having KEITHMCBRIEF filling in for former world champion, Piglet. Since Piglet’s return, however, Team Liquid has struggled, not showing much signs of synergy or high-level decision making. Dignitas started off this split with a disappointing 0-2 and they were 1-4 coming into this matchup. Longstanding jungler, Crumbz, had just stepped down and was being temporarily replaced by CloudNguyen.

     Before we jump into the actual gameplay, I’d like to take a moment to talk about these team comps because they played a large role in the outcome of this game. Team Liquid ran a double AD carry composition sporting Maokai in the top lane, Vi in the jungle, Ezreal in the midlane, Vayne in the traditional ADC role, and Annie for support. This composition had a massive mid-game power spike. Around the time that Vayne finished her Botrk and Ezreal finished his Manamune and Triforce, they were putting out an incredible amount of damage.

     Dignitas had one of the most mobile comps to play in the LCS this split. Rumble in the top lane, Jarvan in the jungle, Ahri in mid (this is 5.2, Ahri does have the movement speed bonus on her Q), Sivir ADC, and Morgana Support. The team comp was incredibly well made. They had excellent pick potential thanks to J4, Ahri, and Morgana, as well as Sivir’s ultimate which allowed them to chase down their enemies. They also had the ability to blow through the Maokai and Vi and focus the majority of their damage onto those squishy carries.

     The game started with Team Liquid searching for a lane swap because Sivir/Morgana is an annoying lane. Relentless harass eventually kept Piglet shoved under his tower, which resulted in quite the CS discrepancy. This was a tragedy for Piglet's Vayne, who really needed items to be a threat early on. In fact, Vayne fell so far behind that after the first recall, Team Liquid chose to send Piglet back into the top lane, essentially gifting a free dragon to Dignitas. Then, after seeing that Dignitas kept their duo botlane after dragon, Liquid decided to match it with their duo lane again, instead of just leaving Piglet top to take this free tower. It’s almost as though they didn't realize that Piglet and Xpecial were unable to trade and were, in fact, losing the lane.

     Liquid was able to secure the second dragon despite having blown the Tibbers ultimate moments before in a trade in the bottom lane. This second dragon was right in Team Liquid's power spike so they were looking for a fight, but the lack of Tibbers really prevented them from running away with the game. They were able to trade Quas for two kills and a dragon, but Dignitas was clumped perfectly for a 5-man Tibbers while they were trying to back away. That sort of lock down and ace would have allowed Liquid to secure some additional towers, really allowing them to snowball this game while their comp was hitting hard.

     The game remained relatively even until Liquid blew a teamfight in the enemy jungle allowing Dignitas to snowball the game. Team Liquid was aggressively invading the jungle, attempting to get vision control in what I assumed would be an early baron attempt with their double AD comp. However, they played out the teamfight horribly. Gamsu was completely split from the rest of Dignitas on his Rumble and Liquid committed so much time to him. They threw down Tibbers, which he flashed out of, and then they decided to continue chasing him through the jungle. This set up a beautiful equalizer for Gamsu and allowed the rest of Dignitas to strategically flank. They were able to quickly blow up Maokai and expose the squishy carries of Team Liquid. Dignitas chased down the rest of Team Liquid with only Piglet escaping, and was able to secure the baron buff.

     Consider for a moment just how truly terrifying that situation was for Team Liquid. They had absolutely no wave clear. They had Ezreal's ultimate for one wave and they had only auto attacks and Mystic Shot to try and clear the rest of those baroned up minions. Liquid decide not to even try and defend, instead sending four people to the top lane to pick off Gamsu, resulting in the loss of two of their towers and most of the health on their bottom inhib tower. Dignitas then made one of the best tactical moves I've seen from them. They recalled and gave Team Liquid a free dragon. Liquid spent the next thirty seconds at dragon while Dignitas was able to get complete vision control of baron. What really makes me question Team Liquid as a top team is what they did next. They already took the dragon, they knew baron was up, and they knew that Dig was missing from the map. Their decision was to steal Dig’s blue buff. They invest six green wards and a pink on the bottom side of Dignitas’ jungle. There’s no dragon for six minutes and a blue buff really isn't worth that much effort. Why they think that this is where they should be investing their vision, I just can’t comprehend.

     Meanwhile, Dignitas had multiple pinks circling the baron area and had swept every other bush, and so with this incredible pick composition, they waited. And they caught a Maokai, which you think would be the last person they'd want to catch, but Dignitas was able to blow up Quas in under two seconds. Then they ran back to set the same trap again in a different bush. And they waited. Team Liquid almost looked like they were going to just push down mid and trade towers instead of attempting to contest this baron 4v5, and with all my heart I was hoping that they would. But they don’t. They face check the river bush Dignitas has been waiting in, and Dig is able to pick up two more kills and a baron. Team Liquid decided to go and push while Dig took the baron, at least getting a bottom inner tower in return. In reality, that should have been the decision ever since Quas was picked off.

     So now we’re back in this terrifying situation for Team Liquid. Zero wave clear, baroned up Dignitas and minions, and a dangerously low-health inhibitor tower that they are forced to defend. Sounds like the start of a horror story. Luckily for Team Liquid, Dignitas makes the mistake of diving this tower. Why they would dive when they have no one who’s exceptionally tanky and Team Liquid has no way to stop them from sieging it other than engaging out of tower range and forcing a fight, I have no idea. They end up trading 1 for 1. Dig takes the tower but is forced to retreat, helping themselves to dragon on the way out.

     Dig continue their exceptional vision control on their way back to siege the inhibitor tower. It’s not even exaggerating to say that they pinked or swept every single bush that they walked through. And what they do next is also quite impressive. They continue sieging bottom until about 30 seconds - when baron is up. But they don’t even try to take the inhibitor. They don’t force the fight. All they’re doing is keeping Team Liquid bottled up in their base for the next two minutes until baron spawns so that there is absolutely no time for Team Liquid to get any vision on it. Have I mentioned how incredible Dignitas’ vision control has been this game yet? Because it really is beautiful.

     Team Liquid group up as five and attempt to get vision control of this baron before they give a third dragon over to Dignitas. Fenix spots Gamsu on Rumble, and because Liquid has no other vision, they think that Rumble is alone. Fenix makes the final mistake of the game and arcane shifts forward, attempting to burst down Rumble while the rest of Team Liquid follow up. Gamsu lays down the red carpet for a completely grouped up Team Liquid and Dignitas is able to immediately follow with their extremely mobile comp. Fenix flashes back into the team, but it doesn't even matter. Ezreal and Vi are both dead before Team Liquid even has a moment to react, essentially making this a 3v5. Dig is able to quickly clean up the rest of Team Liquid, excluding Piglet who escapes, and they close out the game.

     In my book, this was the best game of the split. Coming from a 1-4 team, this level of coordination, vision control, and even awareness to pick such a good team comp and then to play out their win conditions so perfectly is just inspiring. It also makes me worry for Team Liquid. They seemed to make a lot of very fundamental mistakes, such as using six green wards and a pink on the exact wrong side of the map while their team is setting up to make baron plays. If Team Liquid wants to be a contender this split, they’ll have to seriously step up in their shot calling.


by Chris "Aaro" Mouton