It is no secret that Team Liquid’s $8,000,000 roster was a massive flop. The team, consisting of some of the best European and North American players to ever play, was built around dominating North America and making a Worlds run for the record books.
Unfortunately, those aspirations were far from achieved. Coming in third place behind 100 Thieves and the 2022 Spring Champions Evil Geniuses in the Spring Playoffs, the star-studded lineup of Bwipo; Santorin; Bjergsen; Hans sama; and CoreJJ fell far below expectations.
While the team was playing their first ever split together, the expectations on their shoulders outweighed any claims citing a lack of team chemistry. Individually, the roster boasted some of the best Western players to ever compete, and even included World Champion support CoreJJ.
Needless to say, Team Liquid investors and fans were not happy with their Spring performance. Looking to rebound in Summer, the NA Superteam fell even further below their Spring performance, and finished in fourth place. With a 3-2 loss to Evil Geniuses, Team Liquid was eliminated from the playoffs and lost their final chance at making Worlds. Left disappointed and unfulfilled, Team Liquid CEO Steve Arhancet decided that it was time to hang up the hat.
On September 12th, the official Team Liquid League of Legends Twitter account posted a personal message from Steve regarding the team’s outlook in 2022 and perspective on the future. While the majority of the video discussed the shortcomings of this year’s roster, Steve did mention one important thing about Team Liquid in 2023. Although he did not go into great detail, he confirmed that the organization’s 2023 League of Legends roster would “be different.”
On the Chopping Block: Hans sama
With that news fresh off the press, it appears that the community-renowned investigative journalist LEC_Wooloo has word on the first roster change for 2023. Although no official statement has been made on behalf of Team Liquid or Hans sama, it appears that the former Rogue ADC will be returning to Europe.
LEC_Wooloo further states that Karmine Corp (KCorp), a member of the LFL—a league below the LEC—has already made him an offer to join their roster. Their current ADC and LEC legend, Rekkles is reportedly looking to rejoin the LEC in light of the news of his replacement. Although the LFL is a step down from Hans sama’s former glory days on Rogue in the LEC, Team Liquid’s underperformance has done major damage to the reputation of all of their players’ careers, and an opportunity anywhere in Europe is a major step towards recovering his reputation.
Furthermore, if Rekkles does manage to land a starting spot on an LEC team in 2023, it would suggest that KCorp is the best place to be for an ADC looking to make his way back into the biggest stage in Europe.
Is CoreJJ’s Time in the LCS Up?
In his Twitter update video, Steve went on to suggest that a rebuild in 2023 would include “the opportunity to build players using the Team Liquid infrastructure, rather than this concept of building superteams.” Although he was not particularly specific, it is evident that Steve is referring to Team Liquid Academy (TLA). TLA, who won both the LCS Proving Grounds Spring and Summer Playoffs with the same roster, has clearly proven that its players are LCS ready.
Once again, Team Liquid has not made any public statements about their 2023 roster moves; however, investigative journalists at GameHaus have stated that TLA standouts Yeon and Eyla will be promoted from the Academy team to the main roster. This news, while significant, should be taken with a grain of salt. GameHaus is not a widely-known or credited source for behind-the-scenes information.
Despite this, the promotion of these two young Academy stars would correlate well to Steve’s statement about utilizing the Team Liquid infrastructure. It does, however, have one major implication: CoreJJ is out.
CoreJJ has been the centerpiece of Team Liquid’s rosters since 2018. If Eyla and Yeon are promoted to the main roster, Eyla would take CoreJJ’s spot as they are both support players. With CoreJJ being such an integral part of Team Liquid in the past, his removal from the team would be blasphemous.