Team Liquid CEO Steve Arhancet tweeted on Tuesday that several of their newly signed players are experiencing visa delays, which could affect the team’s starting roster for the first weeks of the 2020 LCS Spring Split.
In regards to the LCS team, the affected people are Liquid’s new jungler Mads “Broxah” Pedersen and head coach Jang “Cain” Nu-ri. And while Liquid might be able to solve Cain’s situation by having other coaches like Eugene “Pobelter” Park take the mental temporarily, the potential delay of Broxah is a serious one. Usually, teams will look to their Academy teams and borrow a substitute from there, but the third player experiencing visa delays is Shern “Shernfire” Tai, who is to be Liquid Academy’s jungler for the new season, leaving Liquid with no clear Plan B.
“We hope they all may be able to compete at the start of season, but that may not happen,” Arhancet wrote. “This has also affected our Jan team practice. We are evaluating backup options should they be required.”
This is likely to leave Liquid in a very vulnerable position for the first matches of the Spring Split. The season starts Jan. 25 and with their practice schedule disrupted, Liquid ought to hope they draw a weaker opponent in the first week and try and salvage the situation.
Even though Team Liquid have been the undisputed best team in the LCS for the past four splits, their regular seasons haven’t been a clean race, so every single loss could mean a lower position in the rankings and from there — a worse spot in the playoffs. In 2019 Spring, Team Liquid were tied with Cloud9 for first but won the tie breaker by having better head-to-head record. TSM came third with just one fewer win, making for a very close race in the top 3. The Summer season saw Liquid win the table by being just two wins ahead of the 12-6 Cloud9 and Counter Logic Gaming.
That said, many LCS teams have made power moves in the off-season to try and stop Liquid’s unopposed championship marches. Rivals Cloud9 and TSM upgraded heavily and at least on paper are looking better than they did last year. New teams like Evil Geniuses and Dignitas are also looking promising.