TL Spawn reflects on MSI: "We'll learn from this experience so we can work our asses off and get better."




16/05/2024 - 6'

"We take a lot of inspiration from G2 [...] We want to be the G2 of North America."

Despite ending in a shared fifth place at the League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) 2024, Team Liquid is now heading back to North America with high hopes and key learnings ahead of the Summer Season. In this exclusive interview, the team's head coach, Spawn, delves into the reasons behind the team's loss against T1 and his expectations for the team's future prospects.

| Team Liquid has been eliminated by T1 in a 1-3 score. Could you walk us through what went wrong in this match?

Spawn: "Without having had time to review our matches, my gut feeling is that they had very good early game plans, especially when it came to mid-lane and lane swaps. In contrast, I feel like we beat them in terms of experience and side-lane aspects. They also definitely had a bit more of a clutch factor in the mid-late game and their experience spoke for itself.

Game 4 was an absolute shit show, so I think we can write that one off and focus on the others. We had a brilliant early game, and then we just spent too much tempo on a dragon, which destroyed us afterward. Overall, we played to our strengths today, lane swaps and our touch of creativity allowed us to push the pace of the game in key moments. They just had a little bit more experience, especially when it comes to these clutch moments and plays, which were especially prevalent in game 1 and 2."

| What learnings will you take from this best-of-five against T1?

Spawn: "Straight away after the match, I grabbed our players and said: 'We can be disappointed in these results because, as APA said, we could have won game 2 and forced a game 5. But this isn't the end of our journey.'

You know, we're a new team that has only been together for about 7 months. We want to be a dynasty again. When I was promoted to be our LCS team head coach this year, I promised Dodo (Manager) and Steve (CEO) that this is a team that I want to take on that journey. As I said, one of those key aspects is the experience. We had very little experience at Worlds in 2023, but now we have so much more, especially with this MSI.

Now, we're heading back to North America, we're gonna prove that we're the best team in the LCS again, and we'll shut up our haters. Next time we'll come back to Worlds, I really hope that we draw T1 again. With this match, our destinies are entwined and, we want to show everyone that we can play against and beat them. That's my goal as this team's coach. We want to be the G2 of North America. We want that when a team draws us, they'll know they'll be in for a good match."

Team Liquid, exiting the stage after a loss to T1. Credit: Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games
Team Liquid, exiting the stage after a loss to T1. Credit: Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games
| What are the team's expectations for Summer and Worlds? Is there a bucket list of things you wish to accomplish then?

Spawn: "We want to defend our title and we want to go back to Worlds as a better team. The real key for us is to keep competing in these international events with the same core to make sure that we're building up our talents and racking up the necessary experience. Our goal is to maintain this 'blue collar' hardworking team environment. I think that it is what will lead us to even greater success. I'll keep challenging my players every day and, we're all going to learn from this experience so we can work our asses off and get better."

| Caps said in an interview that most Western teams were not working hard enough to compete with Eastern teams. As you have told us about how hardworking Team Liquid is, could you tell us your opinion on this? What does G2 have that other teams do not and what are you doing to become the G2 of NA?

Spawn: "Not only did I listen to the interview, I actually quoted it back to my team before today's match [laughs]. I think that G2 have a couple of things. They have a really great infrastructure, and they have a winning mindset. If you are on G2, the expectation that you buy into is that you can buy anyone at any time. They have a very hard-working environment, at least from all the stories I've heard. And well, last but not least, they have Caps.

He is an absolute freak of a player. He's so damn good. I think that those things are what we need to work on too. We take a lot of inspiration from G2. Maybe I'm unique in that regard but, I have no problem sharing my admiration for other great organizations and players. They are truly an impressive team. It's nice to have someone that you can aspire to become; it challenges you every day.

When Caps says that the West is not working hard enough, then I think to myself: 'Well fuck. We're doing a lot of hard working, but maybe he's right. Maybe we need to step it up'. That's what we show our guys, that's what the challenge we set for ourselves is. We want to be the hardest working team."

Eain "APA" Stearns, competing at MSI 2024. Credit: Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games
Eain "APA" Stearns, competing at MSI 2024. Credit: Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games
| APA went from being considered as 'One of the Worst Mids in the LCS' to rivaling with some of the greatest players in the world. Do you think that APA has the ceiling to become the Caps of NA, just like you are trying to be the G2 of NA?

Spawn: "Look, that's a very high goal. I don't like making comparisons like that. I just want APA to be the best version of himself possible and, I think that's enough for us to be a great team. I truly believe in Eain (APA). I work with this guy every day and, I know he's a really hard worker. We have RapidStar on board which helps him out greatly as well. Every single day, we challenge him and, he cares a lot about improving.

You know, he's a player that can truly flourish with good coaching and oversight. As long as I do my job well, I know that this guy can be a machine. The narrative of him being the worst mid laner in North America was always blown out of proportion, to be honest. I don't think he ever was. He's a great player with unique ideas about the game and, I think that he adds so much value to our team."

| We often hear about the downsides of practicing in North America due to poor solo queue and scrimming opportunities. Would you say that your practices in China have been better and, will that experience help you towards becoming even stronger in the summer season?

Spawn: "Absolutely, As you know, we send our guys on international boot camps as much as we can, thanks to Team Liquid Honda. When you come to an event like MSI, you get to scrim against the best teams in the world and, you get to play a much more controlled solo queue environment, which is of much higher quality.

The pace at which the game is played internationally is completely different. It's like... 2 or 3 times quicker than what is being played domestically, to be completely honest. The second thing which is important is that you have to go and actually try to actively win the game at every point of it. In international events, you cannot let the game slip away from you, because players are simply too good to be given opportunities like that. If you start making mistakes and stop being proactive, they will take over the game.

Those are the things we try to keep in mind when competing here. Sometimes, we fumble and look silly, as we did in game 4, but we're still trying as hard as we can. We want to create plays, we want to try and fight our way back into games, even when behind. That's what we'll look to continue building upon back in North America."

Team Liquid bows out of MSI 2024. Credit: Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games
Team Liquid bows out of MSI 2024. Credit: Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games
| Confidence seems to often be a large issue for Western teams internationally. Team Liquid seemingly played with full confidence, which turned out to be an advantage for you guys. How do you feel about the way the team's atmosphere evolved throughout MSI? Are you happy with how the team behaved and your players' mentality?

Spawn: "Absolutely. I'm very lucky to have a captain like CoreJJ. He views the game in the same exact way as I do and truly sees the importance of team play. He sets high expectations for himself, the same way we do. We push our guys to make sure that we learn from these events and, we're here to make use of every single minute we get at our boot camp.

The boys all rose to the occasion, and they were fantastic. I couldn't ask more from them. We fell short today but, that was definitely not due to a lack of effort or due to a bad atmosphere. I love working with this group and, this team truly feels special. Huge shout-out to CoreJJ and Impact as well. They really help set the tone and I'm proud of being the coach of such amazing players."

| Do you have regrets about this tournament? Are there things that you feel were left unachieved for Team Liquid?

Spawn: "We were close to T1 the last two times we played against them. At Worlds, we were so close to winning our game against them. This BO5, I feel like we managed to trade blows at every point of the match, until that game 4. I would love to draw them again in the future. I think that fans would also want to see us play against G2 and, I think that matchup is inevitable. Eventually, we'll have to face them and, when it happens, I think it'll be a really fun match.

Those are probably our two biggest rivals that we'll want to beat and match against in the future. You know, all I can say is, every single time we show up at an international tournament or domestically, we'll always look to play an exciting kind of League of Legends that fans can get behind. I hope that we've been able to do that at MSI 2024."

Spawn and his team, seen strategizing at MSI 2024. Credit: Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games
Spawn and his team, seen strategizing at MSI 2024. Credit: Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games
| Could you say a few words for North American and Team Liquid fans?

Spawn: "Definitely. I always say that, when we lose, I hope that you guys will be critical of us. When we win though, I also hope you'll be here to celebrate with us. I always want to compete in a way that pushes us forward, as a team and organization. Special shout out to the fans as well. They keep us motivated and, we couldn't do it without them to be honest.

And well, as I always do at the end of interviews, shout out to my family. I've got a beautiful partner and 2 lovely boys at home who are probably very excited to see their dad again. I love them and, you know, till next time. Hopefully, we put on a good show for everyone."

- Armand Luque -