The upcoming VCT Stage 2 Masters – Reykjavík is the first opportunity for major regions, especially North America and Europe, to prove they deserve the attention they get in the world of VALORANT esports. The latter region specifically is oftentimes seen as more filled with talent than any other, and Team Liquid is definitely proof of this statement.
After qualifying through the Challengers Playoffs, alongside Fnatic, Team Liquid will be looking to continue their steady improvement and recent dominance and carry this momentum with them on the international stage. There is no doubt that since Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen’s addition to the team to replace Adam “ec1s” Eccles, things have spiraled out of control, in a good way.
Team Liquid’s VALORANT roster. Screengrab from VALORANT on Twitch.
James “Kryptix” Affleck
Travis “L1NK” Mendoza
Dom “soulcas’ Sulcas
Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom
Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen
Connor “Sliggy” Blomfield (Coach)
The aforementioned roster change put them in a position where they have two former Counter-Strike: Global Offensive prodigies, namely the headshot king, Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom and Jamppi. Prior to this move, Team Liquid suffered a number of disappointing tournament finishes throughout VCT Stage 1, including falling out 5th-8th in Challengers 1 and failing to progress past the open qualifiers in both Challengers 2 and 3.
The first signs of much needed improvement was their early exit from First Strike at the hands of eventual champions, Team Heretics, from the quarterfinals. At that point, there was an apparent dependency in the team on individual popoff performances and outplays from the likes of ScreaM and others on the team to pick up rounds. However, at this level of play, and with the stakes getting higher and higher, it proved rather difficult to close out tight games. With Liquid falling earlier and earlier in open qualifiers, it was hard to tell what was going on throughout Stage 1. Even in Stage 2, they struggled, but caught fire at just the right time.
Every one of these players is scary in their own right, with each bringing his own unique skillset and agent pool to the table. We’ll start it off with James “Kryptix” Affleck. The British player is a sentinel specialist, putting up several incredible performances on Killjoy and Cypher. His 211 average ACS isn’t to be underestimated, as it is accompanied by an impressive 69% Entry Success Rate and 139.9 ADR.
The player is a Haven specialist, with the majority of his high ACS scores recorded on the map. We have seen this happen several times, specifically against Oxygen Esports in the Challengers Playoffs semifinals, and twice in the Group A matches against FunPlus Phoenix and BBL Esports.
Moving on to Travis “L1NK” Mendoza, the player plays all three of Sage, Omen, and Breach to support his teammates with all the utility they need. All of his agents are deadly to say the least, with a 208 ACS career average, including a 0.74 KPR and 125 ADR. He’s shown great clutch potential over and over again, and has become somewhat infamous for pulling round wins out when the stakes are against him.
The third British player present on the roster, Dom “soulcas” Sulcas, has shown us an incredible diversity in his agent pool, pulling out the Viper pick against Fnatic in the Challengers Playoffs Grand Final on Icebox. Not only that, we have seen him play Skye, Sova, and Raze as well more commonly in Team Liquid’s competitive games. Often singled out in 2020 as a poor performer, he’s silenced the critics this year, becoming known for his fake flash plays on Skye.
He has managed to put up a 212 ACS, 1.12 KD, 0.72 KPR, and 130.7 ADR, all of which are numbers that can’t be taken lightly at all.
Now, it is time for the Belgian headshot machine, ScreaM. The name alone speaks for itself, and with a 33% headshot rate in VALORANT, he earned it since his transition to Riot Games’ tactical shooter from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
One of the few players in the VALORANT esports scene with multiple 400+ ACS games, dropping them casually from time to time for us viewers to enjoy, his Reyna and Phoenix are a menace, opening up the map for the rest of his teammates to get the picks needed to close out the rounds. We have recently seen him trying out the battle Sage type of play, which will definitely be interesting to see how it performs if pulled out in Reykjavík.
Jamppi, the AWPer of the team and first-person shooter prodigy, is living up to expectations and delivering masterclass performances over and over again. However, it is worth noting we have seen him in nothing outside Jett and Killjoy yet, which can be relatively limiting in terms of team compositions we can see from Team Liquid.
Europe is sending two of its finest teams to represent the region at Masters Reykjavík in the form of Fnatic and Team Liquid. I would personally put the latter at a slightly higher chance to go further in the tournament than their colleagues. The reason behind this would be the evident improvement in Team Liquid’s execution and gameplans across all maps. Moments where you feel they lost the round because a lack of concentration and nothing more has diminished significantly.
The latest results show how far they are willing to go to stop their opponents from taking rounds from, regardless of whether they are attacking or defending. This was evident in their 13-0 thrashing of Oxygen Esports on Haven in the Semi Finals, and in several other instances against FNATIC themselves.
On top of all this, Jamppi’s addition to the team and the synergy he brings with ScreaM’s aggressive playstyle have given Liquid massive firepower. Now you have a deadly combo of two players willing to go in on any site to 2v5 with the capability of actually doing so. Those elements put them in the position to even be tournament favorites.