Team Liquid Acquiring Alphari All But Official
According to ESPN’s Jacob Wolf, Team Liquid is finalizing a multi-year deal with Barney “Alphari” Morris (of Origen and Misfits Gaming fame). This top lane giant will reportedly earn more than $1 million per year for his services and the deal itself is all but official, although we won’t get any confirmation from Liquid up until November 16. Alphari was also in talks with many different teams (along with Rogue and Fnatic), but it seems as though he’s made up his mind and will start for the four-time LCS champions Team Liquid come 2021.
This, in short, is insanely exciting news, especially if you’re a TL fan. To sign one of the best European top laners currently available is a move that will surely empower them to once again make a run for the title.
This means that Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong — who was previously the highest paid player in the LCS — will no longer compete under the Team Liquid banner. This legendary SKT T1 and Cloud9 alumni still hasn’t lost his edge, but he wasn’t as impactful (no pun intended) or dominant as most expected. In other words, he failed to deliver once it mattered most, in no small part because of his somewhat limited champion pool. The current meta simply wasn’t a good enough fit for the former world champion, although he performed admirably well throughout the year.
Alphari, on the other hand, is widely considered as a top lane behemoth. Despite playing for what can rightfully be deemed as a mid-tier contender, this Welsh talent stood out in all the right ways. Throughout the Summer Split, he was second-best (among top laners) in Kill Participation (64.3%), first in Damage per Minute (432), and first in Damage Share (24.8%). And his laning? Out of this world. On average, Alphari’s laning numbers were two to three times higher than the second-best top laner in the region. Let that one sink in. He was that dominant. Simply put, Alphari had a career-defining season, and he made it all look so incredibly easy. His team fighting is also sublime and the same can be said for his champion pool as well. He might not have the same highs as, say, G2 Esports’ Martin “Wunder” Hansen, but he’s far more consistent.
Other Changes for TL
He’s just what Team Liquid needs in the top lane, and if things pan out as expected, he’ll have the perfect jungler by his side as well: FlyQuests’ Lucas Tao Kilmer “Santorin” Larsen. Team Liquid is supposedly very much interested in the Danish veteran, although nothing has been confirmed as of the time of this writing. Santorin is considered by many as the absolute best and most well-rounded jungler in the LCS right now. If Liquid ends up bringing both Alphari and Santorin, they would instantly become the favorites to once again hoist the LCS trophy come 2021.
Alphari can play weak side but he can also hardcarry like his life depends on it. What more could you ask for? With Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen, Edward “Tactical” Ra, and Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in aboard as well, this team will have all the right tools to not only reclaim their throne but perhaps — at best — even accomplish something internationally as well.
If you’re an LEC fan, however, you’re probably fuming at the mouth because you’ve lost yet another top-tier talent. But in all reality, if you’re a well-performing European player and you can’t land a spot on G2 or Fnatic, then you might as well move across the Atlantic and try your luck in the LCS (and get paid a ton as well). No one can fault Alphari for such a drastic change in scenery, although it certainly is a bitter pill to swallow.
In any case, it’ll be interesting to see whether Team Liquid ends up assembling one of the most dominant and imposing rosters in LCS history. The potential is certainly there, but temper your expectations until we get official confirmation.