Interview with TL's Jatt after Play-Ins concluded
September 28, 2020
League of Legends

Liquid.Jatt: “Everyone is now grateful that we had the opportunity to play through Play-Ins”

After Team Liquid punched their tickets to the group stage of Worlds 2020 with a dominant win over Legacy Esports, we sat down with Head Coach Jatt. In the interview we talked about dealing with pressure and other key factors for Liquid’s strong showing so far.

Team Liquid’s run through the Worlds 2020 Play-Ins has been smooth so far with only a slight stumble against INTZ earlier today. We talked to Head Coach Jatt about the key factors to their success Congratulations for reaching the group stage of Worlds 2020 with a dominant win over Legacy. Especially compared to the earlier match against INTZ that was quite the different showing from Liquid. What was the main reason for the change?

Jatt: There was just a lot more pressure on probably both teams going into the tiebreaker game. Knowing that the winner would go straight to the group stage and the loser would likely face a Best-of-5 against LGD, stakes were higher. Hopefully the experience was useful to the guys, being able to come together at that moment.

I feel like our foucs was probably higher but it’s really hard to know what exactly in going on in the heads of the players.

It was honestly the best game we played all group stage, so the silver lining of losing to INTZ was, that we got the experience of playing a really high pressure tiebreaker game and coming out on top.

Pressure is one of the aspects that makes or breaks teams at the Worlds stage. This is your first time as head coach at Worlds, how did you apppraoch that issue with the players?

The good thing is that we have a really experienced team and that can help bring all the energy while remaining calm. I have also been around LoL for 10 years and I have been a huge sports fan all my life. So I try to keep the mood up and releaxed. Try to have the right conversations with players to make us feel prepared, relaxed and confident and just get all our mindsets in the right place.

That comes with good preparation, that the players can trust. In practices this means a plan going into the game makes sense and can make us all feel like we have a high chance of winning. It’s part psychology and part good preparation and I am happy to have that experience.

You already talked about the veteran players on your squad, but Tactical is the exception to that. As a rookie coming to the Worlds stage did you do anything special to prepare his mindset for the games?

I think we treated it just like any high pressure game. I feel like Tactical has been put through many tests. Like in the very first game of the LCS split against Doublelift, Tactical played very well and on that game. And now at his first world championship in the very first game he plays Twitch and does amazingly. So this kid is something special I think.

The most important things to ensure the highest performance out of Tactical is making sure that he trusts his teammates and his teammates trust him. So we just try to do what we have been doing already. Tactical is just having an incredible year.

Tactical and CoreJJ have been performing very well on the Botlane so far. Do you tend to draft around the Botlane a lot? How is your approach to get the most out of your players?

I think it depends on the game, who we specifically draft around. I won’t go too much into that but we definetly draft to our team’s strength and try to avoid pitfalls in the draft.

In terms of drafting Team Liquid has often been criticized that Broxah has a rather small champion pool. How do you approach enlargening a champion pool?

So whenever you try to add champions to your pool you try to find the ones that will work best with the champions you already play. You make sure to get several practice games on the pick, so when you bring it out on stage it makes sense and is powerful.

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But I would also say that several teams have gone very deep or even won Worlds with a very small number of champions played. Just look at FPX’ pool from their victory last year. They also played a very small pool, but if the other teams decide to use bans on it, they got an advantage somewhere else.

I understand the criticism towards Broxah because you look at the pool and you see what he has found success with, so far it isn’t that much. But we have other picks ready and we are continuing to make sure to be ready for the situations in which he gets targeted.

Prior to worlds you talked about a common direction as the most important thing for a team to succeed at Worlds. So how did you get the team back on track after the two heartbreaking defeats you suffered in the LCS playoffs?

It definitely isn’t easy but I think winning on stage is the most unifying thing you can do once tournaments come back. But for me I try to remind the players of what has gone well, what we are good at, how much experience they have, how we won in the past, how the things, that have gone wrong are fixable and what we are doing to fix them. And then lots of long conversations about how individuals are playing, how teammates are playing, how the coaching staff is helping out, what the players need. it is just like a never ending process.

But yeah, I still echo the sentiment that getting everyone on the same page is probably the most important thing when playing at this level. Because all of these players are incredibly good, not just on our team on other teams too. So it’s really slim margins that determine victory or defeat, even in games that look really stompy from the outside. It might have been something early on, that was really contested, that flipped. So yeah, getting everyone on the same page gives us the biggest chance of winning.

Looking at the performance of TL so far one cant help but draw parallels to Cloud 9’s 2018 run. Now with the play-in buff secured how far will TL go?

We are going to take it one game at a time but our next goal is making it out of group stage. I actually was really happy to have Jensen on this team to just share his experience from past Play-Ins. He was on that C9 team that went through playins and all the way to semifinals. That team actually went to a game 5 in Play-Ins against Gambit. so everyone on this team knew Play-Ins were not free. That may have been one of the reasons we looked like the strongest team in the group up until the loss against INTZ when things got a little spicy.

At this point everyone is now grateful, that we had the opportunity to play through Play-Ins because you can never really simulate playing three matches against three unique opponents in a single day. That is exactly what happens on the deciding day of the group stage so we got that practice in today with the tiebreaker game.

Actually I think that gives us more of an advantage in the group stage than if we had moved in directly as NA’s first or second seed. Quite the silver lining as a reward for us facing the additional stress of going through Play-Ins.

Looking ahead to the group stage. Most say you will end up in Group A. But which group do you prefer?

I mean most say that but I will say that requires lgd and mad lions to go through in order for us to be locked into that group. so right now  we will take on anyone we get placed against i am not going to pick a favorite.

Thank you very much and good luck further.

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