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TL Sliggy: “With a good game plan and understanding on how to play against certain compositions, any team can beat any team at the moment”

EMEA champions Team Liquid played their first series in the inaugural Valorant Champions Tour 2021: Stage 2 Masters – Reykjavík against North American counterparts Version1, who defeated the EMEA champions 2-1, to the surprise of many.

They will get a second chance as they fall to the Lower Bracket. After their match, we spoke to Team Liquid’s coach Connor “Sliggy” Blomfield on the series against Version1 and his impressions of the competition so far.

First and foremost, thank you so much for doing this interview. Commiserations on the loss. So let’s just start off very nice and easy. The series against V1, how did it go from your perspective? What do you think went wrong?

Sliggy: I think… at least Ascent went a bit wrong. Our adaptation was a bit slow, they used a few compositions that surprised us, they changed things up a lot. There’s multiple things honestly, but they played really well.

I think at least for Haven, the final map, we’ll focus on that. We played just a bit more individually as opposed to as a team perhaps, and maybe our comms weren’t the best. Honestly, they did just kind of outplay us, they had a bit of a game plan. We weren’t ready for that kind of style and they took a lot of map control for free. We just didn’t adapt fast enough, I guess.

Version1 chose Split and you guys chose Ascent. I believe that, as caster Pansy said on broadcast, it was ‘Team Liquid’s stronghold’. Were you expecting to win on Ascent and take the series, or did you expect that they would come back and you would take Haven?

Sliggy: Yeah, honestly I expected us to win on the Ascent. I mean, maybe we could have changed some stuff up. I felt like, because we’re on something akin to a 17- 0 win streak on Ascent, we were pretty confident with it.

So yeah, maybe we got a little bit too comfortable with that, thinking that it would just be fine. We didn’t change too much up and we focused on the other maps. So maybe that came into play, but we thought we were gonna win Ascent for sure. Version1 did really well, they changed up their team composition.

It was something we haven’t played against before, so we had to change or adapt on the fly and just talk about what their strong points were, what the weaknesses are and what we have to do to kind of come through it. Maybe we’re a little bit too slow with it though.

Moving on from the loss. Of course this loss doesn’t mean Team Liquid are out of the tournament, since you’re now in the Lower Bracket. Talk to me a little bit about the preparation so far. How has preparation been for Team Liquid in general, and have they been very different from preparations in the EMEA/EU Challengers?

Sliggy: I’d say it’s been pretty similar. So basically, everyone has their own styles of play and we’re trying to play as many of the teams here to try and just get acclimated to how all of these teams are playing, and how it differs from us. It’s a lot more aggressive than it is in Europe as well, like early map control and early pressure. So we wanted to try and get as much practice against them as possible.

There’s so many good teams here, every team deserves to be here. They’re great and preparations have been good. Yet today, it felt like even though we’ve been trying to kind of get used to the different styles of play, there’s still a lot to learn.

Speaking of the different styles, I believe I read an interview with you where you mentioned three different styles: That was the NA, the EU and the Korean style. Now that you finally get the chance to experience it and if you are able to share with me, how has Team Liquid been adapting to it? Are you trying to play more aggressively perhaps, or maybe further refine your current style of play?

Sliggy: Honestly, you have to be a very well-rounded team to beat them. You have to be able to adapt very fast. We have been trying, at least in our practice, to focus on just fighting early like early map control, early map utility and just kind of getting used to what everyone else is throwing back at us.

It’s a lot to learn in such a small amount of time. But yeah, like I said earlier, it’s so fast and the Brazilians as well are playing really hyper aggressively. Maybe it’s something that we need to focus on, for sure. We need to get a bit better at playing into it really, and just win the duels that happen early on.

I know everyone’s talking about EU Vs NA in this tournament, it’s the main topic at the moment. But I’d like to move on a little bit from that rivalry and ask you about the other teams in scrims and such. Other than the Brazilian and the NA teams, which teams or regions have really surprised you so far in Iceland?

Sliggy: It’s quite a lot, honestly! There are a lot of good teams here. I would definitely have to shoutout NUTURN Gaming though, we’ve played them quite a bit and NUTURN are good. Also, I’d like to mention KRU Esports and although they didn’t form well in their first game, at least from when we’ve been practicing against them, they’ve been doing some really good stuff.

I kind of think maybe their current results might’ve been down to nerves but I’m not entirely sure, as I haven’t spoken to any of them at the moment, but it felt like at least in practice they were doing a lot of good stuff and I didn’t really see it yesterday.

So many of the teams here are solid, there are so many different styles. It’s great. I think at this point, with a good game plan and understanding on how to play against certain compositions, any team can beat any team at the moment.

I understand that Team Liquid and Fnatic of course have the task of representing Europe. Would you say that you guys have a friendly rivalry going on? Are you hoping to perhaps meet them in the finals?

Sliggy: Yeah, pretty much! At least with me, I’ve known those guys for a long time, we used to play together in Counter-Strike source. So I’ve known them for a long, long time and they’re super nice guys.

I hope they do well. We’ve been scrimming each other quite a lot just to get good practice in, and we’ll sort of talk about our games afterwards. We’re really close mates with them. I hope to see them in the final. I wish them the best of luck against Sentinels, it’s going to be a good game so let’s see what happens.

This is just a personal question, since I come from a League of Legends background I usually would think of Valorant from that viewpoint. I’ve seen discussions on it, but I’d never got to ask anyone so here goes: Do you think that Valorant at this point or maybe further in the future, will need a Picks and Bans system for it to move up a tier in as a competitive esports?

Sliggy: I would say that it’s already at that point and that if I was in charge, I would already have put a pick and ban stage in!

I think that answers it! Before we end the interview, I know that Team Liquid’s loss today will be talked about a lot on Twitter, but in the grand scheme of things, you still have the Lower Bracket to play. Here’s the chance to tell the Team Liquid and EU fans: Is Team Liquid going to make a Lower Bracket run to the finals?

Sliggy: In terms of us, we’re a super hard working team, so we’re doing everything we can, we’ve been spending as much time as possible practicing. I find that recently we’re pretty good at having a mental reset, so this is just one of those games we’re going to have to learn from and we’re just going to come back stronger.

I believe we’ve come to the end of the interview, do you have anything else you’d like to say or any shoutouts you’d like to give?

Sliggy: No, thank you very much!

Thank you Sliggy!

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Image Credit: Team Liquid
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