Before the tournament, Team Liquid were seen as the best chance for the North American region to perform. They reached the finals of the Mid-Season Invitational and swept both splits in the LCS.
But at Worlds, they finished the group stage with a 3-3 record that was not enough to advance to the knockout stage. In Group D they faced fierce competition in the form of Damwon Gaming from the LCK and the reigning World Champions Invictus Gaming from China.
In a video posted on Twitter, Doublelift defended his teammates who had come under strong criticism from fans, specifically targeting the performances of top laner Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong and mid laner Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen. He explained that games are not won and lost over a single mistake and that everyone on the team needs to contribute to a win.
“I feel like Jensen and Impact get a huge proportion of the blame and I hate that and I feel like its really destructive for a team. When I was on TSM I wished my teammates stood up for me so I feel like I should stand up for my teammates when they get unfairly blamed.,” Doublelift said.
The popular bot laner admitted that the team and its individual players had made mistakes, and spoke to how those mistakes stick out “like a sore thumb” on a stage as big as Worlds. But he also made it clear that just as a single play from an individual doesn’t win an entire game, a single mistake doesn’t lose a game either.
After defending his team, he gave further insight into how he felt about not progressing deeper into the tournament and finding himself in such a tough group.
“I think we were a strong team, actually. This year, more than any other year, we were a strong team that just got unlucky, man,” Doublelift lamented. “I think we are a strong team that can beat anybody, and that’s why it hurt so bad this year because we weren’t able to show it.”
No team from the LCS progressed out of the pool stages with the region finishing with a 5-13 overall record due in large part to third seed Clutch Gaming going winless. This marks the first time no LCS team made it to the elimination stages since 2015, and is a particular disappointment after Cloud9’s run to the semifinals in 2018.
The Worlds 2019 quarterfinals begin on October 26 with Griffin versus Invictus Gaming.