Is this a risk not only for Liquid, but for Broxah?
On November 19, Team Liquid officially announced that premier Fnatic jungler Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen would be replacing North American veteran Jake “Xmithie” Puchero in the jungle. While the move had been rumored since the start of the off-season and seen as a general upgrade on-paper, was swapping out such a stalwart presence on the team the best move for Liquid after their underwhelming Worlds showing?
If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It
Xmithie made his mark in the League of Legends Championship Series as one of the most enigmatic and valuable junglers to ever play on stage. The six-time LCS champion was less known for his mechanical prowess, and more for the intangible factors that he brought to any team in and out of game.
His time on both CLG and Team Liquid best showcased his selfless playstyle. Accomodating a resource heavy player in Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng across two rsoters studded with talent was no easy feat, and a skill that may have been entirely unique to Xmithie.
Xmithie played a key role in establishing Team Liquid’s LCS dynast. If not for his creative playstyle and ability to comeback from seemingly any situation, Liquid’s 2018 may not have ended as well as it did. A prime example of his resilience was showcased in week seven of the 2018 LCS Summer Split against 100Thieves where he started the game four buffs down against his opponent and still clinched the win.
A Breath of Fresh Air
2019 was supposed to be the dream year for Team Liquid. After winning the Spring Split, they went on to the Mid-Season Invitational and made a miracle run to the finals. After winning the Summer Split, the hype surrounding this team was enough to make them a dark horse going into Worlds. Despite all of this success, they still failed to make it out of a relatively manageable group.
At first glance, replacing their veteran jungler after a disappointing end to 2019 may seem like a desperation move from Liquid. In their first year with a new mid laner in Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen, they achieved more than anybody thought they could’ve hoped for. Nobody would fault them for running it back with the same roster going into 2020, but instead they doubled down on their goal to win worlds by bringing one of the most successful junglers in the west.
Broxah brings a new perspective to the North American lineup, as well as a clear upgrade in terms of solo carry potential and mechanical skill in the jungle role. His experience playing around Martin “Rekkles” Larrson, Tim "Nemesis" Lipovšek, and Rasmus “Caps” Winther on Fnatic should translate well over to Liquid’s star mid and ADC.
While hopes are still high, the concern is obvious: moving any pieces around in a proven roster could risk Liquid’s domestic dominance. Some bumps along the way are to be expected with any new lineup, but if Broxah isn’t able to click fast enough with his new teammates, it could mean an end to Liquid’s era in the LCS.
Image Credit | Team Liquid