League of Legends

Team Liquid to hand rising NA mid laner his LCS debut in search for Summer success

The team is experimenting after two losses in a row.

Photo by Shannon Cottrell via Riot Games

Team Liquid has decided to field an academy mid laner in their second-week match of the 2023 LCS Summer Split.

The team will give a shot in the main squad to their academy mid laner Eain “APA” Stearns, who will start against Immortals on July 6 instead of Haeri. The announcement says the player has showcased impressive development in NACL and deserves a chance to prove himself in the main team.

The decision also follows a disappointing loss on July 5 against NRG. With that defeat, Liquid are currently in fourth place alongside 100 Thieves and Dignitas, who all have a 5-5 record at the time of publishing. On top of that, it was also the team’s second loss in a row in the LCS.

With shaky form lately, it’s no surprise Liquid are looking for alternatives to improve upon their horrendous Spring Split. Back then, the North American team finished eighth, missing out on playoffs for the first time since Spring 2020.

There are also enormous expectations for the team, especially when looking at the roster moves they pulled off ahead of the 2023 season. Liquid brought 2022 world champion Pyosik, 2022 LCS Spring Split MVP Summit, while also promoting two promising academy prospects, Haeri and Yeon.

Related: T1’s first LCK match after Faker injury quickly turned into a disaster

The series against Immortals will be APA’s debut in the LCS. In the 2023 NACL Spring Playoffs, he recorded a 4.0 KDA ratio, the third-highest amongst mid laners, according to Oracle’s Elixir. These numbers have been improving in the 2023 NACL Summer, where so far APA is the best mid laner KDA-wise with a 4.2 score.

About the author

Mateusz Miter

Polish Staff Writer. Mateusz previously worked for numerous outlets and gaming-adjacent companies, including ESL. League of Legends or CS:GO? He loves them both. In fact, he wonders which game he loves more every day. He wanted to go pro years ago, but somewhere along the way decided journalism was the more sensible option—and he was right.

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