Dardoch and Team Liquid have been intertwined in a dramatic offseason, and now the public is starting to see both parties’ dirty laundry.
Team Liquid released Dardoch in late August, right before the North American Gauntlet, placing their back-up mid-laner, Lyonel “Arcsecond” Pfaender, in the jungle. The move didn’t work for Liquid in the gauntlet, but that wasn’t it's primary aim. It was evident that Liquid was looking to cash-out of Season 6 and look to get a jumpstart to revamping their roster for Season 7.
Dardoch took to the roster change as we all knew Dardoch would; publicly and not the least bit humbled by the move.
GL in gauntlet xD— Joshua Hartnett (@Dardochlol) August 30, 2016
The tweet just reinforced the obvious downsides of Dardoch, and clarified the reason why Liquid decided to move on from one of North America’s brightest young talents. All throughout Season 6 Dardoch struggled with authority. Rumors swirled that Dardoch’s lack of respect for the coaching staff alienated Piglet, a former World Champion ADC. Those rumors, coupled with accusations that Dardoch wasn’t taking scrimmages seriously reminded the community why it might have been best for Liquid to move on from Dardoch; his lack of professionalism.
But did Team Liquid do everything they could to place the team, and Dardoch, in a positive environment?
Throughout both splits of 2016 Dardoch was the brightest star on the team. Dardoch averaged a 5.7 KDA in the spring, the highest on the team, and led the squad in kill participation in both the spring and summer regular season with 78% and 75% respectively. In fact, on paper the entire team looked above-average, but to viewers the team consistently under-performed, with their disastrous season climaxing in a match against Counter Logic Gaming; a match where Team Liquid had a 10,000 gold advantage, and four elder dragons, and lost the final teamfight without taking out a single member of CLG.
After that match, Team Liquid started to visibly unravel. It became clear that Dardoch was a problem, but the coaching staff was rarely discussed. For Dardoch and Team Liquid to ultimately succeed they needed a strong, respectable coaching staff. Throughout the season the top teams of the LCS put heavy emphasis on improving their coaching staff, and were justly rewarded.
Liquid did the exact opposite, however, by moving former Team Solomid coach Locodoco into the head coaching role. Even though Loco won multiple North American championships with TSM, he was ultimately let-go from the league’s most successful team amid rumors of losing the respect of three-time NA MVP Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg. Liquid hired Loco under the guise of a contract creator, something similar to current liquid content producer and analyst Mark Zimmerman’s current role with the team. Liquid announced the decision to move Loco to coach on December 31st of last year.
Looking into Locodoco’s personal twitter accounts, it’s clear to see why rumors started to swirl about his players’ lack of respect. While everyone is entitled to their own activities and decisions outside of the workplace, they do have repercussions. Locodoco’s personal twitter account is both very active and full of tweets that could be interpreted as less than professional.
Liquid even managed to somehow botch the release of Dardoch. When the organization met to inform him of their decision, Dardoch was evidently told that it was a "team decision." Some members of the team were, evidently, never asked for their input.
But even after Liquid formally released Dardoch, and Dardoch switching his twitter photo to a hilariously shopped version of him in an Echo Fox jersey, the ride might not be done. Dardoch since ditched the disguise, amid rumors of never being signed by EF. Whether that was Echo Fox waiting to announce the move until after World's, or Dardoch might be somehow staying with Team Liquid, one thing's for sure; Whoever nabs Dardoch will see the same failures if they don't have the correct coaching staff for the young star.