Inside the life of competitive gaming’s elite

I’m going to go on the Baron. – Walk down mid, we need to walk down mid. – [Doublelift] It is intense.

– Holy s***. – Oh no, finish, finish, finish, finish. – [Doublelift] Intense emotion. – [Announcer 1] Team Liquid, needing every win at the end of the split. – [Crowd] Three, two … – [Doublelift] No matter what you’re doing, you’re always thinking about the game.

It just consumes your life. We are Team Liquid, we play League of Legends competitively in the LCS. League of Legends is a five-on-five strategy game.

Essentially two teams are fighting each other, constantly trying to push into the enemy base and destroy their nexus, which is kind of the command center of everything. You have to navigate a square map with three lanes. There’s a middle, a top, and a bottom lane, and there’s also a jungle, which is kind of like this wild maze.

The game is really strategic. It’d kind of be like if chess had constantly changing pieces that did different things. On our team, we have Olleh.

Impact. Xmithie. Pobelter. And me, Doublelift.

It might seem weird from the outside, but on Team Liquid we have a gaming-house type situation, where we live together in apartments. But now we go to work in an office. We separate our work life and our regular life.

We’re the only team in America that has an office like this. I think a gaming facility’s unheard of, so we’re the first. You can give crappy players all the resources in the world, all the tools to succeed, and they won’t do anything with it. So our team is, you know, an elite team.

– It’s time for a name change already. – So today is Friday. We have a match tomorrow against TSM, and currently the guys are in an intense training session with another team. This is actually a daily thing for us, where we practice from 11 to two and then from three to six, and we do another practice schedule from about seven to nine. So these guys are practicing day-in and day-out for multiple hours, anywhere from 10 to 16 hours. – [Doublelift] It’s impossible to have a normal life.

There’s no limit to how much you can practice, because there’s no physical demand on your body. You know, every day from 10 a.m. until 10 or 11 p.m., and then after that we practice more on our own. We’re constantly going to the review room.

We’ll watch the game, we’ll discuss how we felt at certain points. What was the weak points? What was the strong points? Like, how can we take something away from this game? We just work endlessly to improve.

When it’s game day, we wake up, we do our pre-match rituals, whatever everyone wants to do. We get together at the apartments, and we usually kind of joke around, hang out, make sure that none of us are nervous or feeling bad, unconfident that day. I think this whole like 12-hour day is pretty unsustainable. Most pros right now are struggling with burnout.

People quit when they’re like 21, 22. Most pros, they’ve fizzled out. – [Team Member] One-hundred percent, just fire. – [Doublelift] When we all go to LCS, we’ll probably eat a little bit there if we haven’t already.

And then we’ll warm up. – Again, 12. – [Doublelift] We’ll get really, really detailed about that day’s strategy. – You just focus on Cait, I’m gonna block Tahm Kench. You’re gonna win trade.

– I can try. I don’t know if I’m winning against Caitlyn 1-v-1. And after that we go backstage. – [Team Member] You have the memory of like an ant. – I think it’s okay. – [PastryTime] Hello and welcome back for a game with major playoff implications, TSM versus Team Liquid.

Zirene, it’s time to get excited – if you weren’t already! – I was already excited! – Let’s go. – This is…this is going to be not an easy one.

If Team Liquid can have a good start, I think we can see a very, very competitive game. – [Team Liquid] One, two, three, Liquid! – [Doublelift] Walking to LCS. For some of us is really new. There’s a lot of energy at the arena.

– [Crowd] Five, four, three, two, one! – [PastryTime] Well, let’s see what happens in this game as that’s all these teams have right now. – [Doublelift] When you go to LCS, everyone’s just cheering and just having a good time.

– [PastryTime] My favorite part of how high this crowd is is not just the energy they’re bringing, but they’re smart enough to coordinate chants alternating to make sure their team gets in there. – [Doublelift] When you’re on stage and you’re playing for real, your energy level is so much higher. – [PastryTime] Oh the wall is very nice. There’s the Varus ulti combos them all the way in. And Xmithie gonna get fought on the front lines. – [Doublelift] I think your focus is a lot more high too, but it could also backfire.

– [PastryTime] Team Liquid still forced, backed up against the bricks of their own base. – [Zirene] There’s still 50 seconds on Impact, TSM if they have the damage they can end the game. – [PastryTime] Is Xmithie gonna try pull him out!? I like the attempt.

Flay into the fountain is not enough to kill Hauntzer, and Xmithie will protect his team. They’re taking down the nexus will be claimed by TSM as they take down Liquid in the rematch. – [Doublelift] We have like really inconsistent results on stage because we don’t stick to one style. – Really curious, I don’t know what’s going on.

Like we drafted and we practiced the whole week playing through bot side. We played Varus-Thresh into Ezreal-Braum. We said it multiple times, we’re gonna play through bot side. In-game even we said it too, and we lost first turret. We didn’t play through bot side.

– Like, just as the game got on, it got worse. Because none of our champions could reach Ezreal or do anything to him. Except for GP, kind of. We didn’t really play against either of those in practice that much, and we got f***ed really hard by both of them. – We didn’t fight just one time, actually. – One time we beat them.

– One time, one time. – If we fight them we win. – We won, right?

– That time is … I wanted to talk about it too because, I wanted to because I wanted to TP there but we didn’t ward. I asked for ward and no one answered. – We knew Olaf was coming, so I think we just chunk him and then turn back and then waste their time.

I think we waste Olaf’s time like one or two times but that time I die, so it was pretty bad. – I know… like… we play … we tried to play to bot, it failed. We tried to play to top, it’s just not worth it. – Is the trade bad? Like getting mid turret for bottom turret, is that bad?

Or is it that bad that we were gonna lose the game? – I think when I play, it’s not that bad, but we’re just really bad at playing it. Like when I play Guinsoo’s ADs like Varus and Kog, when I lose tower, I feel like the game is just so f***ing hard for us to play because I don’t think, mid and top, you guys do a very good job with resources. – Peter, Peter, any AD get first tower the game is f***ing hard. – [Doublelift] Losses happen. It’s terrible.

Like, we hate it. We messed up on stage against a good team. Went back to our training facility at like six, and we met and practiced until 2 a.m. We reviewed that game like two to three times.

We talked about every small aspect of it so many times until everyone just absolutely understood. – [Announcer 1] Clutch versus Team Liquid about to hit the Rift. An 8-7 Team Liquid, as you were saying, this week isn’t any easier for Liquid and Clutch and Cloud 9, they need these victories here. They wanna get those wins.

– [Doublelift] Like no matter who that next day’s game was, I don’t think they stood a chance. – [Announcer 1] Xmithie stops their backs. Impact is gonna take it himself. – [Announcer 2] They’re on the other side. He says if I can completely rout him, get him in the pen, he just goes for the ultimate flag and drag out for Doublelift, and it’s the teleport in from Impact!

He’s in the middle of the fight, but it’s not enough for them. They go right for Hakuho! Hakuho is down as Apollo gets dropped by Olleh! The fight, the dance! What a beautiful job by Team Liquid as they take out each member of Clutch Gaming one by one.

– [Annoucer 1] That is going to be the game. Team Liquid take down Clutch Gaming. – [Doublelift] It’s the feeling of winning that we’re chasing. We don’t care about the prize money that comes after, the sponsorships. When you devote your whole life to something, you really think about the journey and all the things that you did, all the sacrifices you made, and then when you finally win, you feel justified.

You feel relief, and you feel proud. At this point, none of us can honestly say League is a hobby. It’s our life, but it’s mainly our job. I think more and more people are starting to get it or starting to like understand, “Oh, this is something that’s happening.” It’s something that’s gonna be integrated in like every country, everywhere. So, eSports is gonna be huge and this is just the beginning.