Team Liquid may be without carry jungler Dardoch in the upcoming Summer split. The team has just announced that Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett has been suspended since May 18th, 2016, and may not return to his starting role on the roster.
Team Liquid cited recent behavioral problems and team dynamic issues as the reasons behind suspending the outspoken jungler. In the team’s official statement, head coach Locodoco had this to say:
“We have decided to suspend Dardoch due to his insubordinate behavior. It may come as a surprise to our fans that we’re starting the season this way. Yet as a coach, I believe that League of Legends is fundamentally a team game and a player who can’t see eye to eye with that and can’t put the team before oneself regardless of his skill will only stunt the team in the long run. We believe that 5 players under a single vision, putting everything we have to improve as a unit and working selflessly, is the best way to a healthy and a successful team environment. While this is a big change, we are moving closer to that environment with the suspension. We’re going to succeed through our teamwork and effort, not individual players, and I still remain confident that we have a bright Summer Split ahead of us.”
Locodoco also had his first split with Team Liquid this past Spring where he coached a team with 3 rookie players into a playoff position. Team Liquid would go on to sweep NRG Esports before losing a close 3-2 series to the eventual champions in CLG.
Steve Arhancet, co-owner of Team Liquid, had this to say about Dardoch’s departure from the team:
“Effective since the 18th of May 2016, Josh has been placed under suspension from Team Liquid for behavioral issues—namely, insubordination. Faced with a difficult decision to keep his suspension active and prevent future competitive play for the remainder of his contract, I decided that it would be fair to facilitate a possible transfer for other teams. I’m personally a big fan of Josh and think very highly of his mechanics and accomplishments. I’ve personally spent significant time, along with many of our support staff counseling and mentoring him. Most recently, we flew our sports psychologist, Summer, to our bootcamp in Korea to work closely with Dardoch and the team in hopes of finding solutions. I understand this post does not provide a clear result, but I hope it does share that we are in the midst of working through this. We will share more details as they develop.”
The statement from Steve makes it clear that whatever went on behind the scenes with Dardoch was enough for Team Liquid to distance themselves.
Dardoch himself shared a few words in the statement put out by Team Liquid:
“From the very start, Team Liquid has been great to me, like when they moved me from Challenger to LCS so quickly. There’s been team dynamic issues that have made it hard for me to stay level headed. Big Steve and Loco have coordinated the possibility of a transfer, which I appreciate—the future is not yet figured out but I’m still motivated and eager to play as ever.”
Possible New Team Liquid Jungle Options?
Team Liquid has yet to officially replace Dardoch, or claim he will not be returning to the team. That said, the statement released seems to suggest Dardoch has worn out his welcome.
This sentence from Team Liquid co-owner Steve Arhancet sticks out for me:
“Faced with a difficult decision to keep his suspension active and prevent future competitive play for the remainder of his contract, I decided that it would be fair to facilitate a possible transfer for other teams.”
We are left with baseless speculation until Team Liquid officially makes their decision on whether or not Dardoch will return later in the split, or join a new team.
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Former NRG jungler Moon is currently the starter for Team Liquid Academy, Team Liquid’s Challenger Series team. It is possible that Moon makes the jump up to TL’s LCS team. Popular yet unlikely fan theories include the return of former Team Liquid jungler IWillDominate, or the acquisition of C9 Rush.
The Dardoch suspension will force Team Liquid management to make a decision soon. Team Liquid’s first game of Summer is on Saturday, June 4th, when they take on LCS newcomers Team Envy.