UPDATE (June 24th 2021): Jatt has resigned as Team Liquid coach following the benching of Alphari, who remains on a personal break until June 27th following ‘major health and family issues’.
Welsh League of Legends player Barney ‘Alphari’ Morris has published a lighthearted tweet subtly referencing Team Liquid’s decision to bench him.
The top-laner was benched by Liquid on the weekend after the opening game of the North American LCS 2021 Summer Season, which saw Liquid lose to TSM and Alphari go 2/3/9 as Lee Sin.
Team Liquid head coach Joshua ‘Jatt’ Leesman announced on Twitter that Thomas ‘Jenkins’ Tran would be stepping in to the top-lane position ‘for at least the rest of the weekend’, where he played the remaining two games – a win and a loss.
Jatt didn’t provide a reason for the change, saying ‘there’s a lot of context that’s really hard to understand from the outside that I think is unfair to share publicly’.
He also said: “This is not a decision made flippantly or lightly and is a decision we think is in the best interests of the team.”
Jatt later told Travis Gafford in an interview: “I thought Jenkins played great. [Benching Alphari] feels sudden, but it wasn’t a spur of the moment decision, it was something that was made with a lot of care over the last month. Nothing crazy happened, there’s no wild speculation. I care a lot about Alphari and the team. I can’t tell the future, so I’m not sure what’s going to happen next.”
Alphari responded with a food-based tweet referencing Jatt’s comments, saying his choice to order chipotle ‘wasn’t spur of the moment’, but ‘calculated a month in advance’.
While some saw humour in Alphari’s tweet, with former Liquid ADC Doublelift saying ‘been there’, others criticised Alphari for being ‘unprofessional’ or ‘immature’ about the situation.
Alphari then responded with another tweet making light of their comments, saying he won’t stand for being criticised about his ‘undying passion for fast food’.
Alphari has been known to make witty comments and answers to questions in the past. In an AMA back in February, Alphari spoke about what went wrong at Origen in an Q&A session that also saw him make some blunt and humorous comments.
Alphari left Astralis in the LEC last November to move to Team Liquid. He’s generally regarded as one of Europe’s best top-laners in League of Legends esports.
Elsewhere in the LCS, Cloud9 benched ADC Zven and brought in K1NG, and in the LEC, Fnatic moved Bwipo from the top-lane to the jungle position.
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.