Team Liquid has suspended starting jungle Joshua "Dardoch" Hartnett due to "recent behavioral problems and team dynamics issues," the team announced in a release Friday. In the release, Team Liquid co-owner Steve Arhancet said the team will look to "facilitate a possible transfer for other teams."
One of the top rising homegrown League of Legends talents in the United States, Dardoch came up through Team Liquid's Academy team, forming a strong partnership with starting support player Matt "Matt" Elento. Both players were called up to Team Liquid's NA LCS team almost immediately after the Spring Split started, and while it was a slow start while the new group of five got adjusted, by the end of the split Team Liquid was one of the most feared teams in North America, largely due to Dardoch's Rookie of the Split performance.
Team Liquid head coach Yoonsup "Locodoco" Choi gave more context to the suspension in the release.
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.
This is the second straight split Team Liquid has made a surprise suspension of one of its starters just days before the start of the split. Before Spring, starting top laner Diego "Quas" Ruiz was suspended by the team, and sat out the split. Quas was recently signed by NRG Esports.
With Dardoch suspended, Liquid will likely start former NRG starting jungler Galen "Moon" Holgate, recently signed to Team Liquid Academy. The team opens the season with a best-of-three series against Team Envy Saturday, June 4.