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Liquid’s Love Letter to Clem

Liquid’s Love Letter to Clem

In esports, the oldest titles are often the most stratified. The echelons of competition are arranged like tectonic plates, moving only glacially and shifting everything when they do. So it goes for StarCraft, where the upper crust is defined by legends of the game.

So, when a new face breaks through it means a lot. And for Team Liquid, an organization built on StarCraft, it means even more.

Through both his victory in ESL Masters Winter 2023 and his incredible performance in the World Team League, Clément "Clem" Desplanches has earned that rare, coveted breakthrough. That’s why we wanted to go beyond the usual social media celebration and commemorate Clem’s win with some love letters — not just from his teammates, but from Team Liquid staff as well. 

But before we do, I’d like to highlight both how much Clem’s skill has skyrocketed in the last two months and how hard he has worked to reach this new peak. 

Reading through all the letters, it’s clear that everyone in Liquid could see how talented Clem was from the beginning. As one of the fastest and most mechanically gifted players in StarCraft, his talent was clear to most people. Clem made a name for himself early on by playing an electrifying Terran vs. Zerg style that relied on micro-heavy, cross-map aggression. He would set a blistering pace with frequent trades and skirmishes, establishing a mechanical bar for his opponent to clear before the match could be considered competitive.

That talent was only a baseline, though. In these old, mechanically intense games, the upstarts are always playing a game of catch-up with the veterans, and to win that game they have to practice hard. Clem’s effort in 2023 was legendary. 

Across 2023, Clem entered roughly 120 events. Put into perspective, that’s about 1/3rd of the calendar year. The French prodigy routinely entered both ESL weekly cups for EU and the Americas, meaning he often played two tournaments in a day. This is all before taking time spent practicing or researching into account. 

For a while, Clem had been caught on a plateau: He had won big LANs in Europe, but couldn’t quite do it internationally. Over the past two months, however, that mix of hard work and talent pushed him to a new peak, where he not only won an international premier LAN, ESL Masters Winter, but powered Liquid through a brutal World Team League gauntlet and to a second place finish. Across the World Team League run, Clem went 23-5 in maps and beat top names like Reynor, Serral, ByuN, herO, Maru, and Dark. 

Clem’s sudden rise to that peak was shocking for some, but not for his peers, opponents, or keen observers in the scene. TL.net Editor-In-Chief Waxangel wrote of the ascent as inevitable, and when you consider the mixture of talent and practice, it’s easy to see why. 

Surprising or not, for Liquid, Clem’s rise has been a unique joy. We’ve worked with Clem for nearly 4 years now, with many of our staff seeing him not only grow as a player but as a person. We’ve long believed in his potential to reach the highest echelon of StarCraft. Heading into 2024, and into one of the biggest events in StarCraft (IEM Katowice), the player to watch is Clément "Clem" Desplanches — and we couldn’t be more proud.

Founder and Co-CEO | Victor “Nazgul” Goossens

StarCraft is part of our DNA and we owe everything we are today to our legacy from SC:BW and SC2. We've always remained committed to our players in the hopes that we would one day be scoring these big victories again. There are so many incredible victories, whether it is HuK, TaeJa, HerO, Snute or others and I am just ecstatic that Clem has put us on the map again with such a beautiful display of skill.‍

He has been with Liquid now for four years and the talent that we saw in him has been shining through these last couple of years already. For him, to get his first major international victory under his belt and pay off all his hard work has been so much fun to witness. At 21 years of age there is still an entire career ahead of them and we are grateful that we will get to follow and root for him.

~Victor “Nazgul” Goossens

Nikita "SKillous" Gurevich

I think it won't be an exaggeration if I say that Clem’s victory was inevitable. For the last year Clem did nothing else but improve, and was a big contender for getting a title for a while already. I truly believe Clem is the most skillful player in the world, and this is not his last trophy. This win is very important because he finally sees that he indeed is a champion level player, and there is nothing stopping him from winning even more titles. And he is also a great person, so there is no better player you can find to represent Team Liquid!

~Nikita "SKillous" Gurevich

Kim "Cure" Doh-wook

I think Clem is a passionate player, a player who grows day by day. There is a reason why his build orders are so diverse and it seems to be his deep in-game study. He is writing a new history for Terran players by winning international competitions and he is one of the best players in the world right now.‍

Kim "Cure" Doh-wook

Mikołaj "Elazer" Ogonowski

I think Clem has made incredible progress last year. It feels like he is playing with much more confidence and putting in more hours in preparation to win championships. I’m looking forward to what he is going to achieve in Katowice with his current form‍

~Mikołaj "Elazer" Ogonowski

Grzegorz “MaNa” Komincz

Clem's rise is an incredible inspiration to everyone who wants to be a pro. Sometimes we see players become champions of one or two tournaments, only to disappear into mediocrity straight after. Clem has been winning multiple big online tournaments in Europe and was yet to prove himself offline. This victory cements him as one of the best players in the world, online and offline. His skill level has been incredibly consistent for a long time while still feeling like it's not even his final form.

~Grzegorz “MaNa” Komincz

Talent Coordinator/Manager | Cheryl “Sionnach” Meredith

Every year you can see Clem grow, personally and professionally. It’s been incredible to watch how he keeps improving his skill in StarCraft. However, I think this tournament win is not only the result of him grinding and improving, but also very much of his personal growth over the years.

 ‍

I think this win means the world to him, too. His reaction on stage said everything, there was so much emotion there. We have always believed in Clem and I am sure he’s felt that, but I can’t imagine how fulfilling it must be for himself to finally achieve that dream. It’s been an absolute joy working with Clem, he lives and breathes everything that Team Liquid stands for and we are so proud he’s part of the team!

~Cheryl “Sionnach” Meredith

Senior Esports Manager | Brittany “JunoTheCat” Lattanzio

Clem has always been a talented player, and TL is blessed to have been the first-hand witness to his rise to the top. It's been a career joy for me personally to witness his development as a professional and as a human being.

You don't get to the level Clem is without a ton of hard work; but this past year especially, Clem has been absolutely grinding. It's really great to see how motivated he is, but at the same time, he is still so active and helpful to his teammates in the team Discord. He absolutely earned this win 10000%. He is ushering in (I hope) an era with even more EU SC2 star-power on the international stage as other EU players rise to his level alongside him.

Clem deserves all the best things in the world that come his way. He's the absolute sweetest, kindest, most humble person on the planet. I think he should be feeling incredibly proud, and that this is something he deserves because he earned it through hard work. 

~Brittany “JunoTheCat” Lattanzio

Let's go Clem!

You made it to thend! Here's some poynts for your efforts. Thanks for reading and for cheering on Clem! Be sure to join us for IEM Katowice.