Cody “KINGBLUNKERS” Allison here again.
Its that time of year where I actually care about sports… no, not football, or basketball, or even soccer. (Which is the one sport I actually enjoy watching)
But I’m talking about the beginning of League of Legends eSports!
I know what you’re thinking, “But Cody… it’s not real sports, it’s just people playing video games.”
But I say, who cares, this is my thing and some people call it a sport. Deal with it.
At the very least, whether you want to call it a sport or not, League of Legends is a very competitive entity that millions of people play and watch everyday. I talked about the basics of league in another post. So if you like competition or if you’re just bored, this week Season 7 of the LCS (League Championship Series) begins in North America and Europe. (Thursday EU, Friday NA)
Although I do follow and watch as much of the European scene as I can, today I’m just gonna focus on the hometeams here in the NA LCS.
I know this is a long article but stick with me. If you want to see my predictions for rankings this split at the end and if you are interested in Fantasy LCS (yes like fantasy football, but for league of legends) see my picks here.
TL;DR: Lots of roster changes, new 10-ban system, and Meta with plenty of power picks leads to interesting split coming ahead of us.
So who is playing?
Since the expansion in 2015, the NA LCS is a heated battle between the top 10 teams in the region. Some playing this split are legendary veterans, one blast from the past, and others are newcomers trying to make their claim as a top contender.
TSM– For you newcomers, TSM is posterchild of LCS. They have been around since the beginning of the LoL eSports scene. Not only that, but they’ve always been near the top. This split the roster is largely unchanged with the exception of All-Star ADC Doublelift stepped down and is being replaced by former TSM player WildTurtle. Hauntzer, Svenskeren, Biofrost, and of course NA’s Bjergsen hope to take TSM up to the top once more.
Cloud 9 – Cloud 9, coming off the season 6 as the team to make it furthest in worlds 2016, comeback with Impact in the toplane, Jensen in mid, Sneaky at ADC and Smoothie in support. They add to the mix Contractz from the challenger scene, and have talented former Apex-top laner Ray to split time with Impact. We haven’t seen NA make success of many substitute players thus far, but we will see if Cloud 9 and coach Reapered can.
FlyQuest- FlyQuest is the newest name in the LCS this split, but its players are not. Formerly Cloud 9 Challenger team, they had to sell to a new owner because one organization cannot own two teams in the LCS. So steps in Milwaukee Bucks owners and FlyQuest is born. Bringing back Balls, Hai, and LemonNation from original C9, and adding experienced ADC Altec and Moon for the jungle. They destroyed the challenger scene and due to so much experience, I believe they will be a strong contender for top spots this season.
Team Liquid – The fourth team to discuss is Team Liquid. Team Liquid is a team that always seems to obtain promising talent and that’s about as far as they get. This split is no exception, their lineup looks amazing. Lourlo returns to top, Matt returning to support lane, and Piglet is brought up from their challenger team to return to the ADC position. Reignover, possibly the NA’s best jungler, joins the crew as well as Goldenglue at mid lane, who has been around the scene for a couple of years now on various teams. Let’s see if they can break the curse of forever 4th place.
Echo Fox – Echo Fox is the team I think everyone wants to see succeed but so far just haven’t. Former NBA star Rick Fox learned about league of legends through his son and got so invested he bought a team. Not only that, but he is super visible in the scene. He is often giving interviews and connecting with EF fans. Management aside, Keith and Froggen return with P1’s Gate new to support, Challenger talent Akaadian to jungle, and RNG legendary top laner Looper. Hopefully this is the year they can climb the standing and show the LCS what they’ve got.
Team Envy – New to the LCS in season 6, team Envy flew under the radar for quite sometime, but surprised everyone when making it into the playoffs in the summer split. Seraph top, Ninja mid, and Hakuho support, return with some familiar faces added with Apollo and Lira at ADC and Jungle
Team Dignitas – This is the team I’m most excited to see, mainly because Dignitas was a longstanding name in the LCS scene and were knocked out in a relegation tournament. However, they sold their spot to Apex and then Apex was bought out by the Philadelphia 76ers. We now have a frankenstein-like creation with the name Dignitas returning to the LCS. They have world-famous Ssumday in the top lane, Chaser at jungle, Keane in mid lane, LOD at ADC and Xpecial in the support role. Certainly a weird way to come back from the dead, but I think Dignitas is looking to place higher than it has in while.
Phoenix 1 – P1 is another team that was changed significantly in the offseason. With just Zig and Inori returning to the Top and Jungle respectively, they are joined by Ryu and Arrow at Mid and ADC. These are two players who have excelled with other teams in other regions. And rounding it out is Adrian formerly of Immortals looking to bring it all in.
Counter Logic Gaming – CLG is the counterpart to TSM. Longstanding name and a longstanding rivalry between the two. CLG is the only team to not change this split. They are returning with Darshan in the top, Xmithie in jungle, Huhi Mid lane, Stixxay at ADC, and aphromoo in support role. The Roster has been strong in past splits, so as long as they can keep up with new talent in the region I believe they will stay competitive.
Immortals – With only one returning member Immortals could be pretty shaky… that being said… they still have some amazing replacement players. Flame in the top lane, Dardoch in Jungle, Pobelter returns to mid, with new talent Cody Sun at ADC and Olleh in support. Immortals is a team that lets their players have some control over their careers in hopes that happy players are successful players. With everyone taking their leave maybe the new talent can live up to the players who they took their spots from.
New Ban system
Riot decided that during the champion pick/ban phase the game will expand to a 10 ban system. Formerly each team for 3 bans for a total of 6 champions taken off the table. Now 5 bans each for a total of 10.
What will this do? We don’t know. The pros players often decide the meta during scrims and practice, whatever they decide to do competitively is what sticks. So it could be that more bans to each role across the board making everyone dig deep to their 3rd-4th champion in their preferred picks. It could also mean that team can completely target out one role and make one person play a very sub-optimal champion. I’ll be very interesting to see how this shakes things up and how many different strategies this opens up.
If you frequent the /r/leagueoflegends subreddit, you’ll know that ADC in the current patches is a hot topic. Recently Ziggs (typically a magic damage Mid lane champion) has been played in the challenger solo queue. Its left some people questioning if marksmen need some help. Typically any time marksmen items get buffed, junglers and assassins also benefit. They use that benefit to attack the people who were supposed to be better. It’s a difficult balance and I do not envy the position. With many strong assassins/junglers, and off meta picks (ziggs adc and malzahar support) ADC could be a tough spot to shine this split that may separate teams greatly.
Now for my humble, and unasked for opinion here are my predictions for the standings this split. Will update these half way through the split.
- Cloud 9
- Team Dignitas
- Team Liquid
- Phoenix 1
- Team Envy
- Echo Fox
Alright, now I’ve caught my breath. I’m going to be watching some League this weekend. If this interests you at all hit up Twitch or Youtube to view it. If you’ve never watched an eSports broadcast, Riot games does theirs very very well. The production value just keeps getting better and better. If you have questions let me know, happy to share my hobbies with others
Cody “KINGBLUNKERS” Allison