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Locodoco is probably the person that has suffered the most from the controversial documentary, Breaking Point, that was released by Team Liquid after season 6. Since then Locodoco have been coaching the Challenger team, Gold Coin United. Both splits he managed to qualify for the promotion tournament, but was unable to beat the LCS teams. This year he is back in the LCS, coaching the new team Golden Guardians, working with his former players Lourlo and Matt.
Although the community put a lot of the responsibility of TL not making finals or worlds on Locodoco, it can’t be argued with the fact that they failed way worse after the replaced him. It is correct that they replaced Dardoch and FeniX too, but neither of them found great success after leaving the team either. This season Loco have a team mixed with young hungry players, and a veteran like Hai. His team is one of the teams with the least expectations, and this gives a lot of room for him to work with this team in peace in the spring split, and make them a real contender for summer. I wouldn’t be surprised if Locodoco will be a contender for coach of the split in summer.
Travis Gafford have been around the League-scene for a long time, probably most known for his exclusivity rights regarding Doublelift-interviews, and running Yahoo Esports. In June 2017 Yahoo decided to shut down their esports branch, and Travis was without a job for the first time in years. Most people expected him to find a job at another big media company, or join Riot in some way. After a short time working independently, he decided to continue working for himself, creating content on his YouTube channel, and on Twitch.
Throughout this off-season Travis have created tons of interviews, and shows. At the time of writing Travis have 112k subscribers on YouTube, and his latest Doublelift exclusive had 400k views. He is also the person that has brought most of the information about the newly franchised LCS to the community, and he has been responsible for more hype around the LCS than Riot themselves. If Travis Gafford continues producing high quality content like this in the future, I am most certain that he will be the number 1 independent esport content creator and reporter.
Stunt is a player that have been in and around the LCS and Challenger scene for some time now, he has played a few LCS games, but haven’t found his breakthrough yet. Last season he was constantly at the top of the ladder with multiple accounts, playing as his main role, support. In pro-play he has shown performances on lots of different supports, performing on whatever was meta at the time.
One of the reasons I expect this to be the year that Stunt breaks through, and becomes a top NA support, is that he has gathered a lot of experience by playing with world-class ADC’s in Piglet and Arrow, which although both great, have very different playstyles. Piglet is known for playing aggressive in lane, while Arrow is more of a teamfight specialist. This year Stunt will be laning with another experienced ADC in WildTurtle at FlyQuest, and I expect them to have the potential to be a top calibre botlane this season.
Ovilee May seems to have sprung into the esports scene out of nowhere. The Communication Studies and Broadcast Journalism student was introduced to the community through the Yahoo Esports channel only this February, and before the year was over, she was traveling with Riot as an interviewer to the 2017 All-Stars event. Ovilee have entered the hearts of western esports viewers through enormous amounts of enthusiasm spiced with a lot of sarcasm.
She worked with Yahoo Esports and Travis Gafford until that was shut down in June, and was expected to continue to work with Travis for the foreseeable future, but was quickly given an amazing opportunity at Riot. Ovilee will be hoping to continue growing her name in the industry in 2018, and might also open the NA esports scene up to more females, as it is currently dominated by males.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Bjergsen have been considered one of the better midlaners in the world for a long time, and have been the cornerstone of TSM through all their success in the last few years. This year the Dane have had major changes around him, with the team changing three out of the other four players, and the coach. And I believe this will benefit him. The addition of one of the most well-known shotcallers in the west, in Mithy, will allow Bjergsen to take a step back from being a main shotcaller, to focusing more on his laning, where he haven’t been as dominant as earlier. He will hope to remove any doubt on whether he is the best midlane Dane in the world.