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After a disappointing worlds for NA, there have been mass changes in the LCS. 33 new starters are confirmed, including an all new team in Evil Geniuses which replaces former team Echo Fox. A couple of re-brandings happened as well; Clutch became Dignitas, and Optic became Immortals. Both well known organizations for long time LCS fans.
With all those changes in mind, this article will introduce you to all the new rosters, and give a short analysis and personal ranking for each team.
Team Liquid– 1st
- Top: Impact
Starter for Team Liquid in season 9. 1st in KDA, Gold difference @10 and DMG per minute for toplaners in summer.
1st LCS All-Pro Toplaner & MSI Finalist season 9
- Jungle: Broxah (NEW)
Starter for the EU team Fnatic in season 9. 2nd in First blood participation and Gold difference @10 for LEC junglers in summer.
3rd LEC All-Pro Jungler
- Mid: Jensen
Starter for Team Liquid in season 9. 2nd in KDA, 4th in XP and CS difference @10 for midlaners in summer.
1st LCS All-Pro Midlaner & MSI Finalist season 9
- Bot: Doublelift
Starter for Team Liquid in season 9. 1st in KDA, First blood% and Gold difference @10 for ADCs in summer.
1st LCS All-Pro ADC, 3rd place LCS MVP summer & MSI Finalist season 9
- Support: CoreJJ
Starter for Team Liquid in season 9. 1st in KDA, First Blood% and 2nd in Kill participation for supports in summer.
1st LCS All-Pro Support, 2nd place LCS MVP summer & MSI Finalist season 9
- Coach: Cain
Head Coach for Team Liquid in summer.
LCS Coach of the Split & MSI Finalist season 9
Team Liquid has won every single split since the start of franchising, four times in a row is more than any other team has ever done in LCS history. Last season ended with a bitter taste for TL fans with their exit at the group stage of the World Championship, but looking back at the season as a whole, they still had amazing success. They won both splits regionally, and tied NA’s best performance at the Mid-Season Invitational by getting to the final. A few players have changed throughout TL’s four splits of dominance, but one thing has always been true; they are a bot focused team playing around arguably the best NA botlaner of all time, Doublelift.
This split one change has been made to the main LCS roster. The consistent jungler Xmithie have been replaced by Broxah, formerly of EU team Fnatic. Broxah is definitively no rookie himself, having played the last six splits for Fnatic, and picking up 2 LEC(EU LCS) All pro team awards, and 2 LEC titles along the way. He also played in the World Championship final of season 8. This now means that four out of TL’s five members have been to at least a worlds semi-final: Impact S3 champion, Broxah S7 finalist, Jensen S7 semi-finalist, and CoreJJ S7 champion.
This points to what every person following LCS knows, this Team Liquid roster is built for international success, a World Championship, winning NA has become to them only an expectation, the journey, not the goal.
I expect Team Liquid to place 1st, with a potential between 1st and 2nd.
Cloud 9 – 2nd
- Top: Licorice
Starter for C9 in season 9. 2nd in KDA and 4th lowest death % of toplaners in summer.
2nd LCS All-Pro Toplaner
- Jungle: Blaber (Promoted)
Academy starter for C9 in season 9. 1st in KDA, Damage per minute, Kill participation and CS per minute for academy junglers in summer.
- Mid: Nisqy
Starter for C9 in season 9. 1st in KDA and Gold difference @10 for midlaners in summer.
2nd LCS All-Pro Midlaner
- Bot: Zven (NEW)
Starter for TSM in season 9. 1st in Kill participation and Damage per minute for ADCs in summer.
- Support: Vulcan (NEW)
Starter for Clutch in season 9. 3rd in wards placed, and cleared, per minute for supports in summer.
- Coach: Reapered
Head Coach for C9 in season 9.
Cloud9 is the only NA team to reach a World Championship semi-final(excluding the season 1 championship), but there is not much left from that season 8 roster. Licorice is the only member that played a majority of the games that still remains. Newly promoted Blaber played only one game that tournament as a sub.
After a year of “almosts” they decided to change up their roster. MVP jungler Svenskeren left in favor of Evil Geniuses, and botlaners Sneaky and Zeyzal were replaced by Zven and Vulcan. Zven is a very experienced ADC coming from TSM, he has many years behind him on teams like G2 and Origen in EU. Vulcan on the other hand is much newer to the scene, debuting in summer season 8 for Clutch Gaming.
A botlane with these two players create a few questions regarding how they will work together. On one hand you have someone known for being a very good safe ranged DPS, having most of his success on champions such as Ezreal. On the other hand you have a super aggressive support which got his LCS debut by impressing Piglet, arguably the most aggressive botlaner in recent LCS history.
Where their botside of the map has questions asked of them, its hard to not be confident of their topside. They have probably the two best solo laners in the LCS, and a mechanically gifted, though sometimes overly aggressive, jungler. It’s not really a question on whether or not they will be a top team, but if they finally can overtake TL and win a championship. It’s gonna be very difficult, but achievable if their botlane perform above expectation.
I expect Cloud9 to place 2nd, with a potential between 1st and 3rd.
Team Solo Mid – 3rd
- Top: BrokenBlade
Starter for TSM in season 9. 1st in wards placed, and 4th in KDA for toplaners in summer.
- Jungle: Dardoch (NEW)
Academy starter for Optic in season 9. 1st in % of his teams DMG, CS difference @10 and wards cleared per minute for academy junglers in summer.
- Mid: Bjergsen
Starter for TSM in season 9. 2nd Lowest % of his teams deaths, 4th in KDA and DMG per minute for midlaners in summer.
3rd LCS All-Pro Midlaner
- Bot: Kobbe (NEW)
Starter for the EU team Splyce in season 9. 1st in First blood% and CS per minute, 2nd Lowest % of his teams deaths for LEC ADCs in summer.
- Support: Biofrost (NEW)
Starter for CLG in season 9. 1st in wards cleared and XP difference @10, 2nd Lowest % of his teams deaths for supports in summer.
2nd LCS All-Pro Support
- Coach: Peter Zhang (Promoted)
Assistant Coach for TSM in season 9.
TSM. It’s hard to argue with the fact that they were the biggest losers in franchising. They went from being the indisputably best team in NA, to reaching only one out of four finals, and competing to only making it into play-offs. Two years without a worlds appearance is too long for such a great organization, and they will continue to do everything in their power to get there.
This year shows mass changes for TSM, with Bjergsen and BrokenBlade being the only returning members from last split. The controversial jungler Dardoch, the EU ADC Kobbe, and returning support Biofrost have joined the roster. Peter Zhang have also been promoted into a Head Coaching position. It has been quite clear to those that follow the LCS closely what TSM has been lacking recently. A spark plug, something to get them going, someone that can start a play, see the 60/40ies that you need to take if you are going to win in the modern game.
All TSM fans hope this is gonna come from their new jungler Dardoch, the “Bad Boy” that has been at almost every team in the LCS at this point. There has never been any doubt that his mechanics are incredibly good, but he has struggled to work in team environments. Especially alongside other big personalities such as Locodoco and Piglet which he played with on his first team, Team Liquid. So the question becomes how can Bjergsen and Dardoch work together. Bjergsen is known to command his junglers into playing his style, which is more passive, and Dardoch hasn’t had great success when told what to do. There is no doubt that the potential is there for this team, it has all the ingredients on paper, the questions is all surrounding how those pieces will work together.
I expect TSM to place 3rd, with a potential between 1st and 6th.
Counter Logic Gaming– 4th
- Top: Ruin
Starter for CLG in season 9. 3rd in Gold difference @10 and 4th in CS per minute for toplaners in summer.
3rd LCS All-Pro Toplaner
- Jungle: Wiggly
Starter for CLG in season 9. 3rd in KDA and wards cleared per minute, and 2nd in wards placed per minute for junglers in summer.
3rd LCS All-Pro Jungler
- Mid: Crown (NEW)
Starter for Optic in season 9. 2nd in Damage per minute. First Blood% and XP difference @10 for midlaners in summer.
- Bot: Stixxay
Starter for CLG in season 9. 3rd in CS per minute and 2nd in wards placed per minute for ADCs in summer.
2nd LCS All-Pro ADC
- Support: Smoothie (NEW)
Starter for TSM in season 9. 5th in Gold difference @10, Kill participation and KDA for supports in summer.
- Coach: Ssong (NEW)
Head Coach for Echo Fox in season 9.
There was a lot of praise given to Team Liquid for getting to the Mid-Season Invitational final this year, but it’s also important to remember what NA team did it first. CLG is the only other NA team to reach a final in one of the two major international tournaments. Even though this was back in season 6, and CLG really struggled for the first three splits post franchising, there are signs of a CLG coming back strong. A third place finish in season 9 summer has given hope back to the fans, and as they say; The faithful shall be rewarded.
A couple of changes has been made to the starting roster this year, and Ssong joins as Head Coach. New midlaner Crown showed good performances on a sometimes struggling OpTic last year, and could be a very good player for the team. Most people would say that Smoothie is a downgrade on Biofrost, but we have seen Smoothie perform as one of the best supports in the league before.
Stixxay is going to be as reliable as always, but what is really exciting about this roster is their top/jungle duo. With Ruin only joining the team last summer, and Wiggly still being one of the less experienced junglers in the league, they can still improve a ton as a duo. And considering they were both voted 3rd all LCS last split, this pair could give the fans a lot to cheer for looking forward.
I expect CLG to place 4th, with a potential between 2nd and 5th.
Evil Geniuses– 5th
- Top: Kumo (NEW)
Sub for C9 and C9 academy in season 9. 1st in First Blood % and Damage per minute for toplaners in his 4 games in summer.
- Jungle: Svenskeren (NEW)
Starter for C9 in season 9. 1st in Damage per minute and XP difference @10, 2nd in KDA and First Blood% for junglers in summer.
LCS MVP Summer & 1st LCS All-Pro Jungler
- Mid: Jiizuke (NEW)
Starter for the EU team Vitality in season 9. 1st in % of his teams DMG, and 4th in XP, CS, and gold difference @10 for LEC midlaners in summer.
- Bot: Bang (NEW)
Starter for 100T in season 9. Lowest % of his teams deaths, and 1st in in % of his teams DMG, and wards placed for ADCs in summer.
- Support: Zeyzal (NEW)
Starter for C9 in summer. 1st in DMG per minute, and 2nd in KDA for supports in summer.
3rd LCS All-Pro Support
- Coach: Irean (NEW)
Strategic Coach for CLG in season 9.
Evil Geniuses is the first new organization to join the LCS since franchising. They have been quick to create their image as “the bad guys” of the LCS. Their CEO Nicole LaPointe Jameson have already featured in their announcement video and interviews, in her interview with Travis Gafford she showed a lot of ambition.
Their roster is certainly not lacking said ambition! With last splits MVP in Svenskeren, a former world champion in Bang, and the “Italian Stallion” joining from EU as their core, this makes one of the stronger rosters on paper. Zeyzal is probably also a top three support in NA, so most people will look to young toplaner Kumo, and coach Irean to keep up with their superstars. Kumo did perform well in his four games for C9 last split, but the sample size is very small.
On paper this roster is a lot better than fifth, maybe even contesting C9 for the second strongest roster in the league, but there is more to a team than their individual parts. Jiizuke is playing his first split in NA, and have zero experience playing with any of his teammates. Bang is also going into his first split without Aphromoo as his support in NA, and that could create som challenges early on. The saving grace though is that they have a core of old C9 members in Kumo, Svenskeren and Zeyzal, and maybe that can help the team find their synergy quicker than expected.
I expect Evil Geniuses to place 5th, with a potential between 2nd and 6th.
100 Thieves – 6th
- Top: Ssumday (Promoted)
Academy starter for 100T in season 9. 1st in KDA, CS difference @10 and DMG per minute for academy toplaners in summer.
- Jungle: Meteos (NEW)
Starter for Optic in season 9. 3rd in KDA and 1st in wards cleared per minute for junglers in summer.
- Mid: Ry0ma (NEW)
Starter for the Oceanic team Bombers in season 9. 3rd in KDA for OPL midlaners in summer.
- Bot: Cody Sun (NEW)
Starter for Clutch in season 9. 1st in CS per minute and CS difference @10 and 2nd in KDA for ADCs in summer.3rd LCS All-Pro ADC
- Support: Stunt (Promoted)
Academy starter for 100T in season 9. 4th in XP difference @10 and wards cleared per minute for academy supports in summer.
- Coach: Zikz (NEW)
Head Coach for TSM in season 9.
100 Thieves have surprised in a lot of ways since entering the LCS in season 8. They surprised everyone by finishing second in their first split, and by following that up with a fairly strong fourth placed finish in summer, and going to worlds in their first year. But then they surprised again by finishing eight and tenth in last years spring and summer respectively. A lot of roster shuffles have happened during the last year for 100T, Ssumday have been in and out of the roster constantly despite being probably their best player when playing. Ryu was moving between coaching and playing, and they’ve already been through five junglers(Meteos, Levi, AnDa, Fragas & Amazing). And this split they’ve changed up their roster once again.
Ssumday have been moved back into the main roster, and Meteos returns from OpTic to be their jungler once again. Oceanic midlaner Ry0ma joins the team from OPL team Bombers, and Stunt have been promoted to starting support from their academy team. Cody Sun is also back for a second time, which means the roster now have three of their original five players from their first LCS split, none who was a starter for them last split.
A big question mark is the teams decision to bring Stunt into the main roster, a player that has been in and around the LCS for almost five years without ever being a big success. I featured Stunt in an article i wrote two years ago, saying that his breakthrough could finally happen that year. It didn’t though, and two years later it still hasn’t, in my opinion this has to be one of his last chances.
The team should be solid though, and I expect them to fight for a play-off spot. They probably won’t contest for a deep run in the play-offs as the team feels like they have visible skill roof. their Head Coach Zikz do have some redeeming to do after getting booted from TSM though, and the team has some of the most dedicated fans in the scene, so hope is always there for another surprising run.
I expect 100 Thieves to place 6th, with a potential between 4th and 8th.
Dignitas – 7th
- Top: Huni
Starter for Dignitas(Clutch) in season 9. 1st in % of his teams DMG, 2nd in Kill participation and Gold and XP difference @10 for toplaners in summer.
- Jungle: Grig (NEW)
Sub for TSM in season 9. 2nd best KDA and CS difference @10 for junglers in his 4 games in summer.
- Mid: Froggen (NEW)
Starter for Golden Guardians in summer. 1st in Kill participation, DMG per minute and XP difference @10 for midlaners in summer.
- Bot: Johnsun (Rookie)
Sub for TSM academy in season 9.
- Support: Aphromoo (NEW)
Starter for 100T in season 9. 3rd in Kill participation and XP difference @10 for supports in summer.
- Coach: Thinkcard
Head Coach for Dignitas(Clutch) in season 9.
This is probably one of the most exciting and volatile teams in the LCS this split, they have two amazing solo laners which both are top three or four in their role, and one of the most experienced players in the league as their support. They also have a totally unproven rookie as their botlaner, a jungler that suffers from wrist injuries, and players that haven’t won anything in a long time. Dignitas is one of two teams that recently re-branded. They were formerly known as Clutch, but officially became Dignitas this year. They seem to have their economy in place, as Huni is rumored to be the player with the highest salary in the LCS, and Froggen and Aphromoo are players on big contracts as well.
I have on purpose not mentioned any academy rosters in this article, but not doing so for Dignitas would be an insult. An academy roster of Lourlo, Akaadian, Damonte, FeniX & Olleh, means that this team always has the option to swap in star players if players on their main roster underperform. You could even argue that this academy roster could have competed for a play-off spot in the LCS.
The meta is something that might affect this team more than most others. Huni is great when playing strong side, but have never been an amazing weak side player. Grig and Froggen have shown multiple playstyles, but it’s quite clear that they are best on tanks and control mages respectively. If the meta becomes too bot focused they could struggle to compete for play-offs, but if it becomes about playing around solo lanes, they have the potential for a very deep run.
I expect Dignitas to place 7th, with a potential between 2nd and 9th.
FlyQuest – 8th
- Top: V1per
Starter for FlyQuest in season 9. 1st in Kill participation and First Blood % for toplaners in summer.
- Jungle: Santorin
Starter for FlyQuest in season 9. Lowest % of his teams deaths, 1st in Kill participation, First Blood %, CS and Gold difference @10 for junglers in summer.
- Mid: PowerOfEvil (NEW)
Starter for CLG in season 9. Lowest % of his teams deaths, 3rd in KDA and Wards placed and cleared for midlaners in summer.
- Bot: WildTurtle
Starter for FlyQuest in season 9. 2nd in CS per minute and 3rd in First Blood % for ADCs in summer.
- Support: IgNar (NEW)
Starter for the EU team Schalke 04 in season 9. 1st in KDA, Kill participation, XP difference, and wards placed per minute for LEC supports in summer.
3rd LEC All-Pro Support
- Coach: Curry (Promoted)
Assistant Coach for FlyQuest in season 9.
FlyQuest is a team that has always done average in the LCS, they are 30 – 42 all time, and have made the play-offs two out of four splits. They have struggled to find that one carry that is one of the best in their role in the region. A lot of their players have been known for being good, or even great, secondary carries for their former teams. Players like Santorin, Pobelter and WildTurtle have all been good players on top teams at some point, but they were never the main carry.
The team is hoping to solve the problem this year by bringing in PowerOfEvil as their midlaner, and IgNar from the LEC as their support. People that have been following league for a few years might remember IgNar from the amazing performances for Misfits at season 7 Worlds, where they miraculously qualified from into quarters, and were one game away from beating tournament favorites SKT. Some might even say that this is what inspired the rise of EU internationally. The other player that joined their roster, PowerOfEvil, is a popular player known for his sometimes innovative builds, he has played for five teams in the last five years, but have performed on most of them. Last split was the first time he reached the NA play-offs though, despite being here for two years.
A lot of the same questions will be asked about this roster which was asked about the previous ones. Do they have the carry potential? Can Santorin become the top tier jungler he shows signs of? Can they get Vipers Riven in champ select?
I expect FlyQuest to place 8th, with a potential between 6th and 9th.
Immortals – 9th
- Top: sOAZ (NEW)
Starter for the EU team Misfits in season 9. 1st in Kill participation and 3rd in % of his teams DMG for LEC toplaners in summer.
- Jungle: Xmithie (NEW)
Starter for Team Liquid in season 9. 1st in KDA and 2nd Lowest % of his teams deaths for junglers in summer.
2nd LCS All-Pro Jungler & MSI Finalist season 9
- Mid: Eika (Rookie)
Starter for the French regional team Team-LDLC in season 9.
- Bot: Altec (NEW)
Free Agent in Season 9. Last team was Echo Fox in season 8.
- Support: Hakuho (NEW)
Starter for Echo Fox in season 9. Lowest % of his teams deaths and 2nd in DMG per minute for supports in summer.
- Coach: Zaboutine
Head Coach for Immortals(Optic) in season 9.
When franchising happened there was one thing that disappointed a lot of fans, and that was the departure of Immortals as a team, but now they are back. They are also reunited with their former jungler Xmithie, which is the star player of this Immortals roster. Coach Zaboutine has been very clear about how this team has been built around one idea on how the game should be played, and that all five players align on this playstyle. He has also spoken about how players such as sOAZ and Altec are super hungry to show that they are not on the decline of their careers, and still have a lot to give.
Even though Zaboutine shows a lot of confidence in this roster, it’s easy to place question marks around it. They are clearly lacking hard carries, and being built around two veteran players which have had most of their recent success on utility based champions isn’t exactly helping on that front. Altec has also been absent from the scene the last year, and Eika has very little experience from the highest level of competition.
For this roster to succeed, a lot of things have to go right. They have to find synergy incredibly quick, Altec and sOAZ have to get back to form quickly, and Eika needs to be able to compete in a league with an incredibly stacked midlane. Eika needs to show that he deserves to play in the LCS more than players such as Damonte, Yusui ,Soligo & Pobelter.
I expect Immortals to place 9th, with a potential between 7th and 10th.
Golden Guardians – 10th
- Top: Hauntzer
Starter for Golden Guardians in season 9. Lowest % of his teams deaths, 2nd in CS per minute and 3rd in CS difference @10.
- Jungle: Closer (NEW)
Starter for the Turkish team Royal Youth in season 9. 1st in KDA for TCL junglers in summer.
- Mid: Goldenglue (NEW)
Academy starter for C9 in summer. 2nd in KDA, and 3rd in DMG per minute for academy midlaners in summer.
- Bot: FBI
Starter for Golden Guardians in season 9. 2nd in Kill participation and First Blood%, and 3rd in DMG per minute for ADCs in summer.
- Support: Keith (Promoted)
Academy ADC starter for Golden Guardians and C9 in summer. 1st in KDA and 2nd in wards placed for academy ADCs in summer.
- Coach: Inero (Promoted)
Consultant for Golden Guardians in season 9.
90% of power ranking place Golden Guardians last, and to be honest, it isn’t very surprising. The team have finished tenth twice, fifth and seventh in their four splits after franchising, and most people would think this years roster is a downgrade. The good news is that Hauntzer stayed with the team, and Goldenglue finally got out of academy. Hauntzer is clearly a very good toplaner in the league still, and does carry an enormous responsibility in this team. Inero is also a coach I consider one of the better ones in the league, he has shown good drafts, and is clearly a very good face outwards for the organization.
The biggest question though is undoubtedly Keith, a player that has been around the scene for ages as a botlaner, but never found any real success. Not only is a player that isn’t LCS caliber starting, he is even starting in a role he has never played professionally before, he decided to role swap only a couple of months ago. Adding to that is the fact that he plays alongside a botlaner that still isn’t very experienced, especially not in NA.
If this team is to perform, their mid/jungle would have to over-perform immensely. They would probably have to be top three in their roles for this team to even reach play-offs. This means that the team can only surprise positively though, and that is at least something.
I expect Golden Guardians to place 10th, with a potential between 9th and 10th.