NA LCS Summer 2015 Week
Featured image via Riot Games.

It’s Almost LCS Time: Five Important Questions

Jan 11, 2017
Featured image via Riot Games.

There’s still plenty of dust to settle as the offseason comes to a close, but the North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS) is right around the corner.

At the tail end of an offseason headlined by high profile roster swaps, international recruitment, and an unprecedented surge of prominent investors and major sports names swinging in, we’re going to tackle five of the most important questions heading into the LCS.

Is Dardoch ready to lead?

Team Liquid’s Breaking Point documentary gave us a behind-the-scenes look at Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett’s tumultuous Summer Split. The driving narrative, Dardoch’s head-on collisions with head coach Choi “Locodoco” Yoon-sub, quickly raised questions about the maturity of the Spring season’s Outstanding Rookie.

Dardoch on stage during the NA LCS.
Former Liquid compadres have given their blessing to Dardoch’s maturation, but that only begins his transition to becoming a team leader. Image via Riot Games.

Sure, his immaturity didn’t do any favors for an already ailing team, but his drive to win seemed second to none. Immortals were quick to recognize that his transcendent talent and commitment to the game were worth the risk.

Dardoch will need to mature in a hurry, however, if Immortals are hoping to be a serious contender this spring. The team is in its infancy, featuring a pair of Korean imports and an AD carry freshly promoted from the Challenger Series. The team, without a doubt, will look to their newest jungler to lead them on and off the rift, a role he will need to embrace if he wants to win.

Will TSM regret WildTurtle’s encore?

When it was just for IEM Oakland, Jason “WildTurtle” Tran’s TSM homecoming had a good ring to it. The plug-and-play acquisition seemed ideal and the team was poised to make a deep run at Oracle Arena.

Cheers turned to questionmarks when TSM stripped the interim tag and gave the erratic WildTurtle the starting nod to replace Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, who is on his own break-but-possibly-retired hiatus this spring.

TSM WildTurtle
WildTurtle’s return to TSM was one of the most debated moves off the offseason.

TSM had a chance to search high and low for their next bottom lane resident. Would they import a star talent such as Konstantinos “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou or Kim “PraY” Jong-in? Or would they dive deep and scoop out another shining young prospect?

It wasn’t impossible to see the two stick together this spring. WildTurtle knows how the team operates and could be a much smoother bridge to a Doublelift return this summer. But with the eight out of ten NA LCS teams looking like serious competitors, it’ll be hard to imagine this decision not replay in Andy “Reginald” Dinh’s mind if and when Turtle unwisely flashes into the enemy base.

What’s going on with Echo Fox?

Rick Fox and company arrived late into last year’s offseason, so it wasn’t a surprise to see their 2016 roster seem a bit rushed.

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A year has come and gone, and his League of Legends franchise, which sunk in the Summer Split with a 1-17 series record, has taken a step back in free agency. They made swaps at the right positions, but the uninspiring moves have paved a long road this spring.

It might not be disinclination, as they did try to snag Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett before reportedly attempting to intercept Adrian “Adrian” Ma from Phoenix1. Either way, free agents went everywhere this offseason, and Echo Fox still have major holes in their roster.

Rick Fox and Froggen
Froggen and friends might need to brace for another uphill battle.

The most competitive rosters in North America secured the domestic talent first, and then went out and fortified their roster with the pair of import slots available. Phoenix1 and Immortals had major reworks this offseason and followed that very blueprint. They will be competitive, Echo Fox will not.

Will FlyQuest be competitive in the LCS?

First, this is very relevant:

Second, FlyQuest’s roster has immediately set them on crash course to fight for relegation.

An “Balls” Le, Johnny “Altec” Ru, Galen “Moon” Holgate, and even Daerek “LemonNation” Hart are serviceable options at their respective positions. Serviceable, not spectacular, and only if they were spread among more talented rosters. And with Hai “Hai” Du Lam one retirement away from modeling Wrangler Jeans, FlyQuest’s initial roster remains uninspiring.

Will Liquid’s mid laners hold up?

Liquid’s offseason shuffle included swapping out Kim “Fenix” JaeHoon for the duo of Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer and Austin “Link” Shin. The latter hasn’t appeared in a professional match since April 2015 while Goldenglue has weaved between the LCS and Challenger Series.

goldenglue on stage
After bouncing around for a few years, Goldenglue will have another shot at proving he belongs in the LCS.

Don’t get it wrong, this team is built around their bottom lane and jungle addition Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin, but a serviceable mid lane presence can make or break this team with the arms race of talent that erupted in this offseason.

The organization hasn’t lacked the conviction to throw in less experienced players into the fire in recent years, and we’ll soon see if the juice was worth the squeeze.

What’s on your mind as we get ready for the 2017 NA LCS Spring Split? Let us know on Twitter!

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David Demarco
A native of St. Louis, Missouri, David has been an avid fan of the NFL since since the late 90’s, which led to his desire to become a local sportswriter throughout high school. Things would change when he finally gave League of Legends a chance at the end of Season 4, in which he instantly became fascinated with the professional scene watching the NA playoffs. Apart from League, he enjoys watching Counter Strike, Halo and Overwatch. He’s also written for GosuGamers, Denial eSports and Renegades.
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