With the rising popularity of eSports, two LCS spots were bought out by basketball team owners. They are completely new teams with new rosters. Rick Fox owns Echo Fox and two co-owners of the Sacramento Kings own NRG. NRG is poised to be one of the best teams this split, showing an amazing performance the first week of the NA LCS. History Teacher is their general manager, who previously worked for Team 8, and Charlie who worked for Cloud 9, is their head coach. A well-built foundation is important to add an air of legitimacy to an organization.
Each year the League Championship Series grows in new ways. Last year saw the rise of the Korean import, taking established players with good play records and bringing them over to the other side of the pond. To stop every team being filled with foreign players, Riot created a rule where at least three of the starting players had to be from NA. This year we are seeing a much nicer ratio, with more talent from NA being utilized.
NRG has Altec and Moon, both NA natives. Altec is a hardened LCS veteran, playing ADC for a bunch of teams before finally ending up at RNG. He’s had trouble achieving success and his former teams are no longer part of the LCS. Winterfox and Gravity gaming both suffered from bad shot calling and unfortunate roster switches. Hopefully, this year Altec will be able to show why people consider him to be a top tier ADC, along the likes of Wild Turtle and Doublelift.
Moon on the other hand, is a much fresher face. He played with Altec in Winterfox, and more recently on the Challenger team Imagine, that didn’t make it into the LCS. Almost every member from Imagine has found a team to play on this split in either the NA or EU LCS. He only played one game during the first week, but showed promise on his aggressive Elise.
NRG has picked up some of the best Korean players outside of SK Telecom’s current roster. They really handpicked these players to create a squad so formidable, even TSM’s money pit won’t be enough to stop them. In the top lane we have Impact. Impact is a Season 3 champion, who you can thank for the best Jax skin. Last year he played with Team Impulse alongside another ex-SKT member, Rush. The team never really had their full rosters for games, and ended up losing most of their games. This year Impact is going to show what he can really do, with split pushing champions like Fiora and Jax being played heavily in the meta.
Ganked by Mom, or GBM as he’s called now, is the most hyped new mid laner coming to the NA scene. Previously, he was on the Jin Air Greenwings and was one of the top four mid laners in Korea. He topped the solo que ladder at Rank 1 Challenger in Korea, a formidable match for both Faker and Easyhoon. In his first game on RNG he managed to steal baron twice with a Viktor laser. Just doing that once is enough to get you on Prime Time League, but twice in one game is absolutely insane. His mechanical outplays and high skill level are going to be give Froggen and Bjergsen a run for their money.
Konkwon is a Korean native who moved to the states when he was in middle school. He played on Team Coast with Shrimp, the RNG jungler sub. Neither are as hyped as much as GBM or Impact, but they are still going to be great assets to the team. NRG’s rise is reminiscent of LMQ in 2014. These Chinese players destroyed the Challenger scene, and then turned their sights on the NA LCS, eventually securing themselves a place in worlds. Both teams had an aggressive play style, imports, and high knowledge of the game. Hopefully NRG can keep everything together, and as History Teacher said in a Reddit AMA, take at least a top 3 spot.