Dignitas: More Than Just LCS' Gatekeepers
Much like Dignitas’ 2021 League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) roster, their 2022 roster had few expectations, and in a way, seeing other rosters in the league, it could’ve been worse. As a team that didn’t make any flashy moves in the offseason compared to the likes of the Team Liquid's, Evil Geniuses' and even Cloud9's of the world, it looked like a season of mediocrity was on the cards.
But like last year, they’ve once again proven that there is much more to this Dignitas team that meets the eye.
During the 2021 season, Dignitas went with a move that seemed unbelievably risky; going with a full North American lineup. In a league like the LCS, which has been seen its top teams import players from across the world, a move like Dignitas’ was thought to be season suicide and it proved to be the case… at first.
Dignitas' 2021 Risk Paid Off
Dignitas’ start to the 2021 LCS season was rough as they were one of two teams, alongside Counter Logic Gaming, to not make it into the playoffs in the first-ever Lock-In tournament. The team didn’t offer much apart from their solo laners, namely top laner Aaron “FakeGod” Lee and mid laner Max “Soligo” Soong, showing that they had a hidden level to them as although they had played in the LCS in the past, they weren’t exactly world-beaters.
That hidden level proved to be crucial for the rest of Dignitas' season. Add the fact that jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett was surprising every enemy team with a new champion pick every match, support Zaqueri “aphromoo” Black was back in form, and ADC Toan “Neo” Tran turned up, the team proved to be deadly, making them the unexpected gatekeepers between the two halves of the LCS.
Doubts Heading Into 2022
The 2022 season started similarly. They didn’t quite go for a full North American roster as they picked up jungler Kim “River” Dong-woo from PSG Talon and Ersin “Blue” Goren from SK Gaming, but still had players in with huge question marks hanging over their heads.
The signing of support Vincent “Biofrost” Wang, who hadn’t played at a high competitive level since the 2020 World Championships, and retaining both FakeGod and Neo who, in many LCS watchers' eyes, weren’t up to par, spelt doom for Dignitas’ 2022 season.
But once again, not only have they proven to be the unexpected gatekeepers between the top and bottom halves of the LCS but they’ve managed to surpass that.
River Forges A Path
Besting their 2021 performance, they made it to the playoffs, but once there, they weren’t the flashiest or the most dominant.
That level of play was expected from them going up against the reigning LCS champions, 100 Thieves, in the quarterfinals. But in a shock result, they swept the champions after River was finally able to join the roster after resolving his visa issues.
River was crucial in his team’s win, posting a combined scoreline of 6/4/21 with a kill participation score of 90%, a factor in 27 of Dignitas’ 30 kills. Not only that, but he controlled all of the neutral objectives across Summoner’s Rift, claiming all seven available dragons in both games.
Another factor in Dignitas' win was their strong play across the board. All of their players outclassed every member of the Thieves’ squad, showcasing that all they were missing was River to finally arrive in North America to showcase Dignitas’ true potential. Not only were they able to defeat 100 Thieves but they also gave eventual tournament winners, Team Liquid, a run for their money in the semifinals. And although they didn’t advance into the tournament finals, they now had a newfound, and well-earned, confidence.
That confidence has been their springboard into the Spring Split. They've gone 3-1, with their only loss being to an impressive Evil Geniuses roster. Although all of their wins came against what many would consider weaker teams, the fact that this Dignitas roster - who were bottom of most pundits' 2022 Power Rankings - are now tied for first place alongside Team Liquid, 100 Thieves, and Cloud9, shows what this team is truly made of.