New teams and a new format breed excitement for the upcoming 2021 LCS season.
The League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) rosters have been essentially locked in, a new format has been implemented, and a start date has been announced. With that in mind, here are our top four rosters on paper going into the 2021’s season start on January 15 with The LCS Lock In.
#1 Team Liquid
It should be of no surprise that Team Liquid is in our number one spot, seeing the value that they gained from their upgrades. They replaced an underperforming Jeong “Impact” Eon-yong with a stellar top laner from the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) in Barney “Alphari” Morris. Apart from the top lane change, they also acquired Lucas “Santorin” Larsen, from free agency. His impressive year — managing to constantly start fights and get out unscathed — over at FlyQuest was justly rewarded. Santorin was head and shoulders above most of the junglers in the North American region, and now he’s on a squad who had the best performance out of all of the North American representatives at Worlds.
Their upgrades aren’t just what will make Team Liquid shine as their re-signing of Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen is also an icing on the already sweet cake. Add the solid, yet constantly improving bottom lane of Edward “Tactical” Ra at AD Carry, and reigning MVP Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in as the support and Team Liquid have the most well-rounded roster from top to bottom. Add great additions to the already strong coaching staff, and they are poised to remain at the top of the standings for weeks to come.
Perhaps the only team who might be able to compete with Team Liquid is Cloud9. Prior to their roster changes, this team proved that they could completely take over the region as seen by their historically dominant Spring Split earlier this year. Unfortunately, due to them crashing and burning at the tail end of the season — being just short of making the League of Legends World Championships — they decided it was time for a change. Although they had stated previously that they'd remain together as a roster and run it back, a dissolving of the Oceanic Pro League (OPL) made them change their minds. In perhaps one of the most shocking roster moves all offseason long, Cloud9 let go of terrific North American top laner, Eric “Licorice” Ritchie, promoting Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami from their Academy team. The shocking dropping of Licorice would not be the only thing that Cloud9 would pull off as they also managed to superstar mid laner, Luka “Perkz” Perkovic.
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The potential on this team is downright scary. Any team with Perkz on their side can conquer nearly anything. Add an already strong bottom lane in AD Carry Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and support Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme, this team is ready. One can’t also forget what a star Robert “Blaber” Huang has become, his early terrorizing of the map will be a perfect fit for the aggressive monster that is Perkz. Depending on how gelling and synergies go, this team can go pound for pound with Team Liquid.
#3 100 Thieves
100 Thieves, or a 100 Guardians as you now can call them, did an impressive job of upgrading everything they needed to upgrade while also maintaining their rock of a top laner in Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho. The thieves lived up to their name and straight up took everything from Golden Guardians, making themselves stacked. A solid jungler in Can “Closer” Celik and his mid laner to synergise with in Tanner “Damonte” Damonte were a solid mid and jungle duo to start with. Add what was the best bottom lane in the LCS towards the end of the season in AD Carry Victor “FBI” Huang and support Choi “huhi” Jae-hyun and 100 Thieves has set themselves up for a solid spot in the upper part of the standings.
The already built-in synergy from the four ex-Golden Guardian members plus the carry potential from Ssumday makes this team a scary team. This squad on a good day could possibly contest with the likes of the Cloud9s and the Team Liquids of the world pending the right matchups and strong pick and ban phase. This is by far the best roster 100 Thieves has built for themselves, and they are in the position to possibly surpass their performance back when they first joined the league.
#4 Team SoloMid
Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg and Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng have retired, this left Team SoloMid in a scary position. Nonetheless, they were able to grab themselves solid pickups and what some might say, surprising pickups as well. They got a stable mid laner to fill the void that Bjergsen left in Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage. Although not the same as Bjergsen’s, PowerOfEvil can post carry performances of his own. One Shurima Shuffle on the Azir and the enemy team’s done for. That’s not all, in the group of surprising pickups alongside Cloud9’s acquisition of Perkz, Team SoloMid got themselves a top laner who can potentially take over the game in Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon. That wasn’t the only surprising pickup as they managed to get this year’s World finalist runner-up from Suning, Hu “SwordArt” Shuo-Chieh as their support. A legend in his own right, he might just be the missing shot-calling piece that Team SoloMid has longed for. He’s also paired up with a solid AD Carry in Lawrence “Lost” Sze Yuy Ui who’s been around the league for a decent amount of time, he’s bound to show his talents with a legend by his side.
All of those picks and Team SoloMid also kept their best performing player at this year’s Worlds, Mingyi “Spica” Lu. Spica has been steadily improving game after game, and now that he’s with a fresh new team this is his time to show that he’s got what it takes to make Team SoloMid proud. On a good day, like 100 Thieves, we could see Team SoloMid challenge the upper echelon that is Team Liquid and Cloud9. The battles between them and the thieves will be exciting to watch.
All of the teams on the list are essentially brand new. There will be time needed for synergies to build, confidence to be elevated, and for coaches to find out what’s best for their teams. Either way, it’s going to be very exciting to see how these new rosters fare in the upcoming new LCS season, especially with a new format in play.
Images via Riot Games