Roles LCS Team Should Replace Or Upgrade For The 2022 Season Pt 1
The League of Legends World Championship finishing means that the offseason starts. Teams all across the world will be scrambling to make key pickups going into the 2022 season that will allow them to not only bring themselves domestic glory, but as well possibly reach new heights internationally.
It’s been about two weeks since North America’s Cloud9 made it past the League of Legends World Championship group stage for the first time in two years. Simultaneously, both 100 Thieves and Team Liquid failed to make it past that same margin, with Team Liquid narrowly missing the mark after losing a tiebreaker versus eventual Semifinalists from Korea, Gen.G. Coming back from the international stage, these three teams and the remaining seven League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) teams will be amongst those teams to possibly replace or upgrade certain roles.
With that in mind, here is our rundown of what roles LCS teams should look to replace or upgrade. This list will ignore the current rumours prior to the offseason beginning. This will be a two-part series.
No better place to start than with the reigning summer split champions. 100 Thieves had a gradual build-up that not only happened during the 2021 season but spanned past their inaugural LCS year. The organisation went through numerous trials and tribulations, making roster and staff changes that all led to inconsistent performances throughout the years. This sort of up and down state of being was expected of them once again going into the 2021 season, until they made one of the more key pickups in the offseason. The grabbing 2020 Golden Guardian core and adding it to mainstay top laner, Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho.
For all intents and purposes, this pickup worked. Not only did they make waves in the LCS Lock In tournament, but they somewhat continued that momentum going into the spring split. This play gained eventually gained them a fourth place at the Mid-Season Showdown - not bad, but could be better. The fourth placing wasn’t enough as the Thieves went and made key midseason changes in bringing in mid-laner Felix “Abbedagge” Braun from Europe and long-time head coach, Bok “Reapered” Hang-gyu. These changes got them that LCS trophy they so badly desired.
In that same vein, 100 Thieves should not look to replace any player on this roster. Yes, they didn’t make it past the group stage, but if one were to put things into perspective, the team got placed in one of the harder groups. A group that consisted of the eventual champions, China’s Edward Gaming and semifinalists, T1. All that the Thieves have to do is run it back, use that experience gained from the 2021 season and apply it moving forward.
Many pundits, analysts, and fans didn’t have much faith in Dignitas going into the 2021 season, and during the Lock In tournament, it showed why. It was a pitiful performance by an organisation that has been part of the LCS in the past. It didn’t last though, as even though they had an abysmal start to the season, they quickly turned it around to start the spring split. Five North American players were fielded this year in the LCS, and they were making it work. Dignitas quickly found themselves to be the unexpected gatekeepers between the two halves of the LCS.
Unfortunately for them, that wouldn’t last, as after a fifth-sixth place finish at the MSS. The team did keep themselves in that middle of the pack range, staying true to their gatekeeping capabilities, but in the summer the team was just not the same. The magic from the spring split wore off, gaining an even lower placing in the summer split playoffs at seventh-eight.
This brings us to what roles the team should look to replace. This NA only lineup is not the strongest but is also not the weakest as mentioned before. But that doesn’t mean that a team shouldn’t look to better their future chances. Dignitas would benefit from a replacement of multiple roles, mainly finding a more stable jungler as well as a consideration for their solo laners.
Sort of in the same vein as Dignitas, Evil Geniuses themselves were gatekeepers between the two halves of the LCS, but not completely - they were a better Dignitas. The Geniuses started the Lock In tournament fairly well and finished higher than Dignitas at the MSS. Unlike Dignitas, this team was able to keep the teams below them there while also punching up, which was seen in their wins versus Cloud9 and others during the spring split. They were often overlooked.
Once in the summer split though, all bets were off. With key performances by mid-laner Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro - who was up for MVP consideration - and ADC Kyle “Danny” Sakamaki who came in to replace Matthew “Deftly” Chen, the team was good. At any given time of the day, Evil Geniuses could have taken the LCS championship.
Unfortunately for them, that magic that came in during the summer split was quickly shut out in the playoffs, after losing a close 3-2 series to eventual champions 100 Thieves and later being knocked by Cloud9 in the losers bracket after a sweep.
Similarly to 100 Thieves, even though they didn’t win the big one, this team should keep all of their players and run it back. Each current player on the roster can hold their own and be of top three to top five calibres. All the Geniuses have to do is sort out their jungler rotating jungler situation.
As opposed to Dignitas, FlyQuest had some sort of expectations placed on them going into the 2021 season. Newcomers such as Cristian “Palafox” Palafox and David “Diamond” Berube were seen at the Academy players that were next in line to make that leap into the LCS. Add the fact that they were able to nab jungler, Brandon Joel “Josedeodo” Villegas fresh off of an impressive 2020 Worlds performance, and they were set to be a solid 'middle of the pack' team.
That wasn’t the case though, as all throughout the year the team struggled, even subbing in their whole Academy roster for week 7 of the summer split. That is not a good look.
With that in mind, a complete roster overhaul is not outlandish. They can perhaps take on a build around Josedeodo approach.
This was perhaps the team with the lowest expectations. A full-blown North American roster and not just that, the team was filled with amateur-level talent from both the Academy scene and the Collegiate scene. It was going to be a tall order for these five players going into the 2021 season.
At first, they couldn’t make it work. They failed to make it into the playoffs for the LCS Lock In and later were only able to muster a total of three wins in the spring split. Although they had a veteran in the form of former Counter Logic Gaming ADC, Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes, nothing was working.
But then came the summer split. Something clicked for this team, although a replacing of top laner, Aiden “Niles” Tidwell with Colin “Solo” Earnest and later Eric “Licorice” Ritchie was key for the to move forward, the whole rest of the squad stepped up.
All in all, if Golden Guardians choose to run it back, that wouldn’t be a dismissable choice. The improvement they made from spring to summer was staggering, from missing both Lock In and MSS playoffs to making the cut for the summer playoffs.
That’s five of the 10, tune in for the last five tomorrow.