Roles LCS Teams Should Replace Or Upgrade For The 2022 Season Pt 2
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 continuation of what roles LCS teams should look to replace or upgrade. This list will ignore the current rumours prior to the offseason beginning. The second in our two-part series.
Out of all of the “elite” rosters, or more specifically, the mainstay organisations, Team SoloMid was the only team that had to make major changes. Team SoloMid decided to usher in a new era, due in part to Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg and Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng retiring.
This new era consisted of a near-complete overhaul of the roster, keeping jungler Mingyi “Spica” Lu from the 2020 roster and bringing four new players. Players like Worlds finalists Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon and Hu “SwordArt” Shuo-Chieh were the big draws, while Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage and Lawrence “Lost” Hui rounded out the team. These five players netted them perhaps some of the most consistent play out of any team in the LCS - apart from Team Liquid’s three straight finals appearances.
They weren’t flashy, they weren’t dominant, but after what was an adjustment period for them in the Lock In tournament, the team was consistently found amongst the top two or three in the standings. Sadly for them, this didn’t translate into playoff success, as their highest placing was a third-place at the MSS and fourth place at the LCS Championship.
Seeing the nature of how this roster was built and how five players that were completely new to each other performed, there’s nothing else but to ask them to make no changes and - like other teams - use that experience gained going into 2022.
They were the anti-FlyQuest, they had zero expectations going for them and possessed a roster of lesser-known and some known talent. This led to Immortals having subpar performances that often landed them below the bottom of the middle of the pack teams in Evil Geniuses and Dignitas, with a little sweep over the latter at the LCS Championship to boot.
In the end, similarly to Golden Guardians, FlyQuest, and the like, this roster could use a boost in several roles. These roles would mainly be the jungler and the mid-lane, with options to make some swaps in the bottom lane as well.
Counter Logic Gaming
Perhaps the most painful team to watch in all of the season, Counter Logic Gaming, truly stuck to their organisation’s name. Despite having veterans all across the board - adding Tanner “Damonte” Damonte later in the summer - this team did have expectations, and they went supremely below them. First of all, they failed to qualify past the round-robin in the LCS Lock In, second, they had an abysmal spring split that was plagued with them gaining early game leads only to astonishingly drop the ball and third, finished with a whimper of a last place for the summer split.
This is unacceptable by any metric. This team has players like Eugene “Pobelter” Park, Jason “WildTurtle” Tran and Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen who all have plenty of international experience, not to mention players like Andy “Smoothie” Ta and Finn “Finn” Wiestål. This team should not have landed in last place to finish the 2021 season.
The problem is, Counter Logic Gaming could realistically give this team another go simply because of the experience each player individually possess. But also, they could completely blow up the roster and build around key players. Ultimately it’s up to the organisation to decide because it’s hard for us to do so.
By any metric - looking at their highs - this was the best LCS team. A second-place finish at the LCS Lock In, a first-place finish at the MSS, gaining themselves an MSI visit and a quarterfinals visit at Worlds after having to play through play-ins, if it were any other team there’s not much more to ask for. Unfortunately for them, seeing the calibre of the team, its players and the organisation, Cloud9 was expected to go much further. Adding western great, Luke “Perkz” Perkovic immediately put expectations on them. All in all, this team could have done better, but that shouldn’t take away from what they were able to accomplish.
Run it back, Cloud9. That’s pretty much it. This team more than others can benefit from their gained experience from 2020.
Akin to Cloud9, Team Liquid should undoubtedly run it back. Although Team Liquid were in some ways inconsistent during the regular season seeing the calibre of players on their roster, they still made it to each final of the year and narrowly missed their first-ever quarterfinals. They did all of this with issues that popped up for them seemingly at every turn.
At first, it was Lucas “Santorin” Larsen’s visa issues that barred him from playing the first week of the Lock In tournament, they still got through it with substitute Jonathan “Armao” Armao and eventually won the tournament with Santorin’s return. Then second, was Santorin’s unexpected health issues that popped up late in the spring, preventing him from playing the final two playoff series - they nearly won that final. And lastly, in the summer they battled with Barney “Alphari” Morris’ attitude issues, head coach Joshua "Jatt" Leesman stepping down and Santorin having to sit out for more than a month. They still made it to the final.
What if this team had a more solid coaching staff? What if this team didn’t have these issues pop up? Like we said about Cloud9… run it back, Team Liquid.