We've showcased the 3 rookies in the LCS.
The biggest cause for uproar in North America during the 2019 offseason was the apparent lack of domestic and fresh young talent represented in the new League of Legends Championship Series rosters. With starting lineups locked in and the first weekend of LCS a mere few weeks away, we’re entering the 2020 Spring Split with only three rookies starting on the Rift.
Following the 2019 World Championship, it makes sense that a majority of LCS teams opted to invest in proven or veteran talent rather than taking a leap of faith on an inexperienced player. In fact, the only teams to onboard any rookie talent were Evil Geniuses, Dignitas, and Golden Guardians.
While many have already written off DIG and GG’s rosters bottom-four material, Evil Geniuses’ lineup has been projected to be a playoff contender. Despite preconceived notions pinning GG and IMT as having more to lose, all three teams took risks this split with their rosters by giving a rookie the chance to shine. Let’s take a dive into which pickups we’re most excited to see in spring.
3. Yuri “Keith” Jew (Golden Guardians)
Obviously, Keith has been around in the LCS for some time now as an ADC. This year, however, he finds himself making his debut on GG’s starting roster in the support role. With experienced players like Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung on the market, GG’s choice to start a player with no meaningful professional support experience over another veteran or rookie talent left many baffled.
They expectations for Keith are essentially non-existent at the moment. He spent recent splits playing with C9 Academy, and hasn’t been ranked among other LCS bot laners in a long time. If he proves to be proficient enough in the role, that’s good. If he doesn’t, that’s fine too; he tried.
2. Colin "Kumo" Zhao (Evil Geniuses)
C9 fans got a taste of Kumo’s skill set during the 2019 Summer Split after he subbed in for Licorice while he was dealing with wrist pain. During that time he actually won three out of the four games that he played, with two of the victories being against TSM’s Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik and Team Liquid’s Jeong “Impact” Eon-yeong.
This split is Kumo’s chance to make a name for himself and shine. Top lane talent is always stacked, but we can finally see what Kumo’s really capable of now that he will have the chance to play an entire split. Exciting top lane matchups are ahead, including a few against his former teammate Eric “Licorice” Ritchie and top lane legends Paul “sOAZ” Boyer.
1. Johnson "Johnsun" Nguyen (Dignitas)
Johnsun was picked up by TSM in 2019 after the team scouted him through solo queue. After the TSM Scouting Grounds, he was brought on as a part of TSM Jr., a program aimed at helping incredibly young players have a more secure path to professional play.
Johnsun is the biggest unknown quantity in the LCS. Many know him from the ranked ladder, as he’s had multiple accounts in Challenger since 2017 and recently reached rank one in Season 9. 2020 will mark his competitive debut, making him the only true rookie playing in the LCS this spring. An average performance from him this split would be commendable in and of itself, but combined with the veteran guidance of DIG support Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black, he could be slated to burst onto the scene guns blazing.
Image via LOLEsports | Flickr