The North American League of Legends Championship Series will be coming up soon. Teams have made their shakeups for 2019, changing players around in preparation of the new season. We will be looking at possible strategies used by specific teams as well as new roster additions.
Since last year, NA LCS teams have been decided by the franchises occupying the 10 spots of the league. It doesn’t seem like there will be any new franchises entering the arena. The break over the holidays (and since Worlds) has had some incredible surprises such as radical roster changes in the NA scene. Lets see some of the teams that have the potential to make some noise in the Spring LCS alongside discussing their roster changes and strategies.
Being the most successful NA team in Worlds 2018, it;s no doubt that we will talk about them first. The big change they made was losing Jensen and replacing him for Nisqy. Although Cloud 9 has proven many times they can bring in new talent and win games, Jensen was a top 3 mid laner of the league. Replacing him would not solve the inconsistency problems they had in Worlds. When Licorice, your rookie, is the most consistent player on your team, that can be troublesome.
The additions of Smoothie and Broken Blade to the team are definitely interesting. Smoothie is a proven Support and Broken Blade having the potential to carry games from the top. However, filling Hauntzer shoes wont be easy. He had been one of the strong points of the team for years. Although highly talented, Broken Blade can still succumb into the pressure. It is also Important that these new players adapt to the Solo-Mid style, especially after the incredibly good connection between Svenskeren and Bjergsen. If they manage to do it, maybe their raw talent can lead them to success.
Surprisingly, Golden Guardians has one of the most promising rosters for 2019. The addition of powerhouses such as Hauntzer, Froggen, and Olleh would make this team be feared in every lane. However there are 2 main concerns with this team. One is the same with all teams made up of big stars. It is not certain if they will be a team, or just individuals playing the game. The other concern is as to who will “carry” the games, or, who will do most of the damage. Looking at the team, the natural choice would be Froggen, but he has been absent from the competitive scene for quite a while. It is not 100% sure he’ll perform. This hesitation can cost Golden Guardians valuable points at the beginning of the tournament.
This team debuted last year in the NA LCS, but it’s performance was nothing more than average. So maybe this new acquisition will change that: former Worlds champion Crown. The team will probably want to play around him so he can carry the games, however, that is not Crown’s play-style. He tends to pick the most safe and scaling champions, rather than the explosive ones. So maybe it is better if Crown plays for them, and help them carry the games.
About the State of the Game
Right know, patch 9.1 has not been released yet. It is impossible to know what changes will define the new meta when the LCS begins the 26th of this month. However, the biggest changes have been out there for more than a month, so it is possible to predict the strategies that will be used for the beginning of the LCS. Tower Plating is the newest and most important mechanic in the game since it is hard to remove as it is rewarding to do so. Probably the meta will include long range ADCs with control mages and a tank, so the game as a whole will be delayed more than the previous year.
We only have to wait a couple of weeks for the LCS to begin. The two most interesting teams to watch for will be Golden Guardians and TSM. It will be interesting to see who has integrated the team better.
Finally, the question of who will come out the strongest in the tournament, that’s a hard question to answer. Consistency over new talent would mostly likely be the key variable here. The most successful teams will be Cloud9, CLG and Team Liquid given their past history. Winning the NA LCS is a long battle, and only the ones with the most talent and endurance can win it.