Finally, the wait is over, and the LCS is back. After Team Liquid carried the NA banner all the way to the finals at MSI, the North American games are primed to be more exciting than ever.
NA Mid Laners
When the Summer Split kicks off, there will be four domestic Mid Laners starting for their teams.
Echo Fox announced yesterday that David “Yusui” Bloomquist will be starting for them, and with that he joins Max “Soligo” Soong, Eugene “Pobelter” Park and Tanner “Damonte” Damonte as yet another domestic talent in the Mid Lane. As a role that has been traditionally dominated by foreign talent, this is seemingly another step in the right direction for the Western talent pool.
Although none of these teams finished the Spring Split as high as they would have liked, a new Split means new opportunities. Also, if Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer can wrestle that starting spot away from Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer, we’ll have a league with half of the starting Mids coming from NA.
Ruin & Amazing
The story for both of these players is somewhat similar in their current situation. A mid-level talent being brought in to try and right a struggling ship. CLG managed to finish the Spring Split in the middle of the pack, but it was a far cry from their former success. Replacing long time Top Laner Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaya with Korean talent Kim “Ruin” Hyeong-min, they are hoping some new blood will reignite the spark that has been missing. Coming most recently from 1907 Fenerbahçe Espor, all eyes will be on Ruin to see if he can inspire CLG.
Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider has an even bigger task ahead of him. Though his addition rounds out a roster that looks formidable on paper, the reality is that 100 Thieves looked awful in the first part of this season. Amazing has lots of experience in both North America and Europe, and most recently as a manager. If he can enable his laners better than his predecessor, it is almost a guarantee that they will at least do better than last split.
Yiliang “Peter” “Doublelift” Peng has long been one of the undisputed kings of the LCS, but has famously struggled internationally. After making it to the MSI finals so recently, his confidence will be at an all time high, which could mean trouble for his opponents.
Already at the top of his role in the league, any bit of added confidence can lead to even more aggressive plays and bigger leads. The risk of overconfidence will be tempered by his top level Support Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in, who has proven that he can get him out of sticky situations. With his confidence boost and a strong team at his side, this could be Doublelift’s most dominant split yet.
It has been too long since chants of “HUNI HUNI HUNI” filled the arena. Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon has played for many of the world’s top teams, and built a reputation as an explosive player who can carry the game from the top lane. Recently though, these carry performances have been lacking, as both he and his team struggled this spring. With the recent meta being dominated by carries like Sylas, there is a chance that Huni will be in his comfort zone again. If so, many opponents will come to fear him once again.
The newest champion to enter the rift, Yuumi has players and fans alike divided. Her unique ability that allows her to sit on an ally indefinitely, untargetable and still using abilities, is loved by some and hated by many. Though it may take a while to see her break into the pro meta, such a team-based champion will likely show up sooner or later. She has already broken onto the Academy scene, and could be an interesting and refreshing change to the LCS meta. The question is, which Support will be brave enough to try her first?