With the 2020 Spring Split of the LCS right around the corner, 100 Thieves looks to recapture glory they once had with the help of some old friends.
100 Thieves of Old
Heading into the 2019 season, fans of the LCS had high expectations for 100 Thieves. Analysts and consumers alike had them as a top-tier team that placed anywhere from first to fourth. Two-time world champion Bae “Bang” Jun-sik of SKT fame joined to bolster up the bot lane, and Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun seemed to be the glue for everything to work. Seemingly ready for action, the turmoil ahead certainly wasn’t expected.
Every year in North American competitive League of Legends, there is always a team that flops, dries out and never rises to the status given to them. Team Liquid and their old love for fourth place and TSM missing out on Worlds two years in a row are two prime examples. This past year, it was 100 Thieves’ turn to fall short, as they went an abysmal 12-25 during their roller coaster of a 2019. Through both splits, a ridiculous nine different players started for the team. Not exactly the worlds-caliber roster the organization had in mind.
Fast forward to this year, and 100 Thieves no longer have Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black (their first ever signing), nor do they have their world-class AD carry. With moves like these, most would think 100T was set to rebuild, yet somehow things look cautiously optimistic.
The team brought back Kim “Ssumday” Chan-Ho to start in the top lane after carrying 100 Thieves’ academy team to an “Academy World Championship”. Joining Ssumday in the academy promotions is William “Stunt” Chen. Having been in Challenger for over 7 years, and with 100 Thieves Academy since May of 2018, Stunt looks to be a rock of consistency in the support position.
Along with bringing in Oceanic import Tommy “ry0ma” Le, the return of William “Meteos” Hartman and Sun “Cody Sun” Li-Yu is what has people not only perplexed but curious. Why would Meteos return to a team that basically threw him aside?
Would Cody Sun really return to a team that benched him not only for the LCS Playoffs, but for Worlds, the most prestigious League of Legends tournament there is? Both Meteos and Cody Sun helped 100 Thieves get to Worlds, and yet no one ever saw that iteration of the team on the Worlds stage- what could they have achieved?
While there may never be a definitive answer for any of these questions, what is clear is that with new General Manager and former LCK Shoutcaster Chris “PapaSmithy” Smith at the helm, the team is ready for action.
Studying for Success
As the League of Legends All-Star event took place in Las Vegas, 100 Thieves were hard at work preparing for the upcoming split. Players, coaches and staff worked vigorously to ensure the organization as a whole would gain valuable experience during their time in Copenhagen. While it is unknown who exactly the team scrimmaged against, General Manager PapaSmithy said they played “..some of Europe’s best!”, and all five players managed to hit Grandmaster in their short time there. The bot lane duo of Cody Sun and Stunt even managed to sneak into Challenger!
Looking Forward for 100 Thieves
While the general consensus of 100 Thieves may be that they are anywhere from the fourth-best team to one that is on the fringe of playoffs, fans of the organization have much to be excited about. For the first time, the team has a young and talented player in the mid lane. Ry0ma hopes to be a critical cog in the success machine, not just a bandage to hold things together. Talent that the Thieves cultivated themselves will be present in the bot lane, and two former players have returned, much to the liking of their supporters. But the biggest news of all?
The kind boy is back, and he wants the real trophy this time.
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