On February 10, 2021, Fatih “Luger” Güven was finally in North America. Suffering through visa complications, the Turkish marksman was finally ready to take his rightful place as the marksman for 100 Thieves Academy. Despite an admirable attempt from Andrew “AndyBendy” Forman, the team was in desperate need for some bigger from their marksman. Luger’s partnership with Philippe “Poome” Lavoie-Giguere offered just that. Eight minutes into the game, the two would execute a beautiful double kill on the bottom side of the map
A hyped prospect from the Turkish Championship League, his arrival would completely turnaround a 100 Thieves Academy line-up that had looked incredibly shaky. Key figures Milan “Tenacity” Oleksij and Kenneth “Kenvi” Espinoza would see their stocks skyrocket. But the value the the bottom lane seemingly floated under the radar. Without Tenacity and Kenvi, 100 Thieves Academy managed to win Proving Grounds Summer 2022 — and arguably looked to be in better form with how Maximilian “Chad” Lisitsa stepped up to the plate and how they played around their bottom lane.
Still, no attention. Really?
.Not a ton of people probably remember they were the team to win it. You might have thought, was it Evil Geniuses Academy? It wasn’t, they finished 9-12th. The hype would build for Tenacity and Kenvi — who would follow 100 Thieves to Worlds. The most hyped prospect wouldn’t even come from this system, it would be Joseph “jojopyun” Joon Pyun.
When it was rumored that Counter Logic Gaming would be the ones to sign the bottom lane, it came as a surprise. One, Counter Logic Gaming historically struggles at signing prospective talent. Two, no other team was willing to pay for their services?! Luger statistically was dominant in the laning phase — topping academy marksmen in gold difference at fifteen minutes and putting up respectable damage per minute numbers.
They just had to show everyone how big of a mistake that was.
Counter Logic Gaming weren’t necessarily pegged to be a good team this season. It was a developmental roster created by previous members of the Golden Guardians’ brain tree. General manager Jonathan McDaniel put it well in the roster announcement video: “We came here to grow but we also came here to fight and play ultimately in the short-term.”
They are currently 3-6 in the regular season. In the Lock-In Tournament, they managed to go 2-2 in the group stages only to lose in a best of three against a pick-up roster from Cloud9. But anytime a CLG team earns a victory, its stunning. While a ton of credit should go to everyone in that organization — top to bottom — there are a lot of good things going on with their bottom lane.
Individually speaking, Luger ranks in the bottom of the LCS marksmen in gold difference at ten minutes. Yet, he still feels like one of the best marksmen in the LCS.
It sort of feels like watching a player get drafted to a NBA team in the lottery. There’s a point where a player can only do so much. The team likely won’t win, they likely won’t produce earth-shattering statistics or a cross ring. Yet they’re individually recognized for their potential and their abilities. They might not get a call to participate in the All-Star Game. But they’ll shine in the Rising Stars game.
Counter Logic Gaming is doing a lot of things right to better situate their potential star marksman. Currently, he ranks dead last among marksmen in gold difference at fifteen minutes (-455) despite only experiencing a creep score deficit of -3.1. The bottom side of the map constantly seems to be a focus of enemy teams, looking to slow down the carry as much as possible. Yet CLG counter this with their resource management and punishing on the top side of the map. He has the third-highest percentage of his team’s creeps post fifteen minutes and is able to produce the third-highest damage per minute among all of the LCS.
Its a situation Kyle “Danny” Sakamaki found himself in 2021. He averaged at fifteen minutes a -112 gold deficit yet was able to output the third most damage per minute among marksmen (556).
He’s also been put onto a variety of champions to bring out his better characteristics. While in a loss to Evil Geniuses, the concept of running of a “Lulu-Kog’Maw” composition made a ton of sense of paper and the idea would be better executed a few weeks later against the same team, pairing Yuumi and Zeri together.
His 14.4% percentage of his team’s death is the lowest among marksmen in North America. Despite ranking second in most deaths among marksmen (21), it is somewhat comforting that he isn’t problematic for his team. Typically, greener players that enter the scene are inclined to make more positioning errors or have mental lapses. For context, Danny was responsible for 16.8% of his team’s deaths in 2021 Summer. His deaths aren’t holding his team back.
In CLG’s 2-1 super week, they were putting their faith in Luger to be the best player on the rift. After a day one loss on Jhin against Immortals, he was put onto Jinx and Zeri and the change was noticeable. To start 2022, he has won on three different champions: Jinx, Sivir and Zeri. And while he performed well on Caitlyn against FlyQuest, it was noticeable how couldn’t necessarily make the game-breaking play to get them over the finish lane.
Counter Logic Gaming lucked out getting Luger. And they’re taking full advantage of what they have here. He proved he was a prospect to be respected and LCS teams didn’t really respect him. He’s a player that continues to grow and continues to shine in what may feel like the darkest situation in the LCS (although TSM appears to be contending for that title). He’s only managed to be recognized for “Player of the Game” once yet it’s widely understood he is the best player on that roster.
He isn’t the perfect player but he’s the first player Counter Logic Gaming fans should genuinely be excited about and recognize as a potential face for their future. At only 20 years old, he’s in control of his destiny in competitive League of Legends.
It’s what will make his 2022 journey so interesting to watch. CLG won’t be a great team, they may not ever be in a position to make it into the playoffs this season. But they could just build something special, something to admired. For the first time in a very, very long time, they have hope again.
“From Our Haus to Yours”