The Guardians are coming off of a fifth-place finish in the Spring Split of the 2019 regular season and a first-round bow-out in the playoffs. They ended their regular season with a tie-breaker loss to FlyQuest which then led to a 2-3 loss to FlyQuest again in the playoffs.
The team had a slow start to the Spring Split, going 0-2 in their first two weeks, but found their footing later and ended with a 9-9 record. They had a 2-0 record against a struggling CLG and Optic Gaming, an 0-2 record against Cloud9 and Team Liquid, going 1-1 against the rest of the league.
The Guardians had no major roster or coaching moves to the main team, but had a few interesting Academy signings in the off-season. They picked up Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaya and Choi “huhi” Jae-hyun after they were cut from their respective teams and picked up an OCE AD carry in Victor “FBI” Huang. Huhi also made the role switch to support, making a bottom lane swap between the main team and academy a big possibility if both signings pan out.
Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell
Hauntzer averages ahead in Creep Score at 15 minutes 87.5 percent of the time with a 12.5 percent first blood participation.
He has been a perennial American top lane talent who can hold his own against the top players in the LCS. Hauntzer also excels at engaging team fights for his team given the right champions to do it. His success is largely champion specific, don’t expect any carry games but he wont throw any either.
Juan “Contractz” Garcia
Has five games on both Lee Sin and Jarven IV and has a win rate of 40 and 20 percent respectively.
Contractz is one of those young American jungle prospects that has never reached the heights of his early promise. On the Guardians he is either feast or famine and will always need to be put on a high damage champion to succeed. With the new runic echoes buff on the most recent patch, expect to see more Elise than Gragas from him.
Henrik “Froggen” Hansen
His highest win rate champions are Velkoz and Karthus at 66.7 and 80 percent respectively, while averaging 32.7 percent of his team’s damage.
Froggen is the carry of the Guardians. A veteran with EU import status, this team will always try to put him in a favorable matchup and play through his methodical playstyle and shotcalling.
Matthew “Deftly” Chen
Deftly has a 100 percent win rate on Varus and has a 37 combined KDA on Ezreal.
Deftly is the young AD carry that is waiting to have his breakout split, “CodySun” style. He is the secondary carry for this Guardians team and could be in threat of benching this split if the FBI-Huhi duo lane works out well in Academy.
Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung
Has a kill participation of 67.8 percent and places 1.52 wards per minute.
The Obi Wan to Deftly’s Anikan, Olleh is the maestro of the Guardians bot lane. He has secondary shot calling duties and is one of the leaders of the team. With his Korean import status, he would have to be benched if the Guardians coaching staff wanted to bring FBI to the main stage this split.
This team is aiming for Worlds this split and needs to make a deep playoff run, if not straight up win, to make it there. With reserved expectations they should have another battle for fourth place in the regular season, with no groundbreaking roster moves and the big three not wanting to miss out on Worlds. The biggest key for this team is to not lose against the bottom half of the league and try to steal a game or two off the big boys.
The biggest matchup to look out for is going to be FlyQuest. With the history from last split and the timing of their games, the second day of the first week and first day of the seventh week, it could come down to another tiebreaker if the stars align.
Featured photo from Golden Guardians
Follow Declan on Twitter: @DickyMclaughlin
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