The LCS has brought back the Scouting Grounds Draft. This year sponsored by Honda, it seems as though Riot are trying to make this a more permanent addition and something that they pay more attention to in the future. After a bad showing at Worlds the common opinion has been NA needs to invest more into their players both in Academy and those trying to make their push into it. With all the players confirmed and the games starting up it is time to take an initial look at who could get drafted by which teams.
*Note: This assumes that the teams have not sold or traded any picks and with the rosters that are known at the LCS and Academy level as of 11/11/2019.
1. Evil Geniuses- MistyStumpey, Top Lane
Evil Geniuses are back and will be one of the hardest rosters to predict. It seems likely that they will be completely starting over and not keeping the roster Echo Fox had, or at least all of it. If rumors are true then EG will have jungle and support locked up. It is also possible that they keep Yusui and Lost as both were solid young talents.
That leaves top lane in either the brand new situation or the one just theorized above. Coming into Scouting Grounds a player that has garnered a lot of attention will be MistyStumpey. His story is incredible but what is even better is his play. He is an extremely diverse top laner who can play just about any style needed. He can be left on the island and split extremely effectively. This is something that a new team will want and even if he doesn’t start he is a solid option to have on their academy team.
2. FlyQuest- SandPaperX, Support
FlyQuest have a lot to think on after their Summer Split performance. They struggled mightily and will likely be making some big changes to their starting lineup. One of those changes could come in the bot lane. They brought in Wadid because JayJ was struggling and now Wadid is no longer on the team. Thus, support seems like a good position for FlyQuest to start with.
SandPaperX is coming into this almost completely unknown. He has been at least Master since season four, yet this is the first time many people will have heard of him. That said, this will not be the first time some pros will have seen him. While not much is known about him, his play in the Open Qualifiers opened some eyes, enough to bring him here and looking at his past seasons of solo queue, he could be a diamond in the rough. FlyQuest could put him on their Academy Squad and either pressure JayJ more or simply see if he can win the spot outright.
3. 100 Thieves- Wolfe, Mid Lane
There is a lot that is changing with this team, at least in the way the team is run. PapaSmithy and the recently announced Zikz will be taking over as General Manager and Head Coach respectively. It is highly unlikely that any of the starting spots will go to someone drafted, even on their Academy team, thus it would not surprise anyone if they traded or sold this spot. That said, mid lane is definitely their weakest position and while they will most likely address that during the offseason in a different way, having another option down in the academy league is not a bad idea.
Soligo seems like the most likely to lose his starting role as he struggled both at the LCS and academy levels last season. Bringing in a player like Wolfe would make a lot of sense. He has some experience all the way back in 2015-2016 with Enemy, although he didn’t see any stage time. Also playing on Maryville has allowed him to show off just how much he has grown with the collegiate superpower. He would be a solid addition and possibly one they could turn to at the LCS level once he has had some time to adjust.
4. Golden Guardians- Winston, Jungle
Right now Jungle is without a doubt the biggest question mark for Golden Guardians. After the Spring Split everything seemed to be going well, then during Summer Split the team just felt off. Hauntzer and Froggen are rocks for this team and FBI seems to be a rising star alongside either Huhi or Olleh. That just leaves Contractz who could be replaced by Hard going into 2020.
This leaves a potential spot for GGS to look at the Jungle and the kid from a Western University team that surprised everyone at the League of Legends Collegiate Finals could be the answer. Formerly known as Julius, Winston was one of the driving forces to help lead his team to the finals. While he was not a standout during it, he did play well for most of the tournament. There is no doubt he has room to grow and while that is not ideal for GGS, he could be the best jungler available in a relatively weak class.
5. Immortals- Shady, Support
This team needs a support in the worst sort of way. They will likely sign someone, if not then they will try to run it back with Big or Gate which is, well, not the best choice. Instead, they should either trade up to make sure they get their top support or they should take the best one available.
In this mock draft, Shady would be the best one available. He has some experience with Phoenix1 back in 2017 and TSM Academy in 2018. His time at Maryville showed that he is still solid and worth giving a shot to. If SandPaperX is not on the board then Immortals should look at making Shady their academy support.
6. TSM- PieCakeLord, Top Lane
Unless they plan on running Grig out of position again, TSM will need an academy level top laner. This is a position of need potentially at the LCS level too if BrokenBlade has another down split. TSM will either need to find a way to get MistyStumpey to fill the role or take whoever they find to be the best available.
BMD is too much of an unknown and fairly close to being a one-trick. Zig is known and while he might be a solid option normally, TSM have another player they know in PieCakeLord. He was on the team in 2018 and honestly, they could use him now. His ceiling is not much higher but he was definitely serviceable while with the team. Again MistyStumpey is the option if available if not PieCakeLord may be heading back to TSM. It is also worth noting that if Niles from Maryville is available outside of this draft and TSM sign him, they could just sell or trade this pick.
7. CLG- Vex, Bot Lane
As of right now, CLG only have Tuesday and Call Lin still on their academy roster. Should they not bring back FallenBandit, Moon or Auto then they will have needs at three positions. Keeping that in mind, picking up the best available player at those positions should be their mindset, if not trading or buying up for even better talent.
Luckily, Vex is still the best bot lane option available as most teams thus far have not needed one. He is a top 20 solo queue played and also the highest-rated at the positon. Vex has always been at least diamond and will be hitting challenger for the third out of the last four seasons. There is little doubt that he is skilled at the ADC role. His problem and one that may keep teams from drafting him, is that he has very little experience with bot lane mages. The way the game is played now, Vex will have to learn these while at the academy level to find success.
8. Dignitas- Frostynomad, Jungle
Dignitas are back and coming off of a Worlds appearance. They also just signed Huni to a massive deal to keep him with the team. As of now, there is no need to fill any position at the LCS level, but the academy team is a different story though. They currently only have a top lane, bot lane and support. This means that they could go either jungle or mid lane.
Frostynomad could be a huge sleeper pick for Dignitas here. He is a player that is skilled at a multitude of different champions. Some popular ones like Lee Sin, Skarner or to a lesser degree Sylas seem to be one that he is just average with. There is no doubt that his skill is there, but he will have to learn some of these extremely important picks if he wants to make it to the next level. Learning under Lira and playing at Dignitas Academy for a year or two could give Frostnomad all he needs to make it to the LCS.
9. Cloud9- CHIME, Support
Believing for one second that this team may not trade up for any of the players mentioned above would be a huge mistake. This team dominated the last draft and if the rumored trades are true, then it would seem as though they may do the same this year. Blaber and Diamond have played well and will likely be moving up. This leaves some room at both positions. Cloud9 like to give new talent a chance. That means players like Zig, Fanatiik, Inori and Julien are likely off the table as they either have LCS experience or have been meddling around long enough for Jack to have passed them by a few times.
If Zeyzal is gone and Diamond is moving up, then CHIME would be an excellent choice with the ninth pick in the draft. He plays many of the ranged supports extremely well, which would fit the way Cloud9 like to play. He also has possibly the best Thresh in the class and his Taric is pretty strong as well. While it is worth stating again that Cloud9 could trade up and go for someone like SandPaperX or any of the Jungle options, CHIME would still be a good fit for their academy roster.
10. Team Liquid- Tomo, Bot Lane
Is there anything this team really could use in a draft like this? Probably not. But they do have some holes to fill at a couple of different positions and could take a developmental player. This player could play into their future or they could look to trade them once developed. Either way, if TL actually make this pick then they will look to fill at either jungle, mid or bot lane.
Tomo is an interesting option. He has been climbing the ranks steadily and only started showing up in the competitive scene in 2018. Zenith Esports, where he got his start, have churned out a lot of LCS or academy players in the past. Strompest, Fanatiik, Winter, Jurrassiq, Ablazeolive, Zeyzal, Contractz, Allorim, Akaadian and Hakuho all have played on the team at one point or another. Tomo is a very strong Ezreal and Kai’Sa player. He can also play some mages decently. With some time learning from someone like Doublelift either by watching or scrimming against him on a regular basis, Tomo could work his way into a LCS audition at some point in the future.
“From Our Haus to Yours”