The LCS Scouting Grounds has concluded and with it the draft. After months of grinding, then learning under LCS teams for about a week, ten players were draft with exclusive signing rights. These will last for ten days before a player is then a free agent. The Game Haus did a mock draft before the games started for reference. Now that the draft is completed, here are TGH’s grades for each pick. This will take into consideration where the player was picked, the other options available, a player’s skill and how well they fit with the team.
1. Evil Geniuses- Evolved, Mid Lane Grade: A
There was a lot of hype surrounding Evolved coming into this Scouting Grounds. He had been a top-level player for a long time but, was known mostly for playing Katarina. His original ign is KatEvolved. Yet, he came into Scouting Grounds and across 16 games he played eight different champions and did not play Katarina once. Clearly he was pushed out of his element and still succeeded.
When Team Ocean struggled he was still a shining light. Without a doubt, he was the best Mid Laner and clearly Evil Geniuses, who were not the team working with him throughout the week, felt that he deserved to be their first pick. While there was one other option they could have looked at, no one can fault them for this pick.
2. FlyQuest- Fanatiik, Jungle Grade: A+
Surprisingly, Fanatiik was the only Jungle picked in this years draft. Maybe that was because he was stunting all over the rest of them during the week? The 18-year old was at his second Scouting Grounds and after a year in the Academy League he wanted to prove that he had an even higher ceiling than what he had shown in 2019. While he relied on Lee Sin and Elise quite a bit, he showed that he could put an incredible amount of pressure around the whole map. Showing his dominance against Inori, a former LCS Jungler clearly went a long way in helping his cause.
He won the Honda MVP of Scouting Grounds even though his team lost in the Final. FlyQuest clearly were also impressed with him outside of the game as they worked with him all week. It was surprising that he didn’t go first overall, so anyone picking him, after Evil Geniuses decided against it, were obviously going to get a good grade. Look for him to potentially even challenge Santorin if FlyQuest struggle again during the 2020 Spring Split.
3. 100 Thieves- Gorica, Bot Lane Grade: C-
100 Thieves brought in PapaSmithy and Zikz to start their whole new regime. The draft would be their first chance, publically, to show what their big brains could do. Well, this was not the best first pick for the new GM and Head Coach. Gorica was not the best player on the board, nor was he even the best Bot Laner available either. While Prismal was not great, he was not also the Academy team’s weakest position.
Even more interesting is the fact that they did not even work with Gorica. While he showed flashes at times and a pretty consistent champion pool, he was not someone who many would have had high on their list. There were at least two better options available. 100 Thieves fans will have to hope that PapSmithy and Zikz saw something that others didn’t. Otherwise, it could end up being a huge bust of a pick.
4. Golden Guardians- MistyStumpey, Top Lane Grade: A
On Monday, TGH had MistyStumpey as their top pick before the games started. While he was not the best player this week, he was certainly the best Top Laner. Team Infernal struggled quite a bit throughout the week but were able to grab third place. MistyStumpey proved he could handle himself against a former LCS player in Zig and played whatever was needed. After being named MVP of his team and a top-five player in last year’s Scouting Grounds, it is good to see him finally getting his chance.
This is a sign that Darshan may no longer be with the team or that he is moving positions. MistyStumpey will likely slide right in and have his first taste of the LCS stage as an Academy player. Having a veteran on their Academy team was not all that useful considering Hauntzer is still very much a starting-caliber player. So giving MistyStumpey a chance to grow without the pressure of needing to move up to the LCS right away is perfect. Given time, there is little doubt that MistyStumpey could make his way to the LCS.
5. Evil Geniuses (Sold by Immortals)- Tomo, Bot Lane Grade: A
This pick was originally owned by Immortals but, Evil Geniuses bought it and they should be glad they did. While they are the only team to have two picks this year, Evil Geniuses knocked this draft out of the park. They grabbed two extremely talented players and likely the best two players at their respective roles this week. Tomo was a man on fire and he clearly worked well with fellow new EG, Evolved. His champion pool was deep and in the TGH notes, it said that his Ezreal was top tier and he proved that during Scouting Grounds.
At no point did Tomo seem outclassed and most of his champions were solid. Also he has the pocket-pick to fall back on when needed, which is a necessity when a player is making their way to the LCS. This was seen in the Finals after Team Ocean went down a game. Tomo pulled out his Ezreal and promptly went 11/3/8 and 7/3/8. This kid has a lot of talent and depending on how EG build their new roster, he could even potentially see some LCS stage time in 2020.
6. TSM- SandPaperX, Support Grade: D+
This pick feels almost lazy by TSM. Either they saw something that viewers and analysts didn’t during their time with SPX or they had a solid connection while working with him as he was on their team. SPX was one of the standouts for TGH coming into the week as he was pick number two in the mock draft. He has been a top-level solo queue player for years but, it is possible that nerves got the better of him. If that was the case then maybe his scrims were much better?
TSM had a prime chance to grab a player that had a high ceiling. After a down year and with the potential of losing most of their Academy roster, this was a chance for TSM to grab a solid young player to train up for the future. They could have traded up or picked some of the undrafted players like Vex or Frostynomad who played well. They could have even picked someone like CHIME who had yet to be drafted at this point if they were intent on picking a Support. Instead, TSM fans will have to hope that the staff made a solid connection and felt that SPX had much more talent than what was shown during Scouting Grounds.
7. CLG- 5fire, Mid Lane Grade: C-
This pick started what seemed like a run on Mid Laners. Why? Well, for CLG it might be that Tuesday, their Academy Mid Laner, is leaving or they feel he has not made enough progress since they brought him on three seasons ago. Either way, 5fire was probably not the best pick here. He rarely had a standout game and while it is fair to note that it was seemingly Evolved and then everyone else, 5fire might have been the bottom of everyone else.
Yes, CLG are likely filling a need, but both of the Maryville Mid Laners, Julien and Wolfe may have been better answers. It seems as though teams were passing on Wolfe due to the fact that he is already 24. 5fire is only 20. That said, there were still better options either at Mid or other positions than 5fire here. Because they are picking a younger talent and in a potential area of need, this pick was not the worst in the draft. That said, it was clearly not top tier either.
8. Dignitas- CHIME, Support Grade: A+
This could end up being the best pick in the entire draft. CHIME was not only doing well in scrims but also helped his team win Scouting Grounds. The craziest part is that he was playing champions like Braum and especially Ornn, who were not his best champs. He is the best Thresh in this class and can play ranged supports as well or better than the tanks and melee he was playing this week. CHIME was easily the best support and it seems as though the unknown just became known.
As for Dignitas, they nail this pick. He was likely the best player still available. That said seeing CHIME fall this far was a bit of a surprise. It likely means that their current Academy Support, Joey is gone but Dignitas will be happy with their pick. The only question, is there is a chance for him to move up? Vulcan has been rumored to be potentially getting traded, so could this be a sign that is true? Because if not, then Dig should let CHIME work on a few things in Academy this year and then look to trade him either for picks next year or a player in an area of need.
9. Cloud9- Julien, Mid Lane Grade: B
For starters, it was good to see Julien get a chance at signing this year. This was his third Scouting Grounds and truthfully, if teams did not want him in years past, then it seems unlikely that they would have after this year. Without a doubt, Julien knows what he is good at and Team Mountain played around that. He can play mages very well with some melee champs like Yasuo and Renekton. One thing that has seemingly held him back are assassins. He played one true assassin this week and that was Qiyana. Julien had some good and bad performances on her but showed that he had improved his versatility.
If the rumors are true, then Cloud9’s roster is in total flux. This would seem to signify that GoldenGlue is likely gone. Julien has some experience and giving him a chance may actually allow him to become the next GoldenGlue in a sense. He definitely has potential but, needs time and coaching to unlock it. Cloud9 are the perfect place for this. The only reason this pick is not rated higher is that there were still some better players left on the board. It is also worth noting that it is surprising C9 did not buy more picks or try to trade up at any point.
10. Team Liquid- Wolfe, Mid Laner Grade: D-
This was easily the worst pick in the draft. The only reasons it did not get an F are because of player skill and potentially a very unlikely need. Wolfe has shown that he is a talented player. Like the other Mid Lane options, he was in the bunch of everyone else after Evolved. He had some standout performances but others he just looked lost. This may not have been his fault though, he was not put on many champions that were high on his list. Wolfe is known for his more mobile and assasin type champions. He played LeBlanc and Akali a total of four games and even struggled at times on those.
As for the fit with TL, this pick makes about Zero sense. Their style is not playing around Mid Lane and just wanting a player who can win their matchup. Wolfe needs a bit more support than that. He also plays a position that is not needed, unless Insanity is also leaving. Even in that case, he was the last Mid Laner available, in a class that truthfully wasn’t overly strong. According to Liquidpedia, TL Academy needed a Jungle and Bot Lane. Frostnomad and Vex were both still available here and would have been steals. TL are either hoping that Wolfe’s maturity, he is 24, and his leadership are worth it or that he can quickly fill in, in case they are losing Jensen for some weird reason. Again Wolfe is not a bad player, but this pick makes nearly zero sense.
“From Our Haus to Yours”