After a couple of weeks of training and prepping, some of the premier young talent in NA were finally able to see the fruits of their labor. They not only played for the chance to show that their team had come the farthest, but half of the players were also drafted for exclusive negotiating rights with teams from the LCS. Now that the LCS is putting more resources into the amateur scene and attempting to build up NA talent, these picks mattered much more than previous years. With all of that, here are the results and grades for each pick from the Scouting Grounds draft.
As a reminder, all of these picks do not guarantee that a player will sign with that team. The teams just have an exclusive time, until Novmeber 24 to where they can sign these players. After that, they are free agents and are able to sign with whichever team wants them.
1. Immortals: Tony Top- Top
Seems like every year there is a player that truly comes out of nowhere. Tony Top was this player. In 13 games played, he played 10 different champions. Not only that but he found an incredible amount of success on nearly all of them. Many believed he would be the most desired player in the draft and for a team lacking talent in many areas, Immortals went with the best and most likely first pick. It is possible that he will even be able to make the jump straight to the LCS by the end of the 2021 season.
2. CLG: Yeon– Bot
Coming into the draft, the TGH mock draft felt like Yeon would go here and for those same reasons, it feels like CLG crushed this pick. While he definitely still needs some work, the sky is the limit for this kid. He will likely spend time learning under Stixxay about the position and then will be the one to take over the position for CLG long term. Expect to see him maybe near the end of the 2021 season depending on what CLG do at ADC and how they perform. If not, he is one to watch for in 2022.
3. Dignitas: Copy– Mid
Being a part of a team that went undefeated on their way to the finals before ultimately losing, will help anyone’s draft stock. What helps even more if the champion diversity he pulled out and just his general demeanor. Considering Dignitas are going to likely be a budget team and if rumors are correct, they do not have a single mid in the entire org. That means that Copy may even see some time on the main roster very quickly. Either way, he is positioned to be their starter for many years to come if he is given the time to develop.
4. Golden Guardians (Bought from 100 Thieves): Niles– Top
When looking at Niles stats from Scouting Grounds, one may wonder why this pick is getting such a high grade? Well coming in he was the most LCS ready in most people’s opinions and even playing on a team that struggled as much as Cloud did, he was one of the shining stars. He was able to handle his lane and still lead his team to a third-place finish. Adding to this that Golden Guardians are another team likely going to budget route and one that will be in need of a top laner and Niles fits perfectly. There may be some speed bumps along the way but Niles has a chance to be a very solid top laner in the LCS.
5. Evil Geniuses: Tomio– Jng
There were two junglers that stood out in a very serious way at Scouting Grounds and Tomio was one of them. He is only 18, was on arguably the best team at Scouting Grounds and generally outperformed even the high expectations that had been set for him. The crazy part is that Tomio will be heading to an LCS org after only playing competitively for two weeks. As with many of these players he needs more time with an org to develop but he could climb the ranks very quickly and be challenging for a starting spot as soon as 2022.
6. Golden Guardians: Yunbee– Mid
With Copy off the board it came down to Yunbee and APA as the mids everyone had their eyes on. While APA came in as the more hyped prospect, it was Yunbee who performed better and helped his team win it all. This is definitely not a bad pick for Golden Guards who absolutely positioned themselves well for the future with the draft. The problem is that APA might have still been the better option since neither Yunbee nor APA are LCS ready. They both will need time in academy and with that being the case, picking for the higher ceiling instead of the higher floor is normally the way to go. Yunbee could exceed expectations and if that is the case then this grade quickly looks pretty bad.
7. Cloud9: Shady– Sup
It is a little surprising that Cloud9 did not try to sell this draft pick. Maybe they did and no one wanted it? If that’s the case picking a more known commodity at a position that may not be needed is also a little confusing. Cloud9 currently have Diamond and Vulcan, neither of whom are going to be replaced by Shady. This is not an indictment on Shady in any way, he played well and deserves his chance, it is just that he is currently blocked which means he is going to have to sit on the third team for C9 should they sign him. The only way this pick makes sense is if Diamond was bought out or traded. If that’s the case then this pick moves up a couple of grades.
8. Team Liquid: Spawn– Bot
Coming into Scouting Grounds, the TGH team believed that Spawn would be one of the better available players. Unfortunately, his team struggled and likely did not help his personal performance. For a team like TL who are in need of a mid and bot for their Academy team, it was very surprising to see them not pickup either Shoryu or APA here. Both were available. If they were not comfortable going with Shoryu because they don’t think he was the answer for them after playing on the team in the past, then why not go with APA who could use the years behind Jensen to develop? This was a bit of a strange pick overall as it is clear that Spawn is going to need more time.
9. FlyQuest: Nxi– Jng
For yet another team that is rumored to be budgeting, the fact that Nxi fell this far is a massive win for FlyQuest. He was the MVP and has the ability to be the best pick in the draft. He is one of the older players at Scouting Grounds but that should mean that he is more ready. He should challenge Fanatiik for the starting spot and creating a healthy competition like that could help to hone these two and allow for FlyQuest to come out with one ready to roll.
10. TSM: Shoryu– Bot
When picking last in these drafts, it is rare that someone as talented as Shoyu is still available. He was definitely the best bot laner in terms of performance at the event and while his ability is known more than the other prospects, he still came out and competed at a very high level. The only issue is that TSM have Doublelift and Lost currently. It makes one wonder, are one of those two not in the org next year? If so this pick becomes an A as he will make a great academy player. If not and he has to sit on their third team or they don’t sign him, then they wasted a pick that they could have sold or potentially used on a lesser-known but higher ceiling player.
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