Competitive League of Legends has hit one of its dull stages as each region’s competitors are enjoying their time off. This rest is well deserved after such an exciting start to the 2019 season. The LCS was especially exciting during the Spring Split, considering how close each teams’ records were. Some teams struggled with the all-around talent of the league, while others defied the odds and put together respectable resumes. Optic Gaming and the Golden Guardians are two of the teams that shocked the league and they’re only expected to get better as the season progresses.
The Midas Touch – Golden Guardians (9-10)
The 2019 Spring Split didn’t start off the way the Golden Guardians had hoped, but they certainly turned the tables. After an 0-4 start, GGS began to polish their game play and put up a record of 9-5 to close out the split. It’s not uncommon for newer teams to struggle out of the gate and they were no different in this regard. However, their roster is one of the more talented in the league on paper, so it’s fair to expect more from this team in the future.
Top: Kevin ‘Hauntzer’ Yarnell | K/D/A: 3.46 | KPAR: 63.1% | Best Champion: Sion (2-0)
Hauntzer is one of the younger competitors in North American League of Legends, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t qualified. He more notably made a splash on Team SoloMid for four seasons, however their success as a team didn’t translate the same way. Now, Hauntzer is a key member of this promising Golden Guardians squad.
His statistics were fairly average during the Spring Split, which is somewhat shocking considering his play in recent years. This seemed to be the result of poor synergy with the rest of his teammates, something that will certainly change over time. Hauntzer plays more of a carry role in the top lane, deferring from GGS’s play style. If ahead, he can easily take over a match with his play-making mentality. However, the Golden Guardians struggled when establishing leads in the top lane, so they’ll need to revolve around Hauntzer more.
ADC: Matthew ‘Deftly’ Chen | K/D/A: 4.84 | KPAR: 65.5% | Best Champion: Ezreal (2-1)
Deftly was one of the shining stars for the Golden Guardians during the Spring Split. His consistent play in the bot lane typically kept them in most games, no matter the situation. This became more evident in the Spring Playoffs, where he was noticeably the best player on the team. It’s usually a good sign when your best player picks it up in clutch moments, and this held true for GGS.
Though they didn’t make a big playoff run, Deftly’s performance during the Spring Split is a sign of hope to all members of the Golden Guardians organization. With other great members around him, Deftly’s ceiling will only get higher. Since he has been trending upwards as of recent, Deftly will expected to be the biggest force for the Golden Guardians in the coming months.
Sights Set on Improvement – Optic Gaming (7-11)
Optic Gaming was one of the more inconsistent teams in the LCS during the Spring Split, however this doesn’t mean they’ll stay the same. Their 10-man roster is certainly different than most ways of approaching the competition and it proved costly. After finishing the Spring Split with a record of 7-11, Optic need to keep their heads up and focus on the positives. Individually, each member performed well, but League of Legends is a team game that requires everyone to be on the same page. Splitting up playing time among their 10 members slowed their growth as a team, as well as messed with their synergy.
Jungle: Joshua ‘Dardoch’ Hartnett | K/D/A: 3.0 | KPAR: 66.7% | Best Champion: Lee Sin (1-1)
Dardoch has been one of the few consistent forces for Optic Gaming this season. His play in the jungle hasn’t been stellar, but he’s looked more polished than his other teammates. More often than not, Dardoch is seen at the center of the action, usually creating the play. This is why he’s so great with champions like Jarvan IV and Lee Sin, because he knows when to engage and how to fight properly.
Unfortunately, Dardoch’s impact wasn’t enough for Optic to make the Spring Playoffs, but they’re certainly on the brink of success. As long as Dardoch continues his play, Optic will look more consistent as a unit. Consistency is a big factor in success in this league, considering Team Liquid’s performances these past few seasons. Nonetheless, making Dardoch their official jungler will benefit Optic in the long run.
ADC: Noh ‘Arrow’ Dong-hyeon | K/D/A: 4.47 | KPAR: 62.8% | Best Champion: Kalista (1-1)
Arrow didn’t have the breakout season that Optic were expecting, but he was surely one of their top performing players. His statistics are rather average in North America which he’ll need to improve on before the Summer Split gets under way. However, he managed to put up the best K/D/A on his team, despite their multiple roster changes throughout the Spring Split.
Synergy seemed to be a big factor in the success of Optic’s bot lane this past split. Since they tend to move players around quite a bit, it’s harder for players to get comfortable with their teammates. This was evident in the bot lane, where Arrow was only allowed to play in 14 matches. Arrow is the type of player who thrives with others, so he will need to see the rift more often if Optic want to move in the right direction. Simply solidifying their starting group would give them a better chance at winning in such a competitive league.
Featured Image Courtesy of LoL Esports.
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