I sat down to talk with Jurassiq about the 2018 Spring Split. We spoke about his professional debut in the Academy League, the good and bad of working with Golden Guardians as an organization, how the Academy and LCS teams bonded and what his future holds. Jurassiq comes across as a hard-working, kind, intelligent teammate. Playing professional League of Legends is clearly his dream, and Jurassiq is trying to continue his growth this mid-season. The full interview is below.
Golden Guardians’ Roster Update
Recently, Golden Guardians stepped into the spotlight by announcing the first official roster changes of the NA LCS mid-season. On their Youtube channel and in a Blitz Esports interview, Hunter Leigh, Golden Guardians’ head of esports, explained all of their moves. They replaced Hai with Team Liquid Academy’s Mickey in the mid lane. Meanwhile, Lourlo, Contractz, Deftly and Matt remain starters for the organization, and Tyler Perron remains as head coach.
Before these LCS updates became available, Jurassiq and Jenkinsannounced their free agency, after being released from Golden Guardians’ Academy team. OpTic’s Zig and free agents Benji (formerly LOD) and Sheep join the roster for Summer Split. Xpecial is moving to an assistant coach position, while Potluck and Bobqin remain signedfor Academy.
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We’re just days away from season four of the Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) and inaugural Rocket League Rival Series (RLRS). It’s finally time to take a look at this season’s competitors, with Play-Ins taking place last weekend.
Image courtesy of steamcardexchange.net
Despite upsets already happening, Friday marks the beginning of a long road to the world finals for these players.
Season four will take place over the next six weeks, with Oceania’s league play offset from North America and Europe by a week. Meaning OCE’s fifth week of league play will take place on week six, while NA and EU are in regional championships. Two weeks after this, OCE’s regional championship will take place alongside NA and EU’s promotion/relegation tournament.
With the addition of the RLRS, there are 40 teams competing in season four. 16 from NA, 16 from EU and eight from OCE. Here’s a look at the season four teams, with substitute players in parenthesis.
Ultimately, all of these teams are aiming for a chance to take the stage at the world championships. However, the road to the world championships is longer for some of these teams than others. Any team in the RLRS hoping to make it into the world championships will have to wait until season five.
In order for any of the teams in the RLRS to have a shot at the world championships in season five, they’ll have to come in the top two for their region in season four. Even then, they aren’t guaranteed a spot in the RLCS. At the end of season four, the top two teams in each region of the RLRS will take part in a double-elimination, best-of-seven tournament along with the bottom two teams in region of the RLCS. This tournament will determine whether a team drops into the lower RLRS division, rises up into the higher RLCS division, or simply stays in their current division.
The introduction of this promotion/relegation system raises the stakes for these players. They can no longer simply regroup or try a new team after a cold season and make into the RLCS next time around. Any new team hoping to compete in the RLCS must first fight their way to the top of the RLRS.
Image courtesy of rocketleague.com
Despite league play not beginning until Friday, season four has already seen several upsets. Many expected to see Fibeon Esports get a shot at the RLCS in season four. However, they were relegated to the RLRS after losing 3-0 to Emotion in the loser’s bracket of Play-Ins.
Perhaps the biggest upset so far, though, is the relegation of The Leftovers to the RLRS. After season three, The Leftovers gave Victor “Ferra” Francal the boot, opting to replace him with veteran Nicolai “Maestro” Bang. Ferra created his own team and knocked The Leftovers into the loser’s bracket with a clean sweep.
In the loser’s bracket, The Leftovers were relegated to the RLRS after losing by another clean sweep. This time to Aeriality. Aeriality was, perhaps, expected to make it into the RLRS. However, the clean sweep over the veterans in The Leftovers sent them into RLCS, causing perhaps the biggest upset of season four so far.
With teams relegated and league play about to begin, the real question is whether or not these upset teams can hold their own against the veteran teams they’ll be up against in the RLCS. Will the upsets continue, or will they find themselves being relegated down to the RLRS for season five?
Team captain of The Leftovers, Nicolai “Snaski” Vistesen Andersen believes his team will be promoted to the RLCS for season five, as he tweeted “Guess we gotta go through RLRS to show everyone that we definitely don’t belong there.” There’s a strong possibility that this veteran team will do just that, coming in the top two of the RLRS and winning their way into the RLCS during the promotion/relegation tournament. That being said, in order for The Leftovers to be promoted, someone has to be relegated down.
With these upset teams already shattering expectations, it’s surely possible they will continue to do so during league play. Hence the term upset. Yet, I fully expect to see Emotion from NA and Aeriality from EU at least competing in their respective promotion/relegation tournaments, if not being relegated down to the RLRS for season five.
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Team Liquid made a huge announcement this week with the acquisition of former ROX tiger mid laner, Sun “Mickey” Yong-min. It’s no secret that Team Liquid has failed to meet expectations this whole year. They thought they could turn things around after acquiring star jungler Kim “Reignover” Ui-jin in the off season. That hasn’t been the case as the team has sat near the bottom of the standings for most of the year, barely avoiding relegation in Spring.
This off the back of an impressive 2-0 week where Team Liquid looked to be finally coming together. Team owner, Steve Arhancet, seems to be highly dissatisfied with the team’s results this year. With franchising coming to LCS soon he wants to start building for the future now. This move infers a lot of things with the team moving forwards.
Piglet’s Inevitable retirement
Photo via Riot Esports
Star ADC Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin was brought onto the team two years ago to turn TL into Worlds contenders. That hasn’t come to fruition as the team has struggled mightily for most of his time on the roster. This may be a sign that both sides are ready to move on.
Piglet has put up decent stats throughout his NA LCS career, but the team has never been able to fully use that to their advantage. During his early stages, he would often get caught out farming a side wave and failing to group with his team. His communication and chemistry issues showed in game, and the results mirrored that.
Meanwhile Team Liquid has done everything in their power to make things better for Piglet. Last summer when the Dardoch drama was going on, he requested to play on Team Liquid Academy. Even after that, he’s shown in Breaking Point wanting to quit again. Team Liquid has constantly tried to build a team around him, despite it showing that it hasn’t worked for four splits now.
The signing of Mickey brings Team Liquid to the two import limit. This means either Reignover or Piglet can’t play with Mickey in the lineup. For now it seems that they’ll try to make things work with Inori at jungle. Looking forward, they may try to find a North American talent to replace Piglet. In interviews at the start of the split Piglet states that he’s leaning towards retirement if TL doesn’t win NA LCS.
Goldenglue’s Failed Return
Many were surprised when TL announced they’d be bringing back the exact same roster from last split that was nearly relegated before Doublelift came in. Most notably, the return of mid laner Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer to the starting lineup. Goldenglue spent some time bootcamping in Korea by himself while the team finished out the Spring Split without him. TL hoped that the Korean bootcamp had helped him improve enough to warrant the starting position. That wasn’t the case as the team as a whole seemed to struggle.
Goldenglue specifically hasn’t put up great stats this split. He is currently near the bottom for KDA and CS diff@10 among mids. He had some great performances last week during their 2-0 where he showed flashes of brilliance. But just like that, Mickey is being brought in to challenge him for his spot.
This all but spells his likely end with Team Liquid. It may also mean the end of his pro career as he’s more of a challenger series level mid laner at most. He’s great at helping qualify teams for LCS, but just hasn’t performed well enough on stage. It’ll be interesting to see what he does moving forward. He has definitely put in a lot of work trying to consistently stay in LCS these last few years.
Reignover a bust?
Photo via Riot Games
One of the biggest questions coming into the split was how jungler Reignover would do without his long time duo Huni in the top lane. While Huni went onto do great things on SKT, Reignover has been a shadow of his former self. He has not been the MVP performer we were used to seeing last year.
The jungle talent does seem to have been elevated this split. With big name rookies all coming into the split and others getting better, Reignover hasn’t looked the same. Even in this meta where tanks are king, he doesn’t seem to have the same impact.
With Mickey coming onto the team, TL has reacquired Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett as the starter with Reignover waiting in the wings. Many will remember Dardoch as one of the most talented yet toxic members during his time on TL. Another high risk/high reward move that could work well or blow up the team to oblivion. This time around they don’t have the clash of Dardoch and Locodoco so maybe this move can work out. Dardoch seems to have a history of toxicity at this point on every team he’s been on. Even a winning CLG team.
Only time will tell if these moves can actually move TL into Worlds contention in the future.
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Football is right around the corner and The Game Haus is going to get you ready for the 2017-18 NFL season. The Super Bowl Series is going to explain how every team in the NFL can win Super Bowl LII. The Super Bowl Series will be divided into eight editions, one for each division. This is the third edition, Super Bowl Series: NFC North.
Green Bay Packers
(Photo Credit: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Green Bay was awfully close to winning the Super Bowl last season but lost in the NFC Championship game. Atlanta completely dominated the game and won 44-21. The Packers offense is good enough to propel the team to consistent runs at the Super Bowl but if the Packers want to recapture the magic of 2011, the defense must improve.
Calling the Packers offense good is somewhat of an understatement. Green Bay was fourth is scoring last season averaging 27 points per game. The Packers offense scored a lot of points but was very one-dimensional. The passing attack ranked seventh (262.4 yards per game) and the running game ranked 20th (106.3 yards per game). Packer fans can thank Aaron Rodgers for how much he has carried this franchise.
Rodgers has been historically amazing. He has the best touchdown to interception ratio of all time at 4.12. The next closest is Tom Brady with 3.0. He also had 4,428 yards, 40 touchdowns and just seven interceptions last season.
If the Packers want to win Super Bowl LII, Aaron Rodgers must continue to put up these gaudy numbers. The impressive stats include 4,000 or more yards in six of the past nine seasons, 30 or more touchdowns in six of the last eight seasons and a career record of 90-45. If you take out 2013 in which Rodgers missed seven games due to a broken collarbone, it looks even more magnificent.
There is consistent evidence that the passing attack in Green Bay will flourish and the Packers added tight end Martellus Bennett to help Rodgers even more. Last season Green Bay’s tight ends combined for 64 receptions, 683 yards and three touchdowns.
Bennett had 55 receptions, 701 yards and seven touchdowns with the Patriots, and that was while sharing time with Rob Gronkowski. Bennett is a major upgrade that can help the Packers in the middle of the field and in the red zone.
Improving the running game will also be key in the Packers winning Super Bowl LII. Green Bay was ranked 20th, as mentioned earlier, and they lost two starting offensive lineman from last season, TJ.. Lang and JC Tretter. Losing Lang may not be as a big of a blow as most would think. The Packers struggled running to the right and ranked 25th in the NFL with 18 negative run plays to his side.
Green Bay also drafted running back Jamaal Williams out of BYU. Williams had a quietly outstanding senior season, rushing for 1,375 yards and 12 touchdowns on just 234 carries. If the right side of the line improves at run blocking and Jamaal Williams can make an immediate impact, then the offense can become unpredictable and lead the Packers to a Super Bowl victory.
The Packers offense can’t do it completely alone. Green Bay was really good at stopping the run and getting sacks last season. The run defense ranked eighth, allowing 91.7 yards per game and sixth in sacks with 40.
Green Bay’s ability to stop the run is a bit deceiving though. Opposing teams only ran the ball 39.7 percent of the time on Green Bay because it was so easy to pass on them. The Packers ranked 31st in pass defense giving up 269.2 yards per game. This must improve if the Packers want to get to the Super Bowl.
Let’s face it, with Aaron Rodgers on your team a Super Bowl is always within reach. If Green Bay can have an unpredictable offense and improve its pass defense, then the Packers can get over the hump and win Super Bowl LII.
(Photo Credit: http://ftw.usatoday.com)
Detroit had what most would say was a surprising season last year. They finished 9-7 but had they beat Green Bay in week 17, then the Lions would have won the division.
The Lions got bounced out of the playoffs by Seattle 26-6. Matthew Stafford has yet to win a playoff game in his career but there is a small possibility they could win their first ever Super Bowl this season.
The Detroit defense was nothing spectacular but not horrible either last season. They ranked 13th in points allowed per game (22.4), 19th in passing yards allowed per game (269.2) and 18th in rushing yards allowed (106.3). If the Lions want to contend for a Super Bowl title, they must win the division and earn home playoff games.
Accomplishing a division title means beating Green Bay and shutting down Aaron Rodgers. Detroit needs to become a top-five pass defense and improve on their 10 interceptions from last season in order to become the kings of the North. Creating turnovers will make it easier for Matthew Stafford and the offense. Detroit should embrace bringing back the pain of the black and blue division.
Offensively, the Lions struggled to finish with points. They had the 11th ranked passing attack with 259.9 yards per game but ranked 20th in points scored per game (21.6). Stafford threw for 4,327 yards and 24 touchdowns but it wasn’t enough scoring. The running game held the team back averaging 81.9 yards per game, which was third-worst in the NFL.
Similar to Green Bay, Detroit needs to stop being one-dimensional. The additions of Rick Wagner and T.J. Lang should provide some assistance to the running game but Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick must also step up. If these two backs can combine for a minimum of 1,500 yards, there is a good chance the Lions will be good enough to win the division.
With the 18th-easiest strength of schedule heading into the season, the Lions can steal a few wins on the shoulders of Matthew Stafford. If they want to really become Super Bowl contenders, they must stop the pass and create more turnovers. Along with improving defensively, the Lions need to run their way to a division title.
(Photo Credit: http://ftw.usatoday.com)
Minnesota was looking like a serious Super Bowl contender through five games last season. The Vikings started 5-0 before the wheels eventually flew off. Minnesota then went 3-8 to stumble to an 8-8 record. Interestingly enough, the Vikings are much closer to winning a Super Bowl than most would care to admit.
The Vikings are a true defensive beast in the black and blue division behind defensive-minded head coach Mike Zimmer. Despite having a historically bad offense, the Vikings defense still had an impressive 2016-17 campaign.
Minnesota ranked sixth in points allowed per game (19.2), third in pass yards allowed (207.9), fifth in sacks (41) and third in total yards allowed despite ranking 20th in rush defense (106.9).
There isn’t much the Vikings need to improve on defensively. Replacing nickel corner Captain Munnerlyn is the biggest concern. Mike Zimmer has a long history of success with secondaries, so Vikes fans need not to worry on who Zimmer chooses. The Vikings could improve their run defense as well, but most of the issues come from defensive tackles like Sharrif Floyd and Linval Joesph dealing with on and off injuries.
The offensive side of the ball is where the Vikings need to step up. The offensive line was one of the most injured in the NFL and the Vikings lost both Matt Kalil and Andre Smith in free agency. Minnesota signed Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers to compensate for those losses. The running game was the worst in the NFL at 75.3 yards per game. The Vikings didn’t have a single run go for over 40 yards.
Minnesota wasn’t that great passing the ball either. The Vikings ranked 18th with 239.8 passing yards per game. Due to the bad offensive production, the Vikings struggled to put up points averaging just 20.4 per game.
Not everything about the Vikings offense was miserable. There was flashes of greatness last season. Sam Bradford broke the NFL record for completion percentage in a single season by completing 71.6 percent of his passes.
The offense also improved after Norv Turner resigned midseason. Before Turner resigned as offensive coordinator, the Vikings were averaging 221.4 passing yards and 71.8 rushing yards per game. In the nine games with Pat Shurmur in charge of the offense, the Vikings averaged 254 passing yards and 78 rushing yards per game. Shurmur knows how to play to Sam Bradford’s strength and that bodes well for the Vikings moving forward.
Minnesota already has a championship-caliber defense. The defense can carry them to a lot of victories but to get to a Super Bowl the Vikings must improve their offense in all phases. If the Vikings can break the top 15 in both rushing and passing, along with staying healthy, then not only can the Vikings win their first Super Bowl, but they can win it in their home stadium.
(Photo Credit: http://www.chicagotribune.com)
The 2016-17 Chicago Bears lost 13 games for the first time since 1969 when they went 1-13. It was a nightmare year in which the Bears were ravaged by injuries. Chicago placed 19 players on injured reserve which was the most in the NFL.
The Bears also were 1-7 in games decided by seven points or less. The 3-13 record didn’t truly reflect the team’s talent.
John Fox is ready to take the Bears to the next level. In his second season with Carolina, he led the Panthers to the Super Bowl. In his third season with Denver, he led the Broncos to the Super Bowl. As he enters his third season with the Bears, he could do the same.
The Bears can’t win a Super Bowl behind Mike Glennon or Mitchell Trubisky. They can, however, win a Super Bowl behind their defense and running game. With an entirely new roster of quarterbacks, it will be hard to predict how good the Bears offense can be.
The running game should be their bread and butter. Jordan Howard ran for 1,313 yards on 252 carries in just 12 starts as a rookie. The Bears are projected to have the fifth-best offensive line this season according to Pro Football Focus. If it pans out, the Bears will be able to run the ball with success thus taking the pressure off whoever ends up playing under center.
The passing game will remain a mystery. Mike Glennon has only started 18 games in his three-year career and has a record of 5-13 in those games. Rookie quarterback and second overall pick Mitchell Trubisky is likely to see some action this season as well.
The receiving corp is full of potential with Cameron Meredith, Kevin White, Markus Wheaton, Rueben Randle, Victor Cruz and Kendell Wright. It is unlikely all of them make the roster but aside from Kevin White, all have shown optimistic flashes of skill throughout their career.
If the Bears want to win Super Bowl LII, it is going to be because of their defense. Akiem Hicks, Pernell McPhee, Willie Young, Lamarr Houston and Leonard Floyd will create havoc for opposing quarterbacks. The secondary should improve with the additions of Quinton Demps and Prince Amukamara. Amukamara loves to play aggressively and in Vic Fangio’s 3-4 defense he will be able to.
It is going to take a lot for the Bears to make the Super Bowl. The chances are small but there is always a chance. Chicago’s defense needs to become a Monsters of the Midway defense again for them to get there. They also need Jordan Howard to improve his performance from last season. Lastly, Mike Glennon or Mitchell Trubisky need to be spectacular. If the Bears can do all of this, they can win Super Bowl LII.
Thank you for checking out the Super Bowl Series: NFC North. Stay tuned the remaining editions of Super Bowl series.
It’s been just under a month since the season three finale of the Rocket League Championship Series. Already players are hard at work changing organizations, building new rosters, practicing and competing in smaller tournaments.
This guide is an attempt to help Rocket League fans keep track of the scene’s ever-changing teams and offer potential team compositions for the coming fourth season of the RLCS.
RLCS Season Three Contenders
As with previous seasons, season three of the RLCS allotted eight league play slots for North American teams and European teams. In addition, the top two teams competing in the Throwdown Rocket League Oceanic Championship made it into the season three RLCS world championships. This was the first time the RLCS included teams from the OCE region.
The top two teams from both the NA and EU regions, along with the world champions, received auto-qualification for season four. Season four will be the first season in which teams are auto-qualified for league play. However, these teams must retain two-thirds of their season three roster in order to keep their auto-qualification.
Two NA teams are auto-qualified for season 4. These teams are NRG and Rogue.
NRG left to right: GarretG, Jacob, Fireburner. Photo courtesy of NRG Instagram (nrggram)
NRG’s Rocket League team consists of Jayson “Fireburner” Nunez, Jacob “Jacob” McDowell and Garrett “GarrettG” Gordon. Beginning under the name Kings of Urban, Jacob and Fireburner have been teammates since the first season of the RLCS. With Kais “Sadjunior” Zehri as their third roster member during the first two seasons, this squad won both regional championships.
Despite winning the first two NA regional championships, this squad was unable to place higher than fifth place at the world championships. Cut to GarrettG replacing Sadjunior. The updated NRG squad became three-time regional champions and placed third at the world championships, higher than they had before.
With this current squad taking second place at the first tournament of the 7-Eleven Summer Series presented by Brisk, it doesn’t appear that they’ll be changing their roster any time soon.
Rogue left to right: Sizz, Turtle, Matt. Photo courtesy of rocketleague.com
Beginning season three under the name Atelier, Emiliano “Sizz” Benny, Matt “Matt” Dixon and Isaac “Turtle” App made quite a mark on the NA region.
After placing second in the regional championships, Rogue acquired Atelier. Rogue went on to take the fifth-sixth slot at the world championships.
Travelling to Sweden for DreamHack Summer 2017, Rogue placed in the third-fourth slot. There are no signs of any roster changes as of yet.
Other Season Three Contenders
Of the six other teams that participated in season 3 of the RLCS, there is a mix of roster changes, continuing rosters and disbands. Here’s what we know so far.
Denial’s season three team consisted of Treyven “Lethamyr” Robitaille, Gabriel “CorruptedG” Vallozzi and Sadjunior. Denial placed in the seventh-eighth slot at the season three world championships.
While there doesn’t appear to be any drastic changes to Denial’s roster so far, fans did see a different starting lineup during the first tournament of the 7-Eleven Summer Series. Sadjunior was moved to a substitute position and Jason “Klassux” Klass took over the third starting position. They were eliminated by Take 3 in the first round of this single-elimination tournament.
Nothing is official, but the addition of Klassux to Denial would create a team with a strong starting three and an equally strong substitute.
G2, Photo courtesy of g2esports.com
As an organization, G2, has been active in the RLCS since season one. That being said, Cameron “Kronovi” Bills is the only remaining member from the initial team, who were crowned the first world champions of the RLCS.
After failing to qualify for the world championships in season two, G2 saw it’s first roster change. Ted “0ver Zer0” Keil retired and Brandon “Lachinio” Lachin left to help form Iris.
In season three, G2 and Kronovi came back to the RLCS with Dillon “Rizzo” Rizzo and Jacob “JKnaps” Knapman on the roster.
Despite not making it to worlds again in season three, the G2 roster has remained so far. In fact, the team took first place at the first tournament of the 7-Eleven Summer Series, beating NRG 4-0 in the finals.
When asked about season 4 during aninterview on RLCS Overtime, Kronovi said “it’s either third time’s the charm if I make it, or three strikes you’re out if I fail again.” Continuing with this roster could be the resurrection G2 needs or the end of Kronovi, the mountain himself.
Genesis, during season 3, consisted of Klassux, Trevor “Insolences” Carmody and Robert “Chrome” Gomez. They placed in the fifth-sixth slot of season three league play, falling just short of qualifying for the world championships.
Genesis reportedly had some teammate conflict throughout the season. Klassux tweeted a screenshot of an argument between himself and Insolences, which took place during season 3. This is, supposedly, just one of several problems the Genesis teammates had.
Chrome left Genesis and played for Take 3 during the first tournament of the 7-Eleven Summer Series. As mentioned above, Klassux played for Denial during the same tournament. As for Insolences, he tweeted about his uncertainty of whether or not to continue with competitive Rocket League. This came shortly after Genesis failed to qualify for the season three world championships.
Although nothing is certain at this point, it will be interesting to see where these players end up.
Selfless Gaming left to right: Mijo, Timi, Dappur. Photo courtesy of twitter.com/selflessrl
Selfless took season three by storm. The roster consisted of Chris “Dappur” Mendoza, Timi “Timi” Falodun, Jesus “Mijo” Gutierrez and Braden “Pluto” Schenetzki. Pluto subbed in for Dappur during day two of the season three world championships.
It’s uncertain what will happen with this roster. All four of these players were involved with the first tournament of the 7-Eleven Summer Series but none under the Selfless name. Timi played with Ohana. Despite suggestions that Mijo is retired, Ohana listed him as a sub. Pluto played for Splyce, alongside Jaime “Karma” Bickford and Matthew “Satthew” Ackerman. Finally, Dappur played for The Muffin Men, along with Mariano “SquishyMuffinz” Arruda and Kyle “Torment” Storer.
Ohana was eliminated in the first round by G2, Splyce was eliminated in the first round by The Muffin Men and The Muffin Men were eliminated in the second round by G2.
Joshua “Lemonpuppy” Wright, Michael “Memory” M. and Eric “Halcyon” R. entered season three of the RLCS under the name Radiance. They were quickly acquired by SetToDestroyX.
After coming in last during the regular season, SetToDestroyX may be making some changes to the roster. Showing up at the 7-Eleven Summer Series, the roster consisted of Lemonpuppy, Coleman “ColemanA” Arehart and Matt “Loomin” Laymin. They were eliminated in the first round by NRG.
It’s unclear what the official roster will be come season four of the RLCS.
Take 3 made their debut in the RLCS with a roster consisting of Rizzo, Insolences and Christopher “Zanejackey” Jacobs. Although this squad came in fourth at the season two world championships, Rizzo left to join G2 and Insolences joined Genesis.
Adam “Espeon” Barth and Vincent “Vince” Viani joined to fill the open slots for season three. They came in seventh.
Take 3 showed up to tournament one of the 7-Eleven Summer Series with a slightly different roster. Chrome took over Espeon’s position.
One notable thing about this change is Espeon’s presence on the tournament’s analyst desk. Espeon may be moving towards a caster/analyst role and out of a player role.
Registration for season four of the RLCS has not begun yet and, as such, there is still plenty of time roster changes and new teams to form. Teams are constantly changing and disbanding as players seek to rise to the top and dominate the competition. Below is the potential/tentative list of teams that you can expect to see competing for a spot in season four.
These are just teams consisting of contenders from season three of the RLCS. Expect to see other players rise up for their shot at glory. You can catch a glimpse of some of these other teams by tuning in to the NA Nexus Gaming Summer Invitational, beginning Saturday, July 1.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for part two, potential EU teams.
Tentative/Potential Season Four Teams (with season three contenders)
After a problematic first week in the North American League Championship Series, Team Liquid’s shaky start promotes questions of the competitive integrity within the League itself. Not too long ago, Team Liquid faced relegations at the end of the Spring Split. Their participation in the Summer Promotion tournament following their poor performance throughout the Spring Split was aided through the convenient substitution of some of the League’s best players: “Adrian” Ma and Peter “DoubleLift” Yilang.
CLG bring TL their first loss of the weekend through expert dragon control. Courtesy of lolesports
With Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin in the mid lane, Team Liquid was in dire need of a powerhouse bottom lane, and they bought it. Through “renting” these two players, Team Liquid successfully paid their way out of relegations; conveniently so, as franchising has now begun. In renting DoubleLift, TL successfully rented one of the most mechanically proficient players while also securing a venerated shot caller currently at the head of TSM.
Currently, Team Liquid sits at 0-2 in the standings. Their losses against Echo Fox and Counter Logic Gaming were both head scratchers in very different ways. Against CLG, Team Liquid were gifted three kills onto Piglet’s Jhin, followed by ten minutes of TL shuffling up and down the river looking for plays they could not find. In game two of TL vs CLG, dragon control led to an inevitable four stack Elder, allowing CLG to dismantle TL in a team fight forty minutes in the making.
Echo Fox versus TL proved Team Liquid had more weaknesses than substitutions could patch, but it also showed how much synergy matters on the competitive stage. Watching the first game of this series showed one of two things: Echo Fox has mastered map movements to a T, or that TL has no idea how to work as a team around objectives. While the latter is definitely true, Echo Fox did show a masterful ability to work the map. However, this has yet to be challenged by a top tier team.
In game two, Henrik “Froggen” Hansen and Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham proved to be a high-pressure combo, killing Slooshi’s Cassiopeia under tower with the Taliyah and Lee Sin synergy. Akaadian then stopped by every lane, snowballing advantages in every sector of the map. Reignover’s Elise was nowhere to be found, failing counter ganks that should have been called out far before they were initiated.
Echo Fox show that dominant map movement and teamplay are the two things that matter most in League of Legends. Courtesy of lolesports
TL then proceeded to ignore a Rift Herald drop in the mid lane until it had already taken a tower and a half. Once again, game two was defined through TL being out macroed as an entire team. Each of these players has undeniably great mechanics, but ultimately Echo Fox brought what TL could not buy, teamplay.
Liquid Without the Team Part
Teamplay is something Team Liquid sincerely lacks. Team Liquid’s lack of confidence in one another transcends the stage as Piglet has suggested in recent interviews. Piglet has told reporters that he would like to play mid again, while also stating that he should not bring it up to his team for obvious reasons. He openly doubts his teammates, creating an environment of disrespect that will deny team cohesion. Piglet calls out his team’s ability to shot call, claiming there is a lack of clarity in calls. This does not bode well for TL as Erving Goffman, American Sociologist, has stated that the greatest threat to a team is not being able to act in synchronized behavior (Goffman, 1959).
The caliber of play Team Liquid has shown in their first week of the LCS is severely lacking in comparison to their super sub bailout squad that barely beat Gold Coin United in the Summer Promotion Tournament. Due to the last minute substitutions during Team Liquid’s escape from relegations, the Summer split now hosts a team that is of an undeniably lower caliber than teams in the NACS. To add insult to injury, fans will be unable to watch NACS games this season, which will undoubtedly be entertaining, to say the least.
TL Goldenflue optimistic before his substitution. Courtesy of lolesports flickr.
For the sake of competition in the NALCS, we must hope that Team Liquid can turn things around. Perhaps the “impersonal contacts between strangers [which] are particularly subject to stereotypical responses, will change [when] persons come to be on closer terms with each other… this categorical approach recedes and gradually sympathy, understanding, and a realistic assessment of personal qualities take its place” (Goffman, 1963). Team Liquid hosts some undeniably talented players, but until they learn to cooperate, they will continue to be an undeniably untalented team.
Relegations are over, and EnVyUs and Team Liquid have earned their way back into the LCS. It wasn’t a domination by any means though. Both of these teams will need to make some changes for next split if they don’t want to finish bottom two again. Here are some possible roster moves I could see for both teams going into next split:
Courtesy: Riot Esports
EnVyUs began to pick up its play towards the end of the split. Their jungler Nam “Lira” Tae-yoo developed into one of the best junglers in NALCS. Team EnVyUs will need to build around their star jungler going forward. Where they can look to improve is in their solo laners. Top laner Shin “Seraph” Wu-Yeong and mid laner Noh “Ninja” Geon-woo looked close to mediocre in their roles last split. It’s questionable how Ninja is still worth an import slot at this point.
Envy’s bot lane was heavily underrated last split. Apollo “Apollo” Price and Nikolas “Hakuho” Surgent held their own against some of the best, and have shown they can compete at an LCS level. They also serve as valuable assets as they don’t take import slots.
Possible Roster Moves:
Looking at possible imports and challenger players available, they may look to the team that they had to defeat to get back into LCS. Gold Coin United’s solo laners may be adequate replacements. Mid laner Kim “Fenix” Jae-hun has has also proven to be a mechanically skilled mid laner that’s able to compete with some of the best in North America.
If Seraph doesn’t play next split, they could look to either Colin “Solo” Earnest or Eric “Licorice” Ritchie. Solo has been bouncing around the challenger scene for awhile now, but looked to hold his own during the promotion tournament. Licorice also had some impressive games during the promotion tournament that could see him being looked at for an LCS team soon.
Another notable import could be EU Giants’ Na “NighT” Gun-woo. NighT made quite the impact during his rookie split last season. He was a lone star on a struggling Giants roster this split. He has shown the ability to be able to play against some of the best mids in Europe.
Courtesy: Riot Esports
Team Liquid has quite the dilemma going forward. With Yiliang “Doubelift” going back to TSM, they’ll need to decide whether they keep Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin at Mid or move him back to his former role. Piglet has quite a while to prepare to become a better mid laner for Summer, but whether he’ll want to come back is the question. Piglet may have reached his breaking point, having failed to bring Team Liquid to Worlds in multiple consecutive splits now.
Support Matt “Matt” Elento has struggled since his phenomenal rookie split. Matt said in interviews that the pressure was beginning to affect his play. With the announcement of Adrian “Adrian” Ma’s departure from the team, Matt will be the support going forward.
The only sure roster locks that I see Team Liquid keeping are top laner Samson “Lourlo” Jackson and jungler Kim “Reignover” Ui-jin. Lourlo was still inconsistent last split, but I don’t think he did bad enough to be benched, and still showed glimpses of a star top laner. Reignover certainly struggled last split, but he returned to star form near the end of the split.
The mid and ADC positions have the biggest question marks heading into Summer.
Possible Roster Moves:
Like team Envy, NighT is a definite option for them. Piglet wasn’t the worst mid laner, but you could tell he didn’t know his lane matchups quite well enough yet. NighT is an adequate option as he has experience communicating in English. Team Liquid has experience integrating Korean Imports into their lineup as well. NighT has shown that he can be a force in the mid lane. Bringing Piglet back to the ADC role would also not be the worst thing with recent patches making them much more powerful than before.
Looking at the ADC role, Eunited’s ADC Matthew “Deftly” Chen showed some good games in the promotion tournament. He had a tremendous score line in game one against TL. He’s an up and coming NA talent to watch after having a feature on his Scouting Grounds experience.
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Team Liquid has announced an extension of partnership with Razer, one of it’s long standing sponsors.
7 Years of Partnership
Team Liquid is a pioneer of esports, having been around since Starcraft 2’s competitive days back in 2001. This year will mark seven years of partnership for the two organizations. Razer and Team Liquid have both thrived in their partnership as they watched the esports world grow.
Nobody would have predicted just how big esports would become seven years ago, a time in which most players were playing for the competition alone. But Team Liquid has stayed the course and is active in just about every major esport, including League of Legends, Overwatch, CS:GO, and more.
“I’m very proud that Razer is our longest standing partner. It feels like an eternity since we signed our first sponsorship with Razer. In an industry that moves at a million miles an hour, we’ve been on the journey together and it’s incredible that our two brands have come so far,” said Victor Goossens, co-CEO of Team Liquid.
What Makes a great Sponsor relationship
Game Haus had the chance to interview Team Liquid’s Director of Operations, Mike Milanov, who had much praise for the relationship they’ve been able to build with Razer. He highlighted that Team Liquid is considered a “premium brand”, having been involved in esports longer than almost anyone. This was a major factor in Razer’s initial partnership with the organization in 2011.
When asked about how Razer differs from other sponsors, Milanov said, “Razer was one of the first brands to get involved with Starcraft back in the early esports era. They were one of the first brands to really ramp up with team sponsorship and take relationships seriously. They value partners that work with them on the things they find most important…We’ve always been treated like a tier one organization by Razer.”
Another ideal he praised Razer for was their ability to adapt to other esports organizations and grow together with one another.
“They understand that it’s not in templated approach with every organization. Razer adapts to different organizations very well in the esports scene,” he said.
Milanov also brought up how growing together was one of the biggest priorities in the partnership.
He noted, “We had many offers to potentially go elsewhere for a little more money, but that’s not what it’s all about. It’s about growing together. As Team Liquid grows, Razer grows.”
Razer recently came out with Team Liquid DeathAdder mouse bundles, which sold out ahead of schedule during the holiday season. Announcing another year of partnership could mean more opportunities for additional Team Liquid gear.
Milanov commented that this may only be the beginning of a new line of Team Liquid Razer infused products, due to the success that they found with the holiday bundles.
“Just the fact that they trust us enough to make a Razer DeathAdder with Team Liquid theme says enough about what we’re going to be doing with them in the future,” he said.
Courtesy: Team Liquid Pro
“Team Liquid underscores what Razer’s ‘unfair advantage’ is all about,” said Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder and CEO. “We have enjoyed working with this incredible team on dozens of products over the years. We look forward to continuing the collaboration to ensure our products are the best in the world at the highest level of competition.”
With the announcement of another year of partnership, both organizations will enjoy another year of esports growth side by side.
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The regular Spring Split of the NALCS has come to a close and the standings are a lock. In the off season, we saw some big names enter the scene with huge investments made by NBA teams. Some teams came in with some high expectations, while others may not have looked as promising. I’ll be reviewing how well I did in my preseason power rankings compared to how things played out. There were definitely some surprises on both sides of the standings so let’s take a look at some of the surprises this split:
Projected Ranking: 2nd
Final Ranking: 1st
Courtesy: Riot Esports
Team SoloMid came into this split projected as low as fourth on some preseason power rankings. Many, including myself, saw ADC Jason “Wildturtle” Tran as a definite downgrade to Doublelift. It was evident in the first few weeks, and many doubted how well they’d adapt.
Top laner Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell began to take over heavier shot calling duties. It was rough at first, but TSM finally figured things out mid way through the split. Hauntzer has looked like an MVP candidate, while support Vincent “Biofrost” Wang has proved to be a star support without Doublelift. Star mid laner Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg had a few rough first games but has steadily returned to MVP form.
The only worrying trend I could see is how inconsistent jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen can be. Svenskeren did appear to be the weak link of the team throughout the split. He’ll need to become more of a consistent threat for this team to reclaim their NALCS title.
Projected Ranking: 1st
Final Ranking: 2nd
Unlike most teams, Cloud 9 stormed out of the gate to a phenomenal 8-0 start. Teams around them struggled to find synergy in the early parts of the split, but lingering issues have since plagued Cloud9. They’ve struggled to make early game plays and often get wins off their mid game team fighting. Against worse teams, this may work, but to be a top team in the world, this is something they’ll need to improve.
Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen has had an MVP-like season. His Orianna plays in the last week were carrying many of their games during the final week. Rookie Juan ”
Rookie Juan “Contactz” Garcia has seen his share fair of criticism throughout the split. It’s easy to forget that this is only his first season. He’ll need to find a better way to make early game plays for this team to succeed.
Projected Ranking: 6th
Final Ranking: 3rd
Courtesy: Riot Esports
I actually pegged Phoenix1 as one of my dark horse favorites heading into the split. They didn’t disappoint, as they sky rocketed from relegations to a 3rd place finish this split. Even with the hiatus of star jungler Rami “Inori” Charagh, Phoenix1 was still able to show that they can be top contenders in this league.
They imported a hidden gem in ADC No “Arrow” Dong-hyeon. Arrow has looked superb aside from the last week of the split. Despite changing supports around the mid way point Arrow has looked like the best import this split. He currently leads the league in KDA and is 4th in CSDiff@10.
Phoenix1 honestly looked like strong contenders heading into the final week before being blown out by the top two teams in the league. Phoenix1 will need to bounce back heading into their series against a surging Dignitas.
Counter Logic Gaming
Projected Ranking: 4th
Final Ranking: 4th
CLG had a season similar to last Summer Split. They struggled to adapt to the meta and lost a lot due to this. Another issue is playing to the level of their competition. Against the best teams, CLG looked like they could contend with the top teams. When facing bottom tier teams, they’d sometimes get upset or may it a closer series than expected.
Around the mid-season, we saw the usual CLG return to their expected form of title contenders. With the meta shifted back to ADC’s being more than just ult bots, we may see CLG look to play around their bot lane more. Mid laner Choi “HuHi” Jae-hyun has looked much improved this split after being heavily criticized last year.
CLG have Flyquest as their first opponents heading into playoffs. They should be favorites considering how much Flyquest struggled during the second half of the split. CLG look to be improving week by week, so barring another emergency medical emergency, they should face rival TSM in the next round.
Projected Ranking: 8th
Final Ranking: 5th
Courtesy: Riot Esports
Most had Flyquest pegged as a bottom tier team during pre-season. Flyquest stormed onto the scene as a top three team for the first half of the split. Under the shotcalling of Hai “Hai” Lam, they were able to easily out maneuver many of the newer rosters. Hai’s shotcalling and leadership poised Flyquest to be top contenders heading into the split.
As we entered the second half of the split, Flyquest’s magic fizzled out. As teams around them improved, Flyquest attempted to “cheese” opponents bringing out unique picks such as Shaco, Mordekaiser, and Blitzcrank. Teams seem to have figured out their strategies and Flyquest have struggled to adapt.
Despite their late season fall from the top three, they still played well enough to earn the fifth seed in the playoffs. It’ll be interesting to see how much they decide to rely on cheese picks going into playoffs. Their drafts have been some of the most interesting, to say the least. CLG is a tough first opponent, but they definitely have the experience to take the series.
Projected Ranking: 3rd
Final Ranking: 6th
Dignitas, on paper, looked like a top three team. Bringing in two of the best in their roles from Korean in Lee “Chaser” Sang-hyun and Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho, many thought they’d contend for top two. That wasn’t the case, as the language barrier and synergy issues were quite evident in the first half of the split.
The team wasn’t very proactive. After a coaching change in bringing back former Apex coach David “Cop” Roberson, the team finally look to be reaching their potential. During the second half of the split, Dignitas looked like the team many had hoped for in preseason.
They have a tall task in facing Phoenix1 in the first round of playoffs, but if they prepare well enough I could see them getting the upset. Chaser has been playing extremely well lately and will play a huge role in deciding whether this team goes far in playoffs.
Projected Ranking: 7th
Final Ranking: 7th
Immortals came in, like many, struggling with synergy issues. Uncharacteristically Eugene “Pobelter” Park looked like the worst mid laner during the first few weeks of the spring, but during the mid-season, Immortals looked to be improved and maybe deserved a playoff spot with how they were playing near the end.
The team still heavily relies on jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett to either carry them or lose them games. Their bot lane looked much improved from the start of the split though. I could see Immortals sticking it out with this roster and improving a bunch for Summer split.
Barely just missing playoffs hurts, but they’re headed in the right direction.
Projected Ranking: 9th
Final Ranking: 8th
Echo Fox didn’t have too many expectations heading into the split. Specifically, nobody knew how good jungler Matt “Akaadian” Higginbotham was going to be. Akaadian has come out as the next upcoming NA jungle talent in the scene. His early game aggression netted Echo Fox some enormous early game leads.
Echo Fox struggled in transitioning their early game leads to victories. ADC Yuri “Keith” Jew received much of the criticism in Echo Fox’s losses for his performances this split. Top laner Jang “Looper” Hyeong-seok was supposed to be an upgrade in his role, but looked to lack synergy with his team. He was often teleporting late or engaging teamfights without his team behind him.
Look for Echo Fox to make some roster changes if they want to be real contenders for next split.
Projected Ranking: 5th
Final Ranking: 9th
Courtesy: Riot Esports
Team Liquid was actually another one of my dark horse favorites heading into this split. Jungler Kim “Reignover” Ui-jin was thought to be a top tier jungler in North America. Mid laner Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer was finally getting his shot to prove himself.
I don’t think anybody expected Team Liquid to have such a bad season. Nobody would’ve predicted the role swap for Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin from ADC to mid either. In an more even shocking turn of events, Team Liquid brought in Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng to take over at ADC. Team Liquid has done everything to try to climb out of relegations, but still struggled to finish out the games needed towards the end of the split.
Team Liquid will need to play their way through relegations now to find their way back into LCS, but with the roster they’re sporting now, I don’t see this team losing their LCS spot.
This was still one of the most disappointing seasons in Team Liquid’s history. It’ll be interesting what off season changes they’ll make to claim their rightful spot in fourth place.
Projected Ranking: 10th
Final Ranking: 10th
Not much to say here. EnVyUs’ big need is in the mid lane where they’re wasting an import slot on Noh “Ninja” Geon-woo at the moment. Their bot lane is underrated, and jungler Nam “Lira” Tae-yoo has looked like the best jungler in NA at times. I don’t see them losing their spot in relegations, but we’ll need to see if Lira sticks with them.
If Lira doesn’t get any offers from other teams, and EnVy replaces Ninja, I could see them improve to at least a playoff team in Summer.
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This split, we’ve gotten the chance to see the first instances of “loaning” players in the NALCS. Phoenix1 with jungler William “Meteos” Hartman, and Team Liquid with Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng. It sparks the discussion, is “loaning” players good or bad for the scene? If a top tier organization is able to acquire a big name like Doublelift when they’re sinking fast, what does it mean for the newer organizations who may not have those types of connections?
Mainly looking at Doublelift’s loan for the rest of the split. It feels like team owners who have been there since the beginning may be willing to help each other more than most. I doubt TSM’s owner, Andy “Reginald” Dinh, would loan Doublelift to Envy or Immortals had they asked. The owners of Team Liquid, CLG, TSM, and C9 seem to have a special connection, having been there in the early birth of NALCS.
The real winners in each deal here are the players. Doublelift has stated that his break made him realize that competitive play was where he wanted to be. Getting the chance to get back into the swing of things in a few weeks with Team Liquid allows him to ready himself to be in prime form for a summer return with TSM. Doublelift made it clear that he would only be with Liquid until the end of the split.
Team Liquid gets a great deal in this as well. Doublelift is the best non-import slot that you could attain. If their only goal at this point is to avoid relegations, Doublelift gives them the chance to do so.
TSM are also winners in this deal. Unless Team Liquid has a miracle run and some luck, it’s unlikely they’d meet in playoffs down the road. TSM earns big bucks for loaning out a sub who is in need of LCS time before returning.
It becomes an interesting discussion of whether this is fair to the rest of the league. Team Liquid could even bail TSM out of a bad situation in the future through offering a sub. It can only really benefit the two teams involved.
It becomes a problem when the rest of the bottom tier teams may not have that same luxury. In all honesty, it’s not an even playing field if a move like this can occur whenever one of the top organizations is having a rough split. This may be temporary though as most organizations are desperate to stay in LCS with the rumors of franchising the NALCS.
Moves like this ensure the original LCS teams don’t go away anytime soon. Team Curse was one of the first LCS teams in its young career, and it’s unlikely we’ll see them be relegated anytime soon. Should Riot continue to allow teams to loan their subs?
Team Liquid’s case may be extremely rare, but could be totally possible in the future. With more veteran players, it may become intriguing to rest star players in the Spring. Burnout is a serious issue among pros, and if more stars decide to take breaks in the Spring, a situation like this could occur in the future.
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