Note: the following article reflects the writer’s personal opinions, not those of Break the Game’s staff, therefore it should not be taken as factual.
The 2016 NA LCS Season has been nothing short of amazing. It was filled with great matches, awesome storylines and rivalries being put in the spotlight. It’s only fair to look back on the entire year and give praise to the teams and players that established themselves as the top dogs within the league.
Best Top Laner – TSM Hauntzer
Joining TSM after leaving Gravity, many people looked down on Hauntzer and saw him as a downgrade of Dyrus. Because of Gravity’s inability to reach success, the general consensus was that Hauntzer won’t be able to step up and fill in Dyrus’ role as a rock in the top lane. After one year with TSM, it’s safe to say Hauntzer has definitely proved a lot of people wrong. While he still has more to learn and things he can improve upon, Hauntzer has been one of TSM’s most consistent players throughout the entire year.
Domestically, Huni is the only candidate that can challenge Hauntzer for that title. But when versatility, consistency and performance in high-pressure scenarios are taken into account, Hauntzer is definitely above the rest to me. That is not to say he doesn’t have weaknesses. He’s still a young player so when he got to the World stage, the nervousness showed in his play and he wasn’t as effective as he usually is. He was still one of the better Top Laners though and for a player that doesn’t have that much experience, it’s safe to say his second season in the LCS has been a huge success.
Best Jungler – TSM Svenskeren and IMT Reignover
Probably the hardest award to give out and with good reason. Both junglers displayed their own unique qualities. Reignover was more consistent throughout the entire year, being the rock that made Immortals such a dominant force domestically. Svenskeren on the other hand had a very poor Spring Split but stepped up huge in the Spring Playoffs and beyond. Reignover’s ability to work with his lanes and plan his jungle routes is incredible. However the problem came when it was time for playoffs and Reignover was a no-show.
Svenskeren was a monster in the Summer Split, dominating most junglers with co-ordinated counter jungling. His major flaw was his inability to be more passive when the situation called for it. No matter what the case was, he played aggressive almost all the time. And although it rarely backfired on him, it’s still something that could have been punished harder. The difference between the two junglers is that one of them was able to go to Worlds and show how he performs internationally. Although TSM did not make it out of groups, Svenskeren had amazing performance on Lee Sin, leading to teams banning it away from him permanently. In the end, while I wanted to give the ward to Svenskeren initially, I couldn’t pass up Reignover who despite not going to Worlds had a very dominant year with Immortals.
Best Mid Laner – TSM Bjergsen
Huge sorry to Jensen, Pobelter and every other mid laner in NA. Bjergsen is just the whole package. He’s a leader, he is mechanically gifted, he has a huge champion pool and he understands his role so well. It would be a crime not to give this award to Bjergsen. Jensen had a great year as well, Pobelter showcased his skill in the Summer Split too. But I can’t in good conscience give this award to either of them because Bjergsen outright deserves it.
Best AD Carry – TSM Doublelift
Let’s just get it out of the way, Spring Split was horrible for Doublelift. He didn’t synergize with YellowStar, his own play was lacking and he fell short to his former team Counter Logic Gaming. So what makes him the winner of the Best AD Carry award? His outstanding Summer Split. Not only did he find a great partner in Biofrost, he helped develop him into one of NA’s best support players within one split. Above all else he became the shot caller that TSM needed and along with Bjergsen lead the team to a nearly perfect Summer Split.
The huge hurdle for him was once again the World stage where he and Biofrost were one of the problems behind TSM’s 3rd place finish in groups. Despite TSM’s failure on the world stage, Doublelift still had a career defining year and proved that he has what it takes to be a good teammate by being the first player to win the LCS on two different teams.
Best Support – CLG Aphromoo
Biofrost is a decent contender for this award but considering how much Aphromoo does for CLG, he wins the award without much difficulty. Being the main shotcaller of the team, Aphromoo is the glue that holds CLG together. While Xmithie may be the most consistent player of the team, Aphromoo’s performance affects them the most. If he is having a bad game, the team plays worse as a whole. CLG centers around Aphromoo and it’s hard to say if they would have had the same success throughout 2016 if it wasn’t for him. Just like Doublelift, Aphromoo took a rookie and helped him become one of the strongest players within his role. He deserves just as much credit for that as Doublelift.
Best Rookie – TSM Biofrost
Stixxay is definitely a strong contender as well. The only reason I didn’t give him the award is because of how much Biofrost accomplished within such a short amount of time. Winning NA, going to Worlds and becoming Rookie of the Split. All of that in one split. Biofrost was hyped up leading into the Summer Split and he certainly lived up to the hype. The only weakness he showed was weaker overall play in high-pressure games such as the NA LCS Finals or Worlds. But there’s no doubt in my mind that he exceeded all expectations.
Best Team – Team SoloMid and Counter Logic Gaming
Honestly, I can’t choose between either team. CLG had a solid Spring Split, winning it all and going to MSI. And then at MSI, they placed 2nd and gave people hope that NA was going to perform well at Worlds. But it all went downhill from there for CLG. Team SoloMid’s journey went the opposite direction. After losing 2-3 to CLG in a narrow series at the Spring Finals, they replaced YellowStar with Biofrost and dominated NA. Falling short at Worlds does not hurt them in the long run as everyone will remember how dominant they were throughout the Summer Split.