The North American LCS has shaken up its rosters once more, and 2017 is looking promising for the entire league. With so many imports joining teams all across the board, things can go wrong fast if they can’t fit well enough on their respective squads or if the teams themselves just don’t synergize. With that being said, the question now is, what should we be looking at heading into the 2017 NA LCS season?
What will become of Counter Logic Gaming, the most “NA” squad that North America has to offer?
It’s very difficult to predict what happens to CLG heading into next year. Most teams in the region will be relying heavily on imports, but it seems like CLG is going to be sticking with their 2016 roster, and it brings up the question of if they be able to keep up and stay in the top. Their decision to keep all players is definitely a curious one when taking into consideration the team only has one import. Other than HuHi, the rest of CLG is made of North American players. HotshotGG is definitely faithful in the concept of building a team that wins through communication and synergy. That’s wonderful to see, and it’s nice to have a team like CLG that wins games simply be playing better together than their opponents, but it is definitely worrisome when it comes to individual talent on the team. Aphromoo and Xmithie are very skilled, but when it comes to the other players, they are inconsistent and need to improve if the team wants to keep their status as a top team.
The Top Lane player pool
Compared to 2016, the top laners in 2017 will be a major upgrade. Star players such as Ssumday, Looper and Flame moving to North America means the native top laners will have a tougher time. Considering how impressive Hauntzer has been this year, it’s safe to say he will do fine against them. But players like Lourlo or zig are a whole other story. Not to mention if the 10 ban system that Riot is working on is implemented at the start of the season, players with small champion pools such as Lourlo will be banned out easily. While in the long run, having so many imported top laners can hurt NA as a whole, it will definitely create more exciting games and stronger teams. One of the region’s biggest problems has always been skilled top laners that know how to use Teleport at a very high level. Looper is well known for his skilled usage of the summoner spell. If weaker players in the top lane can mimic Looper, we might see a vast improvement within most teams throughout the year.
Dardoch’s redemption story
Following the release of Team Liquid’s Breaking Point movie, it became clear that Dardoch was involved in a lot of the disputes on the team. Ultimately, Liquid decided to part ways with Dardoch, and his fate in the NA LCS was uncertain. That didn’t last for long as he joined Immortals soon after. For Dardoch, 2017 will be the year where he will want to redeem himself and fix his reputation within the scene. Not letting your emotions get to you and focusing only on improvement isn’t the easiest thing to do. However, it’s what he needs to aim towards if he wants to achieve his goals and do well on Immortals.
After the Spring Split of 2016, one of North America’s four premier teams was eliminated from the LCS. Team Dignitas did not appear in the Summer Split after getting relegated. It was a hard pill to swallow for a lot of hardcore fans of the team. Luckily for all of them, Dignitas will be returning in 2017 with quite the roster. It’s going to be exciting watching Dignitas play in the LCS again, and with the players they have, they may even become one of the top teams. Ssumday is one of the best top laners in the world, and having him on their team is going to be massive for Dignitas. As long as they can integrate him properly and give him the tools to succeed, things will more than likely go great for Dignitas.
WildTurtle’s return to TSM
With Doublelift’s decision to step back for the Spring Split, Team SoloMid have picked up WildTurtle as their new AD Carry. This is a slightly worrying move, as WildTurtle already spent two years with TSM. It definitely feels like this is a step backwards for the team. WildTurtle does posses the ability to prove a lot of people wrong in that regard but it’s going to take some effort. And with Doublelift planning on returning in the Summer Split that definitely begs the question of who TSM’s AD Carry will be at that time. If TSM wasn’t to compete on the world stage, making the right decision will be crucial to their success. But when it comes to competing in North America, whether it’s Doublelift or WildTurtle, TSM will more than likely be a top contender for the title. Despite the change in ADC the team has a solid core of players and it won’t be easy dethroning them.
The excitement levels are high when it comes to NA. There’s so much to look forward to next year and it will be a joy to watch how all of the new teams and rosters work out!