6 things to watch for in competitive League of Legends
Just a few weeks out from MSI the LoL esports world is gearing up for the summer split of pro play, Korea, China and Southeast Asia have been playing for around a week now, and the NA and EU LCS splits are prepping to start this weekend. That means it's about the time to start looking towards Worlds and the off-season, here are things to be looking for over the next 6 months.
1. Incarnati0n won't be the Rookie of the Year for NA
Nicolaj "Incarnati0n" Jensen in his first split of being competitively eligible for competitive play following the end of his ban was subject of what may have been the biggest single person roster swap in the world after taking up the mid position from long time NA LCS veteran "Hai" Du Lam. Jensen was known for his time during his ban as a strong competitor in the EU Solo Queue ladder holding the number 1 spot, originally Jensen played for a team called " Team Solo Mebdi" before being banned for DDoS'ing and negative attitude on multiple accounts. He now gets a chance to step into the spotlight for the first time playing for one of the top organizations in the esports world, opening against perennial powerhouse and rival of C9 Team Solo Mid in the hyped matchup against Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg. As for when the end of the split comes around and the title of Rookie of the split is going to go to a Dane, but not the one you are expecting, after watching his performance in the NACS, Jungler of Enemy eSports Jonas "Trashy" Andersen will be the holder of that prize, but Jensen will get the last laugh.
2. Elements will finish Top 3 in the regular season, but will fail to make Worlds in the playoffs, this will prompt Froggen to retire from competitive play and take a coaching position
After the failed expirement that was Martin "Rekkles" Larsson and Henrik "Froggen" Hansen led to Larsson going back to his old support Bora "Yellowstar" Kim and the rest of his MSI semifinalist Fnatic squad, Hansen is now playing with a brand new lineup that includes old Lemondogs and CLG Jungler Marcel "dexter" Feldkamp, former Gamers2 and MYM top laner Jesper "Jwaow" Strandgren, former Alliance member Erik "Tabzz" van Helvert, and up and coming solo queue player Hampus "promisQ" Abrahamsson. After failing to make it out of groups at the season 4 World Championships, this is potentially the last stand for Hansen, he has played for 4 different organizations in 4 seasons and had a revolving door for a roster in the last split, a failed run for International glory may lead to the end of the playing career for one of, if not the best EU mid in the history of League of Legends.
3. A team not named Team Solo Mid or Cloud 9 will win the NA Summer Split
After seeing TSM and C9 go 5 for 5 in winning splits in NA, there are multiple contenders to topple the two powerhouses this split. Following a shaky first split as a lineup, Team Liquid is posed to strike after breaking the 3rd place curse when they were still, well Curse. TL finally has a steady roster after there was some controversy as to who should be the starting AD carry player between Season 3 World champ Chae "Piglet" Gwang-jin and substitute Yuri "KEITHMCBRIEF" Jew. The community had exploded in the debate that led to the famous NA hashtag #KeepKeith, Piglet finally started to hit his stride at the end of the split and rode that momentum into the playoffs with an upset over Counter Logic Gaming. After the CLG series TL looked posed to take first place in the split taking a 2-0 lead over Cloud 9 heading into game 3, just to get reverse swept (again) as they did against LMQ in the Season 4 Summer Split, determined not to finish 4th place again, Liquid defeated former LMQ now named Team Impulse 3-2 in a classic of a series to take 3rd. Heading into the split TL look posed as a contender to defeat the big bad organizations of Team Solo Mid and Cloud 9.
4. EDG will follow up their MSI victory by winning the LPL Summer Split, and rolling through to the Season 5 world title
This is probably the most bold of all the predictions, the team that is currently the unofficial World Champion, following up gaining the title by, well winning the official title. On paper they have the strongest since Samsung White after the Korean exodus occurred after the Season 4 World Championships. Deft and Pawn showed that they are the best players at their position in the world at the moment, and the rest of the team can keep up with any opponents that they can face.
5. Gambit’s new bottom lane duo of Forgiven and GoSu Pepper will get into an argument and won’t be together in the lane by the time Regionals roll around.
This one is a weird one that I am just going off the history of both players for, both were know as “toxic” players at one point or another and may still be “toxic” (I don’t know about EU Solo queue happens.) Forgiven and Edward was a match made in heaven, both are strong laners and great play makers, but Forgiven’s tendency to farm over kill may upset the over-aggressive Edward, who during his short stint with Curse Gaming, got Cop to play more aggressive in the early phases of the game with pick multiple Draven picks. Gambit is going to be a wild card when it comes to their success this split if the weight of the game is put on the shoulders of the duo lane and I can’t wait to see which form of strong team-fighting comes out from them, the in game team-fighting, or the out of game.
6. By the beginning of the 2016 Spring Split, Dyrus, Doublelift, and Diamond will all have stepped down from competitive play.
Earlier on I mentioned that Froggen was going to retire, but now I am adding three more names to that list, long time players for their respective teams, Team Solo Mid’s Top Laner Dyrus, Counter Logic Gaming AD Carry Doublelift, and Gambit Gaming Jungler Diamond. All three players you could say were the best at their roles in Seasons 2/3, but since then have fallen off, Dyrus known for prolifically getting dove in lane swap scenarios and then teleporting right back just after to get another death. Meanwhile the other two just have been joined at the upper echelons in their roles in both regions, Doublelift has been challenged for the title of best Marksman in NA by TSM’s Wildturtle, C9’s Sneaky, TL’s Piglet, and Gravity’s new ADC Altec. As for Europe, the rise of Fnatic’s Reginover and UoL’s Kikis, and the return of Origen’s Amazing will cause fits for both Diamond and the rest of the EU LCS. It’s been a long time coming for these three players to step back for younger players and take up roles in modeling these new guys into the same powerhouses they were at their primes.