Dignitas - The organization who doesn't have a final leg
Dignitas is an organization that has been around before the birth of the North American LCS in Season 3. To premise this article we must acknowledge that as negative as some opinions of this team are, they have been able to hold their own.
Dignitas is one of only 4 teams to remain in the NA LCS for every split of its existence along with CLG, TSM, and TL (formerly Curse). However what is truly interesting is that Dignitas has never placed higher than they did in the Spring Split of Season 3 (3rd), which is the earliest split in NA LCS existence which had (arguably) the weakest competition. Both TSM and CLG have won North American titles, and Curse has even placed second at the end of a split.
So why is it that such a long standing team has not seen the success that other orgs of the same longevity have?
The answer could come from opinions of lack of shot calling, lack of roster continuity or a lack of star players (debatable). One thing, though, is prominent throughout all splits and that is a second-half of the split collapse. We hear casters, analysts, pro players and the general fan base mention how Dignitas always starts strong but then can never pull through for the final stretch to show real results. What I have found is that Dignitas' starts are nothing spectacular at all, in fact nothing that the top teams in the region have done split after split. What truly is remarkable about Dignitas is just how hard they fall from their (not very high) pedestal once the season crosses the halfway point.
Dignitas, over 3 seasons, has a losing record but not by much (a 48% Win Rate). Their best finish was in the very first split of LCS where they boasted a 60%+ win rate with a 17-11 record, and their worst finish was much more recent, a 6-12 final score where they finished 9th and had to fight in the relegation tournament. Besides that first split Dignitas only has a single other split where they had a winning record, which as I write this was the most recent split, Season 5 Summer (10-8). Here is where things get interesting/depressing depending on your love of the black and yellow.
Over their sub-500 stay in the LCS, in the first half of their splits have an average win-rate that nears 60%. Including starts of 9-4 (a 5-0 first week included) in the first split of Season 3, an 8-4 start to Summer Split in Season 4 (where they held 1st place at the end of week 2, and were top 3 through week 7) and most recently a 7-3 start to Summer Split of Season 5.
To compare, CLG won the Season 5 Summer Split, and finished with a regular season win-rate of about 68%. A considerable difference to that of the average 58% win-rate of Dignitas' first-half combined records. However to the normal person any team that has starts that successful would look like one of the stronger teams in the league, surely.
The staggering statistics come when we look at the average win-rate in the second-half of splits. Dignitas as an organization has a win-rate of under 38% post halftime in the LCS all-time. There are many possible theories as to why this is a reoccurring theme for Dignitas: lack of infrastructure, internal issues between players which in turn means a lack of synergy in the later parts of the season when other teams' synergy are ramping up or maybe because their roster(s) simply are not as strong.
Whatever the reason(s), only recently have they really been pushed to retain their spot in the league. But with competition in NA reaching an all-time high this season most power-polls have Dignitas in the 9 slot where they would be forced to play in the relegation tournament, and even if they did escape some of the Challenger Scene favorites, such as TLA, they would have no Championship Points to aid in their chances of reaching the World Championships.
Once more, it is commendable that Dignitas has been able to stick around for so long in the NA LoL scene, and are always a dark horse in big matches. However one thing is for sure, if Dignitas ever wants to succeed in not only the NA Postseason, but on the World Stage, they will need to find a way to redefine their "final-leg." Fixing it isn't even an option, because it was never functioning properly in the first place.