As we approach the end of the decade, every North American League of Legends team has finished up or is finishing up the last additions to its roster for the 2020 LCS season.
There’s been so much movement over the past month. Some veteran players left their longtime teams, while other fiery, young talents have joined the league, brimming with potential and looking to leave their mark in their debuts.
Some top-tier teams have taken big risks with their rosters, on the other hand. There are also three new teams joining the LCS in 2020: Evil Geniuses, Dignitas, and Immortals. They too will look to make the climb to the top of the standings in hopes of challenging Team Liquid as the best team in the region.
But the rich have gotten richer in NA and that quest might not be too easy to complete. Here are our offseason grades for each NA team in the LCS.
Team Liquid: A+
+ Broxah | – Xmithie
It’s easy to call Liquid’s offseason a success right off the bat. They massively improved by adding Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen to the team while not even losing a single key player in the process. It feels like the 2018 offseason when the team picked up star mid laner Nicolaj Jensen to replace Eugene “Pobelter” Park and Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in to replace Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung.
Broxah was easily a top-two jungler in Europe and adding his incredible mechanics and great game knowledge to an already-stacked Liquid squad should be perfect for the team’s hunt for an LCS six-peat. What everyone wants to see, however, is if his presence can improve the team’s performances at international events.
The strongest team in NA has gotten even stronger. There are virtually no chinks in Liquid’s armor heading into 2020.
+ Dardoch, + Kobbe, + Biofrost | – Zven, – Smoothie, – Grig
If there’s one team that needs a bit of a reboot in 2020, it’s TSM. The perennial NA champions haven’t won the regional championship in two years and haven’t gone to Worlds in that time frame, either. Fans of the team haven’t experienced a slump like this before, which prompted the management to make some drastic changes to the roster.
Budding star AD carry Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup will look to take another big leap in a new region next to Vincent “Biofrost” Wang, who’s making his return to TSM after spending a year on CLG. This duo’s success will dictate how far this team goes next year.
The biggest story, however, has to be Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett’s return to the LCS. He now has a chance to prove the doubters wrong on one of the best lineups he’s ever had a chance to play with.
TSM has taken some risks with this roster and the upside looks good on paper. The only problem is the possible synergy and communication issues that could arise if things start to go awry. Additionally, the coaching staff hasn’t really gone through any major changes, which could prove troublesome if this lineup doesn’t click.
+ Zven, + Vulcan, + Blaber | – Svenskeren, – Sneaky, – Zeyzal
Cloud9 was hailed as one of the best organizations at developing young North American talent, and next year, the fruits of their labor will be on display. Every player from the team’s original franchised Academy roster will be starting for an LCS team in 2020.
The only thing, however, is that C9 lost multiple key players this offseason, including Summer MVP Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen, support Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam, and other pieces like top laner Colin “Kumo” Zhao and mid laner Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer.
Once again, C9 fans will need to trust the team’s ability to develop and nurture its talent to its full potential. This roster still looks decent on paper, with former TSM ADC Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen joining 20-year-old support Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme in the bottom lane. The team has also promoted Academy jungler Robert “Blaber” Huang to the starting lineup.
C9’s potential upside is high if all their cards fall correctly. They’ll need to lean on their young NA core to get things done next year, though.
Evil Geniuses: B
+ Kumo, + Svenskeren, + Jiizuke, + Bang, + Zeyzal
EG will be an interesting story to track next year because their ceiling looks equally as high as their floor looks low. The collection of players on this team has a mixture of decent experience along with some youth and flair. But can this team truly work in terms of style?
Many of these players are looking for bounce-back years, like Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro and Bae “Bang” Jun-sik, while rookie top laner Colin “Kumo” Zhao is making his debut as a starting LCS top laner. It’ll be up to Svenskeren and Zeyzal to help guide this roster into a successful season.
+ Grig, + Froggen, + Johnsun, + Aphromoo | – Lira, – Cody Sun, – Vulcan
Well, this was a disaster of an offseason for Dignitas fans, wasn’t it? After fans found out about Huni’s two-year contract extension for a reported $2.3 million, people were skeptical about this roster’s future even before its life began.
It’s tough to have any faith in Dignitas’ chances next year. It looked like all the premier talents were swept up in the first week of free agency and Dignitas was left scrambling to find people to fill its roster. The only possible silver lining will be the debut of NA solo queue star Johnson “Johnsun” Nguyen, who could blossom into a decent ADC talent for the region with some big stage experience.
+ Crown, + Smoothie | – PowerofEvil, – Biofrost
Many of the teams in the LCS made roster changes that didn’t really move the needle for fans and analysts alike, including CLG. This team brought in former OpTic Gaming mid laner Lee “Crown” Min-ho and former TSM support Andy “Smoothie” Ta.
These moves didn’t really excite many people since it felt like CLG was moving sideways. Crown might be a bit of an improvement over PowerofEvil and Smoothie will be good shotcaller for the team, but these players might have a hard time pushing CLG higher in the standings.
100 Thieves: B-
+ Meteos, + ry0ma, + Cody Sun, + Stunt | – Amazing, – Ryu, – Bang, – aphromoo
100 Thieves’ lineup looks like it has some potential that could get unlocked with a bit of work and patience. The most exciting part of next year for 100T fans will be the debut of former OCE mid laner Tommy “ry0ma” Le. The 20-year-old has shown plenty of promise, and with enough time, could blossom into a great starter.
William “Meteos” Hartman and Cody Sun have both returned to 100 Thieves, while Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho has re-signed with the team. This gives 100T a good mixture of veteran presence with a fiery, young mid laner ready to prove himself in a new region. The future looks bright for 100T fans in the 2020 season.
+sOAZ, + Xmithie, + Eika, + Altec, + Hakuho | – Dhokla, – Meteos, – Crown, – Arrow, – Big
Immortals was able to win the sweepstakes for talented veteran jungler Jake “Xmithie” Puchero, but the supporting pieces that the team acquired shortly afterward are disappointing. There simply isn’t enough firepower around Xmithie in any of the roles, and as a result, there isn’t too much to get excited about for this team in the next year.
The organization didn’t pick up any young growing talent, either. Instead, Immortals opted for some veteran names that might have hit their peak a couple of seasons ago. Not many people expect too much out of the new-look Immortals, and for good reason.
+ PowerofEvil, + IgNar | – Pobelter, – Wadid
FlyQuest is yet another organization that’s moved a bit laterally after the 2020 offseason. The team picked up Tristan “PowerofEvil” Schrage from CLG, who’s an upgrade from Pobelter, and Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun is set to make his NA debut in 2020.
But still, FlyQuest looks like a middle of the pack team at best and a bottom three team at worst. These new additions should help them stay afloat, though, and if Omran “V1per” Shoura can make more improvements to his game, they could sneak into a playoff spot this spring.
Golden Guardians: C-
+ Closer, + Goldenglue, + Keith | – Froggen, – Contractz
We aren’t a big fan of moving Yuri “Keith” Jew to the support position, but if you’re in Golden Guardians’ shoes, you have to make things work somehow. This roster has plenty of good pieces, but we aren’t sure how they’ll all fit together.
Can “Closer” Çelik helped Royal Youth win a regional championship, but the LCS is a much different beast from the TCL. Closer and Victor “FBI” Huang will aim to make some big leaps in terms of development, because on paper, it doesn’t look like Golden Guardians will be making big waves any time soon.