Riot Games revealed a pair of surprises yesterday when it released the week-one rosters for all League Championship Series (LCS) teams.
Last week Brandon “Saintvicious” DiMarco announced he had played his last competitive match, leaving a gaping hole in the Gravity Gaming jungle with no obvious choices to fill it.
And in Europe, ROCCAT was supposed to dominate the Spring Split of the LCS, but instead struggled to gel as a team. Their fix is a change in the top lane as the role swap of Remigiusz “Overpow” Pusch from the mid lane did not work as planned.
The players found to fill those two spots may not be who many expected, but they should provide an infusion of talent into each team.
Coming to Gravity Gaming is 20-year-old Korean jungler Kang “Move” Min-su, who spent the Spring season competing on AD Gaming, the secondary squad to Chinese overlords EDward Gaming. AD Gaming failed to qualify for the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) in the LPLSL, China’s version of the Challenger Series. But Move didn’t even play much for AD Gaming—the team featured two other Korean players, Jeon “Ray” Ji-won and Kang “BaeMe” Yang-hyun, meaning one had to ride the bench.
That means Gravity is getting a largely unknown talent to man its jungle position. In some ways that’s no surprise: the jungle seems to be the place most lacking in talent in the North American scene. Move should be a mechanical upgrade over Saintvicious, but the team may sorely lack Saintvicious’ shot calling with a Korean entering the fray.
ROCCAT picked up a top laner from much closer to home. Etienne “Steve” Michels will fill the role for the team next season, moving from French side Team-LDLC to the LCS squad.
Michels has a long history with League of Legends, and started play in Season 1 as an AD carry. But he took a break to attend school before returning to competition in Oct. 2014. Since then the 19-year-old has emerged again as a talented player, taking SPARTA into the Expansion Tournament before joining up with LDLC in March. Now he’s set to make his LCS debut later this month.
The two moves aren’t surprising in that the replaced players were two veterans likely lagging behind the ever increasing level of mechanical skill in the LCS, but the players tabbed to replace them may not be the big names many fans were hoping to see.
Last season, Lee “Rush” Yoon-jae looked like a head-scratching pickup in the jungle for Team Impulse, but he emerged as one of the top rising talents in the LCS. Could Move do the same?
In Europe, the Spring split provided a renaissance for top lane talent led by rookie of the year Seong “Huni” Hoon-heo. Will Steve be the next Lucas “Cabochard” Simon-Meslet, a fellow French top laner, or the next Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu? We’ll begin to find out in just 10 days.
Photo via Riot Games/Flickr