What is the LCS Expansion Tournament?
The will be a tournament taking place from November 15 through December 21 to expand the LCS from 8 teams to 10 teams. There will be 14 amateur teams that will fight for the two extra spots in the LCS. The pool of amateur teams will be drawn from the Promotion Tournament, Challenger Series Tournament, and the Ranked 5’s ladder. The top two teams of the tournament will win their spot in the LCS. Teams from the Promotion Tournament and Challenger Series Tournament will automatically qualify for the Expansion Tournament, presuming that the team contains 3/5 of the players that competed in the previous tournaments. The remaining spots will be determined through the top spots in the Ranked 5’s ladder. Teams that were previously in the Promotion and Challenger Series Tournaments, that do not fit the 3/5 rule, will have to be among the top teams in the Ranked 5’s ladder to qualify for the Expansion Tournament.
Analysis of the NA LCS Expansion Teams
Support: Bunny FuFuu
Analysis: Curse Academy is going into the Expansion tournament as one of the favorites to make it into the LCS. The way Curse Academy competed against Counter Logic Gaming during the promotion tournament, showed that they are a team bound for the LCS. Though CLG was on a downhill swing, Curse Academy made them work for there LCS spot back forcing a five game set.
Curse Academy now goes into the Expansion Tournament with two new players added to the roster. Cop from Curse as the new ADC and Hauntzer from LoL Pro as the new Top laner. These players are both positive improvements to the previous roster. Cop is a solid and capable ADC, that still has the ability to compete with LCS quality ADC’s. Cop is probably the best ADC in the tournament, alongside Bunny FuFuu at Support, Curse Academy’s bot lane will cause other botlanes to struggle. As long as Bunny FuFuu doesn’t falter due to his limited champion pool, I don’t see many other bot lanes beating Cop and Bunny.
Moving on to the Top lane, Hauntzer is a slight improvement compared to Cris in the top lane. Both are top 3 Top laners in the tournament, so there is no major improvement to Curse Academy as a whole. Other than team synergy and chemistry Top lane shouldn’t be a liability. Overall Hauntzer will be able to compete with other Top laners in the tournament and perform solidly.
In the Jungle we have Saintvicious who still has what it takes to be in the LCS. But Saint still has competition that he may have to face in the Jungle later in the tournament. Impaler, Nintendudex, Kez, Thinkcard, and (potentially) Xmithie won’t allow Saintvicious to have an easy path the LCS, as they are all formidable Junglers that can potentially create a challenge for Saint in the jungle. As long as Saint performs well he should be fine.
Now, Keane as the Mid laner of Curse Academy has a lot of promise in him. He performed well versus CLG in the promotion tournament, even showing his pocket pick Hecarim mid with a great performance. He proved in the series against CLG that he is a top Mid laner in Challenger. His hype doesn’t truly represent his skill, though he is easily a top 3 mid laner in the Expansion Tournament, he will most likely be unable smash his lane opponent every game. Other Mid laners such as goldenglue, PR0LLY, Huhi, and Jesiz will be able to compete against Keane in lane. But if he plays as well as he did during Curse Academy’s series versus CLG, Keane shouldn’t have a problem during the Expansion tournament, and will be a driving force along with his bot lane in creating the wins they need to make it to the LCS.
Chances of Making the LCS: 9/10 Extremely Likely
On paper Curse Academy is a quality team that can easily qualify for the LCS. It is almost guaranteed, as the favorites, that they will make it to the LCS. As long as each player plays relatively well, I can’t see how Curse Academy doesn’t make it into the LCS without a player underperforming draging the whole team down. They also have a fairly easy bracket against teams that shouldn’t challenge them even in a Best of 3 set.
Top: I KeNNy u
Analysis: CompLexity.Black, ignoring all the organization issues, have two new players in the Top lane and Jungle. This makes things interesting in terms of how competitive they will be in the tournament.
Beginning with Top lane, I Kenny u might not be a stand out player, but I feel that he will prove to be a improvement over Westrice. Kenny almost always being around the top 10 of challenger shows he has commitment to the game, and plays well enough to compete against good players. Though playing in solo que is vastly different than playing on a Challenger team, he has played on other teams before. So hopefully he will take those experiences with team play and work well with the team to help compLexity.Black get back into the LCS.
CompLexity.Black also obtained former star Jungler Xmithie. In Season 3, he was considered a top 2 jungler along with Meteos in NA. But with the fall of Vulcun or XDG, came the fall of Xmithie’s dominance as a jungler. Now this isn’t a major problem because even if he even performs half as well as he use to be, he could still be a quality jungler in the tournament. The only issue I see with Xmithie is that he didn’t keep up his level of play. He was consistently top of the Challenger ladder, but once he wasn’t commited to a professional team he played consistently less. I don’t doubt that Xmithie can become a great jungler again, but he has to put the time and effort into the game to get himself back to a great level. If this happens he will be an asset to the team success.
With a new jungler that could be hit or miss, PR0LLY has to work hard to keep mid lane from being a liability. With mid laners he would have to face later such as Jesiz, Keane, Huhi, etc. PR0LLY has to step up his game if he wants back into the LCS. With competing Mid laners being superior in lane and having superior Junglers, PR0LLY has his work cut out for him. Though I think his success relies mostly on the Junglers he faces, it also relies on how Xmithie is going to control the jungle and dictate lanes. PR0LLY is by no means the worst Mid laner in the tournament but other top Mid laners can rely on there Jungler, while the synergy between Xmithie and PR0LLY is going to be tested.
Now with bot lane, this is CompLexity.Black’s shining armor. ROBERTxLEE and Bubbadub have great synergy together, as they have been playing with each other since ther former team, To Be Determined, over a year ago. They are arguably a top 3 bot lane in the tournament and they are a very consistent duo. They played relatively well in the LCS against top tier bot lanes, so I can easily see them doing even better during the Expansion Tournament. With the consistency these to players have compLexity.Black should look to them to carry the team into the LCS.
Chances of Making the LCS: 6.5/10 Decent Chance
CompLexity.Black is a team that will have a hard road ahead of them to get back into the LCS. With teams like LoL Pro, Team Coast, Team Fusion, and Curse Academy, compLexity.Black will have to work hard to beat some of those teams. By no means should compLexity.Black be counted out, but if they don’t put the effort into winning the crucial games, don’t expect them to put up the results necessary to make it into the NA LCS. It is up to the Xmithie, PR0LLY, and I Kenny u to perform if they want to make it into the LCS.
NA Expansion Tournament Bracket
Predictions for Round 1
Zenith Esports vs Final 5
Winner: Zenith Esports
compLexity.White vs Monstar Kittenz
Team Coast vs Call Gaming
Winner: Team Coast
Team LoL Pro vs Fission Esports
Winner: Team LoL Pro
Enemy Esports vs Noble Truth
Winner: Enemy Esports
Team Fusion vs Dank Dang Gaming
Winner: Team Fusion
I will be doing more In-Depth analysis on teams that make it to Round 2 in the tournament. This is due to the fact that some teams are mostly unknown beside a few players and it would be difficult to do analysis on these teams. So once teams have made it into Round 2, I will analyze each team, there strengths, weaknesses, what they can do to win and improve, and who I think is going to win so stay tuned. This is also my first written piece on the League of Legends Esports scene, so feedback is much appreciated. Thankyou for reading!