Road to season seven: Phoenix1
Finishing the 2016 season on a giant upswing, Phoenix1 look to bring this momentum into 2017 with a slightly different roster.
- Top: Derek "zig" Shao
- Jungle: Rami "Inori" Charagh
- Mid: Yoo "Ryu" Sang-ook
- ADC: Noh "Arrow" Dong-hyeon
- Support: Adrian "Adrian" Ma
Phoenix1 was formed on May 23, 2016, after acquiring Team Impulse’s NA LCS spot. Retaining TiP’s mid laner and bot lane duo, P1 needed to find a new top laner and jungler. After three days of tryouts, P1 announced that Zig and Inori would be joining the roster as the new top laner and jungler respectively. Unfortunately, due to visa issues Inori was unable to play for the first few weeks of the LCS. In his stead, P1 enlisted the help of challenger jungler, Kevin "Zentinel" Pires.
Phoenix1’s first half of the summer split was rough to say the least. For the first four weeks with Zentinel, P1 lost every single one of their series. On week five, Inori’s second week of play, P1 finally found there first series win against Apex Gaming. After this win, P1 looked to have finally found their stride as a team. P1 started to win more series, famously being the only team in the summer split to beat the unstoppable Team SoloMid in a series. P1 ended the second half of the split with a winning series record of 5-4, but couldn’t avoid being sent down to the promotion tournament. P1 easily beat Echo Fox in the promotion tournament 3-0, keeping the team in the NA LCS.
With a ton of strong free agents looking for a team, P1 decided to use this offseason to strengthen their bottom half of the map. While also keeping Choi "Pirean" Jun-sik go, P1 decided to sign former H2k-Gaming mid laner, Ryu. Coming off of a top-four finish at the World Championship, Ryu is definitely one of the better mid laners in the west. While not on the same level as a Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg or Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen, Ryu has shown that he can hold his own on the global stage.
Replacing Brandon "Mash" Phan is former KT Rolster AD carry, Arrow. Formerly a member of one of the best Korean teams, Arrow has always been considered an average or an above average AD carry in Korea. Unlike many of the other Korean imports in NA, Arrow can actually speak English. This will no doubt be an advantage for P1 in terms of in game communication, especially against teams with foreign players who can't speak English.
Rounding out the new members is former Immortals support, Adrian. Known as the player to popularize ranged supports like Janna and Soraka, Adrian had a great spring split in 2016, almost going undefeated in the regular season. In the summer, though, Adrian showed a lack of diversity and struggled to pick up the more tanky supports like Braum and Trundle.
The 2017 iteration of Phoenix1 looks like it will most likely fall into fifth or sixth place. The roster is definitely solid, but when compared to the other top teams in the league, P1 is lacking in raw skill. This year, P1 will most likely will fill the role of 2016 Team EnVyUs, in that they will easily beat the lower half of the league, but struggle against the top.
With Mash, who was a shotcaller for P1, now leaving the team, Ryu will pick up the responsibility. Previously the mainshotcaller on H2K, Ryu will take the helm as P1's new shotcaller. Ryu will hopefully bring the great decision making H2K had in 2016 to this new P1 roster.
Despite their strong performance in the latter half of last year, P1 move into the 2017 season as underdogs. The players will need to prove that they are playoff contenders.
Do you think Phoenix1 can win the NA LCS? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @GAMURScom.
Article by Malcolm Abbas. Follow him on Twitter @SmashhLoL.
Photo via LoL Esports