The 2017 NA LCS Scouting Grounds tournament concluded this weekend, and the best up-and-coming players have been drafted to NA LCS teams for the 2018 season.
The tournament was opened up to top-tier players with no team affiliation, to give them the opportunity to strut their stuff and maybe even land a contract on one of 10 NA LCS franchises. Most of the teams have already signed full five-man rosters—but each team is also fielding an academy team, which means there are plenty of openings.
Joshua “NintendudeX” Atkins garnered a lot of the attention at the tournament. Hey may not have played as well as Ziqing “League” Zhao, Ming “Spica” Lu, or Johnson “Ash” Cao, who were drafted to Cloud9, Echo Fox, and Cloud9 respectively, but this Scouting Grounds was especially important to him. He played competitive League of Legends as early as 2011, and was forced to drop out of various leagues and tournaments thanks to a myriad of personal issues. He’s played for Team Dynamic, Team Coast, Monomaniac eSports, and finally Team Fusion, where his career ended in 2015.
He was drafted by CLG as the 10th and final pick, marking his triumphant return to the competitive scene.
Some of the drafted players will have the opportunity to learn from seasoned veterans in their respective roles, like Nicholas “Ablazeolive” Abbott, who was drafted to TSM as a mid laner, as well as Robert “Blaberfish2” Huang, who will jungle behind Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen on Cloud9, and Ross “Value” Luppino, who will play ADC behind Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng on Team Liquid.
Others will have the opportunity to play for one of the league’s brand new teams. Clutch Gaming picked up Phillippe “Vulcan” Laflamme at support and Cristian Palafox as a mid. 100 Thieves, another new team, added Maxwell “Kaizen” Waldo to their roster as a top laner behind Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho.
Now that the tournament and draft have concluded, these 10 players will prepare to make a good first impression in the NA LCS when the season begins this winter.