The LCS is seeing more talent flood through its gates ahead of the 2021 season than at any prior point in its history.
Heading into the newest season of North American League of Legends, there’s a steady stream of contenders coming to the LCS, ready to challenge the proven superstars who have made a name for themselves in the NA scene.
But still, many of the strongest players in the league going into 2021 aren’t rising rookies or superstar imports—they’re North American headliners by trade, all of whom have earned their stripes on the LCS stage. Here are our picks for the best LCS players at each position on Summoner’s Rift heading into the 2021 season.
Even with an influx of new top lane talent coming to the LCS this offseason, mainly from the LEC, NA’s best top laner heading into the 2021 season is still the region’s most prized piece of homegrown talent. Over the span of the last few seasons with Cloud9, Licorice has been able to develop into one of the strongest players across the entire LCS.
Now with FlyQuest, he’s set to step into an immense leadership role for the first time in his career. The defining test that will ultimately serve as the central storyline of Licorice’s season will most definitely be how well he’s able to adapt to a new environment. For so long, he’s been C9’s bright-eyed poster child. Now, he’s a proven veteran set to lead a roster filled to the brim with players who have all been playing professional League for a shorter amount of time than he has.
While he’s still an All-Pro caliber player in terms of mechanical prowess and in-game ability, Licorice’s ability to lead by example will be tested in ways he’s never been accustomed to before this season.
Like Licorice, Blaber has always been viewed as one of the defining prospects of the North American scene. The idea of him being “ahead of his years” was a consistent theme that drove him through the early years of his career. But now, entering 2021, Blaber has enough reps under his belt to be considered a veteran of the scene in comparison to many of his peers. He’s earned enough accolades, including a domestic title, a Worlds semifinals appearance, and several first team All-Pro honors, to be considered the best at his position.
The only major difference for Blaber this season will be that instead of looking up at many of the scene’s veterans as a starry-eyed youngster, he’ll have a seat at the table alongside players like Santorin and Svenskeren. After years of making a case for himself as one of the league’s top junglers, he’s earned a spot at the very top.
North America’s newest mid laner also happens to be its strongest. And even though there are some serious contenders from other top teams, such as Team Liquid’s Jensen and TSM’s PowerOfEvil, Perkz still easily stands out as one of the most all-around talented players in the league.
Although Perkz had been largely filling in at the AD carry role for G2 Esports since the beginning of 2019, his return to the mid lane for C9 is a welcome sight for anyone who watched him completely dominate the European scene during the early portion of his tenure at G2 from 2015 to 2018. If there’s going to be any source of doubt regarding Perkz’s play in 2021, it’ll come alongside the question of how quickly he can shake off the rust. But considering Perkz played the mid lane role for the majority of his career, as well as in a flex capacity most recently as last spring, there should be little reason to doubt his versatility. After all, he helped bring a domestic title to G2 from the mid lane last season after not playing the position for over a year. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t be able to do the same on C9, especially with one of the most talented rosters in North America around him.
One of the longest debates that’s persisted throughout the LCS over the span of the last few years has surrounded Doublelift and Zven. But now, with the former out of the picture after announcing his retirement this offseason, Zven easily slides into the spot of NA’s top ADC without many questions. Even still, an All-Pro performance last summer should be certification enough that C9’s ADC is at the top of his game. But at least now, there’s no other bona fide, proven superstar left to challenge Zven.
His place at the top isn’t entirely safe, however. Fresh-faced players like FBI and Tactical are quickly rising to the top of the LCS. With rapid improvements over the course of 2020 and a sudden jolt into the limelight ahead of 2021, many of the LCS’ younger ADCs could be making a push toward the pinnacle of the scene throughout the course of this season.
While Zven stands alone at the top for now, he’s certainly going to be challenged by the next class of North American bottom laners in 2021. If there’s going to be any defining factor of his season, it’s going to be how well he fends off the incoming pressure from the next generation of contenders at his position. Names like FBI, Tactical, Johnsun, and others could be a thorn in his side as the season marches on. But for now, Zven is head and shoulders above the competition.
While CoreJJ has been largely unfazed by other support players in the LCS since he came to the region in 2019, this season might actually see the longtime veteran be challenged at the top of the league. With a proven commodity in Worlds runner-up SwordArt joining TSM and players like Vulcan, Huhi, and others only gaining more experience at the highest level, CoreJJ could see many of his contemporaries breathing down his neck by the end of 2021.
But here, at the beginning of the season, the reigning LCS All-Pro support and Summer Split MVP still sits on top of the league. Last summer, CoreJJ ranked among the top LCS supports in nearly every statistical category, including KDA, GPM, and vision score, according to League stats site gol.gg. And it wouldn’t be stunning to see him perform at the same level moving forward.
After stimulating Liquid with a sense of newfound life, both on the domestic and international stages, CoreJJ remains one of the most valuable assets in the league. Additionally, his experience as a veteran is most definitely something that Liquid should be placing stock into, especially considering he’ll be continuing to work alongside the team’s developing ADC and potential franchise player Tactical for the foreseeable future.
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