The North American and European LCS promotion tournaments are held following the conclusion of both the Spring and Summer splits. Much like the format of the English football league, these promotion tournaments are a natural way for teams in lower divisions to prove they are qualified to play in higher and more skilled divisions of competition. In previous seasons the promotion tournament consisted of three separate best of five series in which the LCS teams picked which of the top three Challenger Series teams they wanted to defend their spot against based on their placements. The winner of each series secured their spot in the upcoming LCS Split. However, a few changes have been made to the promotion tournament format. The top two teams from the Challenger Series are pitted against the three lowest teams from the LCS in a tournament format consisting of four best of five series.
North America’s LCS 2016 Summer Promotion Tournament saw Renegades and Team Impulse regain their LCS spot, but starting this summer you will not see Dignitas for the first time since the formation of the LCS in August of 2012. Instead, you will be watching Apex Gaming, a team consisting of many veterans in the League of Legends scene. Welcome to the North American LCS, Apex Gaming!
Top: Cristian “Cris” Rosales
Cris is a wily veteran in the League of Legends scene. He has been playing League since Season One and has spent time on former LCS teams Velocity and Coast, and current LCS team NRG. Despite not having very long stints in the LCS he has always proven himself as a dominant player by staying near the top of the North American ladder, and being regarded as a gatekeeper due to his constant success in the Challenger Series. Despite League’s constantly shifting meta, Cris has mostly always favored lane-dominant champs and excels at bullying his opponent while garnering heavy CS leads. During his games in the 2016 LCS and Challenger Series Cris had success on aggressive champs such as Ryze, Fiora, and Graves. However, being able to adapt to the tank meta can make or break a top laner, and Cris has shown he has what it takes to play whatever the situation calls for.
Jungle: Byeong-hoon “Shrimp” Lee
Shrimp hails from South Korea, where he became one of the best solo queue players on the Korean server. He joined Team Coast in the summer of 2015; however, fell victim to NRG’s purchase of Coast’s LCS spot, leaving him without a team. After playing with NRG in their first LCS game because of the 3/5 roster stability rule, it was announced that Shrimp would join Apex to be a substitute jungler behind Eve. Apex has a dual-jungle strategy, where Shrimp tends to play the carry junglers that deal high amounts of damage. During the LCS 2016 Summer Promotion Tournament Shrimp earned a KDA of 10.0 on Kindred, and 13.0 on Graves.
Jungle: Jung-cheol “Eve” Seo
The second half of Apex’s two-jungler system, Eve is also from South Korea and played for Samsung Galaxy in 2015. Eve left Korea in January 2016 to take his to talents to North America, joining Apex Gaming. He took a backseat to Shrimp in the promotion tournament, only playing two games. However, he did boast a 15.0 KDA on Elise during the NACS Spring Playoffs.
Mid: Lae-Young “Keane” Jang
Yet another Apex player hailing from South Korea, Keane burst onto the professional League scene in 2014 when he joined Curse Academy as their top laner before switching to mid. Keane played a pivotal role in helping Curse Academy qualify for the NA LCS, often bringing bizarre picks to the mid lane, such as Jarvan IV and Hecarim. Keane is known for being able to play almost any champion at a high level, and has even done A-Z mid lane streams.
ADC: Hyeong-gi “Police” Park
If you haven’t noticed the trend by now, it’s that Apex have a bunch of players from South Korea. Police first played professionally for Energy Pacemaker Carries in China before returning to Korea to play for Ever to share the ADC role with LokeN. Police decided to join many of his fellow South Koreans in North America to test their skills in the NA scene. Throughout the NACS playoffs and Summer Promotion, Police had the most success on Sivir, boasting a 4-1 record with a KDA of 25.0 in playoffs and 11.5 during Summer Promotion.
Support: Alex “Xpecial” Chu
One of the most accomplished players in LCS history, Xpecial gained his fame as the support for Team SoloMid from 2011-2014. Xpecial qualified for the first three world championships as apart of TSM and became the first LCS player to accumulate 1,000 career assists. Eventually Xpecial would leave TSM and join Curse, which eventually rebranded as Team Liquid, where he spent time supporting world champion ADC Piglet. The veteran support left Liquid in September of 2015 and became Apex Gaming’s support in January of 2016 when they formed. Essentially a pioneer of the support role, Xpecial plays many different champions, bringing seven different picks to the Rift since joining Apex.
Head Coach: Brandon “Saintvicious” DiMarco
One name most people know when it comes to North American League of Legends is Saintvicious. Saint has been in the scene since League of Legends was in beta, and was on Team SoloMid’s original lineup as their top laner. Since then he has spent time as either a player or coach with CLG, Curse, Curse Academy, Gravity, Coast, and now Apex Gaming. Saint’s long-standing career with LCS organizations and his vast knowledge of the game is undoubtedly an important part of Apex’s success in reaching the LCS for the Summer of 2016.
Certainly Apex Gaming has a long road ahead of them in the LCS; however, with veteran and highly skilled players at the helm, their ceiling depends on their preparation and training. Who knows, perhaps they haven’t reached the apex of their success yet. Watch below as Apex Gaming storm TDK’s Nexus in the final game of their 3:0 sweep to join the North American LCS.
Featured Image provided by Riot Games’ Flickr Account
Video provided by LoLEventVods
Written by JustZachWV
Edited by Williaf