With the North American League Championship Series’ Summer Split set to begin today, it is time to take a preemptive look at five players we will have our eye on over the course of the summer. The NA LCS is full to the brim with talented players, some who have already shown how explosive they can be, some who we know are capable but have not met expectations, and some who are just now breaking their way onto the scene. Whether it is a rookie or a veteran of the LCS, their organizations have put their trust into these players to perform at the highest caliber of play in North America, and ultimately the entire World. Without further ado, here are the five NA LCS players to keep an eye on during the 2016 Summer Split, from the top to bottom.
Top Lane: Eon-Young “Impact” Jong (Cloud 9)
Nobody has forgotten about the overwhelmingly dominant Top Laner that steamrolled his opponents with Jax on his way to becoming the Season 3 World Champion with SKT. However, nobody knows the overwhelmingly dominant Top Laner that came to NA to compete, because Impact has not been that guy. Since leaving SKT to join North America’s Team Impulse at the end of 2014, Impact has more or less simply blended into the meta of only playing tanks. Coming into his fourth split in North America with now his third team, Impact has yet to place above fourth, and is leaving question marks as to whether he can still mow down the competition. However, Impact is known for being a great leader, something that Cloud 9 has needed desperately without Hai on the Rift. It will be interesting to see if Big Brother can return to form and dominate the Top Lane like we have seen him do so many times before.
Jungle: Will “Meteos” Hartman (Cloud 9)
Despite all the changes within North America’s scene, it is hard not to fixate on this squad with the dramatic changes they have made to their roster in the past couple months. At least for the start of the Summer Split, Rush will take a step down from starting Jungler as Meteos returns to competitive League of Legends. Meteos has been with Cloud 9’s organization since their inaugural LCS split in 2013. As starting Jungler C9 won the NA LCS and finished as quarterfinalists at the World Championships in seasons three and four, and won IEM San Jose during preseason five. Known for his farm heavy “Take my jungle and your jungle” style of play, and his exceptional objective control, the return of Meteos could be what Cloud 9 needs to get back to the top of North America. With drastic changes making Dragon stronger than it has ever been, Meteos and Cloud 9 should be looking to regain the neutral objective control that they were so great at in seasons three and four.
Mid: Eugene “Pobelter” Park (Immortals)
An impeccable model of consistency, Pobelter, one of the youngest players in the LCS, has been playing competitive League of Legends since he was fourteen years old. Pobelter has become a mid laner who thrives on wave-clearing control mages and utility champions such as Lux, Lulu, and Twisted Fate. During Immortals’ dominant 17-1 spring split regular season, Pobelter played eight unique champions, adding four more during the playoffs for a total of 12 champions in 24 games. Having a diverse champion pool is an excellent quality for a mid laner to have, but it seems there is really no “go to” champion that he instills fear into his opponents with, such as Bjergsen’s Zed or Huhi’s Leblanc. Pobelter has all the tools to continue developing into one of the best mid laners in League of Legends, and he will be exciting to watch alongside his Immortals teammates this summer.
Support: Vincent “Biofrost” Wang (Team SoloMid)
After a year of team hopping in the North American Challenger Series, Biofrost was invited to join TSM in Korea during their bootcamp to tryout for their roster. Since Xpecial left TSM in 2014, their Support role has been anything but stable, having gone through Gleeb, Lustboy, Kasing, and now Yellowstar in only two years. Biofrost is a young player with no LCS experience, and TSM is hoping they can mold this young talent in the Support that Doublelift desperately needs.
ADC: Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes (Counter Logic Gaming)
Since replacing Doublelift on CLG in October of last year, Stixxay has taken the NA LCS and international competition by storm. The rookie helped defeat TSM 3-2 in the Grand Finals of the Spring Split, using a Guinsoo’s Rageblade Tristana to reset his Rocket Jumps and carry CLG to their second consecutive NA LCS Championship. That 1st place finish qualified them for the 2016 Mid-Season Invitational, where Stixxay continued his dominating performance. Stixxay’s success on Lucian, Kalista, and Ezreal helped CLG place second at MSI, losing to SKT in the Grand Finals. It seems as though target banning Stixxay has already become a regular thing for CLG’s opponents, meaning Stixxay will need to find ways to be consistent on any given ADC he is lucky enough to get his hands on. He already has accrued more international experience than many players in the LCS in little over eight months, and it will be very exciting to see his continued development with CLG.
Whether these individual players are on the watch list because of their need to step up their game, continue dominating, or whether we just do not know how they are going to perform, all five will be fun to watch while they compete against North America’s best players and teams. Good luck to these five individuals as well as their organizations as we unravel the 2016 North American LCS Summer Split!
Highlights made with Vibby
Written by JustZachWV
Edited by Williaf