Counter Logic Gaming
One thing that was severely over looked was a change in staff for Counter Logic Gaming. “Coach Chris” (also known as “Blurred Limes”) was released due to a “breach of trust of the organization.” This being said we cannot know what exactly transpired. What we can say is that even with CLG’s Worlds performance obviously Coach Chris knew somewhat what he was doing. Often players receive all the credit for LCS wins; however, what we cannot account for is the day-in, day-out grind we know pro players go through. We don’t see the massive preparation that takes place every match. What we do know though is this: CLG has performed well for four very long years and this win is anticipated. We can say acquisitions of talent have led CLG to this victory, but CLG has always been at the top of the table as far players go. They’ve always had top performers, and their lack of communication has shut them out of LCS victories again and again. The factor that has changed is Coach Chris. Last split former Dignitas coach Scarra left CLG unaware of how much work the team really needed. The split before that the famous LCK caster and super-analyst and (now) co-owner of Renegades MonteCristo left due to similar reasons. So what we can see Coach Chris, bridged a gap, he did the impossible in terms of what Counter Logic Gaming couldn’t accomplish. Whatever he did must have been massive, because it has to take a lot to give a coach that did what none others could do.
Xpecial has long been a topic of debate. Many have regarded him as the best support in North America, often referencing his time on Team SoloMid. But when he was benched for “attitude issues” and moved to Team Liquid his play somehow changed. Was this a shift due to attitude? Does he really have attitude issues? We can’t honestly know what goes on daily within teams. There are some facts that we can look at though regarding Team Liquid and its players now that Xpecial has been released into the wild again.
Piglet has long been assailed as the best AD Carry in the world. He is nothing short of a world champion, loves flashy, and aggressive play. He is known for being extremely emotional as a player. During the former SK Telecom’s undefeated run in the winter of 2013 Piglet actually cried during the final as he felt his play was “much lower than what it should have been.” This is a player who is highly results oriented, and can only be compared to players like Doublelift. Players like Piglet have determined attitudes, but have a high possibility of tilting if the option presents itself. For a long time though, Piglet has been demanding a new support (virtually since he arrived). In many of Xpecial’s vlogs while on Team Liquid he discusses how he and Piglet have never really seen eye-to-eye and now it appears the staff would rather have the former world champion on the rift.
With the way things appear it seems as if Piglet is in the wrong here, but is he really? Piglet was taken out of play for a young man known as Keith McBrief for a short time. Piglet was removed because he was having difficulty “getting along with other team members”. After prying into this though it was discovered the only person he really had trouble with outside of Xpecial was IWillDominate (the player who was fined and suspended during Season 2 on Dignitas for poor sportsmanship and behavior). During this short stint Keith’s performance brought Team Liquid forward in the standings and there were many cries to bench the star. At some point the issues must have been resolved because Keith was removed from the roster and Piglet was added back again. Clearly this team has a lot of internal strife that occurs on a daily basis, and this might be the cause of the Cloud 9 upset we saw earlier this year.
Some major changes have occurred to this team over the past year and they just can’t seem to find their footing; however, they might finally be able to. In the NA LCS Spring Split of this year, Dignitas floundered for weeks going through three different Junglers in one split before settling with Helios. Long time support (and apparently savior from relegation) Kiwikid commented on the inner turmoil of the team and lack of staff saying “everyone hated each other.” Dignitas has been a chicken without a head for so long, but now they’re bringing in two veterans. Former manager of SK Gaming “InnerFlame” has joined Dignitas. InnerFlame was the manger during SK Gaming’s Season 3 run to world’s when they dominated the EU LCS scene, and now he’s made the move to help bring Dignitas from the ground up. Equally in the coaching position comes former Jungler “Brokenshard”. This is a player who has trifled on the edges of the scene for a long period of time, often coaching minor underdog teams such as H2k, Gamers2, and SK Gaming Prime. We’ll see if Dignitas is finally the team he can elevate to the top.
The former LCS champions have announced a Jungler after the retiring of the unimpressive Santorin and they’ve gone with another great (yet controversial) mind: Svenskeren. Svenskeren played for SK Gaming for two years previously and now joins the ranks of Team SoloMid. Every team before him Svenskeren was the catalyst for creating greatness. Every time he played on the team they fell into their prime, Ninjas in Pyjamas dominated with him in the lineup, Supa Hot Crew had very impressive games with him in the Jungle, and of course we cannot forget how he and Forgiven dominated the EU LCS scene. Once again we find another highly emotionally driven player on Team Solo Mid who is used to calling the shots. Adding to the ranks of Bjergsen and Doublelift we will have to pray that the team meshes together or Coach LocoDoco will have a lot on his hands.
Jin Air Greenwings
This one came as a surprise to many. The Jin Air Greenwings went on a tear during the Spring Split of this year dominating many LCK teams. It came as a surprise to many. Long time players such as Cpt Jack, Pilot, Chaser, and Trace had a difficult time adjusting to the current meta and fell to even low level teams. But it seemed they had found their stride. The AD Carries, both Cpt Jack and Pilot, had beautiful positioning in all phases of the game, Trace’s champion pool expanded and he began playing safer, and Chaser was able to help skyrocket GBM to the top of Mid Laners. Jin Air even transformed the meta for warding making us rethink how to play the game entirely. However, they faltered and ultimately didn’t end up at Worlds where we thought they should be. Now it seems their star Mid Laner GBM (Ganked By Mom) has said enough is enough and will be leaving just before the Kespa Cup. Jin Air scrambled and was able to add Mid Laner “Kuzan”, a young player rising from Solo Queue. Regardless Jin air was still quickly removed from the Kespa Cup with a 2-0 from titans of CJ Entus.