The upcoming LCS season will most definitely an interesting one to watch. Legendary LCS players, Doublelift and Bjergsen, both announced their retirement following the 2020 Worlds Championship. An influx of rookie and foreign talent has emerged into the scene in preparation for next year’s all-new LCS circuit. Let’s take a look at some of the LCS players whose performance could be the difference between their team’s success and failure.
LCS Players To Watch
1. 100 Thieves Ssumday
First in our list of LCS players to watch is Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho. He has been playing top lane for the Thieves since they first joined the League during the 2018 franchising. Having primarily played weakside for the team, he has occasionally stepped up to carry them during clutch situations.
He has made LCS finals and Worlds but has also had to play for the academy team. Despite that, this Korean top laner has proven that he is more than a match for the best the LCS has to offer and potentially even some of the greatest in the world.
Joining him on his journey will be Closer, Damonte, FBI, and Huhi. These players were on the 2020 Golden Guardians team that were one series away from qualifying for Worlds. Hopefully, this newly assembled roster will be enough to bring this team to international competition once again.
2. Cloud9 Perkz
He’s been a player to watch in the LEC, but his move to the LCS will put him on our list of LCS players to watch. Picking up Luka “Perkz” Perković was one of the biggest signings this offseason, even ignoring the insane buyout. The Croatian mid lane wunderkind has emerged as a Top 2 player not only in Europe but also in the whole western hemisphere.
Since his debut in 2016, he has won eight out of the ten possible European titles, an MSI trophy, and made a Worlds final with the LEC team, G2 Esports. He even swapped to bot lane to make room for star mid laner, Rasmus “Caps” Winther, and was able to prove that he could match the best bot lanes in the world. He is an inspiration both for his skills in-game and his incredible teamwork. Whilst the European scene will not be the same without him, it is unlikely that his ascent will be stopped by the North American scene.
3. Counter Logic Gaming Smoothie
The only support to make this list of LCS players to watch is unfortunately on one of the League’s worst teams. Franchising has not been kind to the player as well as his organization. CLG has only taken part in playoffs once in the past four years. Smoothie, meanwhile, left Cloud9 right before their semi-finals run at Worlds. He narrowly lost the spring finals in 2019 and failed to make worlds with TSM. In 2020, he failed to secure even a playoff spot in both splits.
However, the team has gone through an upgrade going into next year. The additions of veterans like Finn, Broxah and Wildturtle, should allow the team to secure more wins over the course of the year. However, Smoothie will need to return to his former MVP caliber form to lead the team in order for playoffs to remain a reality, as the team’s individual talent will not be enough.
4. Dignitas (DIG) Dardoch
Ever since his LCS debut in 2016, Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett has been heralded as one of the most talented North American junglers. His former teams, however, have felt that his attitude is not worth the upsides of his skill. For his whole career, a new year has meant a new team for Dardoch. This year, he will remain with his former MVP support, Aphromoo, on Dignitas.
They will be tasked with leading FakeGod, Soligo and Neo to victory. While all three new players have played a few games on stage, it was never to any notable success.
Therefore, the burden to carry the team to victory will once again fall upon Dardoch’s shoulders. This time, he will hopefully be able to keep his emotions in check, should the team be slow to start.
5. Evil Geniuses Jiizuke
The Italian stallion joined EG last year and used his exceptional laning prowess and splitpushing to earn the team a third place finish in spring. However, the team and Jiizuke would be rather inconsistent towards the start the summer split. Goldenglue would eventually replace him as the starting mid laner for the remainder of the split.
EG has committed to trying again with Jiizuke going forward. He is a talented player, despite being a bit reckless. The addition of stable side lanes with Impact and Deftly, along with a roaming support in Ignar, combined with the new items should allow him to assert his will over the map and allow EG to contend with the very best.
6. FlyQuest Josedeodo
Josedeodo qualified for Worlds with Latin America’s (LATAM) Rainbow7 in 2020. During the group stage, he impressed the world with his performances on Lee Sin and Evelynn. The team earned a shot at the knock out stage with a best of five against China’s LGD. Despite his talents, the team was unable to advance.
Nonetheless, his performance inspired FlyQuest to pick him up for 2021. This makes one of the first LATAM imports to North America. With his immense talent and support from former C9 players Licorice, Palafox and Diamond, as well as Johnsun from Dignitas, FlyQuest is looking to once again return to League’s highest stage.
7. Golden Guardians Ablazeolive
The LCS has been accused of having problems with developing and recruiting local talent. Especially in the mid lane where in some splits there would only be two or three starting North American starters on the ten teams. This seems to be changing in 2021 as more than half the league are using players born in North America.
One such player is Ablazeolive, who has played the last three years in the Academy system and finally gets to make his debut. In Academy, he played two years on TSM under Bjergsen, and even managed to win the 2019 spring trophy. 2020 saw him play under Damonte on Golden Guardians. He will now get an opportunity to showcase what skills he has picked up from these veterans and make a mark as one of our LCS players to watch.
8. Immortals Revenge
Revenge is one of the premier solo queue top laners. He has famously hit rank one on the North American ladder on a number of occasions. Initially, he was on track to become a doctor. But in 2019 summer, he joined FlyQuest Academy.
The team would struggle and never made the playoffs sadly. However, the Immortals organization still saw the potential in this player and has decided to sign him for the upcoming year. It remains to be seen if his new line up can truly unlock his potential.
9. Team Liquid Tactical
Tactical was first brought onto the Team Liquid’s starting line up in spring following Doublelift’s attitude problems. In the summer when Doublelift officially left the team, he had to step up as the official starter. In this brief time, he proved that he can match with the best of the LCS and world.
However, he is now surrounded by a team filled with talented veterans who have been doing the same before he even played Academy. Tactical must prove he can repeat his stellar debut year performance if his team is to conquer not only domestically but internationally as well.
10. Team SoloMid PowerOfEvil
Power of Evil has long been a thorn in the side of the TSM organization. He has knocked them out of IEM and Worlds contention in the past. However, he is one of the best players for the job given his status as one of the league’s best and most consistent mid laners. The pressure on him from fans will be intense as he replaces the longest standing mids in the LCS.
His arrival also marks only the second starting mid laner for the organization in its 10 years. It remains to see if this would be the team he can finally call home as he has never played for any organization for more than a year.
The 2021 LCS season is sure to be an interesting one. The new schedule combined with the massive changes to the actual LCS players on the rosters means it will be one for the record books. These LCS players may mark a new era for North American League of legends for better and worse.