There’s a lot of information still waiting for the official word, but from what we do know and expect, North America’s League of Legends efforts for 2017 are looking mighty interesting. The talents they’ve accrued, the teams they’ve put together (at least, the ones we fully know of) definitely lean more on the genuinely interesting side than the rubberneck-the-trainwreck sort.
Of course, without actually pitching them against each other… well, as they say in boxing: everybody’s got a plan until they get hit in the face. And any prediction’s going to fall flat on its face if it tries to predict who actually has the endurance and team synergy to make it through the entire season.
Still, at least for the first couple weeks, these seem like the most likely outcomes and are the teams most likely to justify your attention.
Immortals Burning Bright
Cody’s a weak point, but a weak ADC is almost universally accepted as a weak point right now, and it’s not as if the player he’s replacing any more reliable in the clutch. His support, however: Korean player Olleh made his name as a map-wide roamer – a vital asset if your gameplan is more centered around the jungle and mid lane.
Which it is, when you have Pobelter and Dardoch on-staff. And then Flame, being Flame, can Flame-horizon the enemy top laner and take a few towers. That’s not the worst gameplan! If anything, it’s a bit reminiscent of how Flash Wolves work, though perhaps it’s unfair to write off Cody as an NL analog this early…
Ultimately: the Immortals are expected to start off on a strong footing.
The Return of Dignitas
Holy crap, they somehow got Keane, Ssumday, and Chaser onto one team. The newly reborn Dignitas’s buyback into the NA LCS actually looks like a serious contender. It might actually be worth giving them a serious shot without the historical baggage and memes their prior iterations have been saddled with, thanks to the star-studded talent they’ve recruited this time.
That means no Baron jokes, you chuckleheads in the peanut gallery. And we’ll stow the mousepad jokes away for until after we’re more familiar with their management and business operations.
But jokes aside: Dignitas is also looking to make a strong start into the split.
It’s not as if the Echo Fox roster was doing particularly well, but a near-total roster overhaul that preserves only Froggen and Keith in exchange for a foreign top laner and newbie local jungler’s going to make teamwork difficult for their spring split. There’s no immediate reason to believe that the revamped roster will start off any better than the old one ended – there’s merely the hope that it will improve over time.
Phoenix1 Version 2
Similarly, P1 also revamped everything from mid lane on down, taking Ryu from Europe’s H2K and grabbing Arrow and Adrian along the way. Likewise, that’s a massive reset on team synergy – or would be, except that Phoenix1 spent most of the previous split struggling to get all their players on the same continent in the first place. And Inori’s inclusion to the roster was an immediate and obvious improvement to the team. In both mid and bot as well, the carries are notable upgrades – LCK veterans, both, and even if Ryu wasn’t ever the clear best mid laner in EU, he still left his mark on the top of the pack.
That’s not a bad baseline to work with if balanced against Inori losing the element of surprise this split. At the very least, they deserve some attention.
Counter Logic Stasis – they literally changed nothing about their roster.
TSM Déjà Vu – Wildturtle seems a bit of a step back, honestly, given that his time on Immortals was spent sharpening his strengths and emphasizing his weaknesses.