These newcomers have the potential to turn the LCS upside down.
The North American LCS has previously received a lot of criticism from fans regarding teams choosing to sign veterans over up-and-coming players. But as the 2021 Spring Split rapidly approaches, the LCS is looking more and more diverse with rookies and imports claiming spots on world-renowned teams.
This year’s Spring Split holds much more weight following structural changes to the LCS, putting more of a spotlight on the players who have taken over the spots of NA legends. With a few new League of Legends players flooding the LCS, here are some of this split’s rookies who have the potential to bring new life to the scene.
Golden Guardians Niles and Iconic
The collegiate League scene has grown exponentially over the past few years, showcasing some of the best up-and-coming talents for fans to keep their eyes on in the near future.
Niles and Iconic are both graduates of Maryville University, where they performed together on the school’s successful League team—and they’re both jumping directly from the collegiate scene right onto the LCS stage.
Niles, Golden Guardians’ new top laner, received a full scholarship to Maryville University due to his prowess in League, which enabled him to work closely with the team and boost its blossoming success further. He made headlines early last year when it was reported that he’d be attending 2020 Scouting Grounds and was in talks with a “top LCS team”—which turned out to be Golden Guardians.
Niles has seen major success in various national collegiate tournaments as an aggressive top laner, pulling out wins on champions like Gangplank, Jayce, and Ornn. It’s likely that we’ll see this aggressive playstyle develop in the Spring Split—perhaps making fans more excited to watch top lane fights.
Golden Guardians’ complete overhaul for the 2021 LCS also introduces jungler Iconic to the pro scene, a longtime teammate of Niles. He plays a similarly aggressive style that accompanies Niles’ laning nicely, often locking in Kindred, Trundle, and Graves to keep priority in the top side of the map. Outside of Maryville University, Iconic has dabbled in various amateur leagues and other collegiate teams in the early days of his career.
Niles will be taking over for LCS veteran Hauntzer, while Iconic will replace 2020 LCS Summer Split All-Pro third team jungler Closer. They both have some big shoes to fill but they’ll also have a lot of room to show the world how they were a driving force in the collegiate scene.
Golden Guardians’ new top laner and jungler are excellent examples of collegiate talent and many fans are looking forward to seeing how they fit into the revamped LCS when they join the fray in the Spring Split.
There’s no denying the fact that Licorice was a major factor in C9’s continued success over the past few years. But this year, the top laner will be branching out from his LCS beginnings on C9 to FlyQuest, another team that expressed unprecedented dominance in 2020.
Licorice will be replaced by Fudge, who’s coming to the main roster from C9 Academy. But he’s no stranger to success. While a part of the 2020 Academy team, Fudge helped lead them to two consecutive playoff victories.
C9 has been known to find great success with bringing its Academy players to the main roster. Goldenglue, for example, made a big impact on the team’s mid lane pressure following Jensen’s departure in 2018. But perhaps the biggest proprietor of this is Blaber, who won Rookie of the Split during the 2018 Summer Split and most recently was MVP of the 2020 Spring Split.
With Fudge’s successful past working with C9 Academy and the team’s accomplishments with rookies, we’re confident that Licorice left the team in good hands. But it won’t be long before these two players clash on the LCS stage.
It’s safe to say that FlyQuest exceeded most pundits’ expectations in 2020. From dominating performances throughout both splits and beating out numerous international teams at Worlds, FlyQuest went from being a mid-card NA team to one of its strongest competitors.
But this year, the organization has completely changed its roster.
More acclaimed players like Licorice and Johnsun are replacing FlyQuest’s 2020 roster. The team is also boasting a few rookies, including new jungler Josedeodo, who’s joining FlyQuest from the Latin American scene. He’s the only member of FlyQuest’s new roster who doesn’t have previous NA experience since other rookies Palafox and Diamond previously played together on C9 Academy.
Josedeodo’s time on R7 throughout 2020 resulted in the team winning the LLA Closing Playoffs, among other LLA accomplishments. He’s also known for his aggressive playstyle, mostly on his patented Lee Sin, but has picked up Lillia and Graves due to their increasing win rates throughout the year. Josedeodo recently pulled out these champs at Worlds 2020, contributing to unexpected wins against Unicorns of Love and LDG Gaming but ultimately not making it past the play-in stage.
Josedeodo’s debut on FlyQuest also marks one of the few times that a player from the LLA has joined the LCS, giving NA fans more opportunity to witness some of the sheer talent of the region—especially from a player as young and talented as the 20-year-old.
Although Santorin leaves behind a great legacy, many NA fans are excited to see how Josedeodo, with all of the acclaim attributed to him, stacks up against the fresh competition in the LCS.
Immortals may not have had the best year in the LCS in 2020, but with some much-needed roster changes bringing international veterans together, they’re looking to be a team to watch out for in 2021.
Their only rookie this split is Insanity, who will replace Eika as their new mid laner. And his history has more than earned him a spot among these top players.
Insanity brings with him a great deal of Academy experience, playing for both TL Academy and Immortals Academy. His 2018-19 run with Immortals Academy resulted in top-five finishes in both splits and playoffs, headlined by a Veigar pentakill during the 2018 Summer Split.
Most importantly, Insanity’s placement alongside Revenge, Xerxe, Raes, and Destiny shows that Immortals has great faith in his performance. This trust might be just what the team needs to rise up the ranks during the 2021 LCS Spring Split.
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