Monday, 3 June 2013

NA LCS Summer Split preview - Counter Logic Gaming

I thought I'd start off with the most changed team in the North American LCS. Quite the break that CLG have had, with retirements, benchings, old players returning and players switching roles. Let's take a look at how CLG may fare in the Summer split of the LCS.

At the end of the Spring LCS split, CLG were sat in 4th position, after defeating Azure Cats to retain their place in the LCS. their roster looked like this :

HotshotGG - Top
Chauster - Jungle
Link - Mid
Doublelift - ADC
Aphromoo - Support

And just a few short weeks later, one of the most influential characters in Esports has left his post as the starting top laner and captain of the oldest League of Legends organization, while others have joined, and some have changed places. The roster going into the Summer split looks like this :

Nientonsoh - Top
Bigfatlp - Jungle
Link - Mid
Doublelift - ADC
Chauster - Support

Only 2 positions in the CLG starting lineup have the same players, and even stranger, all 3 new members will be playing in a different position than they played last season. Arguably the 2 most consistent players, Doublelift and Link keep their spots, while HotshotGG and Aphromoo depart. On top of this, Chauster has relinquished his position as Jungler, and will return to the bottom lane to revive the former ChausterLift partnership. The final changes on the CLG roster are the controversial additions of Nientonsoh as the starting top lane, and the re-addition of Bigfatlp. So let's take a look at how these changes will affect CLG.

The departures of HotshotGG and Aphromoo

I think I speak for most Esports fans when i say that HotshotGG will be missed as a professional player. he is one of the pioneers of League of Legends as an Esport. As the founder and owner of CLG, he is stepping down to focus on the business side of things. Although he will be missed, one must believe that Hotshot knows what he is doing, and took a long time to deliberate his decision to step down.

The other player who has decided to leave CLG is Aphromoo. Towards the end of the Spring season, Aphromoo seemed to be finally getting into the groove of support after a shaky start of season. It has come to light that Aphromoo was offered the chance to play in the top lane, and despite spending weeks practising the role, he decided his heart wasn't in it. As a final kindness he was offered a spot as support, which he also declined. It would've been interesting to see how far he could've developed as a support player, as he was definitely improving as the weeks went on.

In my opinion, I believe CLG have lost 2 fairly average players, but 2 amazing personalities. Neither Hotshot not Aphromoo were the best at their roles in the region, not to say there were the worst mind you. The switch of Chauster to support more than justifies the departure of Aphromoo in my eyes. Whilst we will still have to wait and see how Nientonsoh can fare in the top lane after replacing Hotshot.

Arrival of Bigfatlp and Nientonsoh

The king is back! Well, the king of cats anyway. Yes that's right, Bigfatlp is back as a starter on CLG after spending most of the season attempting ( unsuccessfully ) to guide his own amateur team into the LCS. Azure Cats, with jiji at the reins were halted at the final corner by none other than CLG themselves. Despite being a predominantly mid lane player, jiji will now be the starting Jungler. Many players and personalities have gone on record to say that Jiji will do just fine in the jungle, as his game knowledge and skill will allow for him to quickly adapt, I'm not too sure, but I'm looking forward to finding out.

I was a part of oRbit Gaming since they picked up their 2nd roster ( the one with Nien ). So I will always remember him as the farm king. He was a great AD carry, with great mechanics and he would almost certainly out cs his lane opponent every game. For me, seeing Nien in the midlane was surprising enough, seeing him playing top still leaves me asking why. After thinking about it I've come to the conclusion that Nien is an extremely good player, with immense game knowledge and sound mechanics. So although I'd rather see him in the AD carry role, I have no doubts that if given time, he will become a great top laner.

The survivors.

Doublelift, Link and Chauster all retained their starter status on CLG, not all of them kept the same role though...

Chauster has moved back into his natural support role after an unsuccessful stint in the jungle. I think most people will agree that this is a good move for CLG. Chauster didn't exactly set the LCS alight with his jungle play, and fans of the team will rejoice when the ChausterLift duo picks up where they left off.

As for Doublelift and Link, there's nothing much to say. Together they were by far the outstanding members of CLG during the Spring split, and hopefully they will keep up their good form as they are vital to the success of CLG. Ever since Link has joined CLG, they seem to have been moving slowly away from their standard ' protect Doublelift ' strategy, and with the addition or Nientonsoh in the top lane, it looks like CLG could end up having 3 threats, instead of a few months ago, where they would only ever have 1.

How will they do?

Obviously, when a team goes through a roster change this drastic, it's going to be extremely difficult to gauge how they are going to perform. The only information I have to go on at this point are a few scrims CLG streamed vs velocity, and while CLG won the majority of them, it wasn't as easy as they probably hoped.

For now, I have 2 theories on how the Summer split is going to go for CLG.

1. The roster will work and mesh. CLGs bot lane will be untested, bar maybe to that of Xpecial/Wildturtle, Link will continue to grow in the mid lane, Nientonsoh will become the 3rd threat for CLG and bigfatlp will figure out the jungle. If all that happens, CLG will be contenders for the LCS crown and a good performance at worlds.

2. The new roster doesn't work, at all. CLG will still have an immensely strong bot lane, I do not doubt the ChausterLift. Link plays as he does now, pretty good, but not the best in the LCS, Nientonsoh doesn't adapt well to the top lane and bigfatlp fails in the jungle

As we saw last season, CLGs bot lane cannot carry the team alone. For them to succeed, they need Link and Nientonsoh to become threats to alleviate the pressure on Doublelift to carry the game. I believe it's possible that CLG have a winning team, but it relies on a lot of factors.

Thanks for reading =) -> @Howspiffing

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