[toc]While the Mid-Season Invitational is ongoing, League of Legends teams that are not participating are quickly retooling their rosters in preparation for the 2016 Summer Split.
We’re here to cover player transactions as well as one of the main storylines from MSI so far.
G2 releases statement about vacation
After starting the 2016 Mid-Season Invitational 0-4, G2 eSports has come under heavy criticism after it was revealed the players did not practice or scrim in the two weeks prior to the tournament.
That was further escalated when a few players had some choice words for their critics on Twitter.
G2 has since released a public statement to explain their reasoning. The exact reason can be found here in that statement:
Following a rigorous Spring Split with practice, scrims and official games for 10+ hours a day, 6 days a week for 3 months straight, it was important for the mental state of our players to be allowed to take some time away from the game, visit their families and reset for MSI and the following Summer Split.
While staying in our gaming house in Berlin as a unit could have offered some team practice, the quality of that practice would not have done anything to help improve our team play leading up towards MSI and the level of teams attending here. Planning a bootcamp in China / Asia before MSI proved difficult, due to the VISA application process and the uncertainty of knowing whether we’d qualify or not.
We’re not going to provide any additional criticism, but perhaps G2 eSports should have issued an apology in that statement to their fans. G2 is currently tied for last place at 0-4, with virtually no shot of making it to the knockout stage of MSI without sweeping their remaining games.
Cloud 9 builds a new Challenger team
Cloud 9 has spun off previous North American Challenger teams, such as Cloud 9 Challenger and Cloud 9 Tempest, but none of them have been as talented as their newly built squad. For a quick rundown of the proposed Challenger team roster:
- Top – An “Balls” Le: His inconsistent play over the past two years led to Cloud 9 signing Impact to the starting LCS roster and moving Balls to the new Challenger team. He’s still talented enough to hold his own.
- Jungle – Lee “Rush” Yoon-jae: I really don’t know what Rush is doing on this team. We’re talking about a superstar at jungle (arguably the best jungler in the NA LCS last split, shout out to Dardoch though). This is a bit overkill for a Challenger team, but it’ll be exciting to watch.
- Mid – Hai “Hai” Lam: Hai is one of the most decorated members in Cloud 9 history and an invaluable source of wisdom and vision, not only for this team, but for the entire organization. It’s not shocking that he would be heading up this new venture. His shot calling alone can carry a challenger team.
- AD Carry – Johnny “Altec” Ru: It just wasn’t working out with NRG eSports, and it looked like both were ready for a separation after the end of the Spring Split. He didn’t waste any time finding a new team, with Cloud 9 immediately offering him a position. He’s still a very talented player but comes with baggage.
- Support – Daerek “LemonNation” Hart: The notebook returns to competitive gaming once again. He’s transitioned from support to coaching flawlessly, but it appears the call to play professionally has once again beckoned.
This roster is not official, and Hai is openly encouraging any Challenger-ranked players in North America to email him about a tryout. Hai has stated through Redbull that the intentions of this team are to allow veteran Cloud 9 players to teach rookies by playing alongside them in a competitive environment.
“I’m better at teaching by playing, so I will be playing with them and teaching them how to play.”
The current Challenger Series spot that Cloud 9 owns was purchased from Enemy. As a result of Enemy finishing in sixth place during the Spring Split, Cloud 9’s challenger team will have to compete in the qualifier that is slated to start in a week.
Steeelback stays in Europe, joins ROCCAT
After what appeared to be some tension between rising star Pierre “steeelback” Medjaldi and Unicorns of Love management, steeelback has decided to leave the team and join ROCCAT’s rebuilding roster.
Steeelback is another player who has a direct lineage from Fnatic. He’s had issues sticking with one team though, and this will be his 5th team since May of 2015. What can’t be discounted is his talent, as he finished with a 6.1 KDA ratio (first among ADCs) last split despite some of Unicorns of Love’s deficiencies.
Steeelback initially stated he would like to play for a North American squad and was willing to come over with Diamondprox (perhaps trying to build off the success of the Huni/Reignover import), but no team was willing to pay the cost. The current ROCCAT roster still has two vacancies, with mid laner Felix “Betsy” Edling and jungler Karim “Airwaks” Benghalia returning to the team with steeelback.
Did steeelback make the right decision by swapping teams? At the current moment, without knowing who the other players will be, this feels like a lateral move at best. Unicorns of Love made the playoffs last split (although barely) while ROCCAT had to battle it out just to stay in the LCS.
FORG1VEN leaves H2K
In a somewhat surprising move, Konstantinos “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou-Napoleon will not be the starting AD Carry for H2K next split. Initial reports are that it has nothing to do with his home country’s military conscription, but rather he wasn’t the best fit for the team (his stats say otherwise).
This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve heard rumors that FORG1VEN was having personal issues with his teammates. He left both SK Gaming and Copenhagen Wolves on somewhat suspicious terms. H2K has publicly stated that FORG1VEN still is in good standing with the organization.
FORG1VEN has largely been considered one of the best AD Carries that has ever passed through Europe. He had the second-highest KDA ratio in Europe among AD carries at 5.8, just under Unicorns of Love’s steeelback. He also has the highest creep score (CS) per minute at 9.9, higher than any other AD carry in the EU LCS.
FORG1VEN has stated he will not look for another team but rather take this split off.
Mikyx to Splyce, Maxlore to Giants Gaming
Rounding out our roster acquisitions over the past two weeks in the EU LCS are two teams that are looking to improve their play this split.
After finishing in eighth place and falling into the promotional tournament, Splyce have decided to replace support Nicolai “Nisbeth” Nisbeth with Slovene rookie Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle. Nisbeth will be moved into a substitute role.
This will be Mikyx’s first opportunity to show what he can do on the big stage. Prior to his contract agreement with Splyce, the 17-year-old support main was a substitute for Fnatic. He competed in the Spring Challenger qualifier with Slovenia squad Bottled Water, before falling out in the third round of the bracket to Polish squad Overused.
Splyce is hoping that it can perform at a higher level in the EU LCS by replacing Mikyx with Nisbeth. Of the supports who competed the entire split, Nisbeth had the second-lowest kill-death-assist (KDA) of 2.5, only above Elements’ support Hampus “sprattel” Abrahamsson.
Giants Gaming has also announced that Tae-Wan “Wisdom” Kim will not rejoin the team for the Summer Split. It appears Wisdom prefers to playing in South Korea over Europe. Giants Gaming announced just that with their official statement:
Tae-Wan joined the team attempting to consolidate in Europe as one of the best players in the region, but unfortunately occidental way of life turned out to be impossible to assimilate at the moment for him so he has decided to continue with his career in South Korea.
Wisdom previously played for the same KOO Tigers team that finished in second place at least years Worlds. It’s unclear what team he will play for in South Korea.
Replacing Wisdom will be team Inspire eSports jungler and LCS rookie, Nubar “Maxlore” Sarafian.