Every split in the LCS sees roster changes ranging from competitors switching teams to Academy players taking main roster spots. But the 2021 Spring Split is looking to be one of the most exciting yet since the landscape of North American competitive League of Legends has been completely shaken up.
This year’s LCS starts with a Lock-In event prior to the Spring Split, consisting of the new LCS rosters competing for a first-place prize of $150,000 with a $50,000 donation to the charity of the winner’s choice. This tournament has no impact on their place in the standings for the beginning of the split but gives fans a peek at the competition they can expect to see throughout the year.
The Mid-Season Showdown will replace the spring playoffs and the LCS Championship will replace the summer playoffs. Each offers the winning teams qualification into the year’s Mid-Season Invitational and World Championship, respectively.
For the LCS Championship, performances during both the Spring and Summer Splits weigh on the teams’ seeding. Therefore, the Spring Split that’s been highly criticized by fans for its lack of importance now bears weight and will likely be more competitive than ever—especially with the numerous roster changes that took place in the offseason.
Here’s a look at each of the teams competing in the 2021 LCS Spring Split as it quickly approaches, breaking down everything you need to know about roster changes and how they may affect their teams.
Looking back at 2020, Cloud9 were one of the most dominant teams throughout the entire year. Licorice, Blaber, Nisqy, Zven, and Vulcan brought home the first-place trophy in the Spring Split playoffs with an unprecedented 17-1 performance throughout the season. They played similarly well in the summer, only being bested by Team Liquid, TSM, and FlyQuest in the playoffs.
But with trades announced during the offseason, C9’s roster looks different. Their top lane is now home to Fudge, who was previously on their Academy team. Licorice was transferred to FlyQuest after two years on C9. While a part of C9 Academy, Fudge helped lead the team to two consecutive split and playoff victories, cementing himself as an up-and-coming player to watch out for. As we’ve seen from C9’s previous Academy call-ups, many fans expect Fudge to be a major asset to the team. But he certainly has some big shoes to fill.
C9’s mid lane will also look different this spring since Nisqy has returned to his European roots to join Fnatic. But in his place comes another exceptional player. Perkz, who’s joined C9 from G2 Esports, is returning to the mid lane following his previous season as an ADC. Perkz comes to NA with numerous accolades under his belt, including the record for the most EU titles and exceptional performances at multiple Worlds. Despite C9 losing two of their marquee players, they look like a team that will dominate the LCS more than ever and certainly one to keep an eye on.
TSM’s spring roster arguably changed the most following the shocking retirements of LCS veterans Bjergsen and Doublelift. PowerOfEvil will replace Bjergsen in the mid lane, joining TSM from FlyQuest, who fell to TSM in the finals of the 2020 Summer Split playoffs. PowerOfEvil had some of the most notable performances of any mid laner during the LCS in 2020, often picking champions like Azir and Orianna and pulling FlyQuest out of sticky situations and straight to victory.
Doublelift’s spot as TSM’s ADC will be filled by Lost, who’s joining the main roster from the org’s Academy team. Lost’s previous LCS experience includes time on Echo Fox, although the team didn’t have much success during that stint.
But the fact remains that two of the strongest players in TSM’s history have now left the squad, even though Bjergsen will return as the team’s head coach. Since the performances of these two players have led many teams to victory throughout their careers, it’s unclear how PowerOfEvil and Lost will do in comparison. But it looks like that with their combined experience and numerous accolades, the accomplished NA team will continue to shine.
Following a victory over C9 in the Summer Split and a third-place finish in the summer playoffs, Liquid is looking to continue its impressive history with even more wins. Jensen, Tactical, and CoreJJ return in their respective positions, while new players Alphari and Santorin take control of the top lane and jungle, looking to continue the success of the multi-time champions.
Alphari previously played for Origen in the LEC. While a part of the team in 2020, he helped lead them to a fourth-place finish in the LEC Spring playoffs, holding true to the team’s continuous success in recent Spring Splits. When Alphari played as the top laner for Misfits earlier in his career, the team made it to the playoffs of Worlds 2017, pushing former champions SKT to the limit.
Santorin is looking to bring his jungle prowess from FlyQuest’s 2020 performance to Liquid. This new addition to the roster has one of the most extensive competitive League careers among any player, dating back to the early days of the LCS and the LEC. He’s been a defining player on many different teams. Santorin most recently helped lead FlyQuest to their numerous victories throughout 2020. Following an impressive year, Santorin is looking to bring his accolades onto a team known for victory.
With the addition of two LEC and LCS veterans to the existing roster of Liquid, they’re certainly shaping up to continue their dominance in NA—although their performance at Worlds and in the 2020 Summer Split playoffs is certainly a looming factor.
FlyQuest had one of the most redeeming storylines in the LCS in 2020. From their “SeaQuest” and “TreeQuest” charity initiatives to unprecedented performances in the Summer Split playoffs and Worlds, FlyQuest went from being one of the LCS’ mid-tier teams to rising up the ranks against behemoths like TSM and C9. This split, FlyQuest’s roster has completely changed, with all of their 2020 players finding homes on new teams.
Their most shocking recruit is Licorice, the former top laner of C9 who’s looking to use FlyQuest’s recent surge of success to further add to his already impressive LCS résumé. Josedeodo, Palafox, and Diamond will make their official LCS debuts in the jungle, mid, and support roles respectively, each having prior experience on other teams in the Academy scene and around the world. Diamond previously made his debut on the LCS stage as a part of C9 Academy in the 2019 Spring Split when coach Repeared subbed in its Academy team to give them a taste of the action after C9 secured the No. 2 seed of the split, resulting in a loss. Johnsun is replacing WildTurtle as the team’s ADC, joining from Dignitas following the org’s return to the LCS in 2020.
Although it’s unclear how these players will perform together on the LCS stage, FlyQuest’s winning streak has piqued the interest of many players and fans alike, giving them a lot of positive traction as the 2021 Spring Split approaches.
Entering its second year back in the LCS, EG has picked up Impact, Deftly, and IgNar in the top, ADC, and support roles. Svenskeren and Jiizuke return as the jungler and mid laner for EG and are looking to bounce back following an unsuccessful Summer Split that resulted in GoldenGlue being subbed in for Jiizuke for many games. Svenskeren’s former C9 teammates Kumo and Zeyzal have since left EG, leaving a lot of room for his aggressive jungle playstyle to mesh with Impact and IgNar.
Impact has been touted as one of the best top laners in the world—and for good reason. He won four consecutive LCS splits between 2018 and 2019 and he’s also a former world champion from his days on SKT in 2013. Any team that Impact is on has been known to dominate the field, so it seems like EG has gained some serious firepower.
Deftly and IgNar are relatively new to the LCS stage since both have made their way to EG from Academy and international scenes. Deftly briefly appeared as a substitute for Sneaky on C9 in the 2019 Summer Split but has made waves in the Academy scene alongside his C9 Academy teammates. This will be IgNar’s second year as a part of the LCS, coming off a triumphant 2020 with FlyQuest. His international playstyles that have been picked up as a part of the LEC and LCK have allowed him to stand out against the competition.
They may have ended 2020 on a sour note, but this combination of veterans and champions is looking to bring EG back to the forefront of the LCS.
Massive roster changes to 100 Thieves are expected to completely change the course of the team’s gameplay in the 2021 Spring Split. Veteran top laner Ssumday will be joined by four new teammates, each possessing a great deal of accomplishments—and this won’t be their first time working together.
Mid laner Damonte, jungler Closer, ADC FBI, and support Huhi were all previously a part of Golden Guardians in the LCS last year. They now find themselves working together once more, this time on a team that took over the LCS in their first year on the stage but has since fallen in the standings.
We expect 100 Thieves to thrive in the Spring Split with this team. Under new leadership, these former teammates have the potential to perform even better.
The rest of the field
The remainder of the LCS teams, despite their performances during the 2020 LCS season, have made massive changes to their rosters that have the potential to rival the most destructive teams in North America.
Golden Guardians has completely changed its roster following a Summer Split that ended with a loss to TSM in the spring playoffs. They’ve notably taken in rookies Nile and Iconic as their top laner and jungler, two players who have a history with one another. Both players are alumni of the Maryville University League team and have dominated the collegiate scene for a number of years. Ablazeolive comes to the main roster from Golden Guardians Academy, while Stixxay enters the team with substantial LCS experience working with CLG. Newbie, the team’s new support, has an expansive history in the Latin American scene but will be playing in NA for the first time this split. Golden Guardians have taken the initiative to showcase new talent on the LCS stage, which may be just what the team needs to stand out among the competition and become a top-tier squad.
One of the few teams boasting many familiar faces this split is CLG, who are looking to capitalize on the experience of their veteran players. Pobelter and Smoothie, two NA players who have received extensive praise for their performances across various teams throughout their careers, are returning to the team. Broxah joins the squad from Liquid after coming in first place in the Summer Split, while WildTurtle joins from FlyQuest and their unprecedented dominance of the LCS throughout 2020. Finn joins CLG from Rogue in the LEC. His recent success throughout the Summer Split and summer playoffs may be just what CLG needs to overcome the fresh faces flooding NA.
The Immortals roster also looks completely different this year, with many of their new players making their debuts on the LCS stage. Xerxe and Destiny, former LEC teammates on Origen, join the team as their new jungler and support. They reached the top of the LEC leaderboards during the 2020 Spring Split but didn’t perform the same during the summer—a trend that Immortals has also been known to follow recently. Revenge and Insanity arrive from the Academy scene, while Raes enters NA from a successful career in the OPL. With this well-rounded international roster, including many new faces breaking onto the North American scene, it seems like Immortals is trying its hardest to make up for 2020.
Dignitas is looking to be a force to be reckoned with following the addition of FakeGod, Soligo, and Neo, each formidable players in the Academy scene. FakeGod and Soligo are also former teammates from 100 Thieves during the 2019 LCS season. This pre-existing chemistry has the potential to help Dignitas find real success. They join the returning Dardoch and Aphromoo, two of the longest competing players in LCS history who have been frequent topics of conversation for their in-game performances during their extensive careers. Dignitas’ return to the LCS has been rather rocky. But with the addition of new talented competitors alongside the veterans, the team has the potential to reclaim the strength they saw in 2019 as Clutch Gaming.
The 2021 LCS Spring Split officially starts on Feb. 5 and it seems like C9, TSM, and Liquid will once more be looking to tear down the competition—but not without a fight from newly reconstructed teams. As many fresh faces flood onto the stage alongside some of the most well-known LCS veterans, the entire momentum of the league is looking to completely change. We expect talented players who haven’t received the spotlight that they rightfully deserve to shine throughout the split, possibly even more so than those who are experienced with the stage. Regardless of who comes out on top, this year’s Spring Split is looking to be one for the ages.
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