After a painful hiatus for eSports fans, the League of Legends Championship Series’ for both the European and North American regions are set to return for 2017. Riot Games have announced a number of new features for Season 7 of the LCS, including a new league format for the EU LCS.
With the European region now offering a far more attractive proposition for its fanbase, it is expected that the Berlin based league will finally be able to compete with its bigger brother from across the pond. The big question to be debated amongst the Western League of Legends community is full swing once again – which scene is looking the stronger of the two? Here’s an overview of the 2017 LCS:
North American LCS
As the 4th of January was ticked off in the calendar countdown, teams across North American locked in their rosters for the forthcoming Spring Split. One of the major off-season roster changes saw Jason “Wildturtle” Tran return to Team SoloMid, widely regarded as the team to beat in the North American scene (at least last season). The reigning champions will want to perform better at the 2017 World Championship after failing to get past the group stages with their previous efforts.
“It brings back a lot of memories especially with Bjerg, Parth and all the memories I have had here. It just feels like home.”
Jason “Wildturtle” Tran
Perhaps the most exciting news for veteran NA LCS fans was the revival of one of the original eSport organisations. Team Dignitas will look to see if they can regain their legendary status and fanbase once more within the North American scene. After the brand’s surprising relegation at the hands of the Dragon Knights in a disappointing 3-0 in the Promotion tournament, the revamped roster will have Korean management and high expectations for the Spring Split.
Another team in contention will be Team Liquid. Having made the transition from Immortals, Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin will be looking to add the extra spice of quality that Team Liquid needs to push towards the top of the tables in the NA LCS and finally qualify for Worlds… no more 4th place finishes! The team put a good show in IEM Season XI – Gyeonggi reaching the semifinals before christmas, will they be able to carry this momentum forwards?
Another newcomer but with very familiar faces will be FlyQuest eSports. In the complicated world of League of Legends team ownership, buying, selling and changing names, this roster is best known as last season’s Cloud 9 Challenger squad. Bringing back some familiar faces of An “Balls” Le, Hai “Hai” Du Lam, Johnny “Altec” Ru, Daerek “LemonNation” Hart and Galen “Moon” Holgate. With their experience and time playing together, veteran Cloud9 fans will be hoping the FlyQuest squad get off to a strong start in the first split of this season.
After what was a very interesting 2016, the European LCS is back with a potent combination of old and new faces. Misfits are the newcomers to the European Scene, earning their spot after defeating the German football giants, Schalke 04 in the 2017 summer promotion tournament. They have bolstered their roster with some former KT Rolster members including Lee “KaKAO” Byung-kwon and Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun, in addition toTristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage from ORIGEN, forming a roster which will be one of the big question marks for next season.
Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño Martínez came out in the media to announce his new ORIGEN squad and that despite the speculation, he won’t feature in the starting line up. He steps back once more into a coaching role for the 2017 LCS and gives way to some new blood.
An interesting signing is their new Mid laner is Yoo “NaeHyun” Nae-hyun – don’t be surprised if the name seems unfamiliar, as it is to many people in the League of Legends community. The former Team Kungfu player didn’t win a single game with his former team in the LSPL (Chinas Second division), leading many to question whether NaeHyun has the ability to play in the EU LCS.
“For the new roster, it’s a hard decision to start of the year with players you have never played before.
“So I tried my best to take these players that I know have a good attitude, can work together and want to put a lot of effort and have a lot of motivation to win.”
Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño Martínez
Martin “Rekkles” Larsson will be looking to finally achieve what Fnatic fans have been baying for since Season 1: the World Championship, but it looks unlikely once more for the European giants. Fnatic were extremely disappointing last season, looking to bounce back with an all European roster for the new season. Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider and Paul “sOAZ” Boyer are big names, highly regarded in the League of Legends community, but whether they still possess the drive to challenge at the top level of play is a topic of contention.
G2 eSports, infamous international chokers yet one of the best performing EU teams last season, return with the repeat line-up and hope to continue their strong form as the current reigning champions. H2K-Gaming have re-shuffled their roster bringing in three new signings including: Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten from Fnatic, Sin “Nuclear” Jeong-hyeon from a team promoted to Korean first division and Choi “Chei” Sun-ho from the well known Jin Air Green Wings. H2K with their all Korean botlane will be expecting to be as strong as last season with the bar set very high.
The real question still stands, which scene looks like it has the stronger teams? When looking at the future the likes of TSM, Cloud9 and CLG look like they certainly have the edge over their EU rivals. However, some big squads in the European scene still have a great deal of uncertainty around them, it may yet be a season full of surprises.