While the NA LCS has had its fair share of roster swaps already within a few weeks of the 2017 Spring Split, few could have as much of a lasting impact as Phoenix1’s decision to stick with Jungler William “Meteos” Hartman over Rami “Inori” Charagh. Though the team has found some success with their substitute Jungler, the team has a limited potential ceiling employing Meteos over Inori. Although there are issues within the team that will have to be resolved, Inori is the best long term option for Phoenix1.
Any fan of the NA LCS knows the name Meteos. In the NA LCS Hall of Fame, he gets in on the first ballot – there has likely been no Jungler as influential or impactful with his career on the NA LCS stage. An original member of Cloud9, the ‘Superstar Jungler’ had retired at the end of last season to begin his career as a streamer. That all changed when Inori left Phoenix1 in a state of desperation for “personal reasons”, Meteos stepped forward to be play in his stead on short notice.
Inori was the face of the Phoenix1 surge at the end of last season, included the lone series loss for the eventual NA LCS champions Team SoloMid. His aggressive play made him the carry on a team that was arguably one of the off-season’s biggest winner,s with the additions of AD Carry No “Arrow” Dong-hyeon, Mid laner Yoo “Ryu” Sang-ook, and Support Adrian “Adrian” Ma. A team now flooded with talent, Pheonix1 came together more quickly than anticipated and shot to the top half of the NA LCS standings.
With Meteos starting for Phoenix1, they cruised to an unexpected 2-0 week that included a victory over Meteos’s former team Cloud9 who were at the top of the NA LCS standings. Immediately whispers of a permanent position began to swirl, and Meteos would continue to start for Phoenix1 after the break for the Intel Extreme Masters. One player was particularly vocal about the changes, as Adrian made his opinion heard in one of the pre-game interviews saying it felt good to play with a jungler who “uses his brain”.
Adrian’s interview hints at issues within the team atmosphere that provide deeper reasoning than Meteos’s play for the changes. Inori himself admitted that he had not always been the best teammate, but that he understands his mistakes and is committed to being a good teammate first moving forward.
“I think I made some questionable decisions the first few weeks. I explained myself afterwards, but you have to live with the decisions you make.
“I could have been a better teammate to them, and I want to be the best teammate I can be going forward.”
Rami “Inori” Charagh
Meteos and Inori bring very different playstyles to the rift. The former C9 man brings a very steady and controlled presence to the team, whilst Inori provides an aggressive force, able to carry games for Phoenix1. Importantly however, Meteos seems to have peaked with the best of his career behind him, Inori still has significant room to grow as a player and a teammate.
For Phoenix1, if your ultimate goal is a spot at Worlds and an NA LCS Championship, you have to go with a player who has the greater potential and brings star power to a position. Inori is a talented resident Jungler who can not be allowed to slip through Phoenix1’s fingers after the flashes of greatness he has provided the organization since joining the team.
In the short term, Meteos may well be able to bring decent results for Phoenix1 in the short term. Yet, decent results should be unacceptable for an organization with the wealth of talent and potential that Phoenix1 possess. By admitting his mistakes and showing an understanding of his flaws, Inori has already taken a step down the path of being a better player and teammate for Phoenix1. The talent is undeniable, the choice for Phoenix1 moving forward should be clear.