As with any major sports league, the North American League of Legends Championship Series has seen the rise of an elite handful of teams and players who frequently draw the majority of the fans and analysts’ attention. With the spotlight shining brightly on these ‘star players’, their teammates and rivals can often be left in the shadows. We take a look at the under-appreciated names within the NA LCS and highlight the names who should be receiving more admiration.
Almost every team has that one headline player: their go-to carry, the first person fans line up for to shake their hand. Their skill on stage or their personality is magnetising, often at the expense of the other players on their team fading into the background. In North America we can see this very clearly, with names such as Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg and Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi framed as the poster boys of the league.
With the late season surge of teams such as Phoenix1, Team Dignitas, and Counter Logic Gaming, we have seen the growth and emergence of many players who are often undervalued and underrated:
CLICKON eSports’ 10 Most Underrated Players In The NA LCS
The 10 Most Underrated Players In The NA LCS
While a select handful of players get most of the attention, others often fall through the cracks. We highlight two players from each role that we should be talking more about...
There is likely no bigger surprise in Top Lane this split than the play of Zig. The only current starter on Phoenix1's roster last split, ZIg has found considerable success on the newly formed roster. With signature picks such as Kled, Meteos's arrival has opened Zig to play more of a carry style in the top lane.
The most consistent player on a roster that has fallen apart, many questioned the decision to keep Lourlo at the beginning of the split. Now a solid foundation for Liquid to build upon in the future, Lourlo has taken over a larger role in shot-calling and as a leader on the team. Lourlo provides additional value with his NA residency in a region flooded with import Top laners.
The best player on the worst team, the argument could be made for Lira as a top three jungler in the NA LCS. His aggressive play style often gives his team an early advantage, without sacrificing CS through his efficient pathing. If EnVyUs are relegated, expect multiple teams to come calling for his services.
The often-criticized Meteos has given a talented Phoenix1 roster the catalyzing presence needed to push it towards the top of the standings. Whether scrutinized for a perceived limited champion pool or his controlling play style, Meteos continues to defy critics with results on the rift. His steady play has unlocked his teammates and created a contender for the NA LCS title.
When things begin to go wrong for CLG, the finger is usually quickly pointed at Huhi. While not a star in the NA LCS, Huhi draws bans for some of his pocket picks such as Aurelion Sol nearly every game and can have explosive performances. Huhi has also been a consistent performer on the International stage, amassing a KDA of 6.17 against G2's Perkz last season.
Known for his experimental picks and off-meta strategies, Keane is an invaluable member of the Team Dignitas roster. His bilingualism will be essential as the team embed two Korean talents into the squad.
When people talk about NA's best ADCs, Stixxay needs to be included in that conversation. The MSI's most outstanding ADC, Stixxay surprised everyone when he replaced Doublelift on CLG and they appeared better off for it, capturing the NA LCS title. A team player with solid mechanics, Stixxay is the type of player that could make almost any team better.
A player who has bounced in and out of the LCS, not much was expected of Altec heading in to this split. While most of the attention is deservedly given to team leader Hai, Altec has quietly had a very strong season for FlyQuest. In the top half of all ADCs in KDA, Altec has still been able to turn in multiple strong performances during their recent slide.
A veteran of the LCS scene, Xpecial brings a wealth of experience and leadership to a Dignitas. Though he struggled out of the gate, the emergence of Stunt seemed to give him the necessary push to bring Xpecial back to form. As playoffs approach, Xpecial and his lane partner LOD are a duo to watch.
Possible NA's best support, Smoothie rarely receives the due attention on a Cloud9 roster loaded with stars such as Jensen and Impact. Able to excel with a variety of champions and play styles, Smoothie has developed into a consistent performer for Cloud9. Along with his duo Sneaky, Cloud9's bot lane may be NA's best.