Since joining Phoenix1, former Cloud9 Jungler William “Meteos” Hartman has turned back the clock on his professional eSports career. Stepping in initially as an emergency substitute for Rami “Inori” Charagh – who was missing in action on account of personal issues – Meteos was not expected to cement his spot on a permanent basis. As the starter for the majority of P1’s matches, the ‘Superstar Jungler’ proved his worth once again vs Immortals, boasting an impressive quadra kill on his signature champion, Zac.
Game two of the series between Phoenix1 and Immortals was hanging delicately in the balance. After stomping the first game P1 were looking to continue their climb to the top of the standings, cementing their position as title contenders ahead of the pivotal clash with Team SoloMid in Week 9. Having established a slight lead, one clean fight would ultimately decide the fate of the game and subsequently the series. Stepping up to the plate, Meteos demonstrated exactly why he’s so highly valued by the current roster.
Initially it seemed that the choice to drop Inori in favour of Meteos was short-sighted; focussing on immediate results as opposed to the long-term potential of the team. But as the split has developed, the newly titled Darth Memeos is demonstrating he still has what it takes to push Phoenix1 towards the league’s summit.
It’s been a while since Inori has seen consistent play on the NA LCS stage; one month on from his return home to see family in Canada, one of last season’s most impressive rookies is unable to re-establish himself in the starting roster. With Phoenix1 now in a solid 3rd place spot and looking to finish the season in 2nd, it seems unlikely that Phoenix1 will sub back in Inori for the remaining week, though perhaps he will see play as part of a best-0f-5 strategy in the playoffs.
Whilst many fans considered the removal of Adrian to be a sign that Inori was making a return, new Support William “Stunt” Chen can simply be considered to be an upgrade, synergising excellently with Phoenix1’s very own Sith Lord.
The statistics speak for themselves: Phoenix1’s record pre-Meteos was 4-4, post-Meteos the roster have recorded a staggering seven wins and only lost one series. Whilst Inori can still be considered to be an extremely strong rookie, Meteos has surprised everybody with how well he has gelled into the roster.
The Playstyle Of Each Jungler In The NA LCS
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North America’s Junglers
Each unique, each with a story. North America's jungle pool may be the regions's strongest position. We take a deeper look:
Mr. Steal Yo’ Jungle
There are few players that understand how to jungle better than Team Liquid’s Reignover. He is easily the best jungler in NA at pathing and is able to consistently create small advantages for himself. While not a hard carry style player, his cerebral play makes him one of NA’s best.
Just when we think we’ve heard the last of Meteos, he triumphantly returns to the NA LCS. Now a part of Phoenix1, there are few players as consistent or smooth in their play as Meteos. His game understanding and strong teamplay put him at a significant advantage over many of the younger NA junglers
Team Dignitas’s Chaser is a player often greeted with much fanfare and promise, but that consistently fails to deliver. Once heralded as one of Korea’s best jungler’s, he has failed to make the impact expected or necessary for Team Dignitas to be a top team in the NA LCS.
First Blood King
There is one player who has surprised more than any other this season, and that is Echo Fox jungler Akaadian who may be their best performer so far this season. With smart early aggression he has consistently gained his team early leads and has proven himself a top carry jungler in NA.
Svenskeren is a player who is excellent at getting the rest of his team ahead and understanding where to apply pressure. Although he can make plenty of flashy plays on picks such as Lee Sin, his presence enables his teammates to shine and players such as Bjergsen have greatly benefited from his presence
There are few players who have arrived to the NA LCS with the hype of Cloud9’s jungler Contractz. An obvious talent, Contractz could be one of NA’s best junglers if he is able to overcome the youthful mistakes that still occur far too often.
Phoenix1 wouldn’t be where it is today without the play of Inori who completely turned around their season and announced himself as a force in the jungle. One of NA’s best jungle talents, Inori can carry a game on a variety of champions including his signature Rengar.
Fed or Feeding
Possibly the most aggressive jungler in the NA LCS, Immortal’s Dardoch is known for his highlight plays and just as amusing fails. A player without an off switch, Dardoch is one of the few junglers who has shown time and time again they can single-handedly carry a game.
After a year of disappointment, FlyQuest’s Moon has found unexpected new life this season behind the leadership of Hai where he has developed into one of NA’s top junglers. A player with a wide and unexpected champion pool, you can never be sure what might be locked in for Moon in the jungle.
One of the off-season’s least talked about acquisitions, EnVyUs’s Lira is a player with the potential to be the star of the team. Already showing his ability to carry games, expect Lira’s play to only grow stronger as he continues to tap into his potential and transition to his new environment and teammates.
From the beginning of his career, people have often overlooked Xmithie and underappreciated the consistent play he has brought to CLG. While he may not carry many games, he is rarely out-jungled by his opponents, placing his team in a position to succeed through superior macro play.