The Dark Horse Of The NA LCS: Team Dignitas Keane

Not enough has been said about Team Dignitas Mid laner, Lae-young “Keane” Jang. Formerly known for his off meta mid lane picks such as Urgot and Hecarim, he’s now a prominent leader within the Dignitas roster, pushing their hopes of a playoff run forwards.

The 2016 spring split was the worst in the history of the Team Dignitas brand, losing their spot in the North American League of Legends Championship Series 3-0 to Team Dragon Knights. This was the first time since the organisation’s inception that Dignitas would not take part in the treasured NA LCS. Rather than competing in the challenger series, the spot was initially purchased by Apex Pride.

DIG fans later revelled in the announcement that Apex Gaming had been acquired by the Philadelphia 76ers, rebranding the team under the glorious banner of Team Dignitas. After heavy investment during the off-season, the team emerged with a five man roster packed with Korean talent within which Keane was one of the few remaining question marks.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Statistically, Keane is positioned mid-table for Mid laners in North America. He is 5th overall for KDA, 6th for Kill participation and 6th for CS per minute, just 0.1 behind the three players ahead of him. Team Dignitas’ start to the season did not provide the ideal springboard for the talented pro, but as the roster began to harmonise as the season developed, Keane has continued to fly under the radar.

Whilst Keane may have made a name for himself by introducing off-meta picks into the LCS, his play has developed dramatically from his days of picking Urgot mid to upset Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg and Team SoloMid during his Gravity Gaming days.

Keane can be considered to be the perfect addition to any team roster, adaptable to any play style and filling the gaps wherever he’s needed; it’s is consistently difficult to find fault in Keane’s gameplay. Alongside Team Dignitas’ star talents such as Kim “Ssumday”Chan ho and Lee “Chaser” Sang-hyun, Keane’s role is not to be a hyper carry. Whilst it is a role he’s capable of fulfilling, Dignitas have found their idyllic team synergy towards the end of the Spring Split, by focussing their attentions elsewhere on the map – a strategy Keane enables them to execute with ever-improving finesse.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Whilst Keane may not receive the plaudits or the accolades distributed to his positional rivals in the NA LCS, his consistent performances have made him an invaluable asset as a native NA talent. Perhaps unfairly, his metaphoric role as the league’s dark horse is unlikely to change, so long as Team Dignitas hover around lower playoff positions. But given the opportunity to perform on NA’s biggest stage, Keane has shown time and time again that he can show up when it matters most.

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