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.
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.
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.
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.