At the turn of the new year, Team Dignitas became one of eSports’ major talking points. After an exciting rebrand and investment project involving the Philadelphia 76ers, the former Apex Gaming League of Legends roster was provided with a black and yellow makeover. DIG immediately put their new funds to good use, acquiring heavyweight Korean talent in the former of top laner Kim “Ssumday” Chan-Ho and jungler Lee “Chaser” Sang-Hyun. The new Dignitas squad was not without its critics, but after a shaky start the team have emerged as a genuine playoff contender.
With a formidable roster, many analysts expected Team Dignitas to finish towards the top of the NA LCS standings for the 2017 Spring Split, yet these predictions failed to account for the amount of time required for the lineup to gel together. Perhaps it should have been expected that with two Korean imports on the roster, communication issues and team play would be a long-term project.
Team Dignitas got off to a weak start, with a 2-6 record after the opening four weeks of the split, the team slumped to 10th position in the NA LCS. For a while it appeared that the conclusions reached by Team SoloMid’s pessimistic owner, Andy “Reginald” Dinh, had been proven accurate:
“To be quite honest with you, I think that a lot of the team owners don’t really know what they’re doing.
“They’re importing Korean talent over without knowing how to place them into their rosters. Teams like Dignitas, Echo Fox, I don’t think they’re going to do that well.
“I could be wrong, but I think they’re probably going to place bottom half for sure.”
Andy “Reginald” Dinh
David “Cop” Roberson was reintroduced as the team’s head coach and immediately started to address the team’s hindering communication issues. Since Cop’s arrival, Team Dignitas have flourished, boasting a 7-3 record for the final five weeks of the split as the team catapulted up the standings.
In an interview with The Score eSports, Cop admitted that the team’s toughest challenge had been tackling the language barrier between the squad’s Korean additions:
“The biggest challenge for Team Dignitas has been improving on our communication issues.
“Our in-game communication was really weak when I joined the team but since then it’s improved a ton.
“I think a lot of it comes from Ssumday and Chaser taking 10-20 hours of classes a week to learn English and they’re working really hard at improving.”
David “Cop” Roberson
— Team Dignitas (@TeamDignitas) 31 January 2017
The efforts of Ssumday and Chaser to develop their communication skills and synergise with the rest of the team has reaped reward for Team Dignitas – critics like Reginald have been made to eat their words. Each aspect of Dignitas’ play has improved as the Spring Split has progressed and it may yet get better for the team. DIG will face Phoenix1 in the first round of the playoffs, a side who failed to win a single game in either of their final weekend’s series.
“I’m actually very confident heading into the match, I believe that we’re playing really well right now and have a decent understanding of how the game’s supposed to be played.
“All we need to do now is get a good draft and hope we play well on the day of the match.”
Team Dignitas’ Spring Split resurgence is a testament to the team’s patience and active efforts to embed their new additions into the roster. Whilst the forthcoming playoffs may be too soon for the team to unleash their full potential, as the communication between the players continues to improve, DIG may post a serious challenge for a World Championship seed in the summer. It may have taken 10 weeks, but Team Dignitas are well on their way to silencing their critics.