While there were multiple roster moves made in between splits, some of the most under the radar acquisitions arrived in the mid lane for Team EnVyUs. NV parted ways with starting mid laner Noh “Ninja” Geon-woo at the end of the split, replacing their former Korean mid laner with both former Fnatic Academy mid Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer and former Phoenix1’s Choi “Pirean” Jun-sik.
NV narrowly avoided relegation at the end of the last split, maintaining their spot in the final series of the Promotion Tournament against Gold Coin United, where they were forced to come back and take the series in five games. With a tenth place finish in the regular season, it was obvious changes needed to be made to their starting roster, and most fingers were pointed towards the mid lane as the team’s primary weakness.
The announcement was made early that Ninja would not be returning to the team, opening up the mid lane to multiple possibilities of who could take over for NV. After tryouts, it was decided not one, but two different mid laners would join the NA LCS strugglers.
Nisqy had recently earned a place in the EU LCS on Fnatic Academy with a Promotion Tournament sweep of Giants Gaming and made sense as a young talent who could continue to develop as he dipped his toes into the NA LCS. Pirean on the other hand, has been around the scene for multiple years, most recently as a live-in substitute for Phoenix1 behind Yoo “Ryu” Sang-ook.
Despite signing two mid laners, it was made clear from the beginning that Nisqy would be the eventual starter for the team. While visa issues would keep Nisqy sidelined for a few weeks, Pirean would step in as a temporary substitute for the team. What may not have been expected was the degree to which Pirean would elevate his game early in the split, turning in one of NA’s best performances from the mid lane in the first week.
In NV’s victory over last split’s third place finisher, Phoenix1, Pirean provided a stellar performance over the three-game series. His play on Taliyah was exceptional and he amassed a KDA of 12/3/14 for the series. The victory must have been especially sweet for Pirean as it came against his former team, and a player he had served as a substitute behind for the last split.
After the first week, Pirean is second among mid laners in KDA (5.7) and leads all mid laners in CS per minute (9.3), very impressive statistics considering little was expected from him coming into the split.
This week, NV faces off against Team Liquid and Immortals, and it is not too hard to imagine that they may be able to pull off at least one, if not two, series victories. With momentum and a lineup that is seeming to pull together, if NV and Pirean’s success continues it could be a hard decision when Nisqy finally arrives to assume his role as the starter.
With the struggle that NV experienced last split, it will be hard to justify tampering with a lineup that has been successful early in the split.
Pirean is a player fans will root for: a long time lurker in the NA LCS who has had past struggles, but now has his chance at redemption. He fills the underdog role that Team EnVyUs have become associated with, and his early success is a good sign for the aspirations that NV have moving forward.
A team that could always gain early advantages, but struggled to transition them to victory, Pirean has been a steadying force that helps propel Team EnVyUs through the mid game. With a 2-0 this week or even a 1-1, Pirean will be hoping to provide the NV management with a selection headache as he continues to surpass expectations.
CLICKON eSports 2017 NA LCS Summer Split Power Rankings
CLICKON eSports NA LCS Power Rankings
On the heels of Rift Rivals, CLICKON ranks the teams of the NA LCS.
9th: Echo Fox
After a hot start to the split, Echo Fox has cooled off considerably. Although their mid laner Froggen continues to play at an exceptional level, he still has not received consistent enough play from his teammates to push Echo Fox above a bottom tier team. With a new season approaching, expect Echo Fox to make multiple moves in the off-season if they fail to make the playoffs once again.
The surprise of the season so far has been the resurgence of Immortals behind their new jungler Xmithie. Maintaining the top spot for most of the season so far, Immortals find themselves coming off their first 0-2 week. Whether this is an anamoly, or a sign of things to come, Immortals have proven they can compete with NA's best.
7th: Team EnVyUs
Team NV could be a dark horse in NA moving forward, with a star jungler and consistent bot lane play that has led to significant improvement from their last place finish in the Spring Split. WIth both Pirean and Nisqy showing they can hold their own in the mid lane, NV should finish the season as a contender for a playoff spot.
10th: Team Liquid
Team Liquid may have hit rock bottom halfway through the second split of the 2017 season. With constant substitutions in their starting lineup, Team Liquid have yet to find the right combination to push them forward. For Team Liquid, it is time to start thinking about next season already.
8th: FlyQuest eSports
The addition of former TSM AD Carry WildTurtle has failed to provide the positive spark that FLyQuest were hoping for, and in response they have fallen quickly from their former perch near the top of the standings. Still a fringe playoff team, FlyQuest remains a dangerous team that can not be ignored on any given week. If Hai and Moon are able to rekindle some of their Spring Split synergy, FlyQuest could make a run to end the year.
5th: Team Dignitas
Team Dignitas may be the biggest wildcard of the upcoming split, a team loaded with potential and talent who had a very tumultuous first split. The addition of subs Shrimp and Big should provide flexibility to a roster that has continued to synergize as the season progressed. If LOD is able to keep up with the other ADCs in NA, Dignitas will be a team to watch out for.
2nd: Counter Logic Gaming
Expectations were high for Counter Logic Gaming entering the split after the arrival of Dardoch, and those expectation have been mostly met as CLG currently sits atop the NA LCS standings. With greatly improved play from top laner Darshan, CLG have become a favorite to capture another NA LCS title. Do not be surprised to find them as one of the two teams playing in the Finals in Boston.
Following their third place finish in the Spring Split, do not expect much drop off from Phoenix1 in the upcoming split. NA MVP Arrow should excel in a meta that emphasizes ADCs, and both Ryu and Zig have proven to be more than competent solo laners. The only unknown for Phoenix1 seems to be new support Shady, who was given the starting position despite his poor performances near the end of the last split.
Coming off a 2-1 series victory over Team SoloMid, Cloud9 had a less than impressive showing at Rift RIvals. With the news that the majority of the team was sick at the event, we will cut C9 a break and still have them as a top three team in NA. If they can find consistency from their two top laners, Cloud9 could challenge for the NA LCS crown once again.
1st: Team SoloMid
Following their dominant showing at Rift Rivals, Team SoloMid should once again be considered the favorites in NA. With string laners and great macro play, TSM have shown significant growth already in the split. The return of Doublelift and the emphasis on improvement has paid dividends for the reigning NA LCS Champions, and could easily lead to another title.