A true test of character can be gauged by one’s reaction to controversy; whether conflict causes a player or organization to crumble or to be tempered in the flames.
For the North American League Championship Series’s Team EnVyUs, that test came in the 2017 Spring Promotion Tournament where they were forced to fight for their NA LCS lives and earn a return for the Summer Split.
After finishing last in the Spring Split and dropping their opening round series in the Promotion Tournament, NV was on its last legs. A victory over eUnited secured them a rematch against Gold Coin United for the final spot in the LCS, but after falling behind 2-1 NV were put on the brink of elimination.
In what is easily the most important moment in organizational history, NV jungler Nam “Lira” Tae-yoo swooped in with a stunning performance to help NV defeat GCU in 5 games and return to the NA LCS.
After the series, NV owner Mike “hastr0” Rufail promised that the organization would do whatever it took to guarantee this would never happen again.
— Mike Rufail (@hastr0) April 2, 2017
Rufail’s words were marked and the owner indeed delivered upon his promise, instituting a mix of changes that included replacing members of both the coaching staff and the starting roster. NV acquired both Fnatic Academy
Team EnVyUs acquired both Fnatic Academy mid laner Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer and Pheonix1 substitute Choi “Pirean” Jun-sik to replace the departed Noh “Ninja” Geon-woo, and while Pirean played exceptionally well early in the Summer Split, Nisqy has proven himself capable of becoming a top mid laner in the NA LCS.
The team also decided to make a change at the head coach position, bringing in Starcraft pro Donghwan “viOLet” Kim to serve as the head coach.
ViOLet would mainly serve as a steadying force for the mental aspects of the team, while the starting roster (led by Lira) would collectively work on issues such as strategy and mechanical issues.
With the changes to both the roster and the organization, the impact was dramatic and almost immediate. From the beginning of the Summer Split, NV announced themselves as contenders as they went 3-1 in the first two weeks of the season. Although they cooled off a bit as the season progressed, NV was still able to secure a playoff spot after finishing sixth.
In the first round of the Summer Playoffs, NV entered as a clear underdog into their series against the third-seeded Counter Logic Gaming. Despite this, NV was able to jump out to an early 2-1 series lead using aggressive early game strategies that never allowed CLG’s scaling compositions to take off.
Unfortunately, CLG would storm back to take the series, but NV had proven just how close the two teams actually were in skill and strength.
— lolesports (@lolesports) August 20, 2017
For NV, the Summer Split has been a smashing success for an organization who was pushed to the brink of relegation. This is made even clearer when you compare the results NV have had to Team Liquid, the other organization to escape relegation in the Spring.
NV’s success in the Summer Split should only continue to grow next season. With a rookie mid laner and a jungler who is still becoming accustomed to English and life in NA, NV has significant room to improve.
NV’s bot lane has quietly developed into one of NA’s most underrated, and if any changes are made regarding the underperforming Shin “Seraph” Woo-yeong, NV could catapult themselves into contention for a spot at Worlds next season.
For NV, their successful Split could not have come at a better time for the organization. With the announcement of franchising in the NA LCS for 2018, NV found themselves on the heels of an awful split and on the fringe of the likely teams to be offered a permanent partnership.
After their Summer Split, NV has proven they should be a permanent fixture in the NA LCS for years to come and should head into 2018 with their heads held high.