The 2021 LCS Spring Season is already halfway over, and things are still feeling crazy. Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnet is looking like a top tier jungler, Evil Geniuses still can’t decide whether it’s good or not and CLG is still good ol’ CLG.
Here’s a dive into everything that went down for each of the ten teams in the League of Legends Championship Series, including interviews with C9’s Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodríguez, DIG’s Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black and FLY’s Paul “Kanani” Khouani.
Week three delivered on the long-anticipated promise of jungler Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen arriving in Los Angeles to compete for CLG. While the team ended the week with a big fat doughnut in the wins column, Broxah’s presence was still felt. It wasn’t pretty, but the team is drafting easy-to-execute team compositions and working on what needs to be worked on. Don’t expect it to get prettier any time soon, but hopefully we will see slow improvements out of the last place squad.
The LCS’ first place team finished the week 2-1, picking wins against CLG and DIG and losing to TL. While it’s clear the team is strong and it’s coming away with wins every week, Cloud9 at this point in the season doesn’t feel as strong as it could be.
Drafts continued to be an issue, and it really felt as though the champions they were picking held them back. Stropse had the opportunity to sit down with coach Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodríguez, who said of the drafts, “We’re not at the point where we can say what a C9 draft looks like, because we’re experimenting a lot with different strategies and different ideas.”
Mithy explained that the team is mostly just experimenting with new ideas in drafts, which is why they look poor from the outside. He went on to explain that the issue is mostly a red-side issue, and they’re not really worried about Cloud9’s performance on the blue side.
Fans were promised a whole lot with the acquisition of Luka “Perkz” Perković. However, even with Perkz leading the team, there are still a ton of mistakes being made. The team is engaging without each other, executing poorly, overextending and generally not playing very clean.
Mithy believes Perkz’s leadership can be a benefactor in fixing these issues.“He’s just a leader,” Mithy said. “We’re releasing some of our comms too, it’s very clear Perkz gives a lot of input in the games and outside.”
Although its loss to TL is tough, C9 remains in first place, and will look to keep improving as it sets its eyes on the spring title.
Unexpectedly, Dignitas ended Week Three tied for second place with 100 Thieves and TSM thanks to great communication and exceptional leadership from veterans Aphromoo and Dardoch.
Speaking about their leadership, Aphromoo told Stropse, “[Dardoch] and I are good at facilitating and being able to open a conversation with everybody to voice their opinions, where we’re able to come to a solution fast.”
Communication has been key in Dignitas games, as the team looks incredibly decisive, a rare trait in young rosters. “It’s easy for us to communicate in game. [Dardoch] is very vocal about what his champ needs, and it’s just spreading to the rest of the team.”
Heading into the future, Dignitas’ communication will be one of its strong points as it looks to develop the young players while remaining competitive in the LCS.
EG seems to have good and bad weeks based on the flip of the coin, and during Week Three, it landed on good. The team knew exactly how to play to their comp and around the enemy’s. Support Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun had another strong week and is still proving himself as one of the most underrated players in the game.
Despite securing two wins against CLG and TL, Evil Geniuses have not looked as strong as expected. While fans were expecting aggressive plays and aggressive picks, the team is experimenting with all different compositions that just don’t seem to fit EG. In order to push their way into the top tier, EG needs to find a form which fits them.
One of the most hyped rosters in 2021, FlyQuest have not given fans much to get excited over. The team seems to be fighting over anything and everything, and it seems to lack a voice saying, “Let’s calm down and focus on macro trades.”
Head coach Kanani told Stropse that this issue is more of a pre-game thing. “We all had different perceptions of how we were supposed to play the game,” the coach said. Kanani went on to explain that a greater focus on pregame discussion has helped a lot. “It helped a lot to reestablish how we want to play games based on game planning on champ select.”
Kanani also mentioned that with this young roster, there was a lack of leadership, but that Licorice has begun to step up. “Licorice stepped up in a leadership role, which gave him a lot of clarity during the game.”
FlyQuest will look to further iron out these issues in the upcoming weeks.
2021 has not had the hottest start for the rookies and Golden Guardians. Top laner Aiden “Niles” Tidwell’s inexperience is being used as a tool against them, and the other members aren’t able to make up for it. Ethan “Iconic” Wilkinson has been largely invisible in the jungle, and the team just feels very stagnant overall.
Compared to other rosters like Dignitas who have done a tremendous job at facilitating their young players, Golden Guardians don’t seem to be improving, and it’s beginning to become an issue. The team still deserves more time to develop, but without signs of improvement, there’s not much to look forward to with Golden Guardians.
Immortals end the week 2-1, but it’s an ugly 2-1 at that. The team bested fellow bottom-dwellers FlyQuest and CLG, but lost to 100 Thieves. After looking strong early on in the season, the past two weeks have not been kind to Immortals, and overall, things are not looking good.
Given more time to gel, Immortals could find themselves winning more games, but with just three more weeks in the season, it just doesn’t feel possible.
Clearly still a top team in the LCS, Team Liquid’s struggles shouldn’t be of too much concern. Individually, the players are some of the strongest in their respective positions, but it’s coming together that’s the issue. Losing to Evil Geniuses but bouncing back strong against Cloud9, it seems like TL are still finding their footing with this new roster.
However, this could prove to be an issue, as TL already has losses to EG, 100T, TSM and IMT, which will come back to bite them if they don’t find their footing soon.
Superstar support Hu “SwordArt” Shuo-Chieh’s impact is finally being felt on the rift, and TSM are rising fast. Although the week ended with a critical loss to Dignitas, it started the week with significant wins against EG and 100T.
With SwordArt continuing to grow and facilitate bot laner Lawrence “Lost” Sze Yuy Hui, and the roster continuing to gel under head coach Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, TSM finds itself in prime position heading into the second half of Spring 2021.
“An evolving 100 Thieves” is what fans were promised in Spring 2021, but the versions of 100T showing up on the rift just include the players sitting in lane and farming the entire game. With players like Tanner “Damonte” Damonte, this is a roster known for proactivity and early-game movements. Putting Damonte on control mages over and over to no avail is starting to get frustrating for 100 Thieves fans.
After starting the season hot with four straight wins, 100 Thieves has lost three out of its last five, and find themselves dropping down the standings.
100 Thieves still look like a top team in North America, but only when they are actually playing through their strengths. 100T will look to continue finding its form in the final three weeks of LCS Spring 2021 before the Mid-Season Showdown.
This has been your Stropse week 3 recap. For even more League of Legends exclusive coverage, be sure to check back for more updates.