Author: Grayson Neander

Immortals Announce 2023 LCS Roster

Coming off one of their worst years in organizational history, Immortals (IMT) are looking to rebound in 2023. With a record-breaking—not in a good way—9-28 record this year, Immortals were outperformed by every other team in the LCS, including a Dignitas that went 3-15 in the Summer Split.Although it is unfortunate for the scene as a whole, the reduced interest and decreasing viewership this year has caused a holistic decrease in the purchasing power and player salaries in North American League of Legends.This is beneficial to weaker teams like Dignitas and Immortals as they can “afford” higher tier players for their rosters. This was shown to be true when Dignitas signed Santorin and Jensen from Team Liquid and Cloud9 respectively.Unfortunately, it looks like we might see another year where Immortals bottom out.IMT 2023Despite retaining two of their players, Immortals are tied for the most changes of any organization this year. Alongside FlyQuest, Immortals have made a total of nine changes. Unlike FlyQuest; however, these changes are all signings. FlyQuest, on the other hand, made two positional changes alongside seven signings.On the coaching side of things, IMT are looking to improve their systems significantly. Releasing both Gabriel “Invert” Zoltan-Johan and Tomáš “Nightshare” Kněžínek from the primary coaching positions (both were the Head Coach at some point during the season), IMT have signed on four additional coaches to help guide the struggling team to find success.Starting in 2023, Joshua Alan “Mabrey” Mabrey; Jake Kevin “Xmithie” Puchero; Mervin-Angelo “Dayos” Lachica; and Richard “Draxyr” Yuan will be joining the organization as the Head Coach, Strategic Coach, Systems Coach, and Positional Coach respectively.Alongside these new coaches, IMT has employed the help of James “Tonington” Kandel and Parth “Parth” Naidu as their new General Manager and Consultant. With such heavy emphasis on their systems, it appears Immortals are focusing on developing their players rather than scouting external talents.This is seen in their most recent roster changes as well. Focusing on what works, IMT retained Revenge and Kenvi to rebuild their roster around. To fill their vacancies in the mid, ADC, and support positions are Ablazeolive, Tactical, and Fleshy respectively.Will Immortals Be a Contender in 2023?Looking at the rest of the LCS rosters, 2023 is not looking great for IMT. They have arguably the worst bottom lane in the league. The only other teams with comparable bottom lanes are TSM and possibly Dignitas. While Chime performed well for TSM last split, Dignitas favored their academy ADC over Neo.To his credit, Neo was a top performer for a terrible Dignitas roster, but he could not compete with the best ADCs in the league.Together, these two will have a lot to prove for TSM next split. Dignitas are a little more difficult to pinpoint. Spawn has had some bright spots and shows a lot of potential for them with the help of veteran players like IgNar, Santorin and Jensen; however, IgNar is coming off of one of his worst career performances in history with Immortals.If they can find some stability with their veterans, Dignitas has top 6 potential; however, this remains to be seen.In the mid lane, Ablazeolive is undoubtedly an upgrade from PowerOfEvil; however, he is one of only six mid laners from 2022 to remain in the LCS. The additions of Haeri, VicLa, Diplex, and Gori to their respective rosters makes it difficult to pinpoint exactly how well Ablazeolive will do next year. It does not help his case that he was one of the worst performers in 2022.The jungle is arguably North America’s strongest role. With top tier players like Closer, Inspired, Santorin, and Spica remaining in the LCS next year, Kenvi is likely to be one of the worst junglers in the league. His LCS debut in 2022 was tainted by the meta forcing him onto tank and scaling jungle picks.This playstyle was completely opposite to what made him so special in the academy scene; however, the recent meta changes are leaning more towards the carry junglers that he is known for.Unfortunately, it appears the only other jungler worse than him is Bugi. With Pyosik, the 2022 World Champion jungler, entering the league, the jungle pool is only growing stronger. This will be a big year for Kenvi to prove himself among some of the greatest NA junglers to ever do it.Looking at the top lane, things are potentially positive for IMT. Revenge is by no means a “bad” or “weak” top laner; however, he is in a very similar position as Kenvi. The top lane pool in the LCS is looking very strong. With names like Ssumday, Impact, Summit, and Fudge competing next year, Revenge will have to do a lot to carry against some of the top tier teams.There is some hope however, as players like Armut, Tenacity, Licorice, Dhokla, and Solo are unproven, weaker, or on a similar level to Revenge. Despite the heavy hitters listed previously, Revenge has potential to push into the top 5 this year.Read more about the LCS.

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Everything You Need to Know About the Changes Coming to the LCS in 2023

The LCS (League of Legends Championship Series) is set to return for its 11th year in January 2023. The LCS is North America’s professional League of Legends league and is one of four major regions to compete internationally. Behind Korea’s LCK, Europe’s LEC, and China’s LPL, the LCS is the fourth strongest league in the world, rounding out the upper echelon of the various competitive leagues across the globe.Following the conclusion of the World Championship, the largest international League of Legends event of the year, rumors began to swirl around the community about the status of the LCS in 2023. While it is true there has been a steady decline in viewership over the past few years, Riot Games are actively trying to “save” the league through improvements in scheduling based on viewership metrics.LCS and VCT CollaborationSince its release in 2020, Riot’s tactical shooter VALORANT has taken the world by storm. Consequently, the professional VALORANT scene has grown tremendously, bringing in massive viewership and warranting further expansion. As a result, Riot created three franchising leagues across the major regions of the world to help draw more viewer attention, with thirty recognized teams to support.Like the LCS, VCT Americas League—the North/Latin American franchising league—is based in Los Angeles, California. To consolidate resources and promote viewership overlap between the two games, Riot has announced that the VCT Americas League will share the LCS Arena with the LCS when it kicks off its inaugural season in 2023.The LCS Arena will be renamed the Riot Games Arena to promote a more cooperative and inclusive environment between the two games. To boost publicity for the arena name change as well as the upcoming League of Legends season, LoL Esports is hosting the Global Kickoff Event, Riot’s latest international League of Legends event. Stay tuned for more information about the event.Major Schedule Changes in 2023Over the past few years the LCS has had a consistent time slot on Saturdays and Sundays. Each weekend, the LCS would stream the week’s 20 games as their target demographic, a growing age group since 2013, had the most retention and viewership on these days. Occasionally, on extended weekends known as “superweeks”—weeks that featured 30 games—the LCS would also stream on Fridays; however, these weeks were very infrequent.Despite their relative scarcity, the data from these days has been very important in Riot’s decision making regarding the 2023 LCS season. Accommodating VCT Americas and new data, the LCS will officially be moving both its time slot and start times in 2023. Previously, the LCS started at 4:30 PM EST on Saturdays and 3:30 PM EST on Sundays. Next year, the LCS will take place on Thursday and Friday at 3:00PM EST.This change has received mixed, but predominantly negative reactions from the community. Long-time viewers have expressed their concerns with their inability to watch the LCS due to it now taking place on weekdays. This, in combination with the earlier start times, has made viewing the league very difficult for one of its long-time viewers who now work full-time jobs.These dedicated fans are not the only ones concerned about the new start times. Casters and behind-the-scenes workers for the LCS have also been outspoken about their concerns with the new start times. Citing a lack of logic in favor of seemingly illogical data, these LCS workers have unanimously agreed that, on paper, these time changes feel detrimental to the health of the LCS rather than beneficial.For more information about the new time changes as well as the full Spring Split schedule, visit the official publishing on the LoL Esports website here.

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Team Vitality Announce 2023 LEC Roster

After the “LEC Superteam” failed to make the Summer Playoffs this year, it appears that Team Vitality are looking to make some major changes for 2023. Consisting of Alphari, Perkz, Carzzy, Labrov, Selfmade, and Haru, Vitality’s superteam missed the mark by margins similar to that of Team Liquid in the LCS.The Superteam That Couldn’tWith Selfmade as their starting jungler, the team narrowly made the Spring Playoffs with a 9-9 record. Unsurprisingly, they were eliminated in the lower bracket by G2 Esports, who went on to become Spring Champions. Identifying Selfmade as their weakness, Vitality released the former Fnatic star and signed Bo and Haru from the LPL and LCK respectively. Haru earned the starting spot for the Summer Split and accomplished about as much as Selfmade. The team once again went 9-9; however, they lost their tiebreaker against Excel and failed to make the Summer Playoffs.Although Haru performed much better than Selfmade, the team as a whole lacked the coordination and consistency to compete with the likes of Rogue, G2 Esports, and MAD Lions at the top of the table. Left out of the Summer Playoffs, Team Vitality were afforded an early, albeit unwanted, start to the offseason. Given this head start, Team Vitality have crafted a very strong roster for their 2023 redemption tour.Headed into 2023, Team Vitality have wasted no time undoing everything they had built in 2022. Although it is not clear if every one of their moves was motivated by underperformances, Alphari’s departure has been confirmed to be of his own volition. Stating that he had lost motivation and had experienced burnout during the 2022 season, Alphari opted not to join a team for Spring 2023, and to instead embrace the offseason until at least Summer. Outside of his exit, Team Vitality released three other players: Carzzy, Haru, and Labrov.Fixing the Jungle ProblemOnce again building their roster around multi-regional superstar Perkz, Team Vitality are hoping to silence their jungle issues once and for all. After being benched in favor of Haru, Bo will finally be making his LEC debut as the starting jungler for 2023. Bo had briefly played as a starter for FPX in 2021; however, his time in the LPL was cut short after he was plagued by allegations of match fixing. He proceeded to take a year off from professional play before accepting a position with Team Vitality last Summer. Although his time in the more competitive LPL was cut short, Bo reached rank 1 in the European server in just 32 days. This level of performance has left many people with the impression that Bo will make a tremendous impact for Team Vitality in the LEC next year.Promising, but Proven, Young Talent in the Bottom LaneDespite acquiring one of the best ADCs in the league from 2022, Team Vitality had a very obvious problem in the bottom lane that became obvious as the 2022 season came to a close. Alongside a rookie support from one of the German ERL leagues, former MAD Lions ADC Carzzy failed to perform at the same level as he had in 2021, when MAD Lions won back-to-back championships in the Spring and Summer Splits. Alongside Labrov, who made his LEC debut last season, the two made for a poor combination that could not effectively produce leads for their stars in the middle and top lane.Despite the failure of this same approach last season, Team Vitality are once again doubling down on a young bottom lane; however, both of their new bottom laners proved themselves in the LEC last year.Defying all expectations last year, a young and overlooked Misfits roster managed to make back-to-back playoff appearances over teams like Vitality and MAD Lions. This young core placed 3rd and 4th in the Spring and Summer Splits, respectively, and demonstrated much higher levels of play than were expected from such inexperienced players. As a result, Vitality have acquired former Misfits ADC Neon to lead their bottom lane in 2023.Alongside Neon, Vitality looked to sign a qualified and proven support that was not going to break the bank. Realizing the potential in the Summer 2022 First Team All-Pro LEC Support, they signed Kaiser to help guide Neon in the bottom lane.Gambling On An Import Rookie Top LanerOnce again gambling on younger players, Team Vitality have signed one of the best top laners from the LCK’s Challengers scene: Photon. Photon has been playing professional league since 2019, when he signed with Gen.G Academy, the academy team of one of the strongest teams in the LCK. After a year with the team, he was promoted to the Challengers league, where he signed with Liiv Sandbox Challengers. Although his team was not very good, he was a top performer, garnering the attention of T1 Challengers. After earning a spot on the Challengers team for the most accomplished and prestigious organization in League of Legends history, Photon became the best top laner in the league.With the second-highest KDA in Spring and the highest KDA in Summer, Photon showed enough promise to capture the attention of Team Vitality. Although he likely received offers from weak LPL and LCK teams, Photon chose to sign with Vitality for the 2023 LEC season.

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Riot Games Announces New North American League of Legends Professional League

The North American League of Legends academy scene is getting its first major overhaul since 2018. Read more about the big changes and improvements coming to the league here. Riot Games Announces New North American League of Legends Professional LeagueSince its inception in 2014, the North American League of Legends academy league has undergone quite a few changes. Designed to provide a pathway for unsigned players to join the LCS, the academy scene was originally referred to as the NA Challenger Series (NACS).Prior to franchising in 2018, the LCS was based on relegation and promotion, where the weakest teams from the LCS were replaced by the winners of the NACS because those competitors “wanted it more.”This relegation system forced teams to stay competitive to keep their spots. While this provided fans with a competitive and exciting viewer experience, the frequent shift of well-liked players in and out of the league hindered fans’ ability to support certain teams or players.As a result, the 2018 franchising system allowed teams to buy spots in the league. Similar to traditional sports, franchised teams had to pay a hefty commission upfront but were guaranteed a spot in the league until they either sold their slot or the league disbanded.Under this new franchise system, the academy scene was rebranded to the “NA Academy League” (NAAL). Although it has undergone multiple format changes since its inception, including the addition of college/university teams to the league, the academy scene has operated as the NAAL ever since.However, Riot Games has recently announced that the NAAL will be revamped once again, with major changes set to launch next year. Starting in 2023, the NAAL will become the NACL (North American Challengers League). What is the NACL?In their official post, which can be found here, Riot stated that the Tier 2 (Academy) scene saw significant growth and improvement in 2022. Looking to build upon that growth and help facilitate future expansion, and to elevate North America to be more in line with the level of competition seen in the other major regions, they have decided to invest a significant number of resources into the league ahead of 2023.Starting next year, the NACL will host a total of 16 teams. Like in the NAAL, 10 of those teams will be the respective academy teams of each of the 10 LCS teams (“Fixed Teams”). However, the remaining 6 teams, called Provisional Teams, will feature the amateur (collegiate and amateur LCS teams) from 2022. At the time of publishing, the 6 provisional teams were not announced. Since then, the following 16 teams have been locked in for 2023:Fixed Teams100 AcademyCLG AcademyC9 AcademyDignitas AcademyEG AcademyFlyQuest AcademyGG AcademyIMT AcademyTL AcademyTSM AcademyProvisional TeamsAOE EsportsCincinnati FearCLG FaithFLY FAMTL FirstWildcard Gaming How Will the NACL Benefit North American League of Legends?While the formatting for the NACL will be largely the same as its previous iterations, there is one major addition. To promote a high level of competition, the NACL will feature a Promotion and Relegation system in the form of two 32-team Open Qualifiers.The top four NACL Qualifier teams will compete against the bottom four Provisional Teams to fill the last four spots in the NACL via the NACL Promotion Tournament. The NACL Promotion Tournament features a double elimination bracket and is not open to fixed teams as they cannot be relegated.This system allows players that are not recognized or scouted by the LCS organizations to have the opportunity to demonstrate their talents and show their potential. Similarly, the contracts of NACL players in the GCD (Global Contract Database) will have access to the Notification of Interest System.This system, which is intended to notify players that the LCS organizations have an interest in them, allows the LCS teams to officially state their interest in players contracted by another team.

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Dignitas Announces 2023 LCS Roster

There were a number of significant rumors circulating around the LCS this offseason; however, none were more surprising than those around Dignitas. While rumors such as Doublelift’s return, FlyQuest’s superteam, and Team Liquid’s (TL) affectionately titled “TLCK” all-Korean roster were all very shocking and crazy in their own ways, the news surrounding Dignitas’ attempt to build a competitive roster raised the most uncertainty from the community.After all, Dignitas quit half-way through the 2022 Summer Split, promoting the majority of their academy roster to the main stage and selling their star jungler to Golden Guardians. At the same time, there were rumors going around that Dignitas was looking to sell their LCS spot. With these actions seemingly indicating Dignitas’ exit from the scene, the rumors around the organization going “all-in” in the offseason seemed very contradictory and therefore untrustworthy. It appears, however, that Dignitas may very well be competitive this season.Out With the OldStarting in Week 4 of the 2022 Summer Split, Dignitas began to make drastic roster changes to try and see if they could produce better results. While these changes were not comparable in scale to the voracious TSM, they were put in place for the same reason: to win more games. Unfortunately, after the complete overhaul in Week 6, Dignitas would only manage one more win, bringing their record to 3-15 at the end of the split. With the organization clearly and admittedly abandoning a competitive roster, rumors about their exit from the LCS became a topic of conversation. Although it is now clear that they will not be exiting the league, they have made some significant changes from 2022.The final roster they fielded in 2022 consisted of the following players:Top: Lee “Hoon” Jang-hoonJungle: Lawrence “eXyu” Lin XuMid: Ersin “Blue” GörenADC: Trevor “Spawn” Kerr-TaylorSupport: Vincent “Biofrost” WangWhile it is typical for teams to abandon unsuccessful rosters, the players on Dignitas’ final roster from 2022 were given an impossible task. Although they were not expected to win, the 3-15 record ended the season with looms over their shoulders. Fortunately, Dignitas recognized this, and relegated the majority of the roster back to their academy team: Dignitas Academy.Hoon, eXyu, and Gamsu have all reunited on Dignitas Academy. Blue, on the other hand, was released earlier this year to explore his options in Europe, where he was imported from in 2021. Similarly, Biofrost was released. Like Blue, he was not picked up by any teams in the offseason.In With the NewAfter seeing a few bright spots from him during his brief stint with the team in the 2022 Summer Split, Dignitas opted to retain Spawn in the ADC position. They also signed three LCS veterans to help facilitate his growth. Joining Spawn on their 2023 lineup is Santorin, Jensen, and IgNar. Importantly, Santorin has played with both of these players before. He played with IgNar for two splits on FlyQuest in 2020. He played with Jensen for four splits from 2020 to 2022. While Jensen and IgNar have not played together, their synergy with Santorin should prove to be very helpful.Of course, these three LCS veterans can only fill three of the vacancies, leaving an opening in the top lane. While he drastically underperformed in the LEC in 2022, Dignitas have decided to fill this vacancy with former MAD Lions top laner Armut. Armut was an integral part of the MAD Lions squad that won back-to-back championships in the 2021 LEC Spring and Summer Playoffs; however, his recent performances forced MAD Lions to move on in favor of a more promising player.Together, Dignitas’ 2023 LCS roster is:Top: İrfan “Armut” Berk TükekJungle: Lucas “Santorin” Tao Kilmer LarsenMid: Nicolaj “Jensen” JensenLCSADC: Trevor “Spawn” Kerr-TaylorSupport: Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun

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