LOL Offseason

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As the League of Legends season closes, we turn our attention to the offseason. Unlike previous years, this offseason promises substantial change, especially in North America.

The NA LCS is moving to a franchise model, meaning promotion and relegation are a thing of the past and offering increased stability and revenue optimization opportunity for investors, organzations, and players alike.

Several notable teams in the NA LCS had their franchise bids rejected, rendering these teams defunct and their players free agents.

These now-defunct teams include worlds qualifiers Immortals, Phoenix1, Team Dignitas, and Team EnVyUs.

Furthermore, the NA LCS moving to the franchise model and receiving an influx of cash while other leagues remain stagnant opens the door for top free agents from other regions to come to NA, adding a wrinkle to what already promised to be a wild offseason.

The below points are all based on reported rumors from credible sources, as these moves are expected to be confirmed in the coming week.

Team Liquid Retools

Following the worst finish in the history of their organization, Team Liquid and owner Steve have allowed the contracts of every player on their team to expire, including former world champion and team mainstay, Piglet. With Immortals losing their LCS spot, Liquid is swooping in to acquire the majority of their roster, contracting Xmithie, Pobelter, and Olleh to play jungle, mid, and support respectively.

Doublelift, star NA ADC and former TSM player, is signing on with Liquid and reuniting with former CLG teammates Xmithie and Pobelter. Lastly, TL is signing Cloud 9 top laner, Impact, who allegedly rejected an offer from SKT to return to Korea.

From a betting perspective, TL is definitely a team to keep an eye on as a good choice to win the spring split.

Doublelift and Olleh are two of NA’s best players in their roles and should provide a very strong duo lane to play around. Furthermore, this team knows how to play with each other already, given their long tenures with CLG. Impact is a relative newcomer to this group, but he has established and maintained his place as one of NA’s best top laners and provides needed experience and success on the world stage.

Assuming the team synergizes as anticipated, look for Team Liquid to be in contention to win the spring split.

TSM Turns Over Their Roster

Team SoloMid will be looking to revamp their entire roster, save mid laner Bjergsen and top laner Hauntzer, following a bitterly disappointing worlds performance. Owner Reginald has never been shy of making splashy moves featuring big names and this offseason, he’s starting in the bot lane.

Doublelift and Biofrost are out as TSM’s bot lane and will be replaced by Zven and Mithy of the European champions, G2 Esports.

In a move that should not be considered surprising, jungler Svenskeren will be replaced by Phoenix1’s MikeYeung and coach Parth will be replaced by Immortals’ SSONG.

With the above moves, TSM is once again a favorite to win the NA Spring Split. They have imported what will arguably be the strongest bot lane in NA, arguably feature NA’s strongest mid laner, and changed junglers to fit the team philosophy better. There will be stiff competition from other squads, but I would expect TSM to open as the favorites to win the spring split. If not, bet them.

New NA LCS Teams Make a Splash

The opening of NA LCS free agency featured the newest entrants wasting no time in filling out their rosters. Of the four completely new franchises, only 100Thieves has yet to complete their starting roster:

Top Jungle Mid ADC Support

100Thieves

Ssumday

Meteos

Ryu

Golden Guardians

Lourlo

Contractz

Hai

Deftly

Matt

Clutch Gaming

Solo

Lira

Febiven

Apollo

Hakuho

Optic Gaming

Zig

Akaadian

PowerOfEvil

Arrow

LemonNation

Of these new rosters, Golden Guardians and Clutch Gaming strike me as the most interesting.

Both teams feature strong mid lanes- GG brings in Hai, who’s leadership and shot-calling is nothing short of legendary. Clutch brought Febiven from EU, who was arguably the cornerstone of the historic FNC 2015 lineup.

GG’s top lane and jungle combo of Lourlo and Contractz gives them a duo that should synergize well, as Lourlo’s experience could help Contractz grow further following an impressive rookie season with Cloud9. Clutch’s bot lane, Apollo and Hakuho are both experienced and skilled, forming a solid core with Febiven.

Both of these teams might be worth taking a flier on as the season opens.

As news breaks, I will continue to update and provide context and betting insight. But for now, bet TSM, bet TL, and take a flier on GG or CG. Happy betting!

 


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