It's a new LCS split and we'll be doing another fantasy league, this time using the brand new Fantasy LCS system that riot has made themselves. It's a bit more exclusive then the older systems we used, but seems a whole lot better, and we'll be drafting some time this week. If you want an invite to the league, shoot and email to Geremy@Lasttimeonvideogames.com If you're new to watching League, or want to participate but don't watch any LCS at all like Tyler, here's my Draft guide for the split. The official LCS Fantasy site combines both the North American and European LCS into a single pool to draft from, and while I don't know as much about the European scene as America, but I'll try my best. Hit the jump for my opinions on all the players.
While I'm not completely familiar with the way the new Fantasy system works, top lane seems to be one of the hardest places to score points, just a little easier than support, so Top Lane perhaps shouldn't be your first pick. That said, the pool of good top laners in the west is a little shallow, so an early pick might deny a good top laner to your opponents.
Cloud 9's Top Laner may be the best pick of the bunch. Mechanically he's not as good as some of the talented European Top Laners, but he doesn't have to play against them, and he's incredibly solid. He's got some new competition this season, some of which may be stronger than him, but he's got another advantage. He plays for Cloud 9, far in away the best team in North America. Plus, he's a big part of the team's over all strategy, Meteos ganks for him almost every game in order to get him ahead, and it nearly always works, especially against American teams. He's a solid pick.
SoAZ is mechanically a lot more skilled than Balls, and has a much wider champion pools. However, he has what I might describe as ego problems. He doesn't like playing "safe" top laners, or just going even, even when that's what his team needs. He likes to play high impact champions and carries, which means he might get more points in a given game then Balls, but will often bust. In addition, he's on Fnatic. While Fnatic has consistently won the LCS in Europe every split, they're incredibly streaky, and have had a major down streak every season. Plus, there are a lot more teams gunning for them then there have been in the past. A good pick, but not an obvious one.
Dyrus is like Balls light. A very consistent player on a solid team. Unfortunately that team, TSM is going through a bit of a transitory period. Plus, Top Lane has a lot more competition in NA this split. Dyrus was already sort of at his peak, and as more good players go up against him, he'll seem weaker and weaker. That said, he was easily the second best Top Lane player in NA last season, and he's a safe pick.
A veteran top laner in Europe, Wickd has been around for a long time. His champion pool is a little old, but that lets him pull out some old surprises that no one else plays, which has really helped him surprise his opponents and seem innovative, even though the opposite is true. Top lane is a little more competitive in Europe, but Wickd is still one of the best there.
Seraph is a bit of a risky pick. First and foremost, he's technically still trying out, and not officially on the team yet. Second, he has very little competitive experience, having only played one Pro Game in his career. That said, that game was in Korea, and he only played one because his replacement was one of the best players there. His mechanics are incredible, and he seems to gel well with his team, but he's untested. A risky pick, but one that can certainly pay off.
Editors Note: Seraph has officially joined CLG. This probably bumps him up a spot or so.
While Seraph hails from Korea, Ackerman comes from China, not only that he was on World Elite, a team that made the world finals last season. That said, he was kicked off the team after that series, and came to America because his team thought they had a better chance here than in China. His team destroyed in the challenger scene, but we don't know if they'll be able to preform now that they're playing other pro teams. I give him even odds, but again he's a risky untested pick.
The first of the mid tier European top laners, Kev1n is the most impressive in my opinion. He plays for Millenium, the least impressive team in Europe, but he's the best player on the team, which means he gets a larger number of points then other top laners, even on better teams. He also scored the most fantasy points of the mid-tier European top laners last season, so that's where I'm putting him here.
The second of the mid tier European top laners, I don't know much about him, but he scored more points last season then Mimer or Youngbuck, so here he is.
The last of the mid tier European top laners, YoungBuck scored the least points last season of the group, and his team, the Copenhagen Wolves lost two strong players going into this season, which means he'll have his work cut out for him.
Putting Zion Spartan this low might be a little controversial, as he's a popular and talented player. He's been stuck on Team Coast for a long time, and his fans are very excited now that he's been picked up by the much stronger Team Dignatas. That said, the new Dignatas has a lot of potential problems. They now have four stars, all of which were funneled gold in their old teams. They have no obvious strategy and unless they come up with one Dig will have a lot of problems winning. If they do, it's probably going to be at the expense of Zion Spartan. He could really pay off, but he's a little too much of a risk for me.
Another potentially controversial placement, Darien is a popular top laner with a history of success. He's called a mad genius by his fans, with strange picks and builds that work a little more often then they don't. Unfortunately, he was really slumping at the end of the last split, and his team, Gambit, lost their lynchpin in the off season. Darien might step up, but he's far too risky for me.
Quas is an innovative Top Laner in NA who is willing to
play traditional champions in the roll as well as bring out a weird pick
every once in a while. He's on a mediocre team however, and he's not as mechanically talented as the Top Laners I've put above him, so you should beware if you pick him up.
Innox is like Zion Spartan light, but on a much worse team. He's been improving lately, and he might surprise me, but I'd say avoid him.
We now enter the section of players that I don't recommend you pick up at all. Mimer is like the above Top Laners in Europe, except statistically worse and I know less about him.
Xaxus is Roccat's Top Laner. I don't know much about him, but statistically he did worse than Mimer. See, sweet analysis here.
An old top laner who's only recently made it into the LCS, Westrice is an oddity. This season, the old guard, people fans thought would be around forever even as their skills atrophied are almost universally being replaced. But Westrice is back. He's like an older Zion Spartan who was never as good. I said something similar about I Will Dominate last season, and had to take it back as Dominate played surprisingly well, but I don't expect Westrice to do the same.
Jungle in this league is right in the middle as far as points you'll get for one go. More than a Support or Top Laner, but not quite as much as a Mid Laner. First picking one is a bit risky, but a second or third round pick seems like a good idea.
Meteos is the best Jungler in either league. Hands down. He's one of the few western players with a legitimate claim at being the best in his roll in the world. Even though I just said Jungle probably isn't worth a first pick, Meteos is so much better than the competition that he might be the exception to that rule.
Dexter may be ranked a little high here, but he'd be my second pick. Mechanically speaking, he's the second best in my opinion, and he's on the second best team in North America. That said, CLG uses him like an attack dog, calling him to where they need him most, which means he doesn't always get to make flashy plays like Meteos.
I really don't know much about European Junglers. My feelings about which are good really don't bare out when you look at their stats from last season, which is something to keep in mind. That said, Alliance's jungler Shook is on top, and he's quite good. Aggressive in all the right ways, Shook is a strong pick.
Crumbzz has been one of the better Junglers in NA for a while, unfortunately, that's only recently become an accomplishment. If he can keep that status this split, he'll really prove himself, but that might be hard with growing competition. Whether or not Team Dignatas can work together may well depend on Crumbzz ability to pull them together via the jungler, and I may be ranking him a bit high. That said, my gut tells me to put him here, so here he gos.
I underestimated Dominate last split, and I might be overrating him here because of it. He's easily the best player on Team Curse, and managed to help them claim fourth place last split. Unfortunately, that means they did the least in the off season, and I'm afraid they have nowhere to go but down. That might actually help Dominate's individual stats though, letting him clean up more kills and take some extra farm. Again, buyer beware.
Statistically the number 2 Jungler in Europe last season, Amazing has big shoes to fill, as he's coming over to North America to replace TSM's Jungler. While he's definitely an upgrade mechanically, and I really hope Amazing has a fantastic season, there will definitely be an adjustment period and his stats will likely be low early on.
I pretty much don't know anything about KottenX, but he was statistically speaking the best Jungler in Europe last split. If you don't think numbers lie, grab him.
I was surprised to see Svenskaren so low statistically as far as Junglers go, as every game I watched with him (which I admit was not a lot of them) he seemed to have really really strong ganks. Good Jungling doesn't always translate perfectly to fantasy points, so maybe that's part of it, but he seems like a very solid pick to me.
I'd rate Jankos very close to Svenskaren, he always seemed to be in the right place when I watched him, but that wasn't very often. Statistically, he scored fewer points then Svenskaren which is why I put him beneath him, but I still think he's a good pick.
The Chinese Jungler that's come to North America, he seems like one of LMQ's weaker player. Like the other members of LMQ though, he's really hard to judge, having not really seen them go up against good competition. I'd skip him.
Fnatic's Jungler, and long considered to be their weak link, Cyanide is a strong player, but he's not very good as far as fantasy points are concerned. Not to mention Fnatic tends to go into long slumps, which will really hurt Cyanide. I say skip him.
Another perhaps controversial placement, Diamond is probably the best Jungler in Europe. However, that doesn't translate very well to fantasy points. In addition, Diamond's on Gambit, who just lost their mid laner. A lot of Diamond's strength was his synergy with that Mid Laner. His experience at All Stars made it look like he can quickly pick that up with some one new, but its still a risk, one I don't find worth it.
Another old player coming back, Brokenshard's biggest problem is his team. Complexity just isn't strong enough to compete in the LCS in my opinion. They havn't competed on this level yet. They may end up being forged by fire and their experience might make them a strong team, but I don't think so. Skip him.
The weakest returning jungler to the LCS, I only saw a few games with Impaler and they seemed ok. Not impressive enough that I'd say pick him up though.
Airwaks is new to the LCS, and I've never seen him play a game. I think he's a bad investment, but I don't actually know that he is.
Snoopeh on the other hand, I totally know is a bad choice. I sort of thing EG will replace him in the off season, I certainly think they should. Skip him.
The way this league is scored, Mid Lane is your second most valuable player, just behind your ADC. If you can get one of the better ones, its definitely worth a first pick.
When he was in Europe, Bejergsen was a top Mid Laner. In North America, Bejergsen's hyper aggressive style and incredible mechanics make him one of the best Mid Laners in the world. TSM is going to be counting on Bjergsen more then ever while they transition, and even if they lose, Bejergsen is likely to win. A solid first pick.
Another old guard, Froggen has been around since season 2, but he's really stepped up lately. In the early days of Alliance, when they were losing every game, Froggen was still playing great. When they started to win, it was Froggen dragging them across the finish line. And when they finally started clicking and playing really well, Froggen continued to stand out. He's a great pick for mid lane.
CLG's Mid Laner got a huge boon, in that he was allowed to attend all stars in Hai's place. He got to play against the likes of Faker, and noticeably improved while at the event. He also got some inside information on Cloud 9. He was already a top 3 mid laner in NA, now he's an incredibly solid choice.
Shiphtur was in ELO Hell last split. He has some absolutely incredibly plays through out the split, but his team held him back. Now that he's on Dignatas, he should be an easy pick right? I've discussed Dig's problems elsewhere in this article, and Shiphtur has a lot of weight on his shoulders. If he preforms he could out play Bejergsen, but he could just as easily bomb.
If the name didn't make it obvious, XWX is LMQ's Chinese mid laner. In the challenger scene he was incredible, putting up farm numbers that were staggering. I've only seen a few games he played against decent competition, but he wasn't nearly able to replicate that success. He's a pretty middle of the road pick, not bad if the better picks get stolen from you, but he's not a high priority.
Hai is a solid player, and on one of the best teams, Cloud 9. However, like a lot of Cloud 9, his mechanics aren't outstanding, and more then most other Mid Laners, Hai plays for his team, sacrificing any sort of personal glory for the sake of the team. It makes him a good player, but not the best fantasy choice. That said he'll still be wining a lot, which will help his stats. Another point against him however is that he was injured recently, and has been in the hospital due to a collapsed lung, which means he hasn't been able to practice, and that might hurt him early on.
xPeke is a very talented player, and when he's doing well, Fnatic prospers. However when Fnatic isn't doing well, and they always have dry spells, xPeke looks weaker. He's also seemed a bit weaker in general lately, whether his skill is degrading or the meta just doesn't suit him right now is hard to say, but I'd avoid him unless all the better picks were taken.
Millenium's Mid Laner, I don't know much about him, but he had a surprising number of fantasy points last season for a player on such a bad team. Still, we're in the land of last resort midlaners here, so try to avoid him.
Like Kerp, I don't know much about Overpow. He's fairly well regarded, but he didn't score a lot of points last season, and I'd say he isn't likely to score a whole lot more this season.
Pr0lly was able to best Shiphtur in his match with Coast, and did well against XiaoWeiXiao when they went head to head, but never beat him, and Shiphtur was clearly on tilt at the time. Pr0lly is pretty good, and a stand out on his team, but not good enough to bring them up, and it shouldn't be too hard to focus him. I'd avoid him.
Pobelter is a talented mid laner with the ability to go toe to toe with any other player in America... on a good day. Unfortunately, he frequently has bad days, and the team around him doesn't help much either. He could pay off on the right weeks, but over all I say dump him.
Another European player I don't know much about, his stats don't seem all that impressive, so I have to recommend against him.
Like Jesiz, but statistically work, I hear CowTard is a lot like Hai, sacrificing his own glory for that of the team, but his team doesn't dominate EU the way Cloud 9 Dominates NA.
Probably the next popular North American player who needs to be replaced, Voyboy's been lackluster as a mid laner, and Curse hasn't made any roster changes that look like he'll be helped out. I would definitely avoid him.
The midlaner for Supa Hot Crew, I don't know much about him, but he's new to the team, and therefore not a safe choice.
I know almost nothing about NiQ. The reason he's so low on the list is I don't think he's going to be in the LCS long. He's replacing Gambit's star mid-laner Alex Ich, however, he doesn't speak Russian. Two members of Gambit speak only Russian. It's hard to imagine he's going to stay around for long, and the longer he does, the worse Gambit as a whole is likely to do.
AD Carries are the most important roll as far as the scoring of this league is considered. Mid Laners are very very close, but if you can get a Star AD carry with your first pick, you definitely should, and picking a second one third or fourth round could work out too.
Rekkles is the best ADC in Europe, hands down. Even on Fnatic's long losing spree, Rekkles was on fire, desperately trying to keep his team in games. He didn't put up the stats of some of the star NA ADCs, but I still think he's an absolutely solid choice.
Sneaky is Cloud 9's AD Carry, and for a long time has drawn the same criticism as the rest of Cloud 9, good team play but poor mechanics. Sneaky has been steadily improving his mechanics for about three months now though, and while he's always put up good numbers, I think he's legitimately the best AD Carry in North America right now. A solid pick.
Doublelift has always been considered one of the best players in North America, and at one time was considered the best ADC in the world. He's not at his prime any more, and the standards of play have increased. He's still really really good, and has a star support at his side, which makes him a very strong pick, but one that might be slightly over rated.
Hailing from China, a land known for intense mechanical skills and especially AD Carries. He's gotten a lot of praise from Doublelift, and absolutely tore of the challenger scene, but like the rest of LMQ, he's very hard to place. I'd imagine he's one of the best players on the team in a fantasy context though, so he's worth considering.
WildTurtle had the highest Fantasy Points and the highest Fantasy Points per game last season. So why is he so low? Well I've gone through TSM's potential struggles a number of times in this post, but WildTurtle will be most hit. He's lost Xpecial, perhaps the best Support in NA. Turtle has said a lot of good things about his replacement, but he'll definitely be hit in the short term, and I'd be very surprised if his season was as good as the last one.
SK Gaming's ADC is the second best in Europe, and helped SK get their second place finish last split. Most other analysts expect them to do even better this split, and that will more than likely be on CandyPanada's back, making him a great choice.
Tabzz was a fantastic ADC two splits ago when he was on Lemondogs. His move to Alliance came with a slow start, but by the end of the split he was the third best ADC in Europe... and on the third best team which is probably worth noting. He's not as strong as the better American ADCs, but worth picking if you're late to the ADCs or as a flex pick.
Nearing the end of the viable ADCs, Imaqtpie preformed very very well last split. However, part of his success was due to the team giving him gold, Dignatas has picked up two great new players who are very gold hungry, which may stop him from preforming. He's an able player himself, but its hard to recommend him not knowing what his team will do.
Cop has been a journyman ADC for a long time now, too good
to replace, but not good enough to be a star. That might change, with
Xpecial joining curse and being by his side, Cop has a real chance to
step up. That said, its not his first time playing along side an all
star support, two splits ago, EDward came over to join Curse, and while
Cop did ok, he wasn't a super star. He's not a bad player, but he's not as safe a pick on a fantasy team as he is in a real team.
The strong point of Supa Hot Crew is Mr. RalleZ, a strong ADC. However, I feel like his team will drag him down, and that while his stats will be ok, they won't be anywhere near most American ADCs or the better European ones. I'd skip him.
Another European player that I really don't know much
about, but he had the fourth most fantasy points among AD Carries in
Europe, and I have heard good things about the player. I put him lower then higher scoring ADCs because of his team, Millenium, which I don't expect much from this split.
Roccat's AD carry, like a number of their players, isn't impressive on his own. He has a little help in his Support, VandeR, who's quite strong especially on Thresh, but he's not a great pick for a fantasy team.
Genja is a brilliant ADC, who's crazy and innovative builds have won him game after game. However, he's been slipping lately, practicing less and less and looking less impressive. More importantly however, his team, Gambit is going through a lot of growing pains trying to replace Alex Ich. Genja can't communicate with the current replacement, NiQ, and while I don't think Genja is going away, I do think his time is up.
I really really like ROBERTxLEE. He's got a good attitude and he's a pretty good player. Unfortunately, he's on Complexity, the worst team in NA, and I don't have a very high opinion of his support either. I'll be rooting for him, but I won't be picking him for my fantasy team.
Woolite is an untested ADC, and he's joining a low tier team, the Copenhagen Wolves. If he does well, the Wolves will almost certainly jump in the standings, but losing two of their best players, I don't expect that to happen.
Like Snoopeh in the Jungle, I think Yellowpete is a legacy player that should be replaced. Krepo is a great support to be paired with, but I don't expect much from Yellowpete at all.
Support is the least important roll in this league, but its not far behind top lane, and picking one up third or fourth isn't a bad idea if you have your pick of the lot.
Last split, I said I didn't expect much from Aphromoo, and boy did he prove me wrong. He wasn't the best support at the end of last season, but he was by far the most improved. With Xpecial switching teams, I think he has a great shot at being the best support available.
Cloud 9's Support and analyst, LemonNation is an incredibly talented support, who's great at roaming in order to get his team extra kills, and inflate his score. LemonNation is the obvious support pick, and he's definitely not a bad one.
I may have Xpecial rated a little high here. He's a fantastic support, there's no doubt about that, but he's left TSM to join Curse. Curse took fourth place last split, and seem a little stagnant in a league where every team is making major improvements. That said, being kicked off TSM may give him a kick in the ass that makes him improve individually. That said, Cop is a lesser ADC than Turtle, and I think Xpecial will suffer for it.
Fnatic's support may not be the best in Europe, but he's supporting Rekkles, by far the best ADC there. Not to mention, he's definitely not bad. While I don't think Fnatic will do as well this split, I think their bot lane will be great, and YellOwStaR isn't a bad pick.
The Chinese support, like YellOwStaR Mor is going to get some help from having a strong AD Carry. Like every player of LMQ its hard to say for sure how good he'll be, but he won't be the worst pick available.
nRated is SK Gaming's Lemon Nation, a strong player who's real strength is in game knowledge, but who is good mechanically as well. There are better supports, but if you want to delay picking your Support for a while, nRated is a good one to pick up deep in the draft.
Alliance's support Nyph had a number of very impressive plays throughout the split, and while he's not quite as good as nRated, he's quite close, and may in fact be the better choice, if Alliance end up besting SK. It's hard to tell though, and my gut says nRated is the better choice.
KiWi is another player I underestimated last split. He wasn't as crisp as the players above him on this list, but he had really good Annie play, and his other characters got better as the season progressed. Being on Dig hurts him, but perhaps less then the other members, since the Support never gets a lot of gold. He's not a great pick, but he's not the worst.
Roccat's support is an excellent Thresh player. He's less good when he plays other champions, which is why I have him so low on the list, but he's still very good, and I expect he'll get better, but won't be a top tier support.
Krepo is a fantastic support burdened with a very weak team. He does ok as far as fantasy points are concerned, and he's another player I'll be rooting for, but I don't recommend you pick him up.
Gleeb has big shoes to fill. Stepping up to replace Xpecial, one of the best and most popular supports in America, I don't think he can do it, not right away. I really hope Gleeb surprises me and leads TSM to first place, but I'm probably going to let him sit on the bench.
EDward is a great support, but I feel like his time is over. He's on Gambit, and he's already left the team once, only to come back. While his return was an improvement, he doesn't look like the EDward of old, and I think the problems with his team will be the nail in the coffin.
The Wolves Support scored a fair number of points last season, but I don't think he'll do as well this season. He's lost his ADC, and his Jungler, and its hard to call either an upgrade. He's not a bad player, but I don't think he can stand up to his competition.
Millenium's support, while I don't know much about him, he scored worse than any other support last season, and is on one of the worse teams. Skip him.
I've never really cared for Bubbadub. He's also on one of the weaker teams, Complexity, and while I like his ADC, I don't think Bubbadub will help him much. Skip him.
Wesillfailer is Supa Hot Crew's new Support, and put simply, I don't know anything about him, and therefore, I cannot recommend him.
In addition to a player for each roll, you get to pick a team as well, and are scored based on their ability to win and to secure objectives.
Cloud 9 not only got the most fantasy points last split, they're also the most objective focused team in the west. No one is as good at them at getting something every time they give something, ot pressing advantages when they have them. They're the easy pick.
Counter Logic Gaming
CLG aren't far behind them though. CLG wasn't as strong as TSM on an individual level, but their shot calling was second only to C9, and it was getting better all the time. If you can't snap up Cloud 9, CLG are definitely the team to grab.
Alliance tied Fnatic for the most fantasy points for an EU team last split, and I expect them to rise above this split. Objectives aren't really where they shine, but their shotcalling got very good towards the end of the split, and they're not a bad choice.
SK Gaming were third in Europe points wise, but as they have the best coaching staff in EU, and were better at the end of the split compared to the beginning, I fully expect them to rise ahead of Fnatic.
Fnatic have won every split of the European LCS so far, but I think their reign is over. They looked shakey at All Stars, and while one bad performance doesn't mean they're doomed, both Alliance and SK came close to dethroning them last split, and will go in hungry.
Speaking of teams that I think will fall, TSM had the second most fantasy points last split, just behind C9. I'm a huge TSM fan and I'll be rooting for them every game, but they're going to have a slow start, they've simply made too many changes not to. In addition, last split they won by simply being better, and towers and dragons naturally fell to them. LMQ and the new Dignatas will make that much harder. TSM still has a great shot at getting to worlds, but I don't think the road there will be easy.
Roccat are in a strange place, where their individual players didn't preform super well, but their team as a whole was very good. I expect them to do just as well this season, and while I'd definitely shoot for one of the teams above them, I'd be content with Roccat.
I've said again and again that LMQ are tricky to rate. They are. People are afraid of our new Chinese overlords, and they destroyed the competition in the ameture scene. The top teams in North America can probably stop them, but its hard to say for sure, and the lower half of the NA scene has a lot to fear. They're a risky pick, but one that might pay off.
Like LMQ, Dignatas are a risky pick, higher risk I'd say, but potentially higher reward. Dignatas now has two of the most talented solo laners in North America, as well as a capable ADC, a Support that works with him, and a good jungler. But how does it all fit together? If Dig can answer that question they'll be a top tier team. But I don't think they can, at least not until well into the season.
Curse made fourth place last season, but they've sort of stagnated. Picking up Xpecial was huge for them, but it feels tiny compared to the moves their competition is making. Curse will probably still be around next split, but its hard to imagine them making worlds. I say avoid them.
While Curse is stagnating, fifth place Gambit did a nose dive. Its hard to say just how important Alex Ich was to the team, but the fact that his replacement needs to be able to speak Russian is a huge disadvantage for Gambit. It's hard to imagine them finding a replacement as good as him, Russian speaking or not, and even harder to imagine them adjusting to a lesser player. Gambit really needs to work if they're going to win and I think they're too much risk.
Supa Hot Crew
Supa Hot Crew didn't impress me last split, and I don't think they're going to do much better this split. I wish I could say more, but this is a long article guys, I'm running out of juice.
The Wolves not only failed to impress me last season, but lost two of their best players. I can't seem them doing any better this season.
EG were NA's Punching bag last split, and the only thing that's changed this split is that XDG, the team they barely beat, isn't in the league any more. I love Krepo, but I don't think the Kreppetes can pull out very many wins.
I still put EG above Complexity though. They just don't seem like they have what it takes. The LCS may give them all so well needed experience, and they might be a good team in the future, but its hard to imagine them beating anyone besides EG in the current league.
Millenium was in shambles at the end of last split. That they maintained their position is an abberation, and I expect them to be by far the worst team in the west. Avoid them.