2016 features brand spanking new changes in the North American LCS, with roster swaps and changes happening left, right and centre. All of these roster changes are to hopefully create the best North American team to win the 2016 Spring Split. Or, possibly even the World Championships. Now that most teams have sorted out their final rosters for the NALCS 2016 Spring Split and have settled down, I think it’s about time we bring to you our predictions. We will go into detail about why we picked each team with us only doing a list of the top 5 teams.
Hopefully this year, we will see the strongest North American team yet that can compete and possibly triumph over the Chinese and Korean teams.
5. Counter Logic Gaming (CLG)
During the off season, there has been a lot of drama revolving around CLG and their roster changes for the 2016 Spring split. During the break, it seems that CLG have had a huge downgrade in two of their roles, which include losing their star ADC Doublelift and former midlaner Pobelter. These two players have been replaced by Huhi in the midlane and Stixxay in the bottom lane as AD. Both of these players definitely have plenty of room to grow as per their performance at IEM San Jose, they are both rookies after all.
Even though CLG lost two star players, they still managed to hold on to their shotcallers, Darshan (Formerly Zion Spartan) and Aphromoo. Both of which are phenomenal players who are the heart of the team and really held the team together with he two departures. As a result, we can really expect CLG to start this split strongly and to have one of the best macrogames in the league, which could possibly be enough for the to take games off of the teams a bit higher on our list. As expected, all teams will improve as we go through the season in terms of synergy, however with CLG, we expect them to lack firepower with only Darshan in the top lane as a real carry threat. As long as CLG can get Darshan on the board, they should have a good chance to beat almost anyone.
4. NRG eSports (NRG)
NRG has a carry threat in every lane, that of which can even rival TSM’s carry threats. Impact, GBM and Altec were all phenomenal players last split with GBM really being the crown jewel of this lineup. GBM has been considered as one for the best midlaners in Korea last split, and now coming to North America during the peak in his career, we can all expect GBM to perform really well and to provide great results.
Moon and Konkwon were both decent players but neither of which really stood out in the Challenger split last season. Neither players were amazing but neither were anchors either. We dont expect either of them to be a huge factor in the success of the team; but the fact that they are both pretty inexperienced is enough to knock NRG down to the #4 ranking.
3. Immortals (IMT)
Immortals are coming into the Spring split with one of the most hyped up lineups to date. Each player on this team has played at least 2 splits in the LCS, all of which have been at the top of their league. The carry threat from Immortals is going to come mostly from the top lane, since top laner Huni was by far the best performing top laner in the west’s last split, with a good mind set being keen to repeat his performance this split as well. By acquiring Reignover as the jungler brings a force to be reckoned with, as Huni and Reignover’s synergy is already amazing and will surely dominate the top half of the map in the majority of their games.
Our reason for concern from this team comes from the rest of the lineup. Pobelter had some excellent performances last season, but always played a very supportive role, almost always playing control mages and supportive champions. Wildturtle has had a few problems recently, especially last split, and is going to have to really get back into shape if the Immortals are going to try and contend for a place in the top 3. When the Immortals win, we expect it to be the Huni show. However, if Huni gets behind or tilts, we really question where their other carry threat will come from.
Overall this roster is very experienced and we believe have enough skill and potential to be a top 3 team in the NALCS but it will be a bit of a bumpy ride.
2. Cloud 9 (C9)
With the addition of Rush to Cloud 9, we hope to see a massive boom in performance. From what we have seen, stylistically, he’s a perfect fit for the team. Rush’s aggressive counter jungling style is completely different different from Meteos’ and Hai’s farm-heavy carry style, with Rush’s style being more towards ganking lanes and getting his laners ahead early on. The talent that Rush brings to Cloud 9 is going to be a huge advantage to the North American region where there is a very limited jungling talent pool.
With recent news we have heard that BunnyFuFuu will be starting the season in the first game but is unclear if he will be playing both games the first week. With Hai’s move to the support role as well, it looks like that Hai will be wanting to mentor BunnyFuFuu to be the shotcaller at some stage later, once there is more synergy between the team. We are unsure as to how many games Hai and BunnyFuFuu will each play this split but we assume that Hai will be the main support and BunnyFuFuu the sub for the time being. If this works, and happens early enough we believe this will be a massive payoff to the whole team.
The only concern in Cloud 9 is their toplaner Balls. Ball’s performance in the last split left much to be desired and is probably the weakest link on the team. However, Balls’ performance during the 2015 World championships was much better than the summer split and everyone could see the amount of work Balls put into keeping up with the meta and also to not be the weak link. With the recent Last Whisper nerfs, and several high-damage junglers coming into flavour, the tanky toplaner is at its prime time. This meta is perfect for Balls’ champion pool and we believe that this season he will not be the weak link anymore.
Team SoloMid (TSM)
Now I think it comes to no surprise who is ranked 1 on our list. TSM have put together an incredible stacked roster full of talent, with each player being a superstar at their roles in their previous teams, save Hauntzer. Even still Hauntzer was one of the superior players on Gravity, where he managed to be able to provide an excellent carry threat with basically no jungle support at all.
YellOwStaR, however is by far the most important addition to the new TSM lineup. YellOwStaR is exactly what TSM needed to remedy TSM’s late game macrogame and shotcalling issues that have riddled them for so long. In addition, this frees Bjergsen of this responsibility which will allow him to focus solely on his own game, which also gives the potential to give even better performances than he already has.
The only problem with this team, is that none of the new addition players have played on a team together before now for an extended period of time. Doublelift and YellOwStaR played the laning phase very differently on their past teams, the major difference being the speed at which they played the laning phase. Svenskeren will likely have to adjust his gank priority to fit the demands of the teams new carries. Even so, the individual talent alone is enough to rank TSM as our standout for this season. This team has so much potential and an amazing coaching staff who will definitely do their best to pull the team to the very top.
So those are our top 5 pick for the 2016 NALCS Spring split! This season will definitely be the most exciting so far with all of these new roster swaps and gameplay changes that have happened over the preseason!
Good luck to all teams and we hope that they will perform well at the 2016 world championships!