Written by Eric Kummel
With four new teams surging into the NA LCS for 2018 the need for domestic talent is at an all-time high, especially with Riot’s always stiffening interregional movement policy.
Luckily for these new teams, their arrival forced an abrupt end to the LCS lives of Phoenix1, Dignitas, Immortals and EnVyUs, so there’s plenty of top end domestic talent available. Well maybe not plenty, but some.
Top Lane isn’t the deepest pool of talent when it comes to North American residents. The top dogs like Darshan and Hauntzer are locked up and even someone like Lourlo is likely sticking with Team Liquid
Phoenix1 definitely looked rough last split, but Zig was steady on the top side of the map once Mike Yeung joined the team. For the majority of the season that 2v2 match up was the only thing going right for P1.
Despite a horde of team issues Zig still finished top 5 in DMG%, CSD@15, and solo kills among top laners. Zig should probably land himself a spot on a starting roster in 2018. It’s just a matter of which teams are looking to save that import slot for other positions.
Last year 4 of the 10 LCS squads used an import slot for their top lane. With the likes of Ssumday, Flame, Visiscasci, and even potentially Huni on the table, that number is probably going up in 2018.
Jungle: Mike Yeung
So this is really just a list of the entire Phoenix1 roster because they did so great last split. But seriously, despite their ugly record, it would’ve been much worse if Mike Yeung didn’t join the squad.
The rookie of the split gave P1 a clear win condition in these games and was the catalyst that they played through in almost every game.
Obviously Xmithie is another fantastic domestic jungler currently without a team and throw in a potential Meteos comeback and the NA talent in the jungle is actually pretty solid.
That being said, the edge goes to Mike Yeung just because he has shown the ability to completely take over games with his aggressive playstyle. His 3.3 kills per game was over a half kill more than the next highest jungler.
He’s young, eager, unbelievably mature for his age, and his talent ceiling will immediately bring a sense of excitement to any team that he joins.
The domestic mid lane talent in NA is more like a puddle than a pool. It basically consists of Keane and Pobelter as unsigned players. That probably makes Pobelter the most sought after commodity in the NA LCS.
Most teams will likely be using one of their import slots on the mid lane, but whoever lands the notorious P.O.B. will have the luxury of saving that slot and still having a top 5 mid laner in the league.
ADC: Cody Sun
For the last few years in NA the AD Carry position has actually been the hot bed for homegrown talent. There hasn’t been more than two imported ADC’s in NA since the 2015 summer season.
The rise of Cody Sun last season was just another example of why that’s been the case. Tristana flash memes aside, one of the biggest reasons for Immortals turnaround season was the carry threat that Cody Sun provided.
17 different times Cody finished the game with a double digit KDA and the 2nd team all-pro had six games where he didn’t grey screen once.
Cody Sun has proven that he can be a main carry threat for a team, or play that supportive, utility role.
The fact that he doesn’t take up an import slot makes it even more enticing to keep him together as a package deal with his Immortals bot lane partner in 2018.
Adrian helped end a 4-game slide for Dignitas and they looked like a different team with him on the roster. This is a guy who is accustomed to winning at the NA LCS level. He’s never been part of a losing split and his all-time record in the regular season is an impressive 106-46.
There’s definitely going to be another wave of imported talent coming into the NA LCS in 2018, but the fun and sometimes challenging part about building these new rosters is the limited import slots. With that limitation in mind and the new implementation of academy teams, local NA talent will definitely have its chance to shine.