Many players competing in the 2022 LCS Spring Split tried their hardest to leave a mark but, as is always the case, only a handful of them eventually succeeded. For this piece, specifically, we’ll cover those who — in some way, shape, or form — ended up dropping the ball.
Maybe they couldn’t handle the pressure or maybe they just weren’t good enough to compete on the biggest stage in North America. Either way, they failed to deliver relative to everyone’s expectations. That last bit is hugely important and a most vital distinction: the players listed down below are by no means bad or untalented — they just didn’t accomplish what was expected of them. Nothing more, nothing less.
In fact, most of them are either exceptional or downright legendary; still, they faltered when it mattered most and were eventually forced to wait things out on the sidelines while someone else — Evil Geniuses, in this case — got showered in confetti.
Their “transgressions” and failures also vary in size and depth, so just keep that in mind as you go about reading these lines.
Most of the players listed down below had an insane amount of pressure on their shoulders. And just because they failed to execute (in one way or another) doesn’t mean they should be reprimanded and lambasted — although, in all fairness, a bit of criticism has to be thrown their way.
So, with that introduction out of the way, let’s begin!
Park “Summit” Woo-tae — Cloud9 [Top]
This exceptional Korean top laner went from being everyone’s frontrunner to win MVP — an award which he did, in the end, claim — to the laughing stock of the region. How in the world such a thing is even possible is beyond our comprehension.
At one point, near the very tail end of the split, teams started to realize just how feeble and exploitable he actually is when countered with ample jungle attention and, perhaps most importantly, a tanky champion he could not bully out of lane so easily. And once that “blueprint” was found out, Summit immediately went from being a towering force of nature to a middling top laner, one who could be exploited and punished with staggering ease.
To make things even worse, the boys in black and blue sort of used his dominance as a crutch. They knew he’d win lane and so Rober “Blaber” Huang could focus more on the rest of the map (to say nothing of invading). Once his dominance was no longer guaranteed, Cloud9 had no “plan B” — and boy did it show.
They got embarrassed. There’s really no other way to say it. And their drafts were obscene, too, not at all in line with the meta and what everyone else was playing. They had no concrete identity to speak of by the end of the split and were basically getting their wins through sheer mechanical prowess and individual talent.
They’ll supposedly bench Summit and move Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami back to top; whether that kind of decision makes sense or not still remains to be seen. Additionally, Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen will supposedly role swap to support, which means Cloud9 are still in search for a mid laner. These are all interesting — if a bit risky — roster changes, but it’s still way too early to foster any concrete amount of optimism.
Either way, we sure do hope they’ll collect themselves, shore up their flaws, and come back stronger next split. The odds of it happening aren’t all that great, but if there’s one team capable of pulling it off, it’s Cloud9.
Steven “Hans Sama” Liv — Team Liquid [ADC]
Hans Sama came over to North America heralded as the next best thing since sliced bread. And, well, rightfully so — the things he did at the World Championship stage left no one indifferent. He dominated beyond measure and styled over opponents most folks deemed far superior.
His stint with Team Liquid, however, has been somewhat middling. He’s had many flashes of brilliance, in all fairness, but they were nowhere near as frequent as we thought they’d be. Moreover, he sort of regressed once the playoffs came around. Whether that’s because of his own individual tendencies (or flaws, rather) or because of something that has plagued Team Liquid as a whole still remains to be seen, but it wasn’t a good look.
That being said, we’d be remiss if we didn’t say that we’re somewhat disappointed — we all thought he’d bring the house down. Fortunately, the season’s long enough and he’ll have enough time to step up and really make his presence known.
Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg — Team Liquid [Mid]
Much of the same can be said for Bjergsen, undoubtedly the greatest and most revered LCS player of all time. He might be European, but his career was built — and his many laurels won — on North American soil.
Instead, the Bjergsen we got was sort of middling, a player who — while still undeniably capable and great — wasn’t all that impactful or praiseworthy. His performances were solid but nowhere near as tremendous as we’ve come to expect.
And that’s okay. He took a lengthy break from competitive League of Legends and it showed in his play, too. That doesn’t mean we didn’t have high expectations, very few of which happened to have been met.
One cannot expect anything less than absolute excellence and impeccable execution from such a seasoned veteran. Bjergsen spoiled us; there’s really no other way to say it. And so if he fails to move mountains and push his team over the finish line we cannot help but be disappointed.
Be that as it may, there’s still ample time for him to reach “operating temperature” and once again be the leader and difference-maker his team needs.
Aaron “FakeGod” Lee — Dignitas QNTMPAY [Top]
FakeGod simply isn’t good enough to compete with the Summits, Impacts, and Ssumdays of the world. And, well, that’s hardly a surprise. We’re not going to criticize him for falling prey to such towering giants — few are the players who are sufficiently talented to handle their immense prowess.
That being said, FakeGod did drop the ball on many occasions and was obviously in over his head. His teammates, on the other hand, thrived and persevered; they fought back and rubbed shoulders with teams and players most folks deemed far superior.
Not only was FakeGod ill-equipped to “tango,” but his lack of ability became ever more apparent the better his teammates performed — and perform they certainly did. Somehow, some way, all four of them managed to leave a mark and make a good impression.
FakeGod, unfortunately, was the only one who couldn’t step up and deliver. And we’re not lambasting him, mind you, but it is a fact, and it’s not a particularly positive one either.
We will be making a change in our top lane for the upcoming #LCS Summer Split. Thank you @FakeGod for being such a positive presence in the team. We wish you the best in the future pic.twitter.com/yWyilYCvMp
— Dignitas LoL (@DignitasLoL) April 28, 2022
He was the weakest link on his team and he was exploited severely on many different occasions by a wide range of teams and players.
And so the fact that Dignitas have decided to part ways and look for a new top laner should really come as no surprise. FakeGod isn’t bad per se — he just isn’t good enough to compete at the LCS level. Now, this might be an overly harsh way of phrasing it, but by no means is it incorrect — and we have ample empirical evidence that proves it, too.
In any case, we hope that Dignitas can find a suitable replacement and actually make a run for the playoffs. They’ve done incredibly well with what they had and we can’t wait to see how high they’ll be able to soar with a new top laner — a player that will, hopefully, be better equipped for the task at hand!
Jason “WildTurtle” Tran — Immortals [ADC]
WildTurtle is the kind player whose motivation comes and goes — it wanes over time, as it does for so many others, both in the LCS and around the world. His most recent split, however, has been a fair bit worse than we’ve come to expect, and that may or may not be a problem, depending on what Immortals plan on doing and what he himself has in mind for his career.
The thing is, WildTurtle wasn’t bad per se, but he didn’t stand out in any which way and was quickly replaced by Noh “Arrow” Dong-hyeon for reasons that were never fully explained. He was by no means egregious but he sure as heck didn’t push Immortals over the finish line.
All in all, his most recent split was pretty darn disappointing. The fact that he was so quickly replaced only added insult to injury. Will he bounce back? Well, that’s a hard (if not impossible) thing to predict, but we’re not overly optimistic about his chances — and it pains us to say it, too.
Juan Arturo “Contractz” Garcia — CLG [Jungle]
Contractz fell off a cliff performance-wise. There’s really no other way to say it. This seasoned veteran was a shadow of his former self and undoubtedly one of the worst junglers in all of North America.
Labeling his play as “egregious” wouldn’t even begin to cut it. He was that bad.
To make things even worse, he was brought on by Counter Logic Gaming to be the one seasoned veteran, to lead the entire team through thick and thin, to give them a voice, an identity, to be the one leading the charge. Unfortunately, we saw very little of that, if any.
He had the absolute lowest KDA (1.7), second lowest Kill Participation (67.2%), highest Death Share (29.2%), and had ranked in the bottom three for all three jungling differentials (Gold, Experience, and CS).
Now, in all fairness, he did improve as the split progressed, but by that point the damage was already done. He’s a very experienced player which is why we were so shocked by his seemingly inexplicable regression. It still boggles the mind, even after all this time.
We’re confident that he’ll improve and deliver once the Summer Split comes around, but if he fails to “stick the landing,” CLG would be wise to seek out a replacement.
Kim “Winsome” Dong-keo — Cloud9 [Support]
Much of what we said about FakeGod can be applied to Winsome as well. He had the luxury of playing on one of the very best teams in North America, so it’s only natural that his own shortcomings and deficiencies weren’t as obvious and exploitable as those of, say, FakeGod’s.
As a result, Winsome will almost surely be warming the bench come Summer Split and, well, maybe that’s not such a bad thing — he could sure use a bit more time to polish his skillset and iron out a few kinks before, potentially, stepping foot on stage and once again competing against the very best teams that North America has to offer.
Plus, Kim “Berserker” Min-cheol needs a more seasoned support, someone who would truly bring out the very best in him. If Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen is as skilled at support as the rumors claim, Cloud9 could very well have a winning formula on their hands!
That being said, it’s still way too early for anyone to get hyped about it.