This week we focus on the plethora of roster and rule changes made in the North American LCS, and we preview this weekend’s IEM San Jose event. This and more in this week’s eSports Weekly.
LoL: TSM Unveils New Full Roster and Coaches
While potential legal battles may loom over their acquisition of jungler Svenskeren, Team SoloMid has gone forward and filled the remaining two roster spots on their League of Legends squad, as well as acquired a new head coach and strategic coach. Joining Bjergsen, Doublelift, and Svenskeren is top laner Hauntzer and support player kaSing. One of three players who departed from Gravity this week, Hauntzer fills the role left by retired legend Dyrus at the top lane. Gravity qualified for playoffs in both of the 2015 splits, but were eliminated in the quarterfinals of each, and were reverse swept by Cloud 9 in the regional Worlds qualifier. He is regarded as one of NA’s premier top laners. TSM owner Reginald said that he targeted Hauntzer for his team because he’s one of the most flexible players when it comes to patches and game changes. At the support position, kaSing joins the roster from H2k Gaming, who were in contention with TSM for the rights to Svenskeren. With kaSing at support, H2k finished 3rd place in the playoffs for both 2015 splits, and secured the second EU seed at Worlds. H2k defeated Bangkok Titans twice in their group stage, but were unable to pick up any wins against Edward Gaming or the eventual World champions, SK Telecom T1. Going into this week’s IEM San Jose event, which we preview below, TSM’s lineup is Hauntzer, Svenskeren, Bjergsen, Doublelift, and kaSing. It’s worth noting that the IEM event will act as a tryout for kaSing.
Aside from the new player roster, TSM also announced the new coaching staff for their League of Legends squad. At the head coaching role is KC “woodbuck” Woods, who comes from a traditional sports background, having coached baseball and basketball teams to championships, bringing a wealth of coaching experience to TSM. TSM’s new strategic coach, who will be on stage for picks-and-bans, is Josh “Jarge” Smith, who formerly worked alongside Fnatic coach Deilor. Reginald felt a change in coaching staff was necessary, as he couldn’t trust the old staff to manage the players, and the players were constantly asking him to step in and lead/coach the team while he was trying to focus on the TSM business side of things.
IEM San Jose Preview
The tenth season of the ESL Intel Extreme Masters tournament series has made its way to American shores, with this weekend’s CS:GO and LoL events taking place in San Jose. Before we preview what we will be getting at San Jose, here’s what we won’t be getting: Fnatic’s LoL team will not compete, citing health issues with one of their players. There are also rumors floating around that Huni is considering leaving the team, switching to the AD carry position, and pursuing a spot on an NA LCS team. The fact that CLG still has a spot open on their roster at the AD carry position certainly raises some intrigue. Replacing them is the Unicorns of Love, coming in with an almost entirely new roster. H0R0, PowerOfEvil, and Vardags all left the team in the past few weeks, and replacing them is the upgraded sub Gilius, as well as Fox and steeelback. PowerOfEvil will still compete at IEM, but with Origen as their alt midlaner.
Also not competing is the reigning DreamHack CS:GO champions EnVyUs, who cite issues with travel safety after the horrible attacks on the city of Paris. While it’s disappointing that one of, if not the world’s best team won’t be competing, it’s more than understandable given the awful circumstances.
In the League of Legends bracket, six of the world’s best teams will compete for $50K. There are a lot of interesting things to look out for: TSM’s new roster, who CLG’s AD carry will be, the Unicorns of Love’s new roster, and how Origen’s new alternate mid roster will work. Also competing are LGD Gaming, who are coming off a disappointing Worlds performance, and the Jin Air Green Wings from the Korean Champions league.
In the CS:GO tournament, CLG will replace EnVy and join its fellow NA teams in Team Liquid and Cloud 9, in a pool with Virtus.Pro, G2, TSM, Na’Vi, and Luminosity. In a single elimination bracket, the first round match-ups are as follows: G2 vs CLG, Na’Vi vs Luminosity, TSM vs Cloud 9, and Virtus.Pro vs Liquid.
Both events will kickoff on Saturday.
- CS:GO: MLG has announced that they will host the next CS:GO major, and the first major that will be hosted on American shores. The MLG CS:GO Major Championship will be held in Columbus, Ohio, with the semifinals and grand finals taking place in the Nationwide Arena. MLG achieved notable success with their MLG Aspen event at last year’s Winter X Games, the last tournament that the current EnVyUs and TSM rosters competed under their previous organizations, LDLC and Dignitas, respectively.
- LCS: Introducing NRG eSports, the new eSports organization that purchased the Team Coast slot for the upcoming NA LCS 2016 spring split. NRG was founded by Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov, co-owners of the NBA team Sacramento Kings, and successful businessmen. The roster initially consisted of Impact (top laner, formerly of Team Impulse), Moon (jungler, formerly of Imagine), GBM (midlaner, formerly of Jin Air), and KonKwon (support, formerly of Coast). Coaching the team are Charlie and Hermit, formerly of Cloud 9 and Origen, respectively. Later in the day the team was formed and their AD carry was revealed: Altec, formerly of Gravity.
- LCS: Rush and BunnyFuFuu have joined the Cloud 9 roster. Rush, formerly of Team Impulse will step into the jungler role, and BunnyFuFuu (formerly of Gravity) will trade off the support role with Hai.
- LCS: Riot is set to unveil a new series of rules for the 2016 season, with protection of the players in mind. These include the limiting of contracts to three years, ensuring contracts for subs and reserves, outlawing “non-compete” clauses, and establishing the ability for players to terminate their contracts if their teams violate LCS rules.
Streams to Watch
- IEM San Jose. The matches start tomorrow in the early afternoon, with G2 vs CLG kicking off the CS:GO competition, and TSM vs LGD in League of Legends. Watch on the ESL CS:GO and ESL LoL Twitch channels.
- Lower bracket finals and grand finals of the Dota 2 Frankfurt Major tomorrow. Evil Geniuses will face OG (former Monkey Business) in the LB finals with a spot in the grand finals against Team Secret on the line. The LB finals start at 10:30 Central European time, so you’re either staying up late or getting up way too early to watch it here in North America. Watch here.