Acquiring Apex Gaming, as well as joining the Philadelphia 76ers, Team Dignitas makes its return to the NA LCS.
Apex Gaming joined the NA LCS in April of 2016, after beating Team Dragon Knights in the Summer Promotion Tournament. Ironically enough, the promotion tournament which qualified Apex Gaming, which would later become Dignitas, was the same tournament that relegated the former Dignitas roster to the challenger series.
Apex started the summer split strong, beating reigning NA LCS champions, Counter Logic Gaming, 2-1 in the first week of play. But over the course of the summer split, Apex began to fall off. Apex finished the summer split in seventh, narrowly missing playoffs due to their head-to-head record with Team EnVyUs.
On Sept. 26, 2016 both Apex Gaming and Team Dignitas were acquired by the NBA team, the Philadelphia 76ers. For the NA LCS, the new organization decided to use Dignitas’s name and branding.
Deciding to only keep Keane and Xpecial on the starting roster, the now VC backed Dignitas decided to invest in Korean talent. On Dec. 15, 2016, Dignitas announced the signing of former KT Rolster top laner Ssumday, as well as former Longzhu Gaming jungler Chaser.
For most of the 2016 season, Ssumday was considered the second best top laner in the world, behind Song "Smeb" Kyung-ho. Ssumday can play tanks, carries, and whatever else his team needs, making him a very versatile player. By the end of the 2016 season though, Ssumday started to find some difficulty in the top lane, dying to lane opponents he would usually beat. It has to be noted though that Ssumday had a lot of responsibility on the 2016 KT Rolster lineup. As the only true carry of KT Rolster, Ssumday was tasked with providing enough pressure for the rest of his team, who would usually get pushed into their towers. This forced Ssumday to continuously push his lane, making him susceptible to ganks and roaming plays.
Chaser had a lot of difficulty playing on Longzhu in 2016. The team lacked almost any synergy, which in turn affected Chaser’s jungling. Chaser shared playing time with Longzhu’s other jungler, Lee "Crash" Dong-woo.
The final addition to Dignitas’s 2017 roster was former EnVyUs AD Carry, LOD. As a part of Team EnVyUs, LOD spent a majority of the summer split being a role player for the team. Instead of making risky flashy plays, LOD would play back and allow his top and mid laner to carry.
I see Dignitas finishing the spring split at no less than fourth place. This Dignitas roster has an incredibly high skill ceiling. Ssumday is still one of the best top laners in the world, and Chaser still has the potential to return to his former 2015 Jin Air glory days.
The main problem with this Dignitas roster is that aside from Ssumday, the team really doesn’t have any other carries. Keane and LOD both play a more supportive role on the team, meaning that Ssumday will yet again have to be his team’s one and only carry. Chaser will need to use the pressure Ssumday exerts on the map to create leads for the mid and bot lane. But with Chaser’s aggressive style, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Dignitas repeatedly gank the top lane in the first five to 10 minutes to try and enable Ssumday to carry the team to victory.
The obvious issue this roster will have to overcome is the language barrier. It is unknown how well Chaser and Ssumday speak English, but if the two can’t speak the language, Dignitas will have blatant communication issues to overcome. Once these issues are cleared up though, Dignitas will be a dangerous NA LCS team.
Do you think Team Dignitas can win the NA LCS? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @GAMURScom.
Article by Malcolm Abbas. Follow him on Twitter @SmashhLoL.
Photo via LoL Esports