As far as power rankings goes, the LMS is probably one of the more unchanged regions. Flash Wolves and ahq will likely continue to control the region, but it's not necessarily without potential opposition. The return of Midnight Sun in the form of Wayi Spider and Hong Kong eSports with its new rookies are teams to keep your eyes on. The LMS suffered in 2016 due to a severe drop in competition and Spring will be the time to gauge whether any of the mid-tier teams have the potential to make it big in Summer. I'll be discussing the roster moves that I find important versus some of the less important ones, but here's a link to a full list of roster changes. 

#1 Flash Wolves

Flash Wolves have been able to secure the core of their roster for two years in a row, despite foreign pressure. Karsa, Maple, and SwordArT will continue to play in the LMS and certainly make up the strongest trio of any roster in the LMS. MMD will continue to play top for Flash Wolves, but will once again be complemented by Rins, who notably is more of a carry-style top laner. Longtime AD carry NL's hiatus signals the biggest change for Flash Wolves, as the team will now commit to Betty, who played under the moniker "DoubleRed" at IEM Oakland. 

Flash Wolves may have disappointingly lost IEM Oakland against Unicorns of Love 2-3, but the team has always had a tough time adapting to a new AD carry, especially when that AD carry only practiced the role for a month. Even so, other teams in the LMS are not exactly poised to pounce on their typical early-season weakness. Flash Wolves easily have the best talent in the LMS and Betty will only continue to grow as an AD carry. Expect to see them triumph again.  

#2 ahq e-Sports Club

ahq seem to be rolling into 2017 with no changes whatsoever. This can be seen as good, as it implies that superstar top laner Ziv is still on the team, but also bad, as old-time players Mountain and Westdoor continue to receive checks. Chawy also remains on the roster despite being almost completely cut from playtime during the Summer Split and Worlds. 

Ziv's presence on the team continues to make all the difference for ahq in the LMS. He's head and shoulders above every top laner and has consistently been the main carry force of ahq. Combined with the bot-side stability that Albis offers on his own, that should be enough to keep ahq in 2nd place. Even though it's unlikely ahq dethrones Flash Wolves, there is always the underlying potential of Chawy starting over Westdoor and AN returning to his 2015 Summer form. Don't count on it though. 

#3 Machi 17

Similar to ahq, Machi will be running out the same roster that it utilized in 2016. Machi has long been known as the team with talent that just can't quite get it together. However, the team always finds just enough for a burst run in the end, having effectively secured 3rd place in the LMS twice. 

As long as Dee and Dreamer continue to be the best bot lane in the LMS and Taizan continues to improve as a jungler, Machi is in a good position for the Spring Split. J Team will be without its jungler and ahq might even be vulnerable in their carry lanes. Apex and Vayn3z are concerns as they don't typically perform well in the laning phase, but with enough support from Taizan, both are great teamfighters come mid-game. 

#4 J Team

J Team is a complete head-scratcher. J Team secured 1st place in the regular season of last split, but failed to look impressive at all in playoffs or the Worlds qualifier. Despite such results, the entire roster will be returning with the exception of jungler REFRA1N, who looks to be taking a personal break this split. In his stead, ex-TPA top laner Achie will be manning the jungle position.

J Team had the opportunity to play internationally at IEM Gyeonggi and even though its performances were lukewarm at best, there were some things to be glad about. Bebe and Jay continue to be a solid bot lane duo and more importantly FoFo seems to finally be on the right track after getting slapped by Pobelter in his first game. Even then, Morning is terribly inconsistent and Achie will be learning a new role; That will be a bit too much for J Team to handle in Spring. 

#5 Hong Kong eSports

HKE is going through a youth movement after letting go of Koreans, Raison and Olleh, and longtime memelord jungler Dinter. Olleh and Dinter were key players over the years, but endless drama and overall skill decline between the two meant the end. Nestea and Gemini, two rookies from ECS team Non-HK, will be replacing Olleh and Dinter in hopes of creating a newer, stronger duo. Counteractive to this youth movement, Godkwai will be returning to HKE in hopes of guiding its new talent.

HKE is brimming with young talent and that bodes well for its 2017, but it's still hard to have overwhelming confidence in a team with two LMS greenhorns. MapleSnow and Gear are skilled players, but notably inconsistent and will have to anchor the lineup while Gemini and Nestea learn the ropes. Spring likely won't be their time, but at least it's not the same old roster that dragged on a year too long. 

#6 Wayi Spider

Wayi Spider is a resurrection story in a number of ways. The organization left the Taiwanese League of Legends scene after a brief involvement in Season 3. Coming back, Wayi has recruited the services of ex-Midnight Sun (MSE) players LOFS, Empt2, and Chunx who are returning from a 1-year ban from professional play. Complimenting that trio are ex-Flash Wolves trainee Breeze and ex-ahq trainee K, who have shown talent, but have been plagued by poor teams and their own inflexibility. ex-MSE CorGi and ex-TM (Team Mist) Zor will also be joining the roster, presumably as subs. 

The MSE core of these players will either fly or flop in Spring. This is the same unit that was able to be the 4th best team in the LMS while dragging along M1ssion and CorGi. It can be said that the presence of a same-language lineup with a decent AD in Breeze should mean that Wayi should be able to achieve the same things as 2015 MSE. That might be the case, but a year without action and a relatively short time as a team together probably means we won't see a strong Wayi until Summer. 

#7 Fireball

Midnight Sun's financial issues in the LMS led to their sale and eventual re-branding to the team we now know as Team Fireball. Team Fireball maintains MSE players in M1ssion, SkuLL, and Ninuo, while adding HKE jungler Wind and NHK prospect Unified. Right now the team garners a lot of attention for its logo, but the team lineup isn't nearly as interesting. 

On one hand, Fireball have AD carry prospect Unified who has shown his talent on Wings of Liberty and NHK in the past. On the other hand, the rest of the team has little to offer aside from M1ssion's excellence on a selective champion pool and Wind's general mechanical ability. 7th place seems to be just right for this team, but 6th place is feasible if Unified really shows up in the LMS. 

#8 Xgamers

XGamers has finally parted with Yo and will be moving on with ex-TPA Pony as their starting jungler. In a more surprising move, XG's star mid laner SuwaKo has switched from mid lane to his primary role of AD carry. Ex-M17 Aching will be filling out the mid lane, while LBB continues to sub at AD and top lane.

SuwaKo is easily the best player on his team, but his role-swap makes XG even weaker before. LBB was on his way to being one of the better AD carries in the LMS and Aching has been notably weak with a small champion pool consisting of Fizz and Zed.  XGamers will be heading to relegation for its 3rd straight split unless SuwaKo really proves the role-swap to be worth the weakened depth. 


by Goomiho, on 2017-01-06, in #Article