New players are marked in bold
Former players are named within (parameters)
Import players are marked in italic
Top – Ssumday (Ray)
Jungle – Chaser (Shrimp)
Mid – Keane
ADC – LOD (Apollo)
Support – Xpecial
Coaches – Kim Jeong-soo and Park Jae-seok (Cop and Saintvicious)
Team Dignitas is back in the LCS
Team Dignitas is one of the eight original LCS teams, entering the competition when it started early 2013. Since then the organization managed to stay in the LCS until last season, where they were not able to make it back into the LCS from the promotion tournament. The Challenger Series spot were later sold to APEX Gaming, leading to APEX having a squad in both LCS and CS, and Dignitas did not field a League of Legends team spring split 2016 for the first time in about five years. Moving into the off-season, basketball team Philadelphia 76ers from the NBA, acquired both Team Dignitas and APEX Gaming. The acquisition included both the LCS and CS spots held by APEX from summer. Philadelphia 76ers decided to keep Team Dignitas as the name for their esports division.
With the backup of 76ers, Team Dignitas has transformed the old roster of APEX into a very interesting set of players. During Dignitas’ early days and all the way to 2014, the team lived the by the names of legacy players such as Michael “Imaqtpie” Santana and William “Scarra” Lee. The current roster still contains a legacy player on the support position, Alex “Xpecial” Chu, who has been playing competitive LoL ever since 2011. During his career Chu has been a highly coveted support player in North America and continuously performed at a high level. Xpecial is one of the two players which were kept on the roster during the transformation and the second one is Jang “Keane” Lae-young who is playing the mid lane role.
Keane, despite South Korean origin, does not cover an import slot in North America due to being “grandfathered” into a North American resident according to the LCS rules. This is due to Keane playing in North America as a pro player, before rules regarding restrictions about residency were implemented to the LCS. As a player, Keane has been well-known for his low econ playstyle, which means despite not being fed a lot of gold in his team, he manages to do the job expected from him and sometimes more which is a valuable talent which not many players possess. When judging Dignitas I consider Keane the weakest link on the team. During his years in LCS, I have never been impressed by Keane to the extent where he has played well enough to win games for his team by carrying super hard. He hasn’t been the star mid laner able to outplay his opponent to a degree which will carry over to other lanes. League has for a long time been very mid dependent, and teams with super good mid laners, for e.g. Team Solo Mid with Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, has had a lot success. Keane is, however, the best possible mid laner Dignitas could field together with their four other players. His unique residency status made it possible for Dignitas to also field top laner Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho and jungler Lee “Chaser” Sang-hyun as starting players. In addition, Keane’s multilingual quality makes it possible for him to translate while in game, something many other teams adding foreign players who lack the ability to speak and/or understand struggle with. Keane is, despite not being a top tier mid laner in my opinion, play a vital part for Dignitas’ team structure.
The pick-ups and their impact
Joining Xpecial and Keane in the starting five of Team Dignitas will be Ssumday, Chaser and Benjamin “LOD” deMunck. The new Koreans will rock the top and jungler roles while LOD plays as ADC in the bot lane. LOD is coming off his first LCS split as a starting player, playing for Team EnVyUs. The nineteen year old ADC has before that been playing in the North American CS, notably for Ember early 2016. During his first split in the LCS, he managed to build a good reputation surrounding himself. Coming into the 2016 summer split, LOD wasn’t expected to perform very well and questions regarding the bottom lane of EnVyUs rose because of inexperience at both positions. LOD managed to rack up a 4.76 KDA during the split on a team with roughly a 40 percent win rate. His relative young age and good showing during his fist split as well as being surrounded by better players on Dignitas, I’m excited to follow LOD during 2017 to find out if he can become a more complete ADC player and take the final leap to become a top tier North American ADC.
The two Korean imports, Ssumday and Chaser, are very exciting and it will it’s going to be an adventure to find out what they can accomplish in the NALCS. Ssumday is for the first time since February 2013 going to compete for an organization that is not KT. Playing with KT, he managed to win one of the most competitive OGN season, OGN Summer 2014, as a member of the KT Arrows. Since then he has finished two LCK (formerly known as OGN) splits at second place and at Worlds 2015 he reached semifinals. During the past two years, roughly, Ssumday has been ranked as a top two top laner in the world and as late as August 2016 Tyler Erzberger ranked Ssumday as one of the ten best players in LoL. Ssumday did however play at an abnormal low during his last competition playing with KT which was the Korean regional finals and the prize of winning was a spot at the Worlds. His play in the matchup against Samsung Galaxy was one factor which lead to KT missing Worlds 2016, as was he was expected to play in his normal form. I do, however, believe Team Dignitas has made one of the best signings this off-season by signing Ssumday. He is the star player any team need and super flexible because of how good of a top laner he is. Being able to play tank, carry role or split-push focused all at world class level will most likely have a significant impact on Dignitas’ results coming spring split.
Chaser, formerly of Longzhu and Jin Air, has been around competitive LoL since 2013. He spent a majority of his time on Jin Air. His biggest achievements is finishing second in the LCK spring season 2015 and in September the same year Chaser and his teammates were only one series away from reaching Worlds. 2015 was the shining year of Chaser and he was considered the best performing jungler in LCK at some point during the year. His excellent play carried a large part in the unexpected success of Jin Air.
During his year in Longzhu however, Chaser didn’t find the right fit. Brought in to build a “superteam”, he was placed on the bench in favor of rookie jungler Lee “Crash” Dong-woo at times. To become successful on Dignitas, Chaser has to find back to his 2015 form again. If he manages to build up a good synergy with his Korean teammates in the top side of the map, feeding Ssumday with resources needed as well as getting to know English for communication with bot side, he can bring a lot of success.
The judgement of Team Dignitas
The bar is set high for Team Dignitas. Managing to assemble a team with majority Korean speaking players might become though for their English speaking bottom lane but Keane can hopefully combine playing and translating in game to some degree. The goal should be to teach Sssumday and Chaser English to a point where in game communication is possible without translation in my opinion. The raw talent of the new Koreans has the ability put Dignitas away from relegation zone, but I expect more than that. In my eyes, anything but a top three finish at spring play-offs would be a disappointment for Dignitas. I have high expectations for LOD taking the final leap into becoming a fearful ADC in NALCS together with the experience and game knowledge his new lane partner, Xpecial, possesses. Keane has to move along with what he has been known to do well during the past, playing a low-econ style on champions where its less about outplaying your opponent and more about completing the job in late game teamfights. I have high hopes for Team Dignitas to enter their golden era, one they never reached in the past.
The Roster Breakdown is a League of Legends (LoL) focused series of article, breaking down the roster of pro LoL teams around the world. Created ahead of the beginning of the seventh LoL pro season, the main purpose of the series is to overhaul teams roster changes, examine teams’ strengths and weaknesses and determine its fate coming into season seven. The series is written by a novice writer with alias kdc. Feel free to follow me on Twitter and I hope you appreciate the content.