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What Does It Take To Be a Substitute in the NA LCS

Not every player signed to a team can compete in every single game, so what does it take to be one of the back-up players waiting on the side-lines

We’ve seen many games here in the North American League of Legends Championship Series, and while most have been exciting, some of them have had that added little thrill that only comes with a new player. Most of the teams have nailed down their rosters for the duration of the split, but a couple of teams have had to bring in new players for one reason or another. Let’s take a look at the players that make up the substitute members seen so far in the NA LCS.

Dhokla played a few games for OpTic Gaming (LoL Esports Photos, Flickr)
Dhokla played a few games for OpTic Gaming (LoL Esports Photos, Flickr)

OpTic Gaming had a rough time this split, only managing to pick up 4 wins out of their 16 games played thus far. With top laner Derek "zig" Shao struggling to find his footing in the new landscape, OpTic management made the decision to bring in their rookie top laner from the OpTic Gaming Academy, Niship "Dhokla" Doshi. While OpTic Gaming Academy haven’t put up the best record, their top laner Dhokla has been performing well, prompting the switch. While he did get off to a good start in his first game, it was clear that the NA LCS was a different beast than what he was used to, as veteran players quickly realised the advantage that came from exploiting his rookie status. Dhokla was rotated back to the academy team after two weeks in the NA LCS.

Keane had to fill the gap due to visa issues (LoL Esports Photos, Flickr)
Keane had to fill the gap due to visa issues (LoL Esports Photos, Flickr)

Flyquest is the other team that has utilized substitute players this split, but rather than just one player, they have had to rotate three different slots at various times in the split. The first and most obvious one was bringing in Jang "Keane" Lae-young from the academy team to play in place of Song "Fly" Yong-jun. Fly was expected to be the starting mid laner for Flyquest, however was unable to join his team before the beginning of the split due to visa issues, forcing Flyquest to start Keane instead. Flyquest have also started their academy jungler Lee "Shrimp" Byeong-hoon and academy support Juan "JayJ" Guibert this split, but have remained with their planned starting roster since week 5.

Shrimp has been in the NA LCS before, but he still had to play on short notice here (LoL Esports Photos, Flickr)
Shrimp has been in the NA LCS before, but he still had to play on short notice here (LoL Esports Photos, Flickr)

All of the substitute players that have made their appearance thus far have been members of their respective organizations academy teams, and while they might not have all had the best success, it’s clear that the experience can only help them grow as players, and todays substitutes might end up being tomorrow starting players.

For more action out of the NA LCS, check out how 100 Thieves brought out a surprise pick in their victory over OpTic Gaming, and for more information on when the teams of the NA LCS are doing battle next, check out the Official Schedule page, here.

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