With the start of the 2021 LCS season, several European players have had their visas delayed and didn’t make it for the first-ever LCS Lock-In tournament. One of those players was Liquid jungler Lucas “Santorin” Larsen, who had to sit out the first week of games. To replace him was Academy player Armao who has been exceeding expectations to a point where he might be considered an LCS-caliber player once again.
Armao has previous experience from the LCS stage, most notably for his time with Team SoloMid back in 2018. After parting ways with TSM in 2019, Armao got a final shot on Dignitas but didn’t manage to live up to LCS standards. For 2020, Armao had to take a step back and play in the Academy league for both Dignitas and Liquid.
With 2021 kicking off with a fresh season, Armao got an unexpected chance to once again prove his worth against the best players in North America. Even though he just had to sub in for Liquid in three games, the experienced jungler got to show that he still has a high level of play.
During his three games back on the LCS stage, Armao played two games for Nidalee and one game on Lillia. Both Nidalee games were a big success for Armao and resulted in two wins for his team. In both games, Armao showed the proactive play that he was lacking when leaving TSM in 2019. He was suddenly back in shape, and even though it was just a few games, it might be enough for Armao to build up his gameplay once again to get an LCS offer during 2021.
After the first week of the LCS Lock-In, Armao is sitting at the second-highest KDA among all junglers at 7. He is also performing well in other statistics such as CS differential and XP differential at 10 minutes. While he isn’t topping the charts, Armao is placed in the middle of the pack which is more than plausible for a last-minute substitute.
As the LCS Lock-In is heading into week two, Santorin will be back to finally play with his team but Armao left the team in a great and promising position. Armao will return to the Liquid Academy team, which starts up on January 20.
If Armao can keep up his performance in the Academy league, fans might see him return to the LCS for the summer split.
Armao is a 22-year-old jungler from North America who previously played under the name Grig. Armao started out his career as a substitute for Cloud9 Tempest back in 2014 but didn’t really enter the scene before 2015 when he joined Team Liquid Academy.
After fighting for an LCS spot for years, Armao finally got the shot with Echo Fox in 2017. Just one split later, he was picked up by TSM which ended up being his career peak. While Armao didn’t win any trophies with the TSM LCS roster, he did win the 2019 LCS Academy Spring Split and went to Rift Rivals 2019 with TSM right after.