The 2021 LCS season is about to get underway with a lot of new players and a brand new format that includes the Lock In tournament to kick off the year.
As it is every year, the offseason in the LCS has been crazy. Every team have been active on the market, looking for new players and staff to improve their chances of success in 2021. Some teams have been betting on adding star players to the lineup, while other teams are betting hard on young talent. But which teams, players, and storylines should the LCS fans keep an eye on when the best teams in North America hit Summoner’s Rift once again?
The offseason accelerated when former G2 Esports bot laner Luka “Perkz” Perković made the decision to leave G2 and Europe for a spot as the new mid laner at Cloud9. The move is one of the biggest of the offseason and probably wasn’t expected by many before rumors started to pop up.
Because of the magnitude of this roster move, Perkz and C9 are without a doubt the team to keep an eye on in 2021. C9 ended the 2020 season on a low note after choking in the 2020 LCS Summer Split playoffs. The team had dominated the spring split but didn’t manage to keep up the pace when it mattered the most.
Bringing in Perkz might solve those problems, as he will once again be playing alongside bot laner Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and coach Alfonso “Mithy” Rodríguez. The three played together on G2 back in 2017 and will likely benefit from knowing each other well from the start.
Perkz is also looking to bring some of his experience from the LEC and international stage to the team. The LCS as a whole has been criticized for its lack of international success, so a player like Perkz who has won the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational and played in a Worlds final will likely bring some much-needed star power.
The Croatian superstar has the winning mentality and it could end up paying big for C9. The organization has also promoted the young Australian top laner Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami from the Academy team, who will benefit from a strong leader in the mid lane.
Even though Perkz probably has the strongest resume of any player in the LCS, there will be tough competition from other teams in the upcoming season. Teams such as Team Liquid and Team SoloMid have both invested a lot in the upcoming season, to give Perkz and C9 a run for their money.
This LCS offseason won’t only be remembered for big names like Perkz joining the region, but will also be the offseason where some big names said farewell as active players. The two biggest faces of the LCS, mid laner Søren “Bjergsen ” Bjerg and bot laner Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, have decided to retire as professional players.
The absence of Bjergsen and Doublelift will leave the LCS in a weird state in 2021, where many fans will have to look towards other players as new favorites. Bjergsen is still around as the head coach of TSM, but it likely won’t be the same as when the Dane dominated in the mid lane on Summoner’s Rift.
To replace the two former TSM players are mid laner Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage and the young bot laner Lawrence “Lost” Hui. Both players will have big shoes to fill and do their best to keep TSM as a top team in the upcoming season.
Not only will the gameplay be affected by big names retiring, but the overall image of the league could also see changes. Up until now, Doublelift has been the most prominent voice in North America and probably the most successful player the region has ever produced. Bjergsen was imported in 2013 and has been a North American resident for years. One of the big stories to follow in 2021 is who will step up to the plate and take over the big gap both Bjergsen and Doublelift have left.
Looking at some of the new players in the LCS, one specific region has been heavily represented. It’s of course players from the OCE region who won’t count as imports from 2021. This is due to the fact that the OPL had to shut down after the 2020 summer split, which leaves North American teams to pick and choose from the players without facing any consequences with the import rules.
The most anticipated player from the region is Fudge, who has been promoted to the C9 LCS roster after a great year in Academy. Like Fudge, Australian bot laner Lost has also been promoted from the TSM Academy team to the LCS roster. Lost is another great example of a talented player starting out his career in OCE, and is definitely a player to watch out for.
Besides the two Australian Academy players, bot laner Quin “Raes” Korebrits and support Mitchell “Destiny” Shaw will also make their debut in the LCS on Immortals. Destiny is already known from the LEC where he played with Origen in 2020, but Raes is a completely new player to most fans’ eyes. The 22-year-old talent previously played at Legacy Esports, which played at the 2020 World Championship. The Australian bot lane at Immortals could end up being the icing on the cake and prove to fans that the OCE region and all its talents can be future stars of the LCS.
The 2021 LCS Spring Split will start a bit later this year due to the new format. In 2021, Riot will be hosting the Lock In tournament, which has all the 10 LCS teams competing in a two-week tournament for $150,000. The tournament kicks off on January 15 and will give fans their first feel on how each team will do when the LCS starts. The 2021 LCS Spring Split officially starts on February 5, with the last day of the regular split being on March 14.
There have been a lot of roster changes in the offseason, but the 10 LCS franchised teams remain the same for the 2021 season.
The 2021 LCS teams are: