If there was one major criticism to give OpTic Gaming for Season 8, it was their inability to make a cohesive roster. With a mismatched bot lane of Arrow and LemonNation, along with inconsistencies from the top lane with Zig, the team really didn’t have a strong foundation. OPT had an awful Spring Split, placing 9th and 7th in Summer Split, being the 2nd team ever in NA LCS history to miss playoffs with an even record of 9-9.
OpTic Gaming have now decided to approach a similar formula that they did before, with getting a renown mid laner and keeping a weak bot lane and top. Crown will have much more to prove than PowerOfEvil did, but with still a bit of prestige, many are wondering if his skill is enough to compete in a league that is even less competitive than LCK. The saving grace of this team may be the upgrade in the jungle. The overall hype for this team is low, but there are some leverages they can use this season to keep themselves afloat.
Swim or Sink
Dhokla had the difficulty of picking up after Zig had struggled in the top lane during the Spring Split. During Summer Split, Dhokla underperformed, having some of the worst stats out of any top laner in the league, but there were good instances where he got off-meta picks where he shined, such as Yorick and Fiora.
The problem with having a player like Dhokla is he would normally be a serviceable top laner two or three years ago when the top lane pool in NA wasn’t at a high level. Now, coming into Season 9, we have a vast pool of phenomenal top laners and Dhokla is near the bottom end.
OPT’s previous style was centered around the jungler and creating crossmap plays whenever they assigned Dhokla a split pusher. With a jungler like Meteos, who has historically played towards bottom and mid, Dhokla could see more pressure top lane.
Ying and Yang
Meteos has always been one of the greatest junglers in NA, at least in my eyes. He has a style that suffocates the other jungler into doing moves which makes them think they have autonomy, but in reality it’s just playing into his percentage game. Meteos has an ability to control the area in which he sets out to overmine, but his weakness is that he dictates his actions on the enemy jungler’s movements rather than making his own proactive plays; this is where Dardoch comes in.
Dardoch is the perfect balance to Meteos and if he is able to not just be used as an Academy jungler, but more as a 6th man, this OPT roster may have a solid strategy when approaching meta shifts. We all know Dardoch is a jungler that likes to carry from his position. When paired with Meteos, this is the ultimate dichotomy and will be the central control system in which OPT will have success in Season 9.
Back to Square One
Crown is running out of notoriety from a Western fan perspective; many have lost faith in the player. His recent performances during late Season 7 and Season 8 bring questions as to whether he’s actually able to show he’s a World Champion worthy of praise or derision. Crown is a long way away from his former level of MVP status in 2017 LCK Spring Split, but the only savior is that he’s playing in a lower quality league, otherwise known as the NA LCS (no bm). The greatest variability comes from Crown as we don’t know whether his style will change and become more confident to go for trades and lane dominance. The skill level in NA could be viewed as overall lower (other than Bjergsen and Jensen) than LCK, although I would argue it’s actually currently better. Crown must be able to pick up English quickly because it’s paramount that he’s able to communicate well with two different style junglers. Those hoping for Crown to smash the NA LCS, I think you’ll be disappointed in his impact, particularly for the Spring Split.
Baby Come Back
Arrow was once MVP in the NA LCS, but accolades fade away quickly in a scene which is constantly morphing. The beginning of Season 8 was rough for Arrow, as he wasn’t with a support which clicked with him and LemonNation was also someone on the back-half of their career. Now he’s with a spry young support which can be molded into whatever Arrow deems necessary.
Arrow is best known on lane bullies such as Varus, Jhin and Lucian. This requires a support which has great communication and someone who connects with you on an instinctual level, because the openings are sometimes so small and quick that it requires an immediate response. This is a heavily underrated aspect when it comes to an ADC and support relationship. If Arrow can solidify his relationship with BIG, I could actually see this duo operate at a mid-skill level.
Go BIG or go Home
BIG performed decently in Summer Split, after taking the reins from LemonNation’s depature in the Spring Split. His demeanor is probably the biggest boost to the team, as he’s a cheery individual and brings more connectivity between the team. Something such as a morale boost shouldn’t be underestimated, as it does go a long way. That’s where my praise for him ends.
The OPT bot lane’s ability to play off of leads wasn’t memorable, nor did OPT seem to have an understanding of mid and late game macro, but they were on an upswing during the ladder parts of the Summer Split. If OPT can be more decisive and cut down their game time, I think they could have gotten a lot more wins on the board, but hopefully with a veteran like Meteos they’re able to make more informed decisions.
Same ol’ Same ol’
OPT haven’t upgraded their roster enough to inspire confidence. This team largely hinges on several things, such as Crown performing above standards, the jungle sub system being something OPT are willing to invest in, and just overall sustainable performances from their bottom and top lanes. This is one of the weaker rosters coming into Season 9 and it’s rare that a roster is greater than the sum of their parts, so I’m not holding my breath for OPT to show up with the oxygen tank.
Izento has been a writer for the LoL scene since Season 7, and has been playing the game since Season 1. Follow him on Twitter at @ggIzento for more League content.
Images courtesy of Lolesports Flickr.