Golden Guardians were the meme team in Season 8. Both in Spring and Summer Split the team would finish in last place, with only brief periods of aptitude being during funnel meta and their games with Heimerdinger. Now the team looks to charge into Season 9 with a roster that boasts some firepower and is hoping to bring fans over to the gold and blue. This roster shows some promise and they’ve abandoned the approach of developing talent and instead increased their budget to accommodate a competitive roster right at the beginning.
Still the Greatest in NA?
Hauntzer came onto the scene back in 2015 on Gravity, a team that many look back to with a nostalgic lens. He then moved onto the prestigious TSM where he would prove to the world that he was the best NA top laner; then the existential dread settled in during 2018 when his performance didn’t place him far and above the other top laners competing in NA. The competition has gotten fierce and for that reason Hauntzer must showcase that his pedigree hasn’t deteriorated into nothingness.
GGS picking up Hauntzer is one of the best moves they could make when creating this lineup, as he’s an all-around good player and provides a stable lane that can also be played through. His outstanding performance in 2017 Spring Split is what many consider Hauntzer’s highest peak, but since then he hasn’t reached the same heights, as some say it’s because he no longer had a voice to demand resources once Doublelift returned to TSM. Now with a team that doesn’t have a clear captain role, we could see Hauntzer take up shotcalling duties and possibly the return of Hauntzer to reclaim his number one spot.
No Longer a Rookie
Contractz didn’t have the best year on GGS during 2018, but not many players on the team did. The mid lane of GGS was switched from Hai in the Spring Split to Mickey in Summer Split. This certainly should have had effects on the jungle position, as both roles need to synergize well to control the main areas of the map.
While the beginning of Spring Split meta had several carry junglers, along with portions of the Summer Split, it wasn’t quite enough for Contractz to consistently take over the game and carry his team to victory. Contractz also hasn’t been impressive on tanks during his entire career, but when looking at this GGS roster, he may never have to, as playing an early game jungler will cover the gap that Froggen tends to leave as the mid laner is known for scaling and control picks.
An Unlikely Alliance
The last time we saw Froggen in NA was on Echo Fox with a roster of rookies and low tier players. He was often criticized for not transferring his leads from the mid lane to other parts of the map, as well as seemingly either not taking shotcalling duties or doing a poor job overall at the role. Now we have Froggen back in NA and surrounded by a lineup that is expected to make playoffs.
Froggen is most known for his Anivia and Viktor, showing that he prefers control mages, which should work well with this roster. He also shouldn’t have the burden of shotcalling, as Hauntzer might be selected for that responsibility. Froggen hasn’t had a strong lineup since Alliance in 2014, and one could almost count Elements in 2015, but most of those players were towards the tail end of their careers. GGS is the team where Froggen must prove that he’s worthy to be in the conversation of historically great western players.
There weren’t many thing to get excited about with Season 8’s GGS; they have good backing from the NBA and they also had a great and promising ADC, and now he’s returned to play for them in Season 9. Deftly was one of the better ADCs in the NA LCS for Season 8, which makes a lot of sense to keep him after GGS have invested in the parts surrounding him. We’ve never seen Deftly with a strong support, so we should see an even more dominant version of the young player. With Hauntzer being an overall better player than Lourlo and a better pressure point on the map, Deftly should be able to get a better advantage both in the laning phase and during teamfights.
Olleh has come from training Cody Sun, to playing with the best ADC in NA, back to training another newer player. Olleh’s performance in Immortals was impressive, but took a dip when he was expected to perform on larger stages and higher stakes in the Team Liquid roster. Coming down to GGS, he’s back to teaching his ADC and being more in control of the bot lane. Allowing Olleh to have less of a burden on his mentality should prove fruitful and once he’s in a comfortable environment, he’s in contention for the best support in NA.
Back in Immortals, Olleh worked with Dardoch, an aggressive jungler that’s always looking to make plays, so when working with Contractz, he’s going to have to reach back to a playstyle which matches that, instead of his previous jungler Xmithie which was more of a control style player.
Ramp up Time
With a good roster to kick off Season 9, GGS are set to do well and should look to get into playoffs comfortably. The team has a weakness if the meta changes to tank junglers, as Contractz hasn’t proven he’s able to have that kind of depth in his champion pool, along with Froggen having to change his playstyle significantly in order to cover a lack of early game presence from his jungler. The only other thing that could slow this team down will be the fact that they’ve only retained two out of five of their former players, which means they’ll have to construct a brand new communication system and they also could have a lethargic pace in creating a team identity, but once they do we’ll almost certainly see a strong team.
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.