Is North America depleted of local talent? Not really: building two all-NA super team that can become international contenders

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The North American competitive LoL scene has always been subject to a lot of negative feedback. Most recently, the complaints range from a lackluster broadcast, to the departure of beloved people in the scene and most importantly, the lack of local talent within the region. A post on Reddit confirmed many’s suspicion that North America on average has way too many veterans or older players who are considered by some fans as “washed up”. This speculation originated years ago and led to the LCS being dubbed as the “retirement home” of League of Legends pros.

All of this made me think, is North America really that depleted when it comes to talent? Are there no local players who can compete on the international stage? I took upon myself the challenge of composing two teams, fully made up of only North American players.

The goal for this experiment was simple: to create two hypothetical teams that can realistically win the LCS if they are coached properly, and have a solid chance of doing great internationally. Everyone has their own idea of what doing well entails, but in my eyes doing great would mean at the very least making it to the Semi-Finals at Worlds and losing in a competitive series to one of the eventual finalists.

But before we begin here are some simple rules which I followed:

  1. I am not allowed to use Cloud9 players. It’s all fine and dandy to use players from the 1st place team but that’s too easy! I wanted to give myself a tougher challenge and only use players from the 2nd place Spring Split team or lower.
  2. LCS Academy players are allowed.
  3. A team can’t be composed of only veterans or only rookies. Both teams must have at least 1 veteran and 1 rookie.
  4. A rookie in my eyes is someone who is in their first/second year of LCS or LCS Academy. Technically speaking if the player is in their second year, they are by default no longer a rookie. But I do believe that usually players take at least a few years to develop themselves well enough. There are exceptions of course but in this case I won’t pay attention to that.
  5. A veteran to me is someone with 3 or more years of competitive experience in either the LCS, LCS Academy or both.
  6. An import is someone who has played in other regions before moving to NA. If the player was born in another country but has only played in North America, I will consider them as local talent. Additionally, if the player has played in another region but has played out the majority of their career so far within NA, they will also be considered local talent.
  7. I’m not allowed to pick the same player on both teams. Both of them need to have an entirely different roster.

Structure

The first thing to note is that the two teams are built differently. For the purpose of this article we will refer to them as Team A and Team B.

Starting off with Team A, this squad is built with the purpose of being nurtured into a powerhouse. It is composed of mainly rookies, with a few veterans who are not only skilled but have enough experience to lead their younger teammates. The game plan of Team A is to have dominant solo lanes that can output a lot of pressure and be played around equally well. The bottom lane while not a push-over is meant to be a stable duo that can go even in most situations and against most other duos. The shotcallers for this team should be the Jungler and Support as they are not only the most experienced ones, but are also pivotal towards the team’s success. While the Jungler must enable his dominant Solo Lanes, the support has to stabilize the bottom lane.

Team B is different and not as linear. It is composed of more veterans than rookies. The main purpose of it is to be as versatile as possible. While the Solo Lanes should be able to stand on their own, they should also be proficient at playing weak side and being enablers for the bottom lane. While the bot lane duo are rookies, if trained into a well oiled machine, they can become the focal point for the team. In terms of shotcalling, it should be assigned primarily to the Jungler and Mid Laner as they have access to the side lanes and are in prime position to set up their teammates for success.

Top Lane

Player Pool: Kumo, Solo, V1per, Hauntzer, FakeGod, Lourlo, Revenge, ZionSpartan, Allorim, Jenkins, Dhokla

Team A: Revenge

Photo courtesy of Riot Games

The first member that I will draft for Team A is Revenge, current Top Laner for FlyQuest Academy. Since the goal is to have dominant solo laners, Revenge’s champion pool fits quite well into that. He plays primarily carries and is a young prospect who still has quite a lot to learn. I would not be surprised if he finds his way to the LCS eventually as there’s a lot of upside to him as a rookie. NA is definitely lacking in terms of carry top laners and Revenge could be exactly what the region needs. Also as a young player, he would benefit greatly by playing with a highly experienced jungler who can mentor him.

Team B: Solo

Photo courtesy of FlyQuest

Ever since he showcased his talent as a player on Echo Fox and more recently on FlyQuest, Solo has received a ton of praise by analysts and fans. The best qualities of Solo are that he’s a versatile player that can play both carries but is more than fine at playing on the weak side of the map. He also has plenty of experience at this point and fits perfectly into Team B’s structure.

Jungle

Player Pool: Meteos, Wiggily, Akaadian, Grig, Xmithie, Dardoch, Spica, Contractz, Inori, Fragas, AnDa, Fanatiik, Hard, Potluck, Winston

Team A: Xmithie

Photo courtesy of Riot Games

Because Team A needs a highly experienced veteran in the jungle, there’s no one better for the job than Xmithie. Currently the player with the second most LCS titles at 6, Xmithie has played for a majority of storied teams in NA. Not only that, he is also the only North American player to reach two MSI finals, with CLG in 2016 and TL in 2019. If any veteran jungler in the LCS is most suited for international success, it would be Xmithie.

Team B: Meteos

Photo courtesy of Riot Games

Since Team B needs to have flexible players, Meteos is a perfect pick. He’s experienced, has a strong personality that can help guide the team and is more than capable of setting up different lanes for success. But most of all, since Team B will rely on developing their rookie bottom lane into the focal point of the team, Meteos is the perfect choice for that. As a current member of 100 Thieves and also a member of their inaugural roster, Meteos is used to a bot-centric playstyle which fits very well with Team B’s game plan.

Mid Lane

Player Pool: Pobelter, Goldenglue, Damonte, Soligo, Palafox, Tuesday, Ablazeolive, Insanity, Yusui, Evolved

Team A: Evolved

Photo courtesy of Riot Games

Continuing the structure of two dominant solo lanes, Evolved from TSM Academy is a solid pick. He has had a couple of splits in the LCS Academy now and has shown that he’s a talented player. With the right coach and the right players around him, he has just as much potential as Revenge to be a great mid laner. His champion pool is very versatile and as a young player, he would be very receptive to Xmithie’s guidance.

Team B: Damonte

Photo courtesy of Riot Games

Being a fan favorite, Damonte is quite possibly the best most recent native mid laner that has appeared in the NA scene. Although his early career was not as noteworthy, he gained notoriety and became a strong player during his time on Clutch Gaming. Similarly to his Top Lane counterpart in Solo, Damonte would fit quite well with Team B’s flexible and versatile playstyle. He’s also a great roaming mid laner and is perfectly suited to be an enabler for his side lanes.

AD Carry

Player Pool: Cody Sun, Stixxay, Johnsun, WildTurtle, Altec, Apollo, Tactical, Doublelift, Prismal, Tomo, Asta, Deftly, Mash, Keith, Rikara

Team A: Tactical

Photo courtesy of Riot Games

The newest and hottest sensation in the AD Carry department, following his promotion to TL’s main team. Tactical is not only a young player who is hungry to learn but is also very talented. If any player is well suited to be coached into exactly what is needed for the team it would be exactly him. I personally believe he can become the NA equivalent of Rekkles in the future, someone who is great at a lot of styles and champions, can work well in any team composition and is overall a very clean AD Carry. With the purpose of creating an extremely stable bottom lane duo that can match up evenly against most bottom lane in the world, Tactical is the ideal player for the job.

Team B: Asta

Photo courtesy of Riot Games

We saw a glimmer of what Asta is capable of when he was given some stage time on OpTic Gaming in 2019. Although he was a very new and young player, he was praised for his performances and was even considered by some as a better option than Arrow, OpTic’s main ADC at that time. Asta still hasn’t had a chance to play out a split for an LCS team but as a young and hungry player, Asta can be coached into a strong bot laner. Yes it would take time and effort but he definitely has the potential to be someone really good under the right coach.

Support

Player Pool: Stunt, Smoothie, Aphromoo, Zeyzal, Huhi, Hakuho, Biofrost, Poome, Diamond, Fill, JayJ, Matt, Big, Chime, Yama

Team A: Diamond

Photo courtesy of Riot Games

Something that a good amount of people may not know is that Diamond is actually a very experienced player. Although he has played for mostly Challenger Series/Academy teams, his playing career isn’t short at all. With that in mind he would be a good fit for Team A and is likely to form a good Jungle/Support duo alongside Xmithie. Ever since getting picked up by Cloud9 Academy, Diamond has showcased his talent at initiation champions. As one of their strongest and most consistent players, he would be a great bot lane partner for a young talent like Tactical and fits well with Team A’s goal of having a stable bottom lane.

Team B: Poome

Photo courtesy of Poome

One of the newest LCS Academy players, Poome has been impressive since joining 100 Thieves Academy. His individual stats are great but he obviously still has a lot to learn and has a lot of room to improve. As a very moldable and coachable player, he would be a good partner for Asta.

Final rosters, coaches and possible weaknesses

After looking at the coaching pool and considering which one would be most suited for the two teams, I landed on Zikz for Team A and Weldon for B. When it comes to Team A, a potential issue I could see is that the team may struggle to find their footing and find an identity. Having worked with Xmithie on CLG before, Zikz would be a great pick for the team. As a coach that is intelligent and has a very clear outlook on how the game should be played, Zikz would be able to bring out the strengths of these young players, while also helping the veterans out with being able to shotcall.

Team B is a bit more complex. Solo and Meteos both have a history of either being toxic or being hard to work with. This could potentially pose a huge problem with the team’s chemistry and communication. That’s precisely why Weldon would quite possibly be a good pick for this roster as he’s a coach that is very good at creating a positive team environment and helping the players on a more personal and emotional level. With three veterans this roster doesn’t really need as much help on the strategic front, so having someone that can help the team maintain a good environment is more crucial. With that being said the final rosters are as follows.

Team A:

-Revenge (Top)

-Xmithie (Jungle)

-Evolved (Mid)

-Tactical (ADC)

-Diamond (Support)

-Zikz (Head Coach)

Team B:

-Solo (Top)

-Meteos (Jungle)

-Damonte (Mid)

-Asta (ADC)

-Poome (Support)

-Weldon (Head Coach)

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it! Feel free to build your own potential full-NA roster following the same model I used. Or you could even use a different model for some variety! Despite all the criticism that NA as a region receives (a good portion of it being warranted of course), talent does exist in the region and if the teams put in more effort into it, they could definitely craft a team made up of NA players that has the potential to win the LCS and possible even do well on the international stage.