League of Legends all-star teams finalised

Jess Carruthers Roar Guru

By , Jess Carruthers is a Roar Guru

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    A new team will threaten the status quo in Oceania (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)

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    While there are no Riot tournaments for a few more weeks, things are still ticking over in the League of Legends scene.

    Most of the big news this week has been in relation to the end of the casual competitive season, and preseason changes to the game. The one big thing, however, is the finalised players for this year’s All Stars tournament, which is now only a couple of weeks away.

    The five players representing NA are
    Top: Hauntzer from Team SoloMid
    Jungle: MikeYeung from Phoenix1
    Mid: Bjergsen from Team SoloMid
    AD Carry: Sneaky from Cloud9
    Support: Aphromoo from CounterLogic Gaming

    While I wouldn’t exactly call the list surprising – it is, after all, a popular vote – I do find some a little disappointing. This week, I’m going to take a look at these five most popular players in North America, and see how they stack up against their local and international completion

    Hauntzer
    Hauntzer has made some pretty serious impressions in NA since his LCS debut on Gravity Gaming in 2015. He’s been a solid top laner, performing exceptionally well when the meta suits him, and has been a solid successor to Dyrus.

    His most recent performances, however, haven’t been particularly special. His performance at worlds just wasn’t up to scratch – not to say he was outright bad, but he was definitely not on form.

    With Impact, Ssumday and Flame in the running, it’s easy to see that the role was entirely a popularity contest. These three had their strengths and weaknesses during the split, but overall looked considerably stronger than Hauntzer has.

    Plenty of the other regions also picked questionable top laners too, which may help Hauntzer’s performance. Despite the hype around him, 957 had a poor showing at worlds too, and although Soaz wasn’t terrible, he’s certainly not Europe’s scariest offering. I am, however, keen to see Cuvee and Thaldrin; the former should pose a much greater challege, and I have high hopes for the latter too.

    Hauntzer is definitely not the weakest link on this team, but he’s also not looking like a particularly strong option. If he steps up then he could be an asset, but it’s hard to know if he actually will do so given his recent performances.

    MikeYeung
    I really don’t want this taken the wrong way; MikeYeung seems like a sweet guy, and he’s still quite a fresh player. But it has to be said that Jungle is a stacked role in NA, and at the moment he sits closer to the bottom of that stack than not.

    He performed admirably when he was first brought onto Phoenix1. He lifted a struggling team, and when his playstyle lined up with the meta he was formidable. Since then though, he has simply not been up to par.

    I voted for Contractz, but on reflection it’s honestly a travesty that Xmithie didn’t get the spot given his worlds performance. Even if those two had been out of contention, I would take three or four of the other available jungles over MikeYeung.

    His minimal international experience is not going to help this team, either. With opponents like Clearlove and Peanut, he could very quickly be rendered ineffective. He will have to work exceptionally hard in the lead up to be well enough prepared to face off against these giants.

    I don’t want to get too down on him, and I genuinely hope he does well; not only because I want NA to win, but because I really like the guy. I just don’t think he has shown that he can consistently perform in the way he needs to for a competition like this.

    Bjergsen
    Now, finally, we’re getting to some players I can get behind. Bjergsen is still broadly agreed on as the best player in NA, and with good reason; he’s both able to carry his team to victories on his own back, and support his teammates in turn.

    The one detractor for Bjergsen here is the flipside of this: he is a fantastic player, but that is amplified greatly by having a firm foundation in his teammates. The five players on TSM understand how each other work, and that knowledge empowers them to make plays that would otherwise be risky.

    Still, that’s a challenge for everyone at this tournament, and Bjergsen has attended every All stars event since he joined the league: if anyone in NA is going to be prepared for it, it’s him. I wouldn’t have minded seeing Jensen or even Pobelter going, but Bjergsen certainly has the best credentials of the lot.

    His opponents are going to be pretty difficult to take down though. Even in defeat at worlds, Faker is going to be as great a challenge to take down as ever, and most of the other regions are going to be sending some of the strongest (as opposed to most popular) players in the mid lane.

    Because of that, I’m not expecting it to be a cakewalk for Bjergsen, but I do still have a lot of faith in him. Regardless of if you think another player is more skilled than him, you can’t argue that he’s not the best equipped of the NA Mid Laners for the All Stars tournament.

    Sneaky
    I’m pleasantly surprised that Sneaky edged out Doublelift in this line-up. I won’t pretend that he’s not had a spotty showing recently, but he picked up when it counted at worlds, and I feel confident in expecting his strong performance to continue. Sneaky has performed very well on scaling carries re early, and while the meta has somewhat swung away from ADCs as the primary carry, they’re still far from the weak position they held earlier in the year.

    Again, I am pretty stoked on Sneaky in this position, but there were far more contenders in this role than in Mid. Not just Doublelift, who until now was the only player to have played on every mixed All Stars team, but players like Cody Sun and Stixxay would have been solid choices, too. Considering how much of the season the AD Carry role was practically insignificant, there were a lot of excellent players in the role.

    In his first All Stars appearance since 2014, when C9 attended as a team, Sneaky has a solid mix of opponents. Uzi was indomitable as ever at Worlds right up until RNG fell to SKT; meanwhile, Rekkles will be looking to make up for their close loss in the quarter-finals at worlds.

    Sneaky is probably somewhere in the middle of the pack of the AD Carries attending this tournament. I think he will suffer more than the other players from being separated from his regular teammates, but I still believe he will be able to step up and perform – if not always as a carry, then in a similar position to his usual on C9, in supporting a carry midlaner.

    Aphromoo
    I understand why Aphromoo has been voted into the All-Star team for the third year running; he’s got quite a lot of fans out there, and has become a staple in the scene. The thing is, similarly to MikeYeung, I just don’t think he has performed well enough to represent the region in his role.

    Aphromoo is solid as a player, and has plenty of experience under his belt. As far as leadership and shotcalling, he should be a great asset to this team. His actual performance is going to be the question, though; the goal for someone being sent to All Stars shouldn’t be solid, it should be exceptional, and he has not performed exceptionally for quite some time.

    In fairness to him, his peers in the support role have also been a little lacklustre by and large. I’m very disappointed that Olleh isn’t attending instead – he was far and away the strongest support this split – but most of the others have had a pretty inconsistent showing.

    This is going to give the NA representatives difficulties against the other regions. The supports in other regions are all incredibly impressive; even though LZ were knocked out of Worlds early, GorillA is a scary opponent, and IgNar is one of the most talked about players in the west on social media right now after his incredible performance.

    Being in the duo lane, there is a tiny bit of leeway in the early game where Sneaky can cover for him, but as soon as the laning phase ends Aphromoo could be a problem for his team. Like the other players that I’m not sold on, I really would like to see him pick up the ball. Out of the three of them, I do at least think that Aphromoo is the most capable of doing so.

    ***

    We still have a few weeks before the All Star event, during which time I expect to see a flurry of news around the franchised teams and subsequent roster changes. Until then, do you agree with the popular vote for the All Star representatives?