After an underwhelming, but not entirely unanticipated, eight place finish in the spring split, CLG have been tasked with strengthening their roster moving into summer. While eighth place in summer is enough to break into the LCS summer playoffs and compete for an opportunity to attend the League of Legends World Championship, CLG is looking to improve their 6-12 spring record and transition into a more competitive position.
While a 6-12 record is typically not perceived to be very good, the spring CLG roster was not created with MSI or topping the spring standings in mind. Rather, like Evil Geniuses—who, in contrast, went on to win the LCS MSI spot—CLG opted to work with rookies in hopes of building good team chemistry and making drastic improvements and developments in spring to prepare for the upcoming summer split.
Rebuilding and replacing their entire roster from 2021, CLG signed five brand new players to their roster: three with LCS experience and two rookies.
The three returning faces were Contractz, Jenkins, and Palafox. Contractz, who had previously played for Cloud9, Golden Guardians, and 100 Thieves was signed from EG Academy as CLG’s starting jungler.
Jenkins, who only very recently entered the LCS in 2019, was a breakout star in the top lane for Team Liquid who lost his starting spot in TL’s lineup when they signed Bwipo from Fnatic. Alongside Contractz in the jungle and Jenkins in the top lane, CLG acquired Palafox from FlyQuest to start in the mid lane. With three experienced players taking up the top side of the map, CLG scoured the Academy scene for their bot lane.
Luckily for them, they wouldn’t have to look very far. Fresh off of a Summer Proving Ground Grand Final victory, 100 Thieves Academy had an incredible duo in the bot lane ready to be signed.
Renowned for their incredible 2v2 potential, 100TA’s bot lane duo Luger and Poome were the top performing bot lane across the LCS Academy summer split and had more than proven their dominance against TLA in the Proving Ground finals. Just two months after the tournament, CLG signed both Luger and Poome to their starting lineup, giving them their first ever opportunity to perform on the LCS stage.
Assessing CLG’s Struggles in Spring
In the spring split, CLG struggled to pick up a victory until week three. After losing against FlyQuest, Golden Guardians, 100 Thieves, and Dignitas in weeks one and two, CLG found their first win against Cloud9 in their opening match of week three.
At that time, C9 was tied for first, but would go on to finish second overall in the split, making this victory a dramatic upset in CLG’s favor. Unfortunately, CLG would only win five of their thirteen remaining games; however, they showed no glaring weaknesses aside from a lack of strong chemistry.
Each player’s individual performances were up to par for LCS standards. Their biggest struggles were typical for that of a new roster: difficulty maintaining gold leads and constructing winning team fights. With no obvious weaknesses individually, outright replacements weren’t entirely necessary.
So what is the best move for CLG going into summer? Strengthen your academy development and promote good work ethic.
Return to the Big Stage
While Jenkins performance was mediocre during the spring split, there were no standouts among the CLG roster. None of their players made an All Pro team or received a Player of the Week award. However, CLG made the decision to promote their Academy top laner Dhokla to the starting position.
Jenkins was not released, instead he will take Dhokla’s spot on CLGA. Dhokla, who played for Immortals back in 2019, was a top performer across both seasons of Champion’s Queue, Riot’s latest NA League of Legends improvement tool introduced at the request of LCS players this season, coming in 10th in the first split and 1st in the second split.
With an impressive resume under his belt this past split, CLG had this to say about his promotion on their Twitter: “We’re thrilled to be able to reward Dhokla for his performance and hard work throughout the Spring Season by naming him as the starter for CLG LCS as we head into the Summer Season.”
While Dhoklas has been added to the starting roster, it appears that CLG is also eyeing a replacement for Contractz. CLG announced the signing of ORDER’s (LCO spring split winner and MSI representative) jungler Kevy. While he is currently on CLGA alongside substitute jungler RoseThorn, CLG reserves the right to field players from the academy roster at any given time.
Rewarding players for their hard work, CLG looks to improve their standings in the summer with Dhokla in the top lane. The LCS Summer Split opens with a superweek, a 15-game weekend, you won’t want to miss. Tune in on June 18th to see how the new and improved CLG lineup performs on their return to the big stage.
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