In this tumultuous LCS summer split alone, over 20 different player and coach roster moves have occurred. So far, only TSM has remained unscathed. Some have resulted in a team’s rise in the standings; others have lead to stagnation or even decline. Here, we will rank the top 5 best roster moves in the 2021 LCS summer split.
For the rankings, we will consider both the individual player’s performance and the team’s performance, with the latter having a more significant stake. While one player could have a stellar split regarding their performance, a player who elevated their team to new heights adds more value to the ranking of the roster change.
1. EG Danny
Overshadowed by the more heavily criticized roster changes, EG bringing on Danny was somewhat underappreciated. While he was an exciting prospect from the EG amateur team, fans remained skeptical. After a worrying start, EG would go on a tear, winning 13 out of their next 14 games. During this period, Danny proved he was anything but a weak link with solid laning, a deep champion pool, and carrying mid and late-game teamfights.
Danny brought his aggressive playstyle from amateur to the LCS, which meshes perfectly with the EG lineup, for better or worse. The culmination of these factors helped bolster EG from a middle-of-the-pack team to a clear title contender for the summer split. Because of this massive improvement, this roster change edges out the rest.
2. 100 Abbedagge
This split is the best chance for 100 Thieves to claim the LCS title since 2018, and it’s thanks to their new midlaner. Coming over from a top 4 finish in the LEC with Schalke 04, Abbedagge provides a point of strength in the mid lane that 100 Thieves rarely had. He already proved himself on both supportive picks like Karma and aggressive, carry-oriented champions like Akali, wiping away any champion pool concerns past 100 Thieves mids had.
The only reason why this roster move is not at the top is that 100 Thieves were already considered a top team in spring. While Abbedage’s addition elevated the team to new heights, the impact of this change to the level of the roster does not compare to that of EG.
3. GG Solo
Another example of a roster move accompanied by drastic team improvement is the Golden Guardians’ addition of Solo. In the prior split, GGS and CLG languished at the bottom of the standings. However, with Solo replacing Niles, the team seemed much improved compared to their spring form. GGS transitioned from a consistently steamrolled team to a team that could put up a fight and even steal wins from the top teams. Solo’s role in this improvement was also significant.
Compared to Niles, Solo provided stability and pressure, soaking up enemy camps and dives that Niles couldn’t. His performance freed up other players, specifically Iconic and Ablazeolive, to make impactful plays around the map without overly concerning themselves with the top lane. With the combination of the team’s improvement and Solo’s solid performance, this roster move earns third-place on this list.
4. FlyQuest Academy
With their original LCS roster, FLY was 3-12 in the summer split. After swapping their Academy and LCS roster, FLY proceeded to go 4-5 with this iteration, which kept them in contention for playoffs. While not every individual member of the Academy team is considered an immediate improvement over their LCS counterparts, the team as a whole looked much more alive and improved.
FLY swapped their entire roster and coaching staff over substituting individual players. By doing so, FLY was able to bring up the whole system that was netting their success in the Academy league, where they finished first in the regular season. Although FLY failed to secure playoffs, this roster change earns its spot on the list for its magnitude and immediate improvement of a poor season.
5. DIG Akaadian
This roster change was not particularly well-received, but not because the player coming in was ill-suited. Due to the sudden departure of Dardoch from Dignitas, the community sentiment surrounding Akaadian’s promotion overshadowed his strong performances. While his stats are not the most attractive, Akaadian has played a large part in Dignitas’s wins. Moreover, Akaadian’s addition to the team has kept Dignitas in the middle-of-the-pack clump, higher than most analysts placed at the beginning of the year. This change earns the final spot on the list by factoring in both this and his individual performance.