It’s been a long time coming, but amidst the dramatic hubbub of a crazy start to the transfer window, North American LCS teams have been making official statements on their bids into the new franchise system.
In case you haven’t heard, the NA League of Legends Championship Series will be reformatting from 2018 onwards, with the league franchising and existing teams forced to compete with fresh applicants for spots in the new system.
The news was followed by a steady stream of reports last month that leaked the supposed successful entrants, which reached a finale on the 20th of October as the Houston Rockets were the tenth and last application rumoured to have been granted a spot.
Those reports have finally been granted credence as Riot Games made an official team announcement down on the corner of the LoL Esports site. The page includes a brief introduction to each organisation, some social links, and groovy wallpapers which also give us a glimpse into the new team logos.
The Golden Guardians come from arguably the NBA’s biggest team, and they’ll be hoping to replicate the success of the Golden State Warriors in League of Legends. The team has just announced Hunter Leigh as the head of its esports division to lend them his know-how in their pursuit of success.
Echo Fox have confirmed their re-entry. The team was recently included as part of an investment partnership between Vision Esports and the New York Yankees. A dramatic announcement video features some spicy words from famous owner Rick Fox, who has one simple goal: to win.
Clutch Gaming (previously rumoured to be called Clutch City Gaming) are the squad bankrolled by the Houston Rockets, and they’re already “looking forward to kicking ass”. They will also rock one of the tastiest logos in the NA LCS.
It’s definitely no surprise to see Team SoloMid back in the league. The team is one of the most established and well known esports organisations in the world, and have dominated the NA LCS since its inception. Their announcement was accompanied by a video from Reginald promising an increase in budget, which is sure to please TSM fans.
Fan favourites Cloud9 are another squad looking to build on past success in North America. They have attended every Worlds since storming into the NA LCS in 2013, a history that doesn’t look too shabby when recounted in their video announcement.
FlyQuest are a team who some were surprised to see make the cut, but news of their successful application to franchising was accompanied by a heart-on-sleeve open letter, in which they promised “We WILL do better”. A video heavily featuring AD carry Wildturtle might suggest they are looking to build a new team (or brand) around him, and accompanies a fresh new logo.
Team Liquid are back “with something to prove”, and it certainly seems that way after the team has seemingly been involved with every rumoured player purchase in the offseason so far. Their announcement was embellished by a pair of videos with quotes and memes aplenty, including a terrific shot of co-CEO and co-owner Steve Arhancet shooting dollar bills whilst a dirty dubstep beat drops in the background. 10/10.
Famed FPS powerhouse OpTic Gaming make their entry into League of Legends official. The organisation is reputed for having one of the fiercest followings in esports, and now the Green Wall is coming to the NA LCS.
It wouldn’t be the LCS without Counter Logic Gaming, and CLG is back for another run at success. The oldest competitive League of Legends team will again take to the Rift on the North American stage, and they have a lot of history to live up to.
7 years of amazing memories… and many more to come. A new age begins in 2018! #CLGLegacy pic.twitter.com/mRnjeKXmS0
— CLG (@clgaming) November 20, 2017
Last but not least, 100 Thieves will be hoping to steal a trophy or two as they officially enter the franchise system. Led by the esports experience of Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag, and the sporting expertise of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the organisation has already secured the services of pr0lly, one of the most respected coaches in the LCS.
Unfortunately, the acceptance of so many new brands comes at the cost of old ones, the most contentious of which was undoubtedly Immortals’ exit from the NA LCS. The team has since made a statement on its dismissal, in which Noah Whinston addressed the fans and urged them to continue to support the organisation in other endeavours.
Esports Insider says: It’s been a real rollercoaster for the NA LCS since the franchise system was announced; finally, that ride comes to an end, just in time for all the juicy drama of off-season player transfers to kick in. Good luck to all ten organisations who made the cut, and even more to those who didn’t. We look forward to seeing the NA LCS reach even greater heights under the new system.