League of Legends: Four thoughts after the first day of North America LCS scouting grounds

League of Legends.
League of Legends. /

With the League of Legends 2018 World Championship over and most roster moves still not able to be officially announced, we give a look at the annual North American scouting grounds competition and what prospects might be catching the eyes of pro teams for the 2019 season.

If there was one major lesson League of Legends  North American teams needed to take from 2018 North American LCS season, it’s that there is still gold to be found in them there hills. And by “gold” I mean solid, LCS-level talent, and “them there hills” I mean the top of the SoloQ ladder. At last year’s scouting grounds, Cloud 9 identified a young player who eventually joined their academy and then LCS team: Robert “Blaber” Huang.

Additionally, teams like Echo Fox, OpTic, and 100 Thieves last year showed some success and flexibility in calling up players from their academy teams like Lawrence “Lost” Hui, Niship “Dhokla” Doshi, and Richard “Rikara” Samuel Oh. Given how teams like C9 and Fnatic relied on their academy players and subs not just domestically but in the World Championship, more teams should be looking to find and develop young, domestic talent to augment their roster.

The 2018 scouting grounds kicked off yesterday, with all teams closely watching to see if there are any players that show promise. Although VODs from the matches are unavailable, here is what we can say based off the match results and statistics from the games yesterday.

More from LCS

Prismal went off

In the five games played by Team Mountain Drake, their AD carry Jacob “Prismal” Feinstein did more damage and had a higher gold income than his lane opponent in four of them. In the one remaining game his opposition ADC did the most damage and had the most income of all players, with Prismal being second in the game.

Even in that single game, Prismal had a gold lead on his lane opponents at 15 minutes, indicating that he won the laning phase before entering into the mid-game. Having to face a heavy engage team of Camille, Lissandra, and Rakan as a fairly immobile Kai’Sa likely made him a prime target for the enemy team and could explain this aberration game. Prismal’s consistent ability to exit laning phase with a gold lead should set him apart as the top ADC prospect at scouting grounds so far.

The importance of diversity

It appears that having a diverse champion pool is a major asset that players in the tournament either want to show or have heard about from the LCS teams. One-quarter of the players at scouting grounds played a unique champion in each of their day-one matches. While 6 players played the same champion in more than two matches on their first day, every player in scouting grounds showcased at least two champions in their four to five matches.

A look at the meta

While we don’t know exactly which patch the scouting grounds games were played on, we do know that it was a more recent patch than the one we last saw in competitive play at the World Championship (Patch 8.19). We did get a decent look into what pro players and teams feel is strongest in the meta now. Six champions were picked or banned in every one of the nine games played on day one, indicating that pro teams feel these six are the strongest in the meta.

Among them were two mid laners (Akali and Leblanc), one AD carry (Lucian), and one support (Alistar). In addition, both Urgot and Viktor were pick/ban champions during day one, though they could be flexed either to top or mid lane.

A new power pick?

One new pick that we saw entering the meta was Kennen. The Heart of the Tempest was never picked in the World Championship but he was picked three times in the nine games on day one and banned in another three. When he was picked, twice it was in the top lane and once in the mid lane.

Next. Blog of Legends is seeking new writers. dark

It’s unclear what change to the meta caused this new priority on Kennen. Three different players chose Kennen, so it’s not like he was used as a pocket pick. This will be something to keep an eye on as the scouting grounds continue.

The NA LCS scouting grounds continue today on day two.