League of Legends LCS: Breaking Down 2020 Dignitas

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

An old favorite returns to the LCS, but will it be a successful return to League of Legends for Team Dignitas?

Last season during the Summer Spilt it was announced that Clutch Gaming would rebrand to Team Dignitas for 2020. This marks the return of a League of Legends team with prior time in the LCS. The old Dignitas made it to the World Championship back in Season 2, but will the new Dignitas be as successful?

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Clutch Gaming had a mixed 2019 season. During the Spring Split, they went 5-13 and finished in 9th place.

Then during Summer Spilt, they turned it around going 9-9 and finishing fifth. They then upset TSM in the quarter-finals before losing to Team Liquid in the semi-finals.  Clutch then lost to CLG in the third-place match to finish fourth.

Thanks to the strong Summer Split they earned a spot in the regional finals.  Clutch then defeated FlyQuest, CLG, and TSM to claim the third North American spot at Worlds.

At Worlds, they won their play-in group, with a little bit of trouble along the way. They recovered quickly though and dominated Royal Youth in the play-in knockout stage 3-0 to advance to the group stage. Yet matched in a strong group with Fnatic, RNG and SKT, Clutch went winless.

2019 Clutch had a roster of Heo “Huni”  Seung-hoon in the top lane, Nam “Lira” Tae-yoo in the jungle, Tanner “Damonte” Damonte in the mid lane and a bottom lane of Sun “Cody” “Cody Sun” Li-Yu and Philippe “Vulcan”  Laflamme.

For 2020 the roster is going to be Huni in the top lane, Jonathan“Grig” Armao in the jungle, Henrik “Froggen” Hansen in the mid lane and a bottom lane duo of Johnson “Johnsun” Nguyen and Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black.

Top lane should be ok with Huni returning after sighing a massive contract. He is rated the number five top lane player in the LCS heading into 2020. So I don’t expect top lane to be the weak point on this team.

Grig is an interesting signing. On one hand, maybe a change of scenery could do him some good, as he leaves the TSM pressure cooker. Yet for all the solo queue talent he has, it doesn’t seem like it’s transferred to him being a star in the LCS.

He is rated as the worst starting jungler heading into 2020. Though I might feel he is at least as good as Lira if not a tad bit better. So I don’t think this is a downgrade from the 2019 Clutch roster.

Froggen is an improvement in the mid lane over Damonte. He is rated as the fifth-best mid laner in North America in 2020. This comes after a year where he carried the mediocre Golden Guardians to a playoff spot in the Spring Split and just short of the playoffs during the Summer Split.  Despite a very talented pool of LCS mid laners Froggen can hold his own and not worry about being the weak link for Dignitas.

Yet should Froggen fail, Damonte is signed to the academy roster. This makes the return of tanner time a possibility.

Then we have the bottom lane which is where this team has some question marks. Johnsun is making his LCS debut after just a season in Academy. So playing a rookie ADC is a bit dangerous, especially after losing Cody Sun, who was playing really well during the playoffs and heading into 2020.

Johnson rated as the eighth-best ADC in the LCS. Which I think is a fair rating for him. He is unproven, but he could very well become the next LCS star player. He just needs some time to develop. Though it won’t surprise me if he wins a Rookie of the Spilt award in 2020.

Aphromoo is a bit of a downgrade over Vulcan in the support role. Dignitas lost the third-best support heading into 2020 for the ninth-best one.

Aphromoo is coming off of a rough 2019 season. However I feel this isn’t a bad signing. He is a veteran and former split MVP. He has also gone to worlds. So he has a good bit of experience that could be useful to this roster.

That veteran experience is also needed to help develop Johnson into what Dignitas hopes is the next great LCS ADC. So even if last year there were chants to retire Aphromoo, I still believes he has at least another season of professional League of Legends left to play.

That being said what can we expect from this team? I think the roster got slightly better overall than last season’s Clutch Gaming. Yet I still don’t feel like this is a team that will contend for a Worlds spot.

The bottom lane could be an issue if Johnson is slow to adapt to the main stage, or if Aphromoo continues to struggle. In a bottom lane focused meta this could make for some tough sledding if one, or both of them struggle.

Grig is another question mark on this roster. Will he show promise and have a rebound season, or will he continue to underperform like he did with TSM.  Though he will benefit from having two strong solo laners to gank for which is a positive.

The solo lanes should be fine, if not top of the LCS tier. I expect many of Dignitas’s wins to come through solo lane carry performances in 2020.

I see this as a roster that could make the playoffs, as they have a decent lineup that they upgrades over the 2019 team that made the playoffs. Yet I also see this as a roster that could play like a group of washed-up veterans and comes in a bottom three slot in the LCS.

Next. Breaking down 2020 Flyquest. dark

I think Dignitas will have to compete with Evil Geniuses, CLG and 100 Thieves if they want to make the playoffs. They should be careful not to lose to Golden Guardians and Immortals ,or they could end up right back at the bottom of the LCS like in Spring 2019.

I’m predicting a seventh-place finish though as I feel all three of those teams should finish ahead of Dignitas and prevent them from making the playoffs.