Dignitas: Winners and Losers from the Acquisition of Dardoch

Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games.
Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games. /

It’s been an interesting off-season now that Dardoch found a new team with Dignitas.

Well, it seems like it’s always a new split and a new home for jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett. This is once again the case as he is out at TSM, but has a new home with Dignitas. Even with all the off-season drama, he landed on a team, so let’s examine the winners and losers from this move and see how well things will go with Dardoch on another new team.

Winner: Dignitas

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Dardoch is an upgrade over former Dignitas Jungler Jonathan “Grig” Armao. He had more kills per game as well as being one of the top junglers in all of the LCS in assists.

So while Grig was probably the worst jungler in the LCS last split and Dardoch wasn’t in top form he still performed decently and it’s worth giving him the starting spot. Even if Dardoch falters Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham is still with Dignitas so they do have a backup plan. This move provides an extra level of security to try and shore up a jungle position that hurt Dignitas more than it helped during the Spring Split.

It also helps that Dardoch’s contract only runs through this split, which means it’s likely a trial run for next year. If he has a good split, but the team still struggles I feel he could be a buy-low sell high type of candidate for Spring 2021. On the other hand, if Dignitas has some success and makes the playoffs I could see maybe another year contract being added if Dardoch wants to re-sign.

If both Dardoch and the team struggle I could see DIG look to move on from all of their veteran players, like Dardoch, support Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black, and mid laner Henrik “Froggen” Hansen in favor of a young core. They could jettison the old guard and build around players like top laner Omran “V1per” Shoura, who was recently acquired and ADC Johnson “Johnsun” Nguyen. I’d say this just reinforces that signing Dardoch at least on the playing side of things is a fairly low risk.

With most rosters staying intact this off-season I do credit Dignitas for trying to improve. I think if Dardoch plays well this team should be able to at least stay in the hunt for the top eight and a playoff spot.

Winner: Dardoch

In one way, I would say that this move is a win for Dardoch. Even with all the controversy this off-season he was able to land with a team and he is free of TSM and the black hole of junglers that go there, struggle, and get kicked.

This gives Dardoch a chance to turn things around like a lot of TSM junglers do after they leave. It is also a win that this is for a starting spot, not Academy as after last season I don’t think Dardoch wants any more time in Academy.

Though with all of the drama in the off-season and a prior history of problems off the rift, it could have been the end of Dardoch’ s career if he didn’t get picked up. Hopefully, he takes advantage of the extra lifeline his career was thrown.

Loser: TSM

Even if Dardoch wasn’t quite the answer, TSM still had a decent split with him. Fourth place isn’t what TSM was quite looking for, but I’d imagine they would still be contenders for a World’s spot if they ran it back with this roster.

With most LCS rosters not changing this off-season, TSM could have hoped for a bounce-back split from Dardoch alongside the signing of Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng to return them to worlds.  However, now they must turn to rookie Mingyi “Spica” Lu.

We have a great article as to why Spica isn’t quite going to cut it for TSM here. Spica hasn’t seen much time in the LCS, and what time he did see didn’t go too well in 2019. He wasn’t able to help TSM get to Worlds through the regional finals.

I would call this switching of Dardoch for Spica a bit of a roster downgrade. If TSM wants to stay in the hunt for World’s they need to upgrade the roster and even with the Doublelift sighing you may be looking at a team even in strength from the Spring Spilt after changing to Spica.

Loser Dardoch

Yes, I did say that Dardoch won in a couple ways earlier, but I also think the move hurts him in a few ways.

Dardoch had a great roster with TSM. Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik and Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg are solo lanes that are worth getting ahead so they can carry the team to victory. Vincent “Biofrost” Wang was one of the best supports in the LCS last split and both Kobbe and Doublelift are experienced talents as well.

The tools would have been around Dardoch to succeed at TSM with solid lanes to play around. Unfortunately, his level of play last year didn’t suggest he was able to capitalize on all that talent around him.

Now switching to Dignitas it’s a different story. V1per I would say is young, but still developing as this is just his second full year in the league. However, he still isn’t very highly rated.

Froggen is decent, but still probably a slight downgrade from Bjergsen.  Then a rookie bottom laner with an Aphromoo that isn’t what he once was doesn’t really inspire too much confidence that there’s a player to work around on this team.

Could it open the door for more carry style junglers for Dardoch, which seems to be his preference? Maybe. However, I could also see it being a struggle to not have that one lane he can help get ahead to carry Dignitas to more wins.

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Overall I think if you’re a Dignitas fan you can be happy with the move, or if you’re a Dardoch fan you can be happy he found a new team. He just needs to perform to justify the investment, or it could be the end of Dardoch’ s time in the LCS.