Are Counter Logic Gaming About To Make Their First Roster Change Since 2015?

Counter Logic Gaming currently boast the longest continuous roster of any team in the NA LCS, with the same roster since the beginning of the 2016 Spring Split. While the expectations were not remarkably high entering the new year, the team’s early exit from the playoffs marked a disappointing finish to an uninspiring split. Amidst reports that jungler Jake “Xmithie” Puchero will leave the roster, are fans about to witness CLG’s first roster change since 2015?

According to reports emerging from ESPN eSports, North American League of Legends team Immortals are on the verge of securing the services of Counter Logic Gaming jungler Jake “Xmithie” Puchero. The potential move has opened up a range of options for CLG’s Summer Split roster.

Whilst a straight swap for Immortals’ Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett remains a possibilty, Omar “OmarGod” Amin of CLG Black has shown a great deal of promise within Counter Logic Gaming’s academy outfit. OmarGod was regarded as the best recruit from the 2016 NA Scouting Grounds.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Xmithie has become a permanent fixture within the Counter Logic Gaming roster, at the core of the team’s two first-place NA LCS finishes in Summer 2015 and Spring 2016, in addition to the second place at the 2016 Mid-Season Invitational. Following a disappointing 5th/6th place finish to the 2017 NA LCS Spring Split, the question of whether CLG needed to make changes to their roster rose to the forefront once again.

Entering the 2017 season, North America saw a flood of talent arriving onto the scene. With many teams making big name acquisitions, CLG remained quiet in their approach however, maintaining the same roster that had carried them to a split championship and a spot at Worlds 2016.

The last major change to the CLG roster occurred in the off-season of the 2015 Summer Split, when the face of the franchise at the time, star ADC Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, made the unthinkable move from CLG to bitter rivals Team SoloMid.

Assessing the team’s strengths on paper ahead of the Spring Split, CLG were perhaps not the most talent-stacked team, but their historically excellent macro game and crisp shot-calling had proven that a good “team” could triumph over a group of talented individuals.

Yet following Counter Logic Gaming’s crushing reverse sweep defeat to FlyQuest eSports in the playoff quarter-finals, Xmithie was highlighted as one the team’s core weaknesses alongside mid laner Choi “HuHi” Jae-hyun and top laner Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaha. After two years of patience, fans began calling for change.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Though the jungler maintains a loyal fanbase, critics considered Xmithie to have underperformed throughout the Spring Split, unable to adapt his champ pool or playstyle to the meta shift in competitive play. The jungle role has arguably become more influential than, reliant on pro-active plays and Xmithie’s inability to play carry-style jungle picks has restricted CLG’s strategic options in the first half of the season.

Whilst neither Dardoch nor OmarGod are confirmed to be joining the CLG starting roster, either move would provide Counter Logic Gaming with a much-needed change of direction.


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