Taking The Lead: Counter Logic Gaming’s Supporting Cast Step Into The Spotlight

The biggest move between splits was undoubtedly the arrival of star jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett to Counter Logic Gaming. An undeniable talent, Dardoch had failed to synergize both in-game and as a teammate with his former squads Team Liquid and Immortals. Now on CLG, Dardoch was expected to be the carrying force CLG had lacked, propelling them into contention for the North American League Championship Series title.

It may only be two weeks into his competitive career with Counter Logic Gaming, but Dardoch has so far flattered to deceive while he adjusts to his new teammates. The other members of the CLG lineup however, have stepped up significantly around him.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

 

 

Since he first emerged onto the LCS scene as a rookie with Team Liquid, Dardoch immediately garnered a reputation as an aggressive player with the invaluable ability to carry games almost single-handedly. Although his play on the rift separated him as one of NA’s top talents, he struggled to find the right organizational fit.

With his arrival to CLG, Dardoch was expected to immediately boost a roster that appeared to lack the raw star power of many of their other top competitors in the NA LCS (TSM, C9, etc.). Many expect the jungler to re-establish himself as a top level jungler in NA,  but his play has been nothing above average in the first two weeks of the NA LCS Summer Split, notably leading the NA LCS in his total number of deaths.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

 

Yet, an unexpected occurrence in the wake of his arrival has been the rise of CLG’s solo laners in the early weeks of the split. After receiving widespread criticism in Counter Logic Gaming’s premature playoff exit, CLG mid laner Choi “HuHi” Jae-hyun has asserted himself as a top tier mid laner in North America (behind Froggen, Bjergsen, and Jensen).

Using picks such as Ahri and his pocket pick Aurelion Sol, HuHi has shown he is capable of being much more than a placeholder for CLG in the opening weeks.

Possibly more unexpected has been the revival of top laner Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaha, a player for whom rumours were circling that he was well past his prime. Once known for his split-pushing prowess and top lane carries, Darshan had fallen off considerably in recent splits.

Showing strong play on picks such as Galio and Gragas however, Darshan has proven himself once again to be a more than capable top laner who can open up Dardoch to confidently pick more carry-oriented champions.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Amongst all of the LCS junglers (who have started every series), Dardoch is currently the lowest in kill participation. While it is true that Dardoch has not been as effective so far as in previous splits, this statistic is also a reflection of just how strong CLG’s laners have been, more specifically their ability to secure kills in lane without Dardoch’s presence.

The exciting fact for Counter Logic Gaming fans is that the roster still has ample time and opportunity to grow as a team. Dardoch will undoubtedly continue to elevate his play as the season progresses, making CLG an even more threatening force for the top teams of the NA LCS. If HuHi and Darshan can maintain their high level of performance, CLG will be amongst the favorites to capture the NA crown.


CLICKON eSports 2017 NA LCS Pre-Summer Split Power Rankings