The North American League of Legends competitive season is once again kicking off with a bang – the Lock In tournament! We’ll see all 10 of the League of Legends Championship Series battling it out in the fierce event as a warm-up to the spring season.
Like last year, the event will be fast-paced and exciting, with a small group stage following a single-elimination playoffs. This means every single match will count and, as is Lock In tradition, if you’re not first, you’re last. The Sportsbook takes home the entire prize pool and the trophy, while every other team goes home empty-handed.
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Before we dive into the juicy details of the Lock In, make sure to give yourself a refresher on how to bet on League of Legends, and let’s get into it.
How Has The Offseason Impacted The LCS Lock In?
The new year is always an exciting time in League of Legends. Every team tries their best to fix whatever issues plagued them in the previous year, be it something as small as practicing a few new tactics, all the way to completely reshuffling the roster.
This year’s offseason was actually one of the most exciting ones to date, but not for a reason many would expect. There was a big focus on up-and-coming talent in the LCS, with multiple teams shaking up their rosters with youngsters.
The biggest news definitely came out of the region’s favorites, Cloud9. Their squad transformed from a superstar lineup to bringing in a breath of fresh air, with three young stars joining the team, including two rookies. That’s not all, though – C9 also brought in LS as their head coach. This was somewhat of a surprising move, considering unorthodox views on the game and lack of top-level coaching experience, but if it works out, it could be one of the biggest moves of the offseason.
We also saw some huge moves across other teams, with Counter Logic Gaming cutting their entire roster, while TSM, Team Liquid, FlyQuest and Dignitas all retained just two players from 2021, mixing up the core of their rosters. Of these, there’s been a mix of youngsters and experienced players being shuffled around. However, the biggest news comes with Liquid picking up two European stars, Bwipo and Hans sama, who have more than proven they can fight it out with the best of the best.
All in all, it’s been a very busy winter for LCS teams and with so many changes, there’s an exciting unpredictability in the air for this year’s Lock In.
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Will Cloud9’s Rookie Gamble Pay Off?
Despite being the biggest team in the LCS, Cloud9 have taken a surprising gamble in 2022, bringing in three youngsters, including two rookie players. This is somewhat of an unorthodox move in League of Legends, as teams usually prefer to sign players with at least some experience, and it’s very rare to see the biggest side completely rebuild their roster with rookies.
It comes in as a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, the young stars could live up to their potential and become some of the best players in the world. On the other hand, between the pressure and inexperience, they may just crumble, and we’ll see C9 have their worst LCS year ever.
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At this point, it is just too early to tell what will happen. This does, however, make it a great year if you’re a fan of NA LoL (or looking to take a punt), with any team having the potential to place anywhere from first to last.
Has Liquid Put Together North America’s Strongest Team Yet?
Another team to watch, and this year’s Lock In favorite, is Team Liquid. Unlike a lot of other LCS sides, they went all-out on experienced stars this year, bringing in two of Europe’s best in Bwipo and Hans sama, as well as signing Bjergsen from rival TSM.
Combined with their two remaining players, Santorin and CoreJJ, Liquid has created what could be North America’s strongest squad yet. Every player on the team has years of experience under their belt, having played at the top for some time and even featuring in multiple World Championships.
On paper, they should be winning everything in North America without any issues. But that’s a lot easier said than done. We’ve seen teams that look incredible fail miserably before, most famously with G2 Esports’ European super team crumbling entirely and going from heavy favorites to a mediocre finish last year.
Issues can stem with having so many superstars on one roster, be it with players failing to jell, the pressure being too much, or just the little things not quite working out. Again, we’re going to see a pretty unpredictable season in the LCS, but if Liquid can make this roster work, it will be unstoppable.
100 Thieves Aim To Build On Strong 2021, Retain Entire Roster
Moving away from roster changes completely, we have 100 Thieves, the only team in North America to not have made any changes in the offseason. This likely comes as a result of their great 2021, where the team secured their first-ever North American championship.
100 Thieves will be looking to build on their momentum going into the Lock In, attempting to secure another trophy. This team is likely the most predictable of the lot. We already know just how good the 100 Thieves squad is and it wouldn’t be too surprising to see them have another strong year.
In this case, the unpredictability comes from their opponents, rather than them. It’s impossible to know how the other new rosters will perform, however, their main rivals are definitely looking to be Team Liquid and Cloud9. If 100 Thieves can overcome those two teams again, they should be able to lift the trophy.