Looks like Dignitas isn’t the only victim of the franchising system. Phoenix1 and Team EnVyUs also had their applications denied for the 2018 NA LCS split. Just like before, the reasons for this decision weren’t disclosed, but both teams will receive monetary compensation and will have to release their players from their contracts.
And since this development left two LCS slots open, OpTic Gaming swooped in and claimed one of them. Was the removal of these teams justified, and what should we expect from the newcomers that took their place?
Loss of balance
Whatever is your opinion on Phoenix1 and Team EnVyUs, it’s clear that both parties never found a stable footing in the NA LCS. P1 peaked in the 2017 Spring Split where they managed to defeat FlyQuest 3:2 in the third-place match. However, their 2017 Summer Split was a complete disaster, and the team struggled to replicate its previous success. As for Team EnVyUs, its claim to fame is the 5-6th place finish in the 2017 NA LCS Summer Split—not a bad result, but definitely far from great.
Even so, if there’s one thing to say about these teams, it’s that they’ve tried.
Both Phoenix1 and EnVyUs weren’t content with their position in the league and were quick to make roster changes and adjustments to salvage the situation. Granted, not every move of theirs worked out. In particular, the Phoenix1 lineup is one of the most puzzling examples of a very stacked roster failing to perform on stage. And of course, their media presence was limited. But these were still relatively new orgs that showed a lot of promise, and whoever takes their place is expected to fare even better.
Which brings us to OpTic Gaming.
Welcome to Summoner's Rift
This is a major esports organization with a strong presence in the first-person shooter scene—namely, Call of Duty, Halo, and Gears of Wars. It has a massive following on Twitter and Youtube, and it’s recently started branching out into other esports like DotA2 and Overwatch. Another thing to note about OpTic is their historic rivalry with Team EnVyUs—which makes it a bit surprising that the latter were denied their franchising application.
Still, OpTiC Gaming seems to embody everything that Riot Games want in a partner: strong media presence, great financial backing, and the long-standing history of competitive success. The only thing left is assembling a good League of Legends team.
What do you think about Phoenix1 and Team EnVyUs leaving the NA LCS, and OpTic Gaming coming to take their spot? Share your opinion in the comments!