The 2017 season has shown that there are many promising newcomers heading into the scene. Every region has individuals who have stepped up in the eyes of the fans, their teammates, and analysts.
Let's review the most talented young rookies who have proven themselves, and how they did it.
Longzhu Gaming Gwak "Bdd" Bo-Seung
From the LCK we have Longzhu Gaming midlaner Gwak "Bdd" Bo-Seung.
Those who have payed attention to Bdd's history know he isn't necessarily a true rookie, back in the 2016 season he played a few games as a substitute for CJ Entus. Nevertheless, in a region stacked with mid talent such as Lee "Crown" Min-ho and Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok, he prospered. Positioned as a starter during the Summer Split, many analysts believed he was the best performing mid laner, showing he could play a multitude of playstyles, from the tanky Galio, to his infamous Taliyah. Anyone who looked at his regular season stats could not dispute that a fantastic new player had entered the Rift, with a whopping 11.3 KDA during the regular split and 77% kill participation.
With Longzhu beating SK Telecom T1 in 3-1 fashion during the LCK finals, many looked towards a new Korean powerhouse and potential World Champions. During groups Longzhu went undefeated but were ultimately bested in the Knockout Stage by the current World Champions, Samsung Galaxy.
Although the team failed at Worlds, Bdd's performance was consistently spectacular, and far beyond what anyone could expect from a newer talent. With Longzhu Gaming retaining the same roster for the 2018 season there is no doubt that Bdd will continue to be a dominant force in the mid lane. He's certainly one to watch as he continues to grow, and his region has been put on notice.
EDward Gaming Hu "iBoy" Xian-Zhao
From the LPL one particular rookie made his mark, Hu "iBoy" Xian-Zhao from EDward Gaming.
Joining EDG in May 2017, he did not debut until the last half of the Summer Split where he was involved in EDG's 3-2 win over Royal Never Give Up in a reverse sweep.
Entering Worlds for the first time after playing only half a split would certainly warrant some nerves. Although there was a lot of doubt on iBoy being able to perform, he smashed all expectations.
Averaging the highest Damage Per Minute (DPM) out of all the AD carries at worlds at a shocking 811, He proved that he had the ability to match veterans in group A such as Bae "Bang" Jun-sik from SKT1 and Zachery "Sneaky" Scuderi from Cloud 9.
While EDG had an overall unsuccessful run at Worlds 2017, iBoy showed off his innate talent at the AD carry spot and will continue to have all eyes on him as the 2018 season rolls around.
Phoenix 1 Mike "MikeYeung" Yeung
From solo queue all-star to starting as Phoenix1's jungler, MikeYeung has had quite a journey in 2017.
Placing challenger consistently since he was 13 years old, the now 18-year-old rookie blasted into the scene with his impressive mechanics and solid communication skills impressing the NA LCS across the board.
With P1 trending downwards since their strong third place finish during the Spring Split, changes had to be made. The addition of MikeYeung as jungler proved to have a positive impact in the early stages, leading to an upset win over the strongly favored Immortals bringing P1 to a 4-2 record during Rift Rivals.
The early success did not continue for the team, Phoenix1 ended in 10th place, forcing them to play in the promotional tournament where they succeeded. Unfortunately for the organization, they were not one of the teams admitted into NA LCS franchising, leaving their members open for negotiation.
With Mike's clear mechanical skills and great communication, TSM recruited him to be their new jungler for the 2018 season. He's in prime position to make the NA LCS mark he was meant to. Working alongside seasoned veteran Soren "Bjergsen" Bjerg, a person who Mike already has a friendship with could be the catalyst for him to mature into an even more fantastic player, with more knowledge in macro play and better trigger management.
Let us know what you think of 2017's rookies in the comments below!