The news came in the form of a Twitter post where Jordan “Shady” Robinson announced the decision. Earlier in the season, Phoenix1 brought in Shady and William “Stunt” Chei as replacements for their previous support player, Adrian “Adrian” Ma. Both newcomers shared playtime and competed for the starter position over the regular season.
But was Shady really the best pick out of the two?
This decision raised many questions in the League of Legends community. With a 0-5 competitive record and a number of mediocre performances, Shady seemed to have a hard time showing up on stage. In comparison, his teammate, Stunt, has an 11-2 record, and even though his play is still unrefined, he showed a high playmaking potential in-game. Of course, there’s an argument to be made that Stunt played against much weaker competition, while Shady had to face the two best teams in the league—TSM and C9. To an outsider, it would seem that Stunt was a clear-cut better choice for the starting position.
But the move doesn’t come completely out of the blue. To anyone who’s followed Phoenix1’s social media it was clear that some turmoil was going on behind the scenes. This tweet from Stunt was particularly worrying, and it was then that Phoenix1 first started fielding Shady in their games.
Still, one has to wonder whether settling for a more compliant but arguably less promising support was the right move. Even a diamond in the rough can shine in the right environment, but it’s very rare that you can make a great player out of a mediocre one.
Stunt has already allegedly announced on stream that he will be departing from the team, although the VOD was promptly deleted. A part of what makes this development so surprising is that the Split still isn’t over for Phoenix1. The team is set to face FlyQuest in a BO5 series for third place in the NA LCS, and having a shaky bot lane for such a crucial match might be the start of their downfall.
Luckily for Shady, FlyQuest’s bot lane of Altec and LemonNation isn’t a dominant one, so Phoenix1’s support will have some leeway in his first games as the team’s starter. The match will happen this Saturday (22.04.2017), and you can read our prediction for the series here.