LCS 2023 Spring Team Previews: 100 Thieves

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LCS 2023 Spring Team Previews: 100 Thieves

Can 100 Thieves make their fourth consecutive Finals appearance?


100 Thieves have become accustomed to success in the last two years. After the addition of Felix “Abbedagge” Braun to the Golden Guardians core they acquired, they made three straight LCS Finals, along with winning their first LCS trophy in LCS 2021 Summer. But despite making it to the Finals in a consistent fashion, they also started to fall short. Both Spring and Summer LCS Finals in 2022 saw 100 Thieves go home in quick 3-0 series with disappointing performances.

And after the Group Stage exit at Worlds 2022, the organization lost a lot of key personnel in the off-season. The first departure was Christopher "PapaSmithy" Smith, the General Manager of the team for the last three years, and the architect of their success. Following him, 100 Thieves parted ways with their entire coaching staff, most importantly the head coach Bok "Reapered" Han-gyu.

Starting from the near zero

After they lost most of their support and managerial staff, 100 Thieves pretty much started a rebuild. They promoted Joseph "JungleJuice" Jang, former Head of Strategy for the LoL team, as the new GM and brought over Christophe "Kaas" van Oudheusden from LEC as their head coach. Kaas was previously with MAD Lions as an assistant coach and saw helped them win two LEC titles. Another interesting hire for 100T was the former EU-pro Erlend "Nukeduck" Våtevik, who joined the org as an assistant coach.

But the biggest sign of change for the organization was the departure of Kim "Ssumday" Chan-ho. Ssumday had played for 100 Thieves for nearly six years and was the centerpiece of their success, both recently and in the past. And with him now gone, the organization started to build a completely new roster for 2023, only holding on to their star jungler.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KLiV6MMxv4

  • Top laner: Milan “Tenacity” Oleksij
  • Jungler: Can “Closer” Çelik
  • Mid laner: Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg
  • Bot laner: Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng
  • Support: Alan “Busio” Cwalina

Return of the bot lane king

If there was any one player that could reinvigorate the North American League of Legends scene by himself, that would be Doublelift. Ever since his retirement over two years ago, the legendary bot laner has taken on a streaming career, along with co-streaming the LCS. He hinted many times during his streams that he would be open to coming back to the league, but only for the right project. It’s not that surprising to see him choose 100 Thieves over other possible candidates, especially with his former teammate Bjergsen joining forces with him once again.

Of course, the obvious question on everyone’s mind is the same. Can Doublelift still compete at the LCS level? If you caught his Champion Queue streams, especially during Worlds 2022, the answer is leaning closer to yes. While CQ isn’t the most competitive environment, it is the best possible chance at hand to judge players’ levels. And Doublelift was not only able to keep up with current LCS bot laners, but even outplay them on many occasions. Another important factor will be his synergy with Busio, who will get his first chance at a consistent LCS starting position. But Busio has enough talent to compensate for his lack of experience. There is a reason he was one of the most hyped prospects in the Academy.

Speaking of hype, 100 Thieves also have another rookie in the top lane. After spending the last year or so behind Ssumday and waiting for his time, Tenacity is finally rewarded. The fans have been waiting a long time to see him play in LCS, and he has a lot of expectations he needs to meet. During his time in Academy, he’s been mainly a carry-oriented player, so he might struggle during his first weeks in LCS, but I am confident that he will find his stride at a quick pace.

The three players we talked about are somewhat question marks, it’s hard to know exactly what to expect from them. But at least 100 Thieves has two very consistent players in the other two spots. While neither Closer nor Bjergsen had their best career year in 2022, both players were at the top of their roles. Bjergsen especially got a lot of criticism for his performance with TL, I don’t think he had as bad of a year as some fans thought. He wasn’t as aggressive as he could be at some times, but with Closer to help him in that department he might have a much better season in 2022. 100 Thieves aren’t the biggest championship favorites coming into the LCS 2023 Spring, as they have too many unknowns. But if they can get it all together, their potential is quite high.


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