LCS mid-split roster moves are continuing, this time with a transfer between Dignitas and Golden Guardians.
After a disappointing playoff exit from the 2021 LCS Championship, Dignitas brought in the Korean jungler Kim ‘River’ Dong-woo from PSG Talon, where he had multiple impressive international showings. The signing of a jungler as exciting as River meant to show Dig’s significant ambitions for the playoffs. However, things did not go as planned, and Dig finished the 2022 Spring Split one place behind a playoff spot, even after great performances from River and a good start thanks to them.
And now, in the middle of the 2022 Summer Split, Dig is sitting firmly in the last place with a 2-9 record and they are possibly the worst team in the league. In a move that might signal the organization has given up on this current season and looking to build for the future, they announced today that River will be joining Golden Guardians. River still has more than two years on his contract, which ends on November 19, 2024.
See you on the rift! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/wmsbxBsqIe
— Dignitas LoL (@DignitasLoL) July 27, 2022
This split hasn’t been that great for River either. His new bot lane was struggling greatly, Dig even just recently changed their ADC, and his top laner Noh ‘Gamsu’ Yeong-jin had a bad start to the split. With not many pressure points on the map, he wasn’t able to be active in the early game, which was a strong point for him during Spring, especially with the Jarvan IV pick. Of course, his own performance was not at the same level compared to the Spring either. He is currently the most behind jungler when it comes to both gold difference at 15 (-214) and XP difference at 15 (-174), and he is the jungler that has the highest death share on his team with nearly 30% of the deaths.
Now the stats might make you think, then why did GG go for this move? Because when we look at the same stats, Milo ‘Pridestalker’ Wehnes is right there with River. He also has been underperforming this split a lot, which is not surprising as he is known to be a more carry-oriented player. He is famous for assassin picks like Qiyana and Zed, which do not have too much of a place in the meta at the moment. The hope for GG is that River has a much higher ceiling and this GG roster is a much better conduit to allow him to reach those levels.
As mentioned, this move points to some kind of rebuilding for Dignitas as it will be hard to reach playoffs from this point, especially after you shipped away your best player. So what will they do now? While there is no announcement on their plans, yet we can try to speculate. From the changes to the Global Contract Database, we know they brought in Perry ‘Perry’ Norman, formerly of EG Prodigies, to the organization and they have Lawrence Lin ‘eXyu’ Xu at the Academy.
Dig Academy is currently middle of the pack in their league, but eXyu has been an exciting prospect so far and people were expecting him to get an LCS spot sometime in the future. This can be a great opportunity for Dig to give a good prospect some LCS time without the pressure of having to win games now as they already don’t have much hope of reaching the playoffs.