From a Shaky Start to Wild Win Streak
At the start of 2019, not many people would’ve predicted that the former League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) Finalists - 100 Thieves, would finish their spring season with a 4-14-win rate. A devastating start for everyone involved had one of the most star-studded North American rosters falling so far from grace in just a few short months. An abysmal Spring Split had reared the ugly head of 100T’s glaring issues on stage. A lack of confidence led to a lack of trust, and the team quickly began to fall apart.
The Thieves had some significant issues, most notably not having a voice in-game. Desperate for some leadership that everyone could rally behind, they had to work hard on eliminating all doubt. A team as undeniably talented like 100T had no excuse for losing to rookie teams. Coach Neil “pr0lly” Hammad took the brunt of the pressure, saying he himself failed to coach the team to victory. Everyone had failed in unison to make an impact and big changes needed to be made.
Starting off the Summer Split, 100 Thieves lost their first four games while swapping their roster around. This included subbing in a few of their academy team players. Huge surprises came in the form of assistant coach Ryu “Ryu” Sang-wook returning to the stage after previously retiring. Another modification was the importing of Maurice "Amazing" Stückenschneider. For those unaware, LCS rules state that teams can only have two foreign imported players on an active roster. This helps to keep the league fair and competitive. By bringing in Amazing from Europe, 100T had to choose which one of their two world champions to bench. Coaching staff later announced that Ssumday was to be replaced by academy player Aaron “FakeGod” Lee.
A New Era Begins for the Thieves
A reinvented 100T roster left the fanbase divided. The fan base collectively agreed that Soligo mid wasn’t the answer. Everyone knew that 100T has lacked a good jungler for over a year. Analysts were divided at the acquisition of Amazing and the benching of Ssumday. Yet when everything seemed wrong for the Thieves, everything became right on-stage. The new team featured FakeGod, Amazing, Ryu, Bang, and veteran LCS support Zaqueri “aphromoo” Black and gave the team a new sense of leadership and direction. Ryu’s methodical play allowed himself and Amazing to share the shot calling role for the team. Another key to their success would be the aggression that FakeGod displays without the need of resources. This new topside pressure enabled Amazing to be active on the map and it increased their play considerably.
This patchwork roster snapped their 4-loss streak at the hands of Echo Fox after mounting an incredible lead from the bottom side of the map. Bang was free to do as he pleased after demolishing the EF bottom and swiftly destroyed everything in his path. This morale boost was huge and definitely silenced the self-doubt Bang had in his other performances this year.
However, a week later, things seemed doubtful for the Thieves as they stood before a first place Cloud9 who looked to make quick work of them. The game was going poorly for 100T, having their top lane lose by a substantial amount. Despite losing his lane, FakeGod was able to be the decisive factor in team fights to secure victory for his team. He boasted massive amounts of damage with his Aatrox play while also creating a safe space for Bang to shred Cloud9’s defenses. The Thieves defeated the giant Cloud9 in a fashion that many didn't think they were capable of.
With two straight victories in tow, 100 Thieves looked to keep up their hot streak against a downed FlyQuest. Yet another game for FakeGod saw him play safer with his “lose lane win game” mentality after getting repeatedly punished for his aggression up top. All of his pressure-soaking enabled Amazing to make plays around middle and bottom and get those laners ahead. 100T was able to snowball, allowing the Thieves to destroy FQ who had no answers to the unorthodox play coming from 100T.
Things are looking bright for the 100 Thieves and hopefully pr0lly can keep the momentum going as they get back into their former championship ways. Next week they face off against the other members of the North American three, playing Team SoloMid on Saturday, July 6 and Team Liquid on Sunday, July 7.
Related: Interview with Coach pr0lly
Featured image via 100 Thieves and LoL Esports.