Three teams, three storied junglers. Here is the rundown on the leagues three best junglers this split.
The LCS spring split playoffs are just around the corner. One team will go the distance and get the opportunity to represent North America at the 2022 Mid-Season Invitational.
With fans finally being allowed back into the studio, the players will be feeling the roar of the screaming LCS crowd for the first time in 2 years. For three junglers, they are used to the spotlight. For the past two years Lucas "Santorin" Tao Kilmer Larsen, Robert "Blaber" Huang and Can "Closer" Çelik have all dominated the LCS. This split all eyes will be locked on these three teams as they fight to be called the best in North America.
Esports.gg will take a dive into the story of these three junglers this split, walking through how they all set their team up for success and how they can lead their teams to another LCS championship.
Team Liquid, for the first time since the summer split of 2020, has finished in first place in the regular season. TL performed admirably amongst the chaos that was Corejj's residency status, not missing a beat with Eyla stepping into the fold temporarily.
Santorin was a key component in Team Liquid's success. He has showcased why the 4x LCS champions picked him up following his 2020 performances. The Danish jungler has been able to overcome health issues that plagued him in the 2021 season and has looked stronger than ever.
Of the three junglers, Santorin is the most well rounded, the perfect player to build your League of Legends roster around. Team Liquid trusted their Danish veteran to both facilitate for his teammates and also be the one carrying his side to victory. This meant, if needed, TL can pick a tankier option such as the Volibear and the Trundle, or go for a more carry threat in the Viego.
Santorin's eyes are firmly locked on Blaber for the LCS playoffs
Santorin and Blaber have traded blows throughout their careers in the LCS. Blaber secured his first LCS champion in Spring 2020 when he took down Santorin's FlyQuest. The Danish jungler would clap right back the following split, taking down C9 in the summer split upper bracket and ultimately setting in motion the denial of Cloud9 going to Worlds that year.
When asked about who he is most looking forward to playing again in an AMA on Reddit, Santorin only had one jungler on his mind going into playoffs.
No idea who I would vote for MVP this season but when it comes to who I would like to play against, it'll always be Blaber. He's such a talented player and we always have some great BO5's when we face up against each other and I have a lot of respect for him.
There probably isn't a player that divides so many opinions than that of Cloud9's Blaber. The North American jungler is considered one of the best LCS junglers of all time due to his success thus far in such a short space of time. Since taking over the mantle as the starting jungler, Blaber has won two MVPs, two LCS championships, attended multiple international events and topped multiple All pro awards.
Although his career will forever be tainted by the "crabber" incident at MSI 2021, it doesn't hold weight to how good a player Blaber has been in the LCS. Since debuting in the LCS, Blaber has an unparalleled regular-season record of 83-31.
This season was a huge test for Blaber, outside of the question marks surrounding himself and former coach LS, the honus were on him to become the leader of the pack. With Summit having to acclimate to a new region, and Fudge role swapping to mid, Blaber had to be the consistent piece to the C9 puzzle.
Across the spring split, Blaber worked well with his 2021 teammate in Fudge. The pair coordinated the early game tremendously with C9 having the second-best early game rating according to Oracle's Elixir.
What sets Cloud9 apart from other teams in the LCS is their teamfighting capabilities, Blaber and C9 will always keep a game interesting, finding unique flanks and often forcing the enemy team into a fight they are not ready for.
Despite having a neutral record against C9 and TL, 100 Thieves will be coming into this playoffs with a chip on their shoulder. For most of the season, it was dubbed a 'two horse race' as Cloud9 and Team Liquid raced ahead of the pack as 100 Thieves failed to regain the momentum that saw them lift the summer split championship.
For Closer and 100 Thieves, this is an opportunity to prove they are still the top dogs in North America and can comfortably sit amongst Cloud9 and Team Liquid. After Closer struggled early into the split to gain any traction, he and the Thieves picked up the pace and marched towards a seven-game winning streak.
Closer since his introduction into the league has been one of the standout players and is in contention for MVP amongst his fellow junglers. Like Santorin, Closer has often been tasked with playing multiple roles for his team but not having the same amount of success as Santorin.
Closer's most played champion was Lee Sin, playing it seven times. When he was not on Lee Sin, Closer would be trusted with setting up his team on engagers Jarvan and Volibear. 100 Thieves hit their stride when they started to play around Ssumday , giving him the ability to take over the game.
100 Thieves in week eight showcased how they could neutralize MVP favorite Summit, going for a tank in the top lane in Malphite. Having a tank in the top lane stopped C9's 1-3-1 playstyle from ever getting off the ground. This adds another layer to the hype as Cloud9 and 100T lock horns in the LCS playoffs.