The LCS is home to some of League of Legends’ most iconic western teams. You have the likes of TSM, Team Liquid, and Cloud9, but what happens when you combine a rising 2020 four-piece with an organization’s top lane superstar?
You get 100 Thieves.
The LA-based organization has flown under the radar after a jaw-dropping 2018 entry into the LCS. 100 Thieves finished first in their debut season but failed to advance in the playoffs against bigger names in TSM and Team Liquid. As the seasons passed, 100 Thieves failed to build a substantial team roster around franchise player Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho.
After barely making a difference with a seventh-place finish in both the 2020 Summer Split and Playoffs, the team sought to overhaul its entire roster to improve its standings.
The team managed to grab four strong talents from Golden Guardian’s 2020 line-up, namely Victor “FBI” Huang, Tanner “Damonte” Damonte, Can “Closer” Çelik, and Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun, who experienced a hard-fought 3-2 loss against TSM in the 2020 LCS Summer Playoffs.
Though GG’s playoffs run did not lead to a championship, the 2020 squad showed signs of a competitive synergy that could go against NA’s most formidable superteams. With Golden Guardians looking to rebuild its entire roster for 2021, the team-less quartet packed their bags for 100 Thieves.
From Guardians to Thieves, the four-piece offered a lot of transferrable chemistry for 100 Thieves. Huhi and FBI are considered to be one of the best bot lane duos in the league, taking a spot in the top 5 of assists and kills in both positions. FBI was even featured as one of the young talents alongside TSM’s Mingyi “Spica” Lu and Edward “Tactical” Ra in the LCS 2021 trailer.
Closer enters 100T as a hungry import jungler who’s still looking to cement his name in the big leagues. Along with the Turkish jungler, Damonte is out to prove that a homegrown talent like himself can still take charge and go toe-to-toe with some of the world’s best import mid laners.
Last, but not least, Ssumday stays in the 100T family as a prominent top laner that led the 2020 LCS Summer Split in KDA average (4.7) and gold difference in 10 minutes (228). It’ll take some time for him to reestablish his role with a completely new squad, but he has the ability to hold the top lane down as the rest of 100T plays their usual rotations.
From what’s been said, the new 100T squad looks promising on paper (we rated it a B+), but many were skeptical if such a big off-season shuffle would live up to expectations. Luckily enough, the team showed just how good they were at the pre-season LCS Lock In tournament.
Right on day one, 100T put on a dominating performance against TSM. Racking up 11 kills over TSM’s one and only kill, FBI’s Kai’Sa and Closer’s Taliyah showcased how smooth the team can go through from one skirmish to another.
Another top gun opponent 100T faced in the group stage was Team Liquid. Though the team was missing new jungler Lucas “Santorin” Larsen, star top laner Barney “Alphari” Morris’ Renekton easily zoned out Ssumday’s Aatrox throughout the landing phase, leaving the 100T player with a gold deficit.
With Ssumday staying back, Damonte took the lead and came out as the main initiator with Galio, landing a three-man taunt that secured two kills on their side. After the clash, Ssumday stuck to his scouting role and played safe by protecting the Infernal drake. With such a big play out of Damonte, 100 Thieves secured the Baron, the soul point, and ultimately the game.
100 Thieves met another worthy opponent in Cloud9, who were showcasing their new mid laner, LEC superstar Luka “Perkz” Perković. Even with a bolstered C9 line-up, 100 Thieves fought hard and picked up an incredible 2-0 lead.
Huhi was a monster support that broke through C9’s positioning. In the first game, his Rell flipped two opponents right into FBI’s Bullet Time while in game two, he managed to bait out Philippe “Laflamme” Vulcan’s Cosmic Radiance with Alistar’s classic combo and locked them up again with another Pulverize.
Despite being on match point, 100 Thieves fell victim to a reverse-sweep by Cloud9. With safer drafts like the Tahm Kench and Senna bot lane and the jungle Udyr, Cloud9 eventually caught Ssumday and his crew off guard in the late-game phase.
In a post-game interview, C9’s Zven found that the 100T match-up was able to put their best drafts and strategies down the gutter.
“We really played what we felt was the best draft was in game one, two, and three,” said Zven. “I think we just played worse and they executed really well, and they play really well against team counters because they really know how to use flanks and fight at neutrals like dragons so props to them.”
Though their time at the LCS Lock In was cut short, there’s no doubt that this is only the start of 100T’s rise to glory.
From being an inconsistent mid-table team that lacked in chemistry just a year ago to a squad that can now make LCS giants bleed, 100 Thieves has the potential to shape into a top LCS contender once they enter the season grind.
100 Thieves will be back in action in the 2021 LCS Spring Season, which starts on February 5.