It seems like Clutch Gaming has made a drastic change to their lineup right before week six in the NA LCS. The organization confirms that they will be replacing jungler Nam “LirA” Tae-yoo, ADC player Apollo “Apollo” Price, and support Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent. In their place will be Galen “Moon” Holgate, former Team Liquid ADC Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin, and rookie support Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme.
ROSTER UPDATE: The team announced today that the LCS lineup will consist of Solo, Moon, Febiven, Piglet and Vulcan this weekend. This will also mark Vulcan’s LCS debut. pic.twitter.com/DcgkZhk6s0
— Clutch Gaming to @Dignitas (@ClutchGaming) July 27, 2018
These changes are coming late in the season, after a very tumultuous first five weeks of the split. Last season, Clutch Gaming would shock the League community by upsetting Team Solo Mid in the NA LCS Spring Split quarterfinals. Many people were actually considering Clutch as a dark horse for another playoff run this season. Their team, led by veteran mid laner Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten, could have possibly made a big impact on the league.
However, after week two, it was clear that a change was necessary. Clutch Gaming was a team usually praised for its consistency against lower bracketed teams. Unfortunately, the team would drop a game to a struggling Counter Logic Gaming squad in week two. Their problems would only amplify with a 0-2 week against Team Liquid and Echo Fox. Finally, they would slide almost completely down the standings by losing to one of the worst teams in the NA LCS in OpTic Gaming.
Clutch Gaming’s Roster Problem
In the first weeks of the Summer, people would point out Clutch Gaming’s utmost reliance on their mid laner Febiven. However, he was doing way too much for the team. If Febiven would fall behind, the team would soon follow. However, this does not mean that all the players replaced were bad. In fact, Apollo and Hakuho were one of the better bottom lane duos of the season so far. They are constantly underrated by many fans, but they have been very consistent as of late. It seems like the main problem behind Clutch’s problems were with jungler LirA.
LirA has been underperforming with the main LCS team, and replacing him makes sense. However, if he is sent down to the Academy team, then Clutch Gaming Academy will have too many import players. Therefore, CG is bringing up Piglet to balance the number of imports. This huge roster swap may or may not be beneficial. Throwing a rookie support into a lane with so much compositional variety in NA LCS might not be the best move to make.
Hopefully LirA can find his form back in the NA Academy, and Apollo and Hakuho find some kind of motivation to play harder in the weeks to come.
Welcoming the New Blood
Speaking of the rookie support, CG’s new bottom lane will now be veteran Piglet and his support duo Vulcan. Although many people are familiar with Piglet and his ability as an ADC player, Vulcan is still somewhat unknown. However, in the NA Academy, Vulcan has been playing pretty well and could provide Clutch Gaming with some newfound energy and motivation. Moon is also a veteran of the NA LCS, but never got a chance to play in the LCS until now. Last season, Moon was on the FlyQuest roster and was surprisingly decent. We will need to see if he can bring back that form in time for the upcoming weekends.
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