The New Generation of Evil at Proving Grounds Spring 2022
It's that time of the year again!
Proving Grounds is upon us (well, it already started and I'm late, but let's ignore that).
The Academy team had to battle it out for a spot in the main event, but they destroyed their Play-In series against Maryville Saints. Now this time, our young Prodigies also managed to sneak in.
I know what you are thinking (no, I don't, actually, but humor me…). "Aren't our teams kinda bad?" Maybe you have looked at the Leaguepedia pages and think the results are questionable. Maybe you wonder why I even bother trying to convince you to come and watch the games, since it doesn't seem like there will be a lot of wins for our teams.
I'll tell you why.
I truly believe every EG fan deserves to know about the talent that exists within the organization under the LCS team. And I guarantee that if you are a fan of certified #LIVEEVIL gameplay, you will find reasons to love at least one of these players and to believe in them as the future of EG, even in the losses.
So here we go again, let's get to know them!
History of Excellence
Last year during the Proving Grounds Spring Circuit, both the Academy and the Prodigies teams had huge breakthrough performances. They came to the main PG tournament, faced some tough rivals, caused a bunch of upsets and came out of it with a Top 4 and a Top 6 finish, respectively. This was a defining moment for both of these squads and it put EG in the spotlight as the smart, committed organization they are when it comes to scouting and putting structures in place to develop players. For those of us who couldn’t see the work that went on behind the games, we finally had a clear view of what could be achieved by their vision. The pipeline was working as intended.
During the rest of the year, we saw even more results being realized by the system, even if not in the shape of tournament standings. From EGP, we got a Rookie Of The Year, All-Pro bot laner. From EGA, we got a strong substitute jungler that could help patch synergy issues with the LCS team (and then when off-season came, we also got a showstopper of a 17 year old starting mid laner).
All this success came with new, adjusted expectations. It is now an expectation for the organization to put forward competitive development teams, built around skilled individuals that stand out among their peers.
Keeping that in mind, how are they doing so far?
Academy Class of 2022
As an organization, EG was in a comfortable position to rebuild their Academy team after promotions and transfers left them without their previous top, jungle and support starters. They already had the talent in place for those roles in their amateur system. So what were they missing? Some experience to go with all the raw skill and youthful enthusiasm. Start with three skilled rookies and add two “veteran” players that enhance their flavor, mix until combined (don’t overmix!), bake for a couple of weeks…
- Jett Joye, 20, Australia
- Most played champions: Renekton, Jayce, Camille
- Spring Split 1 Champions Queue Rank: 4th
- Fun fact: I stole my reddit username from him (he had the IGN LIVING EVIIIIL for a minute).
Srtty is the guy that blind picks Fiora, he dares you to punish him because he doesn’t think you can, he’s confident in his ability to outskill anyone in a 1v1. This sometimes leads to what we have dubbed the “cheese side up” Srtty, which is when he wins lane hard and he destroys his lane opponent over and over (and over and over…). However, we do emphasize that the flip landed well because, well, sometimes it goes terrible. And that’s fine, I think. Srtty is very talented, very confident but, most importantly, at least in my opinion, he’s very driven. I have no doubt that he will learn and grow from these experiences. He wants to succeed and he has already shown us how good it can look when he’s on top (heh) form. I’m eager to see Srtty play every game, no matter the result, and I think all my fellow EG fans could start learning his name now, because he’s gunning for that LCS starting spot and no other team is of interest to him (his words).
- Tomio Phanlith Chan, 18, Canada
- Most played champions: Volibear, Jarvan IV, Lee Sin
- Spring Split 1 Champions Queue Rank: 11th
- Fun fact: Used to be a Rengar main.
During the 2021 off-season, some EG and EGA players went to bootcamp in EU to grind soloq while all the Worlds players were there. And then there was Tomio, who couldn’t join, but still wanted in on the experience. So he decided to play in EUW on 120 ping from Canada, because “why not?”. Tomio has a loud and vibrant personality (he’s one of the most entertaining pro streamers in the market because of it). While on EGP, he was a strong carry force who could take over games. He was considered a top prospect and no one was surprised to see him promote to Academy (although, maybe the timing was a little surprising). In this new EGA team, Tomio has been provided with an environment that should help him grow as a player and enable him to become (hopefully sooner rather than later) one of the best junglers in the league.
- Max Soong, 24, United States
- Most played champions: Twisted Fate, Orianna, Corki
- Fun fact: No fact, just look at this, you’re welcome.
Soligo’s alive and well, thankfully (we were worried about him after Dignitas sent him to the shadow realm, but he's back). Now that I got that overdone joke out of the way, do you really need me to tell you more about Soligo? OK, fine. Soligo is a mid laner who in 2021 was excellent at enabling 2 strong carry junglers in Dardoch and Will for DIG and DIGA respectively. He’s also well known for his roaming champion pool (consistently drew TF and Ryze bans in Academy), which makes him a perfect fit for a team with a strong carry top laner (or a strong bot laner, but we haven’t gotten there yet). Yes, he's not performing his best at the moment, but he’s still a smart player with clear strengths.
- Muhammed Hasan Şentürk, 20, Turkey
- Most played champions: Jinx, Aphelios, Jhin
- Spring Split 1 Champions Queue Rank: 3th
- Fun fact: Despite being in the 9th place team, he is in consideration for the upcoming Most Valuable Prospect award by at least two people in the broadcast talent.
Kaori stormed into the league with a breathtaking performance on Jhin (8/0/9) and ever since he refused to go a week without showing off how insane he is (ask Tim Sevenhuysen about his Academy Standouts dilemma with Kaori). TSM was looking at this guy for their LCS team, Parth has called him “one of the most underrated ADCs in the west the past few years”, he’s a TCL finalist with a couple of All-Pro awards under his belt. This guy should probably be playing in LCS or LEC to be honest, but he’s with us now and I’m not going to complain. I’m no expert but having a strong laning ADC seems like a great idea to improve the 2v2 prowess of your young support prospect. Also, in my opinion, it doesn’t hurt when a development team has that one consistent win condition they can play towards to get some wins during desperate times (losing all the time can’t be too good for morale).
- Daniel Joseph Soetikno, Canada
- Most played champions: Leona, Rakan, Nautilus
- Fun fact: Definitely not a Rakan one-trick.
On the Raising NA podcast, host Cubby told the tale about how SkyTec reached high Grandmaster tier queueing as mid, playing AP Rakan. According to Empyre, EG Head of Scouting, SkyTec was assessed by EG as the most skilled young support they could acquire. While he’s got a good deal of room to grow, SkyTec's also got the potential to become a great player in a role where native, non-role swap talent is scarce. I think he has already shown that he’s not out of place in the league, so I’m looking forward to continuing seeing his growth.
Brand New Prodigies
With the promotion of Srtty, Tomio and SkyTec, a new chapter in the Prodigies history had to begin. When EG announced the build they put together for the new year, I was surprised by how unfamiliar some of the names looked to me. Always trust EG scouting to find some hidden gems or diamonds in the rough.
- Faisal Kakar, Canada
Faisal has had strong performances piloting meta picks like Gwen, Camille and Tryndamere. He also played a disgusting Gangplank game in which he went 14/0/11 and that’s when I decided that I was a fan. Which of course means he passed the most important test to become part of the EG top lane lineage. Congrats, Faisal, I’m glad I can continue my well-honored tradition of spamming [insert EG top name] in all-caps in the Discord when you are playing too.
- Perry Norman, 17, United States
- Fun fact: He used to be a Kayn one-trick and was previously known as GhostlyCat.
I hate picking favorites but I’ll be honest, Perry is my favorite new Prodigy. This young and enthusiastic jungler was part of Team Cloud during Scouting Grounds 2021. Team Cloud walked out as the winners of the event and Perry got himself a superlative award as the “Most Improved” player. Likely because of that (but don’t quote me, what do I know), he got some Academy tryouts and was considered for a spot. Earlier in the year, Perry was a guest on Proving Grounds Pod so you can learn more about him by giving that a listen.
- Seung "Peter" Kang, United States
This guy is a mystery. I don't know a thing about him. Apparently he plays a really good Jayce but we haven't seen it yet. What we have seen is many outstanding games on Vex. (Zoomers gonna zoom? I presume he is young. But as I said, a mystery).
- Brady Holmich, United States
Used to go by Sketchdreams, he played along with Faisal for the AOE Esports team that qualified for PG last Summer. Sketch consistently puts out a great deal of damage and will take over games if left unchecked, which is why it isn't uncommon to see him get target banned (he's even collected the elusive 5 ADC bans, not even Danny's gotten that badge… yet). This has prompted him to get creative with his champ pool, with some one-offs like Sivir and Draven and a good deal of Varus seeing play from him.
- Sam Parsa Zarriz, 20, Canada
- Fun fact: Peaked rank 4 in soloq 2018.
During the summer of 2021, he was part of the very successful Wildcard Red, the team that placed 1st in all of the three qualifiers on the way to Proving Grounds. Daption played next to Arrow, former LCS MVP and OGN champion, and together they were the scariest bot lane not in Academy. Considered by many the best amateur support by a mile last year, Daption was very much expected to get an Academy spot and it was surprising to see him instead land in EGP. Hopefully he can bring some of the experience and wisdom he picked up during his WCR days to help Sketch become even more of a threat.
A future of dominance…?
It doesn’t look like EGP and EGA can repeat the magic of their past year PG Spring appearance. But that shouldn't be the goal. These are different teams that require to be seen as their own thing, shine with their own light, create their own path.
EGP has a really hard challenge ahead, going first against the Academy giants of Golden Guardians, a team with so much combined experience among their players that they managed to beat TSM’s almost full LCS roster back in Lock In. Look forward to Sketch to try and outperform newcomer bot laner Violet, who’s introduction to GGA during the last week of Academy wasn’t very smooth. While GGA has a strong threat in seasoned mid laner ry0ma and a consistent jungle-support duo in Iconic and Chime that works smart to enable their carries, their last few matches showed the team consistently lose to their own overconfidence.
EGA could go deep in the tournament if they show up on game days. Don’t let the standings or the records fool you, they might be the most individually skilled 9th place Academy team you have ever seen (trust me, bro). Kaori alone, when supported by the rest, can legitimately solo carry. It is not likely, it would take great effort and a string of consistency that we haven’t yet seen from them. But it’s not impossible.
Their first task is to tackle the monster that is CLGA, who dominated the first round robin of Academy and took a bit of a downward trajectory in the second half. Despite their 1st place finish, I don’t think CLGA was the best team in Academy. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t scary and (as a friend kindly reminded me when I expressed this opinion) they kind of embarrassed us already not so long ago...
During the last day of Academy, in the second game of their series vs EGA, CLGA decided to full send it by role swapping all of their players. And they were close to winning said game. Alarmingly close.
The massive carry threat that their top laner Dhokla represents could be a struggle for Srtty, who needs to be in his best shape to match or, at the very least, neutralize him. If there’s a clear advantage to be gained vs CLGA, it will likely be through Tomio enabling Kaori and SkyTec to dominate their match up. Prismal and Breezy have been good, but not unbeatable.
Watch EGP battle Golden Guardians Academy today at 5PM PT.
Watch EGA face CLG Academy on Tuesday next week at 3 PM PT.
The games will be live on the LCS Twitch channel.
FOLLOW THE PLAYERS
- @_Srtty · https://www.twitch.tv/srtty_lol
- @loltomio · https://www.twitch.tv/loltomio
- @Soligoms · https://www.twitch.tv/soligo
- @KaoriLoL · https://www.twitch.tv/kaori123
- @SkyTecLoL · https://www.twitch.tv/skyteclol
- @perryjglol · https://www.twitch.tv/perryjglol
- @babyleo99 · https://www.twitch.tv/babyleo99
- @Sketchdreams · https://www.twitch.tv/sketchdreams
- @lolDaption · https://www.twitch.tv/Daption
- @EGAcademyU · The unofficial source for anything EGA/EGP.
- @LivingEvilNews · Unofficial coverage of everything EG at all levels (that’s me!).
COME HANG OUT
Join the EG Discord server to watch the games with other fans and get notifications when games start.