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Ten-Headed Beast: A Look at Apex's Ten Man Roster

Teams come and go in the Challenger scene - They either find their way to LCS qualifications or burn out and never even make it into the playoffs. Apex is unique in that, many of its players had already qualified through the challenger scene in the past, are experienced LCS players, or both. While they weren’t necessarily favored to make it into the LCS with other talented challenger rosters vying for their chance at promotion, they eventually nabbed the final LCS spot.

The lineup that qualified for the LCS featured well known names such as Cris, Keane, and Xpecial, while also sporting Korean imports in Shrimp, Eve, and Police. Empirically, the lineup wasn’t the most impressive, but eventually pushed through with their veteran experience and the tutelage of Head Coach, Saintvicious. It became questionable how well the lineup could hold in the LCS with Cris and Keane having consistency issues at the LCS level, Xpecial seemingly being on the decline and neither Shrimp nor Police playing at the highest level in Korea. Apex isn’t waiting around to see what will happen with their roster though — In fact, they are bringing in six more players to form a ten man Apex roster: Apollo, Diamondprox, Konkwon, Shiphtur, Ray, and Roar.

Considering that Apex had recently suspended Korean jungler, Eve, and Korean AD, Police, left for Europe’s Vitality, roster moves were definitely in the wings. However, Apex’s opting for mass depth brings an interesting dimension to how they might perform in the LCS. All of the players in question have played League at the highest level, whether it be a few games or an entire split and leaves all roles with two options for the main team. Apex’s acquisition of Dignitas’ challenger spot makes it clear that five of the ten players will be competing in the NA Challenger Series, but it’s worth noting that the first few weeks of the LCS allows free rotation between the two rosters.

Apex’s Roster Duos

Apex’s top lane features two opposing talents: the tried and tested Cris, and potential-filled Ray. Cris has long been known as the player that smashes Challenger, but struggles when it comes to the LCS stage, while Ray is still more of an unknown commodity. However, Ray showed great skill on the likes of Riven for EDG, while also having decent teleports. Apex has the choice between the known commodity and the potential talent and given their desire to grow the LCS team, while fielding a decent challenger team — We may see Ray come out as the starting top laner for Apex.

In the jungle, Apex has two import junglers, one with the reputation of being an excellent split-pushing, carry jungler and the other, being one of the best European players to play the game. Shrimp has been an inherent staple of Coast/Apex, having more than a few carry games on champions like Kindred and his famed Rek’sai. Diamond, on the other hand, has seen better days, but is certainly still a solid jungler, playing a solid role in Unicorns of Love’s strong start in EU’s last split. Shrimp is favored here, but in the event that Apex needs a more communicative and stage experienced jungler, Diamond is a good fill-in.

Mid lane has some more inconsistent players in the likes of Keane and Shiphtur, as both have seen praise for strong carry performances, but also criticisms for weaker laning phases. Keane has been known to bring out unconventional picks and succeed, but has also struggled when it comes to nailing down actual meta picks. On the other hand, Shiphtur has always had a decent champion pool, but struggles to match carry performances consistently, showing timidness in a variety of situations. Shiphtur probably has the edge here given his general stableness and champion pool, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see either mid laner slotted in.

The AD position probably has the least parity of Apex’s depth chart, as Apollo has consistently been a serviceable AD at the LCS level, while Roar has typically been more of a hit or miss carry on low-tier Korean teams. Apollo’s ability to speak English and at the very least, contribute decent damage, has him favored. However, this duo can be similar to the Cris/Ray situation, where Roar may still be more untapped, while Apollo has certainly shown his hand in the LCS.

Xpecial and Konkwon are probably the closest duo, in terms of skill, in the ten man lineup. Xpecial had decent performances in Challenger and carries a wealth of experience, while Konkwon showed several good performances for NRG, but on the flipside had apparent breakdowns in team communication. Between the two support players, it will probably come down to whether Apex favors a veteran presence or a more threatening laner.

Looking Forward to Summer

Apex is in a unique situation where they get a great amount of leeway when it comes to the roster they run for the entirety of the split. Considering that the roster has a good mix of established talent and “potential,” they should at the very least, be able to avoid the depths of relegation tier that Team Impulse and Renegades occupied last split. However, considering the uncertainty of some of their talent and the lack of a great ceiling from the more established players, it’s questionable if they can reach playoff heights.

Regardless, it should be exciting to see another ten-man roster in action, considering that Team Liquid had the opportunity to debut stars like Dardoch and Matt through it all. The team will first be tested against the likes of NRG esports, in the opening week of LCS, on June 4th.

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