The start of 2019 looked fruitful for the 100 Thieves organization. They snagged former-world-champion Bang from legendary organization SKT. Ssumday was still assumed to be the best, or one of the best top-laners in North America. Anda had been performing pretty well toward the end of 2018, as he began to mesh with the team. And with the addition of Huhi, the strong synergy between him and Aphro was going to create a wonderful support + mid duo. But… none of this quite panned out, resulting in a tenth and eighth place finish respectively. So entering the new season, they’ve brought back what once worked, with both the original jungler Meteos and original ADC Cody Sun signing to come back. I guess now it’s time to sit back and wait to see what happens, but until then, I’m gonna type my butt off about my predictions!
As a mentioned before, last year, Ssumday was expected to be great. But like sOAZ’s performance on Misfits; it’s hard to tell whether it was him or his team. I would argue that there was no one on 100 Thieves last year that played consistently well. The players that came the closest were Amazing and Bang, but even then it was often a coinflip on whether or not they’d pull it off. Historically, Ssumday has been a consistent contributor to a wide variety of teams, and in multiple regions. During four years on KT, he dominated Korean top-laners; specifically in 2016, where he almost won MVP in the spring split. And even as he came to America, although his team’s success was not always there, his personal success was. In the second split that 100 Thieves existed, they began to incredibly underperform, but he was the light shining in the dark. His Aatrox drew bans left and right, as he would continuously destroy the opposition, and force them to either camp him or concede pressure. So even though he hasn’t shown his incredible form in the past twelve months, I believe he has the strong potential he’s always had.
2016 Ssumday, back on KT Rolster.
Meteos is, and forever will be the God of the North American jungle in my mind. His teams’ results have had a fall from grace since his departure from Cloud9’s roster, but his performance and leadership have maybe become even more impressive. I cannot think of a single roster Meteos has been on since that departure, that has had a level of talent capable of winning much at all. But seasons like last year, where he managed to lead a lackluster team all the way to the playoffs, goes to show just how strong of a presence he has. The entirety of last spring and summer were carried by his and Crown’s mid-jungle duo. At one point, Dhokla’s performance was above average in the top lane, but in my eyes that was entirely due to Meteos’s strong presence on the top side. Meteos has been a rare talent on teams without much to show, so we haven’t gotten to see how he would perform with actual teammates. The one split where he had them, they finished in second, so I’d say he’s still got it.
The next player is far from a known entity, and that’s ry0ma. Mid-laner ry0ma has been competing in the Oceanic region for five years, but within that, he has seen limited international competition due to shortcomings in the playoffs. The past four splits, his team has finished in the top four, including two firsts and one second. He accomplished this with two different teams even, showing that his talent and presence can be felt within different organizations. However, I’ve heard his consistency has been under question for a while. That being said, no one I know has doubted his ability and pure technical skill, and that combined with a willingness to learn could turn him into a new all-star performer.
Cody Sun is constantly bashed and bruised by the League of Legends community, as well as the analysts, but it has all come at a couple bad decisions. His first professional season on Immortals found him at the World Championship, about to enter the knockout stage, but in a stroke of pure… non-genius, he managed to jump into the enemy team, and throw all of them into his, ending the game and therefore their chances. The next season, on 100T, he led his team once again to the World Championship, but was substituted out for Rikara, and was unable to perform. Throughout the entire season he had been one of the greatest ADC players in North America, but due to inside issues, the end of that year tainted a lot of what he accomplished. Perhaps his most impressive performance was felt last year on Clutch Gaming, where the last place team suddenly shot up to the World Championship thanks to his God-like statistics. I believe in the play-in stage for the World Championship, his K/D/A was something like twenty-six, which is just astounding and unprecedented. I don’t know if many people consider Cody to be at the top of the North American talent, but he’s consistently shown that he is.
Young Cody Sun on Immortals.
Finally we have Stunt, the support of the team. Stunt has been with the organization for a while actually, but has yet to play very much for the pro -level team. Residing on the academy team for a while, he’s worked with many different people, but now that Aphromoo has left, he finally gets his chance to truly shine. Unbeknownst to me until recently, he’s hit the top spot on the North American ladder several times, including just recently as well. He’s also hit the top spot in Korea, I believe, and as a support player, that’s incredible. So the pure technical skill is certainly there. The only question is if he can show it. Something tell me with the help of the strong Cody Sun, and the experienced Meteos, he can.
Despite seeming to be an already-talented team, I think teamwork is actually where this roster gets much better. Performing a pseudo-recreation of the roster that gave them a second place finish is actually a pretty great idea to me. The two pieces that they changed; Ryu for ry0ma and Aphromoo for Stunt; were clear mechanical upgrades. And while Ryu was seen as a great teammate, Aphromoo had clear issues with Cody Sun, which is one of the reasons that team began to fracture. Now with new pieces, those that are returning have had a chance to mature and gain new experience; especially Cody Sun, who I think became more of a leader last year for Clutch. The only question I have is with ry0ma, and his relationship with the team. But every interview I’ve heard with him or about him has showed him to be a heck of a guy. And their new general manager, PapaSmithy is probably one of the smartest and most trustworthy people in the community, so I don’t think he’d hire someone harmful.
Perhaps the greatest look in esports history: 2013 Meteos.
Of course, we now have the man with the responsibility of bringing all of these people together; and that’s their head coach Zikz. Zikz has been a staple in North America since 2014, having stints with both CLG and TSM: historic organizations that have also been relatively successful. Zikz brought CLG to the pinnacle of North American League of Legends, winning several titles with them; I believe three out of four at one point. But his span on TSM was during a rough time in the team’s career, and in 2019, they missed the World Championship for the second year in a row. But I don’t fault him for that. The TSM organization is one that is honestly, screwed up from what I’ve seen; at least in League of Legends. The pressure and environment both the staff and roster are in seems unhealthy, and I don’t think it’s one healthy for coaches’ success. So with that being said, I see Zikz only really in relation to his experience and his past wins; which are both vast. Sure, he hasn’t had the greatest track record in the past two or three years, but the pure fact of him being a coach for longer than six months puts him ahead of many LCS coaching staffs.
I don’t know what the overall consensus on 100 Thieves’ chances is, but I don’t think it’s as high as it should be. Many people I know have them possibly in the bottom of the playoff race as a five or six seed, but I think their ability is much better than that. The pure fact that they have very long-going, and now-healthy relationships is huge. The new management and coaching on the team are great. And the changes they’ve made since 2018 seem to mainly be for mechanical upgrades and greater potential. This team made second in 2018 spring. Yes, the league has evolved and gotten overall better, but I don’t see both Cloud9 and TSM being able to bounce-back from roster changes quick enough to compete with them. I have them ranked third for at least the regular season, coming into 2020. And while I’m not confident in their ability to win it all, I think they can grab a piece of the top in North America.