Analysis of Curse's post-Season 3 roster changes
Ever since Curse failed to qualify for the Season 3 World Championship, rumors about potential roster changes for the team have been swirling around the Internet. Most notably was the rumor that Support player EDward would not be returning to the team for Season 4. While this ended up being true, it turned out to only be the tip of the iceberg. What most fans didn't see coming was a massive roster overhaul that left Voyboy as the only veteran member of the main Curse lineup. The main Curse roster is now composed of:
- Solo laner – Voyboy
- Jungler – IWillDominate
- Solo laner – Pobelter
- AD Carry – Aphromoo
- Support – Zekent
This team is no more.
As a Curse fan I was shocked by the magnitude of this change. I expected them to find a new Support and possibly bench NyJacky, but the prospect of completely swapping out 4 of the 5 positions never crossed my mind. EDward's departure was expected but still stings. I've been a huge fan ever since he dropped the GoZu Pepper handle (he was known to be BM but cleaned up his act after this point) so I was genuinely excited when he joined Curse. I wish they would have been able to retain him, but EDward seems more interested in returning to play in EU.
Despite being off of the main team, Cop and NyJacky are still part of the Curse organization. They are now part of the new Team LoL Pro. The Curse website states their goal is to qualify for the LCS, but if they fail they will take part in the new Riot sponsored Challenger Circuit. This seems odd as last season organizations were only allowed to have one team in the LCS at a time, but maybe Curse knows something the rest of us don't. This is the part of the change that surprised me the least. I fully expected NyJacky to get benched after an incredibly disappointing Summer Split and while Cop has flashes of excellence his inconsistency has proven to be a liability. I actually do think Cop and EDward were developing some pretty good synergy, but EDward leaving may have been the final nail in Cop's coffin.
More surprising to me was Saintvicious stepping down as a player to assume the role of team coach. While people were quick to call for Saint's head on a stick anytime anything went wrong for Curse, I honestly thought he was going to stay on the roster. While his shot calling was suspect as of late, replacing someone with that much experience is never easy. Although, to be fair, according to a Reddit comment from Saint himself, it seems this change was more him wanting a break from playing than Liquid thinking he needed benched. This is the part of the new roster I'm most disappointed with.
While I've defended Saint in the past, him stepping down isn't inherently a bad thing for the team. My main issue is I'm not convinced IWD is really an upgrade. I've never been impressed by his play (either on Dignitas or Curse Academy) so I'm disappointed Curse went with a known name instead of trying to find new talent. I realize finding new talent isn't easy, but I feel Curse probably didn't really try since they knew they had IWD to fall back on. That said, I'm casually optimistic about the rest of the lineup.
Voyboy staying on the team was a relief. Despite having his ups and downs, he was probably the most solid player on the previous lineup. He's a good player to build a team around, and hopefully his experience in the LCS will be able to guide his new teammates.
The new Bot lane duo of Aphromoo and Zekent is probably the biggest unknown for the team. While I've always enjoyed Zekent as a streamer, I've never been blown by his actual play. Solid for sure, but not top tier. Aphromoo is also a bit of an anomaly at the moment. After his brief stint as CLG's Support, he disappeared from the competitive scene. He has always been a mechanically talented ADC, but he developed a reputation for choking at LANs. Both players have been away from competitive play for a while, but luckily for them they have a lot of time to work on their synergy before the next season of the LCS starts.
And last, but not least, the prodigal son Pobelter returns to Curse. Words cannot describe how excited I am for this pickup. Pobelter has always been recognized as an incredibly talented player, but due to the LCS age restriction he was not able to compete in Season 3. I hoped for a while that Pobelter would eventually replace NyJacky, but I thought this dream was dead when he left Curse Academy. I was both surprised and excited to see he was returning to Curse in the position I wanted to see him in. Expectations are already mounting as people skeptic of the new roster at least recognize him as a good player. The success of new Curse may very well rest on his shoulders
The face of Curse's potential salvation.
Curse is now a much different team than it was in Season 3. Only time will tell whether or not all these changes will be successful in making them more competitive. Curse very well may lose fans over this after such a drastic change. This is a real test as to whether or not fans are fans of the players, or the team (a dynamic that is much different in LoL than it is in traditional sports). That said, I'm nervous, but also incredibly interested to see how the new Curse performs in serious competitive games.