The League Championship Series Lock In tournament had one clear favorite before it began: 100 Thieves. 100 Thieves returned this spring with their entire LCS Championship winning roster from last summer. However, in their quarterfinals match against Dignitas, they fell prematurely 2-0, marking one of the most unexpected upsets in recent LCS history.
Before the tournament, Dignitas was not very highly rated. In fact, they were last picked in the Lock In draft, meaning both 100 Thieves and Team Liquid each wanted to have Dignitas in their group, thinking they’d be the weakest opponent.
Over the off-season, Dignitas made some interesting roster moves, bringing Vincent “Biofrost” Wang out of retirement to play support for the returning DIG bot laner, Toàn “Neo” Trần. They also signed Kim “River” Dong-woo, who recently played jungle for PSG Talon, the best team from the Pacific Championship Series last year. Despite his recent performance, his signing was criticized.
More controversially, however, Dignitas signed Ersin “Blue” Gören as their mid laner, who placed ninth in the League of Legends European Championship last summer on SK Gaming. Fans and analysts were confused and upset, criticizing Dignitas because some of League’s perceived best mid laners would not be playing in 2022. Many young, North American talents like Aidan “5fire” Reckamp were available this off-season, as well as other proven stars like Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer and Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen, none of which found teams for this year.
Furthermore, Dignitas had to play their group stage without River, playing their Academy jungler, Lawrence “eXyu” Xu, in his place. Despite that setback and all of the criticism before the pre-season tournament, Dignitas was able to scrape into the knockout stage with a 1-3 record.
“We were actually really excited and actually better prepared this time compared to yesterday’s game,” Blue said in a post-series interview. “River arrived three days ago … We’re just getting prepared and trying to see how we should talk in-game.”
River knows what is the most important in the game
It's really fun to watch good junger playing
— TL Honda CoreJJ (@TLCoreJJ) January 22, 2022
With only a few days of scrims with their full roster after River’s final visa approval, Dignitas won a quick 2-0 series against the reigning LCS champs, 100 Thieves.
Dignitas now advance to the Lock In Semifinals, playing Friday, Jan. 28 against the victor of the quarterfinals series between Team Liquid and FlyQuest.