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Currently in the LCS there are 10 teams and thus 10 starter mid laners confirmed for the 2020 Spring Split. However, even after a lot of discussion about investing in NA talent, only one of those players was born in NA: Golden Guardians’ Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer.
As there has been enough people writing and talking about how serious the lack of NA mids is, I pose to you a different question. What separates Goldenglue from the other NA mids? Why has he been chosen over the likes of Pobelter and Damonte?
Gilmer has been around the NA League of Legends scene since 2014, but only solidified himself as a presence in 2016 with Team Liquid Academy. When he moved to Cloud9 for the 2018 season, he defied expectations by fighting for a starting spot in the main roster over Jensen at first, and then over Nisqy. He never did become C9’s first choice, but he occasionally had great performances and showed the potential to be a contributor.
Despite his sporadic excellence and his potential, however, it is hard to see exactly why Goldenglue is the only NA mid laner currently in an LCS roster. Not that he does not deserve it. Ablazeolive, former TSM Academy and Gilmer’s backup, made it very clear that he in fact does. But what does he bring to the table that others do not?
If a team was looking for an experienced player in order to add wins immediately, why not Eugene “Pobelter” Park, a player who has won the LCS with two organizations and has a higher professional matches count and win rate than Goldenglue? Pobelter is also only a month older than Goldenglue, so it would be hard to imagine age or longevity are big factors.
On the other hand, if a team is looking for a less experienced player who is more of a prospect, why not Tanner “Damonte” Damonte, a player who was praised for his performances late into the 2019 LCS Summer Split? Not only is Damonte a year younger and is expected to have more room to grow, he also has something Goldenglue lacks: Worlds stage experience.
So… Why Goldenglue?
There could be plenty of reasons for this. Maybe Goldenglue offers something outside Summoner’s Rift, or perhaps teams staff know something we do not about how good he can be. But for now, only one thing jumps out at me as a reason to choose Goldenglue: Opportunity.
Goldenglue has never had the chance of being the centerpiece of a team. It is true that we can say the same about Damonte, who has been playing alongside Huni for a while. But for a player to be around for as long as Goldenglue has and not have gotten that chance, especially as a mid laner, is strange. He has played second fiddle to Dardoch, Licorice, Sneaky and even to Svenskeren. Not to mention how little he played, being a reserve to Jensen and Nisqy.
So now Golden Guardians are giving him the chance to prove that he can be just that: the main carry. Hauntzer, Closer and FBI are good players, of course, but they might just be discreet enough to open up space for Goldenglue to shine. We might at last have our first glimpse at Goldenglue having resource priority and being properly supported as a star player.