Curse originally entered the Spring split with high expectations. Joedat “Voyboy” Esfahani was finally in a carry role in the mid lane where he could make plays and carry games more effectively. The team had picked up superstar amateur top laner, Diego “Quas” Ruiz. With two heavily talented and aggressive solo lanes combined with the fresh faces in support and jungle, fans looked forward to a split where Curse might finally find the formula they needed to break through an increasingly disappointing history of 4th place finishes.
What started as optimism quickly turned into a set of heartbreakingly close and disappointing losses for Team Curse. Being that manager Steve “Liquid112” Arhancet has been one of the most vocal managers in his willingness to bench players in the past, Curse quickly turned their sights to roster changes once again, looking to find that missing piece that was keeping them from closing out wins. Zekent was moved to a sub position and would eventually leave the team to be replaced by longtime jungle veteran, Brandon “Saintvicious” Demarco, in hopes that he would provide the shot-calling and team leadership that the team desperately needed.
After some even poorer performances, the team then found another support from the challenger scene in Michael “Bunny FuFuu” Kurylo. Bunny FuFuu had shown he was a mechanical monster on Thresh, but failed to significantly impress on anything else. Regardless, he was a solid player and Curse managed to pull together enough by the end of the split to finish 4th yet again in the playoffs, though better than many fans and analysts had expected by the end of the up and down split.
Staying true to Curse’s signature managerial style, Liquid went out and acquired high-profile free agents in the off-season—this time with former TSM all-pro support Xpecial—marking the teams 8th support in just 12 months. However, Xpecial comes with an all-star pedigree and has arguably been the most consistent performer at his position in North America for 3 straight seasons. Don’t forget too, that the last time Cop had an international-caliber support in EDward, he quietly led the league in kills. With Curse’s support woes seemingly solved, it’s all up to the rest of the team to play to their potential. If Voyboy and crew can step up their play, then Curse could easily be looking at knocking any of the top three teams down from their pedestal at the top of the league.
Diego “Quas” Ruiz – Top
Quas began his League career as a legend in the Challenger scene. He came out of seemingly nowhere, going straight from gold to Diamond 1 in Season 3. In his challenger scene performances, he was known to pull out off-the-wall picks like Poppy, and was often referred to as “Quas the God”. Known for an extremely deep champion pool and strong mechanical skill, Quas is a reliable player who is thought to prefer off-meta picks and counter-picks to what is currently strong. This is most notably displayed in his 0-6 record between all his games on Shyvana and Renekton in the past split.
It’s hard to say how much of Quas’ play was him and how much was his team’s performance, especially as a top laner. Most players and analysts agree that Quas generally played well and he has tremendous upside. If there is a time to make a name for himself as one of the region’s strongest top laners, the time is now. Quas has had time to adjust and get a full LCS season under his belt. This split will be very telling as to his future in the LCS, especially on a historically picky team like Curse.
Joedat “Voyboy” Esfahani – Mid
Voyboy, at times in his career, has perhaps been one of the most hyped solo laners in all of League of Legends. Much like Quas, he’s known for being a versatile player with a deep champion pool. Accentuating this fact, he played a total of 13 different champions across the Spring Split, more than any other mid player. While some picks payed off, others like his three losses on Syndra, left fans scratching their heads time and again.
His over-aggressive playstyle has gotten him in trouble more often than not over the course of his career. If Voyboy wants to give Curse a good shot at breaking the top 3 in an ever increasingly competitive NA LCS, then he’s going to have to step up and be a consistent player that performs every game. Whether this means slimming down his champion pool or playing a little bit safer, only Voyboy and Curse know that.
Christian “IWillDominate” Rivera – Jungle
Dominate is a veteran of the competitive LoL scene, despite his LCS career being relatively short. Though banned from LCS for the period of a year due to toxic behavior, Christian took the opportunity to reform his actions and continued to pursue competitive League, even during the period of time where he could not qualify. If anything can be said of Dominate, it’s that he wants LCS and he wants to win.
It’s hard to thoroughly judge his performance in the Spring Split due to the team’s overall poor performances. But he was instrumental in their wins in the playoffs to close out the season, and Dominate brings experience his solo lanes lack in their respective roles. Perhaps with more experienced solo laners and more time to learn how to play off of each other, Dominate will be able to showcase more solid play and decision making earlier in the split this season.
David “Cop” Roberson – AD Carry
Cop has been quietly one of the most consistent and safest ADC’s in the LCS for several seasons running. Even on a middle-of-the-pack team, when paired with an international caliber support in EDward, he put up the best numbers of any ADC in the LCS. Look for the bot lane of Curse to be the consistent rock of Curse that you can count on every game.
Cop is known for never dying unnecessarily and playing extremely safe, all while putting out consistent numbers. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a return to his signature Draven, as Cop is one of the best at getting the most out of Draven’s passive by not dying and finally getting a kill 20 minutes into the game.
Alex “Xpecial” Chu – Support
Xpecial is an All-star caliber support who, due to team-synergy issues, found himself without a home and very quickly with one at Curse. Being the 8th support that Curse has fielded in just 12-13 months, I think Manager Steve “Liquid112” is hoping that this fit will stick. Xpecial has been one of the best mechanical players at his role for the entirety of the existence of LCS, many seasons being the undisputed best at his role with two different ADC’s.
Also, on Team Solomid, it wasn’t exactly a secret that Xpecial at times had tried to take more of a leadership and shot-calling role in the team, only to be shot down by team owner, then mid lane player, Reginald. Though players like Voyboy, Cop and IWDominate have been around the scene for a while, none stand out as a primary team leader and shot caller. Hopefully Curse will be a perfect fit for Xpecial to naturally expand his leadership role within a team with a lot of talent who simply lacks a bit of direction and veteran leadership.
Curse finally look to have the potential to be a somewhat consistent team if Voyboy and Dominate can perform. However, there is a big question mark there—especially in the case of Voyboy, who would almost single-handedly carry games one week, and then single-handedly lose them the next. If Curse had this roster last split, I would give them a shot at top 3. The problem is that the NA LCS has gotten a whole lot more competitive since then with CLG and TSM both bringing in foreign players and LMQ joining the LCS.
I expect stellar performances from the Curse bot lane, but every other position on the team has a question mark attached to their consistency. Curse was hailed as a team who would be able to break the meta and play unconventional compositions with Voyboy and Quas’ deep champion pools. But during the Spring Split, it would fail more often than not. I think Curse needs to pull out unconventional picks more sparingly and focus on getting what’s safe and what’s known to work down first.