With 100 Thieves’ recent acquisition of Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu, a surprising free agent whose asking price was deemed too lofty for any LCS team come spring, it was clear that the team would be making changes come summer. Sinking multiple millions of dollars into a superstar line-up, only to finish in the middle-of-the-pack, 100T knew that something had to change.
In this case, however, it would be two things that needed to change. Reapered’s storied history and past results meant that the coaching staff woes that plagued the organization would be remedied, but there was still a glaring issue with the middle lane. Elite-level domestic talent within the LCS region is hard to come by, especially when an organization is looking for immediate results, rather than a development year a la FlyQuest, Immortals, or Golden Guardians.
Fortunately for 100 Thieves, they no longer had to worry about searching for domestic talent specifically. Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho had finally received residency within the region, meaning the organization had freed up an elusive and coveted import slot. Rumors swirled about Reapered reuniting with his former Cloud9 teammate Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer, but it would be another European midlaner entirely whom the Thieves set their eyes upon.
After years of being hyped up as the best midlaner in the world in scrims, but being unable to replicate these performances onstage, Felix “Abbedagge” Braun currently stands tall. The German midlaner was the standout player of a thoroughly convincing Schalke 04 roster and has flourished throughout the past year and a half of online play. Strong carry performances across multiple champions and a consistent threat amidst a rotating door of teammates, Abbedagge is truly one of Europe’s present-day midlane greats. But can he, combined with Reapered, truly be the fix to 100 Thieves’ problems?
Due to the unique, utility-centric role that Tanner “Damonte” Damonte provided for his former Golden Guardians teammates on the roster, Tommy “ry0ma” Le had a difficult time adjusting his picks accordingly. While ry0ma was not individually outclassed by top-table competition in the same way Damonte was, 100T as a whole still suffered due to an inactive and unreliable midlane.
A deep champion pool — including conventional control mages like Azir and Orianna, but also off-the-wall signature picks like Corki and Nocturne — already bodes well for the midlaner and 100T’s overall flexibility. Twisted Fate has become the iconic 100T midlane pick, and Abbedagge is certainly no stranger to it — but something else with solid sidelane influence, like his trademark Ryze, could open up new avenues to success for 100T.
Abbedagge is different from his predecessors in the sense that he’s a strong carry that can go toe-to-toe with the best of the best. However, time will tell as to whether this is something that the rest of the 100T squad can adjust to, given the vast difference in playstyle and resource allocation that their newly-signed midlaner promotes.
The absence of Damonte’s low-economy playstyle (dipping as low as 18.3% gold share with Galio, compared to a low of 20.2% for Abbedagge’s Syndra) with an emphasis on utility could present an issue for 100T, in the same way that ry0ma’s scaling control mage dependence never really clicked with the rest of the roster. 100T have multiple carry players now in practically every position, so it’s imperative that this team demonstrates flexibility and adjustment on an individual level as well as with compositions.
Drafting for 100T is now infinitely easier, and that’s largely thanks to Abbedagge’s pool of unique picks. There’s also the added flexibility of being able to play through mid thanks to having a competent carry who can single-handedly take over games. But truly the most notable benefit for 100T - especially if they are aiming for the title — is that they now have a midlaner that can match up to the best of them. Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen, Tristan “PowerofEvil” Schrage, and Luka “Perkz” Perković eat most midlaners for breakfast, but should Abbedagge be able to replicate his recent performances, this is not one that will go down easy.