While there are still multiple weeks left to be played in the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) Summer Split, the early contenders for Most Valuable Player of the Summer Split have slowly begun to rise. With a field of potential picks that may be more crowded and diverse than we have seen in recent years, one player has already staked his claim to being one of the most worthy for the award.
A veteran of the LCS, William "Meteos" Hartman has played for multiple organizations over his illustrious career as a jungler. Now with OpTic Gaming, Meteos has continued to transform and grow with his new organisation, as he discussed in a recent interview with GINX at the Spring Split Finals.
Whereas early in his career with Cloud9 Meteos was known as a top talent and dominant jungler, he has transitioned to a more cerebral player over his years in the LCS. For himself and OpTic to be successful, Meteos is often forced to outthink and outmanoeuvre his jungler counterpart rather than relying on superior mechanics, predicting ganks and earning small advantages through smart invades and vision control.
In the Summer Split, Meteos has often been able to punish early mistakes by the enemy team, as was clearly shown in a game against Echo Fox earlier in the Split. An early flash blown by Echo Fox jungler James "Panda" Ding allowed Meteos to invade and kill Panda at his own buff, which was then quickly transitioned into additional camps and kills for the other lane.
In tandem with Meteosâ€™ ability to effectively punish his opponent's mistakes, he is an expert at putting himself in the right place at the right time for a counter gank. This was clearly demonstrated in their recent match-up against Golden Guardians, where Meteos was perfectly positioned at almost every gank by Juan â€œContractzâ€ Arturo Garcia to turn the play in Opticâ€™s favour. What could have been a big play for the Golden Guardians was repeatedly turned into kills or pressure for OpTic instead.
In addition, Meteos unselfish nature and ability to work on limited resources have unlocked the other carries in the OpTic lineup. Between former MVPs mid-laner Lee "Crown" Min-ho (in the LCK) and bot-laner Noh "Arrow" Dong-hyeon, Meteos is rarely called upon to be the star for his own team and instead works as an enabler that allows his teammates to consistently thrive. This formula has allowed OpTic to rise quickly in the standings, as they finished the first two weeks of the Summer Split undefeated and continue to be solidly in the playoff hunt.
Although the MVP award across traditional sports has often been given to the best player on a top team, Meteos truly exemplifies the "valuable" aspect of the award. Although Optic sits in the middle of the current LCS standings, he may be the single most important player to any of the current playoff teams success. OpTic Gaming has gone through a significant renaissance on the Rift since Meteos' arrival, and his leadership and macro understanding are a significant reason why OpTic Gaming now finds themselves very relevant in the LCS playoff race.
While there are clearly other players who have legitimate arguments for why they are deserving of the MVP, if Meteos and OpTic Gaming are able to complete their turnaround and make their first ever playoff appearance Meteos will be the single biggest reason why. Although his days as a top star in the LCS are long behind him, he continues to be the motor that has driven OpTic up the standings, quietly leading the organisation to what assuredly will be their best ever finish and even the possibility of a World Championship berth.
If the MVP award is truly meant to be the most valuable player to his team, Meteos has to be a frontrunner halfway through the Summer Split.