There was a lot of skepticism about the viability of extended rosters coming into playoffs this year. Two of the world’s top organizations had more talent than they knew what to do with and that meant some star players would have to sit out. Luckily, C9 and Fnatic perfectly outlined how best to utilize extended rosters in the LCS.
Cloud9 had an embarrassment of riches heading into the NA playoffs. They had seven highly talented players, but only five starting spots. So in the semifinals when they found themselves down 2-1 to TSM, instead of just sticking to a losing formula, they decided to adapt. They benched Blaber and Jensen and decided to bring in Svenskeren and Goldenglue, who’ve both spent the majority of the split on Cloud9’s Academy team.
The two newcomers dominated the next two games and led C9 to a 3-2 series victory.
Fnatic was in a similar situation in the EU LCS semifinals. They had two all-pro players and one of the best ADCs in the world, but only two starting roles for the three of them. Rather than only utilize the talents of two of the players, they rotated all three in and now find themselves heading to the finals.
When it came down to it, both teams were ready and willing to make changes when necessary. More importantly, all the players on both teams appeared to understand the situation and seemed to be okay with the moves. Everyone seemed to be on the same page and everyone benefitted as a result.
Communication, preparedness and willingness to adapt are the three conditions most integral to utilizing extended rosters. If any of those aspects are missing, then you end up in a situation like 100 Thieves found themselves in with Rikara and Cody Sun.