Ahead of the 2017 NA LCS Spring Split, few League of Legends fans knew the name of William “Stunt” Chen. Yet, since his appearance midway through the split, the support has proved he is someone to pay attention to moving forward. After a brief stint with Team Dignitas, Stunt has found a new home with Phoenix1, thriving alongside Korean AD Carry star, No “Arrow” Dong-hyeon – he now has the potential to develop into one of the best supports in North America.
Outside of Team Liquid fans, few people could have told you who Stunt was at the beginning of the season. Aside from one game in the LCS as a substitute for Echo Fox (when the full Ember roster was essentially subbing for them), he had very little on-stage experience heading into the split.
The former support for Team Liquid Academy, Stunt had stepped up in the wake of Matt “Matt” Elento’s promotion from TLA to the main Team Liquid roster. Playing alongside TLA AD Carry Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin, Stunt proved a capable lane partner for the former world champion. Yet after their 3-2 loss to Echo Fox in the Promotion Tournament, Stunt once again faded back into obscurity in the off-season.
After a quiet off-season, those paying close attention would have been surprised to find Stunt’s name listed on the Riot Games’ global contract database, as a member of Team Dignitas’s newly formed roster. Whatever the original intentions may have been, things quickly changed as Team Dignitas endured a rough start to their season and the play of starting support Alex “Xpecial” Chu was called into question.
Making his debut almost halfway through the season, Stunt would help guide Team Dignitas to a clean 2-0 series victory over Team EnVyUs in his first piece of NA LCS action as a member of DIG. Although his performances on stage were not lacking, he would only play one more game for Team Dignitas before Xpecial regained control of the starting position.
When Phoenix1 experienced internal issues that were severely impacting their team environment (exemplified by the now infamous “jungler with a brain” interview), it was decided the team would part ways with starting support Adrian “Adrian” Ma.
For his replacement, Phoenix1 turned to a support with possibly the highest ceiling that was not currently starting on an LCS roster. Stunt immediately gelled with starting ADC No “Arrow” Dong-hyeon, and Phoenix1, compiling an 8-1 match record with the team to end the season, leading the every other LCS player for kill participation stats, at almost 81%.
With Stunt, Phoenix1 possesses a diamond in the rough. His champion pool is extremely flexible, playing six different champions over the nine games with Phoenix1 during the regular season, whilst his laning phase with Arrow has proven to be a dominant combination, one that has helped propel Arrow towards the top of the MVP conversation. Stunt serves as a significant upgrade to the team environment over Adrian, with an infectiously optimistic attitude and persona that is very easy to see both on and off stage.
With a number of teams in the NA LCS struggling to find stability at the support position – namely Team Liquid and Echo Fox – Phoenix1 have proven they made an excellent decision when they decided to acquire Stunt from Team Dignitas. The opportunity for the former Team Dignitas man to clean sweep his former roster as Phoenix1 advanced to the playoffs semifinal, was just reward after a turbulent split for Stunt.
With less than a full split to his name, Stunt will likely only continue to improve with more stage experience and time in an LCS environment; whether he can be a top support in NA will become clearer throughout the Summer Split. As shown in his kill participation statistics, Stunt is already an impact player for Phoenix1 and is projected to get better and better.
The NA LCS Birthing Grounds Of Team Liquid
Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham
Matthew "Akaadian" Higginbotham played Jungle on the Team Liquid Academy roster between February and April of 2016, until the beginning of May where he was replaced by Galen "Moon" Holgate.He is now doing very well on the Echo Fox roster and has been classed as one of the best rookie Junglers this split.
Benjamin “LOD” deMunck
Benjamin "LOD" deMunck is the current AD Carry for Team Dignitas and played with Team EnVy throughout last year. This has been LOD's breakout to his professional career, but it hasn't been his first attempt. First playing for Team LoLPro he was picked up by newly branded Team Curse as their substitute AD Carry. He stayed with the team throughout the entire of season 4 before eventually leaving for greener pastures.
Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black
Zaqueri "Aphromoo" Black may just try and forget his stint with Team Curse as he left Counter Logic Gaming in late Season 3 to join the team for less then a month before returning home where he has remained to this day.Aphromoo has constantly been called the best Support in North America and a contender for best Support in the west.
Johnny “Altec” Ru
Johnny "Altec" Ru was the AD Carry for Curse Academy from January until July in Season 3 when he was picked up to be a substitute for Team Solo Mid. He has been on many other teams such as Cloud 9 Tempest, Evil Geniuses and Gravity.He is currently the AD Carry for FlyQuest eSports, the third placed team in the North American LCS.
Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett
After one of the most public departures from a team, Joshua "Dardoch" Hartnett left Team Liquid last year and traded places with Kim "Reignover" Yeu-jin to join the Immortals squad.Dardoch is one of the best examples of Team Liquid birthing a strong national talent and letting them go.
Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell
Kevin "Hauntzer" Yarnell may now be classed as one of the best Top laners in North America. However before he was known as Team SoloMid's backbone he played top lane for Team LoLPro and stuck with the team when they branded as Curse Gaming, eventually leaving for Team Gravity.
Galen “Moon” Holgate
Galen "Moon" Holgate has somewhat of a similar story to Keith. Originally playing for the Liquid Challenger roster, he was bumped up to the main roster when Joshua "Dardoch" Hartnett was suspended for poor attitude. However the team seemed to fall apart without Dardoch and he was taken off suspension and Moon was retired back to the Challenger roster.
Eugene “Pobelter” Park
Eugene "Pobelter" Park has had multiple stints with Curse rosters, originally playing for their main roster he left to join Meat Playground, however he rejoined shortly afterwards and joined the Curse challenger line-up.He bounced around other teams for quite a while before landing back on Curse for less than a month in October at the end of Season 3.
Andy “Smoothie” Ta
After a disappointing start to Andy "Smoothie" Ta's collaboration with Team Liquid, he jumped between the main roster and the challenger roster.Team Liquid wanted to utilize both rosters, but Smoothie ended up playing on the challenger roster almost non-stop. He left the team in April 2016 and shortly after was picked up by Cloud9 who he has stayed with ever since.
Alex “Xpecial” Chu
Rewind time to season 4, Alex "Xpecial" Chu is a superstar support. Playing with Team SoloMid for 3 years will give you that reputation. After being released from Team SoloMid shortly after Season 4, he joined Curse Gaming and stayed with them for four splits and two seasons through their rebrand to Team Liquid.After some drama between Xpecial and AD Carry Chae "Piglet" Gwang-jin he left the roster to join Apex Gaming.
Derek “Zig” Shao
Derek "Zig" Shao has been with the Team Liquid organization the longest of any player on the list, staying with the organization almost two years, playing on both the challenger and main roster of both Team Curse and Team Liquid. He left team Liquid in Season 6 to join Phoenix 1.He currently still plays Top lane for Phoenix 1 and they are tied third in the North American LCS
Yuri “Keith” Jew
Yuri "Keith" Jew has somewhat of a sad story to begin his league career. Used by both Team Liquid and Team SoloMid when their previous AD Carries weren't performing up to scratch, Keith would come in, perform really well and then his competition would begin playing well again.He helped Liquid overcome a rough 1-3 start in the spring split of season 6.
Apollo “Apollo” Price
Apollo "Apollo" Price is now a well known name in the North American LCS, however this wasn't always the case. His time with Team LoLPro was so unknown there isn't even a certainty on the time he spent with them.He left the team to join Team Impulse in December of 2014 and he now plays for Team NV in the North American LCS.
Lae-Young “Keane” Jang
Originally playing for the Oceanic version of Team Curse Lae-Young "Keane" Jang wanted bigger things and eventually moved on to the Curse Academy roster. He stayed with the team until the end of Season 5, when he left to join Team Gravity and has stayed with the team through all its rebrands ever since.
David “Cop” Roberson
David "Cop" Roberson is one of the veterans on this list, not only has been been playing on professional teams since at least season 1, his skill also transcends the rift. Playing with Team Curse and moving to Curse Academy from December 2011 all the way through until January 2015, his most recent team has been Team Dignitas where he has returned to coach the team during their 2017 Spring Split.
William "Stunt" Chen is the youngest player of the bunch, still trying to find himself a starting place on a roster as he currently shares the support role with legend Xpecial. Although only playing 3 games this season, he was one game away from qualifying for the LCS with Team Liquid Academy last year in the summer split promotion. Going to a full 5 games, Stunt and the rest of TLA failed to qualify for the 2017 Spring Split. He is currently the substitute for a surging Team Dignitas.