In an offseason headlined by money-infused teams entering the scene, high-profile import signings, and Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng destroying the internet with his move to Team SoloMid, Team Dignitas was seen as a complete non-factor. Sure, they picked up their own imports, but instead of breaking the bank on a big name from South Korea, Dignitas signed two unproven European talents in Lennart "Smittyj" Warkus and Thomas "Kirei" Yuen.
Dignitas' other signing during the break, NA LCS veteran Apollo "Apollo" Price, was another shrewd, under-the-radar move by Dig that bolstered its lineup. Apollo started his professional career on Team Coast two years ago before joining the aptly named, offense-oriented Team Impulse for the 2015 campaign.
"Well, first off, English speakers," Apollo told ESPN when asked about the differences between his old team TiP and his current home, Dignitas. "We can all get along, a little bit more. We all bond better because it's easier to communicate."
Lacking the fanfare surrounding a majority of the NA squads this split, Dignitas prevailed on Sunday, defeating defending champions CLG in commanding fashion. That made up for a slow start on opening day; Dig fell to NRG Esports in a close contest that saw them lose to one of those previously mentioned highly publicized imports -- Lee "GBM" Chang-suk.
Apollo dissected the Day 1 loss against NRG, pinpointing that the early-game was good enough to win until the organization's stereotypical Baron-throwing came back to hurt them. The team went home discouraged at their lackluster play that let a victory slip away, but worked on their issues so Sunday wouldn't end similarly.
"We made a couple mistakes [against CLG], but overall we stayed away from Baron and tried to push our lead elsewhere. It was a lot cleaner today," Apollo explained.
Team Dignitas was still able to be proactive in the early stages of the game and gain control through their individual talent, but this time they didn't corner themselves by forcing anything on the map. Instead of trying to do too much, Dignitas played like a veteran team, bringing their record back to .500 after the first weekend of LCS play.
"We have to take our scrimmages more seriously," Apollo said when asked about how Dignitas would keep up its momentum throughout the entire split. "It's kind of the same for every team. You always want to translate [your scrimmage performance] into the LCS stage. It just comes through experience."
The AD carry continued, saying his team couldn't drop matches against teams that are likely to finish at the bottom of the table. For a team written off in pre-season to fight off relegation, Dignitas is looking up in the standings -- not down. They didn't win any awards in the offseason for their transaction news, but that doesn't faze them. If Dignitas can continue learning and use its communication advantage, they'll be chasing the only award that truly matters this split -- the NA LCS championship.