Team Dignitas Damonte Official for LCS Academy
Team Dignitas Damonte was a signing that almost never happened. Many fans across the globe were highly disappointed after Dignitas (who took over Clutch Gaming’s LCS spot), decided to not renew Tanner “Damonte” Damonte’s contract. It was a confusing decision for a plethora of different reasons. First of all, Damonte was Clutch Gaming’s poster child. He has a solid fan base along with an engaging personality. Secondly, he was their most fascinating player and a spectacular performer as well.
In fact, Damonte’s plays (among other things) were one of the biggest reasons why Clutch got to Worlds in the first place. He certainly didn’t do all the hard-carrying by himself, but his in-game impact and talent were undeniable. Furthermore, he’s not exactly a superstar by any means so his contract probably wasn’t particularly expensive in the first place. A native mid laner who doesn’t cost a ton is a hard thing to come by, at least in North America. After Dignitas spent $2.3 million on Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon — Damonte’s former teammate — it was only natural to expect them to sign Damonte as well.
But such a decision was never made, for reasons unknown. Instead, Dignitas opted to sign Henrik “Froggen” Hansen, the European mid lane legend who’s still one of the best mids in the entire region. He’s definitely a step up over Damonte, but his contract probably comes with a higher price tag as well. After spending one third of their budget on Huni, Dignitas was supposedly struggling to complete their LCS roster. So in a way, signing Damonte would’ve been the perfect solution, performance and cost-wise.
Sticking the Landing
As the off-season went on, it became evident that Damonte wouldn’t have a team to call home come 2020. That, in a nutshell, was rather shocking. Not only was he one of the better mid laners in the LCS this year, but he was also a rarity in the LCS — a well-performing native mid laner. Franchising was supposed to usher in a different kind of status quo. Teams were supposed to invest in up and coming talent, in native players who had potential, rather than shell out money for imports (most of which were way past their prime).
The League of Legends online community was outraged, and with good reason. Fortunately, Team Dignitas has decided to keep Damonte and slot him into their Academy team.
This is by no means a triumph for the native mid laner, but at least he’ll have a job and could, potentially, replace Froggen should the need arise. Playing in the “little leagues” is in many ways a step down for Damonte, but it can also be used as an opportunity to learn and further develop as a player.
Regardless, he’s a known quantity and a solid performer. If he continues playing at a high level, he should be back on an LCS team sooner rather than later.