Qiyana, the newest League of Legends champion, made her LCS debut last weekend. Clutch Gaming Mid Laner Tanner "Damonte" Damonte played the Empress of Elements in both games of week 6 of the 2019 LCS Summer Split.
Qiyana's North American debut was less than stellar. Damonte locked in the pick for the first time against the Twisted Fate of TSM's Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg. Damonte performed well enough throughout the early and mid game, but didn't snowball enough to turn the tides as TSM took control of the late game and prevailed. As a result, Damonte was shackled with the first Qiyana loss in LoL Esports history.
Damonte didn't let that discourage him from selecting Qiyana again the next day against OpTic Gaming. Matched up against the Azir of Lee "Crown" Min-ho, Damonte fell behind in CS gracefully to the Emperor of Shurima and capitalized on opportunities to roam outside of the Mid Lane to snowball on the AD assassin while helping his teammates. When all was said and done, Damonte finished the game with a score of 8/1/7, demolishing the Green Wall for CG's 5th victory of the split.
Damonte joined Inven Global's Lara Lunardi after the Clutch Gaming's triumph over OpTic Gaming to discuss his personal opinions on Qiyana in competitive play. "I love playing the champion, the design is super sick," Damonte said. "It's basically an AD assassin that is also really insane at teamfighting."
Damonte also expressed surprise that he was the only player to utilize the Empress of Elements on stage given her perceived power level. "I personally think the champion is not very balanced. It seems like if you get ahead on this champion, the amount of threat it puts on to multiple enemies at the same time is kind of absurd."
Clutch Gaming is currently tied for 7th in the 2019 LCS Summer Split with 100 Thieves. If the LCS cowboys want to improve on their 5-7 record against the likes of Team Liquid and Echo Fox, Damonte's willingness to play Qiyana may be an integral factor in that potential success.