It's difficult to say what makes a team truly great. Some of the greatest teams in League of Legends history have had obvious weaknesses in more than one position. Some teams are able to execute a variety of styles well, and others execute one style to an extremely high level that's difficult to counter.
The magic formula seems to be in synergy. Samsung White may not have been the best of friends, as it's speculated that Mata and imp had a professional interaction that didn't extend into friendship. Cloud9 were marketed as a team of friends that just happened to play the game, but later statements suggested they were more divided. Friendship isn't synergy. Synergy is putting the right players and personalities around each other to create a system for success.
When FORG1VEN left the Copenhagen Wolves, he did so to look for a team that could dedicate themselves to being the best. Recently, the Daily Dot's Josh Raven reported that FORG1VEN was discussing making similar moves to leave SK Gaming, the team that placed first in the European LCS Spring regular season but only fourth in the playoffs. Rumors of his negative behavior toward his teammates have been circulating since SK's first loss to Fnatic in the regular season.
This kind of attitude can be detrimental or beneficial to a team environment depending on the pieces placed around him. Certain personalities function better in a highly critical environment. The only people that might work well with FORG1VEN are those who feed off extremely negative feedback or those whom he acknowledges as performing better than him.
On Wednesday, Gambit officially announced that they have acquired FORG1VEN. To the uninitiated, this might just look like yet another team ripe for FORG1VEN to drag down, another team that won't meet his high standards and will burn out before they get the chance. Another team for him to carry just far enough without major success.
Gambit Gaming are known for their bluntness. They also recently announced they would be releasing their coach, Leviathan, and went into perhaps unnecessary detail as to why he was let go.
When Edward chose to leave the team for Curse in 2013, he noted similar reasons to FORG1VEN's for leaving the Wolves, believing his team wasn't as dedicated to success at the time. His nearly forgotten history of rage behavior as GosuPepper had been swept away with a name change.
Diamond has been nothing if not brutally honest about his opinions of other players, especially other junglers. He was motivated to improve his dedication to the team after he was briefly benched last year, responding well to critical treatment.
Over time, Gambit has cultivated an image of blunt honesty. If communication isn't happening, the public will eventually know, and changes will be made after a disappointing split. Gambit are a long way away from the great legacy left by Moscow 5, but they don't hide their disappointment.
As to how Gambit performs on the rift, it is easy to characterize this past split in the European LCS as below standard. The community holds players like Edward and Diamond in high regard; they expect the best, because at one point, both of them were. Many junglers internationally model their own play after Diamond's, and Edward was part of setting a trend for aggressive supporting.
Gambit's performance is only just above their placement during the 2014 LCS Summer; they lost out in the first round of the playoffs. That isn't what they want. For a team that's shown they aren't afraid to bench legacy players like Darien, Genja, and even Diamond for a period of time to get results, not instituting a roster change here would be a shock.
A brief period of success largely came about earlier in the split with Diamond and Edward leading a roaming duo strategy. Diamond set up shop to camp Cabochard's top lane, giving him the illusion of competing with Europe's best like Huni and Odoamne. With heavy pressure, Cabochard could find a way to carry. By the same token, Edward and P1noy took to roaming when behind and finding picks they could burst down with Tristana.
The aggressive duo lane style suits FORG1VEN. Edward's fondness for grabbing picks is the kind of playstyle he's reportedly been missing. High win rates on both Thresh and Morgana are a good sign for an AD Carry who prioritizes the laning phase over any other portion of the game.
FORG1VEN hasn't shown he requires jungle pressure on SK Gaming, but has played with one of the strongest junglers in Europe in Svenskeren. Diamond's camping top lane strategy fits the bill. As long as Diamond pulls the enemy jungle pressure to another side of the map, FORG1VEN and Edward can do what they want to control a lane. With Betsy doing his best to split-push and distract, Gambit has a formula for success around a true carry.
Stylistically, Gambit is a match for FORG1VEN, but that on its own isn't a formula for making the best team in Europe. Cabochard can carry with enough attention, but he isn't a star top laner. Betsy still often times feels like he doesn't quite belong, as if Gambit hasn't found an actual use for him and having a fifth member is just an occasional bonus. Even Edward's and Diamond's performances have had low points with Edward missing simple mechanical skill-shots or Diamond over-committing on engagements.
This is where the X-Factor comes in. The fabled "synergy"-that-looks-like-but-is-not-friendship. If there's a team that FORG1VEN can make work, it has to be Gambit Gaming. Their reputation for dishing out harsh criticism can only succeed if they take as well as they deliver.
In Spring, it seemed as if FORG1VEN had found the perfect home on SK Gaming. The team had previously managed to place third in the European LCS without any mechanical stars, but with an upgraded AD Carry and mid laner, it seemed certain they'd rule their region. For a while, they did, but it seemed once again the "paper perfect" roster couldn't succeed. If FORG1VEN wasn't on a champion where he could hard carry, the team wouldn't get off the ground.
In a ravine of hardened honesty, FORG1VEN has no choice but to add to the pot and drink his own brew. Gambit might not be a team of stars anymore, but we've had to learn the hard way that that isn't what makes for great success. Even if players aren't best friends, personality and playstyle mesh as well as a snug environment goes a long way. If truth barbs truly herd Gambit to the top, FORG1VEN will find his place with a team that won't settle until they tell you how they feel.
Gambit isn't good on paper, but they have that certain something to help them smash through LCS. If it doesn't work this time, FORG1VEN, it never will.
Kelsey Moser is a staff writer for the Score eSports. She believes in the power of vicious rancor and encourages you to yell at her on Twitter.