The in-game turnaround for the jungler has been spectacular.
CLG jungler Juan “Contractz” Garcia has been named the LCS’ Most Improved Player for the 2022 season, the league announced today.
The 23-year-old is finishing his sixth year in the LCS, with some stops in Academy along the way, and his first with CLG as a cornerstone of the staple LCS org’s 2022 roster revamp centered around North American talent.
His dramatic improvement over the course of the year has been reflected in CLG’s rise up the standings, from an eighth-place, 6-12 finish in the spring to a fourth-place 11-win campaign in the summer. Across both splits, Contractz played his role at a pedal-to-the-metal pace but was able to channel and temper his aggression as the year went on, much to his team’s benefit.
The Spring Split was not kind to Contractz. He led all players in the league in deaths with 73 across 17 games and, by extension, had the worst KDA ratio of all players at a paltry 1.7, according to League stats site Games of Legends. In the summer, he was unrecognizable as far as the outcomes of his in-game decisions. The methodology, however, remained the same. CLG had the highest first blood percentage of any team at 66.7 percent and Contractz himself blew every other jungler out of the water in that metric with a 61.1 percent mark. TSM’s Spica ranked second at 44.4 percent.
Contractz made his first appearance in the LCS on Cloud9 in 2017 alongside Impact, Jensen, Sneaky, and Smoothie, a year in which he went to Worlds as a rookie just weeks after his 18th birthday. Tabbed as one of the most promising prospects in the region, he bounced around the LCS and Academy for the next four years before cementing himself as a starter with CLG as the face of its rebuild in 2022.
This is the second year that the LCS has had a Most Improved Player award, with C9 top laner Fudge winning the debut version last year.
While Contractz has picked up some hardware for his own efforts this split, the job is far from done for CLG in 2022. They’ll take on Team Liquid in the LCS Championship lower bracket at 3pm CT tomorrow, Sept. 1, with both teams’ seasons on the line. A potential Worlds berth awaits if they can slay the league’s “superteam” and then pull off another win over either Evil Geniuses or TSM on Sunday, Sept. 4.