League of Legends LCS Spring Season 2021 Betting Preview and Prediction
The 2021 League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) kicks off on February 5, with a new format and a handful of new faces who will make their debut in the North American LoL league.
After failing to achieve any notable international success since… well forever, the LCS found itself under fire from its fans who demanded changes that would help elevate the quality of play in the North American region. It seems like the league and its teams listened and made some much-needed adaptations in form of heavy investments and a complete restructure of the league’s format which does have its negatives, but in most part, it’s a change for the better.
LCS 2021 updated format
The reformed LCS will now feature an additional tournament in the LCS Lock-In, whereas the split playoffs renamed to Mid-Season Showdown and LCS Championship respectively. Adding to that, the 2021 LCS will combine the two splits, which will help remove the mentality that the “Spring Split does not matter”. Now it does.
The LCS Summer playoffs is now known as the LCS Championship, which serves the same purpose – to crown the North American champions and send three teams to LoL World Championship – but now only accepts the best teams based on their combined Spring and Summer regular-season rankings. The LCS Championship will also feature a new inverted format to prevent teams from meeting again until later in the tournament, as well as changed scheduling to avoid teams playing two games in one week.
Adding to that, the Spring Split will expand to five games a day, three days a week (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), whereas the Summer Split will now transition to a triple Round-Robin which will be played over nine weeks to give teams one more shot to secure their spot in the LCS Championship.
Instead of going into much detail about the new changes, we will instead focus on our LCS 2021 Spring preview, were we look at the 10 teams, what changes they have made and what they can achieve in the first split of the season.
Cloud9 enter the 2021 LCS Spring as the main favorites to win the trophy, which seems fair considering the quality of players this team fields. I am mostly referring to their new mid laner Luka “Perkz” Perković, who shook the LoL community with his departure from G2 in search of new challenges in the LCS.
By signing Perkz, Cloud9 have acquired something no other team in the league has and that is a superstar playmaker that can singlehandedly win you a game. Is Perkz enough for Cloud9 to steamroll over the rest of LCS teams and win another title, however, is something only time will tell.
And it doesn’t stop there for Cloud9, who on top of Perkz also field Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen, Robert “Blaber” Huang and Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme, who need no special introduction as they have already proven what they’re capable of last year. The only enigma is Ibrahim “Fudge” Allam, but even he has looked extremely solid in the Academy league, where he was a runner-up for the Spring MVP.
Fudge might need some time to fully transition to the LCS, but with so much talent around him, the transition should be smooth and fast enough for C9 to compete for the title. It may be too early to say, but this just might become the strongest team North America has ever had.
Out: Eric “Licorice” Ritchie (top), Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer (mid)
In: Ibrahim “Fudge” Allam (top), Luka “Perkz” Perković (mid)
Team Liquid might be priced as the second-favorites to win the league, but there is definitely a world where they can finish above Cloud9 solely due to the raw strength of their roster and coaching staff – now it all comes down to execution.
By signing Barney “Alphari” Morris from OG (now Astralis), Liquid have gained a reliable and strong top laner, whereas replacing Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen with Lucas “Santorin” Tao Kilmer Larsen is easily one of the biggest upgrades any LCS team has made. At the same time, Liquid managed to retain Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen as well as their bottom lane duo in Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in and Edward “Tactical” Ra and it’s hard to find a flaw in that decision.
The only issue with Liquid is that they (again) seem a bit too one-dynamic. Their players should execute the script perfectly, but they lack a player that can improvise and go off-script when needed (such as Perkz). There are arguments to be made CoreJJ is one of the players that can do that, and while his role is not exactly suited for carrying games, he is the kind of player that can have a major impact even as a support.
The main question we need to ask ourselves is whether Liquid have a shot at winning the title and the answer is yes, but there are a few things that we need to consider. For Liquid to succeed, they will need to play around Jensen, not only to help him keep up the pace with Perkz, but largely because Jensen usually does well when his team plays through him.
The second thing is their coaching staff. Many people tend to forget Liquid how much success Liquid have achieved after appointing Joshua “Jatt” Leesman as their head coach. To put it into a perspective, Liquid have lost only eight games out of 31 with Jatt in charge last season, not counting their 4-1 record in the LoL Worlds Play-In stage and wins against G2 Esports, Suning and Machi Esports in the group stage. And let’s not forget, they have won the LCS Lock-in.
If Jatt managed to help Liquid improve so much in comparison to what they have shown in the 2020 LCS Spring, there is no telling how far can this team go.
Out: Jeong “Impact” Eon-young (top), Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen (jungle)
In: Barney “Alphari” Morris (top), Lucas “Santorin” Tao Kilmer Larsen (jungle)
Prediction: Team Liquid to win the LCS Spring – 2.25
Despite losing two star players to retirement, Team SoloMid did a fine job in putting together a competitive roster that should do more than just fine in the 2021 season.
The hottest topic of discussion is TSM’s bottom lane, where they now field Lawrence “Lost” Sze Yuy Hui instead of Yillang “Doublelift” Peng, who is in eyes of many a downgrade. That is understandable to hear, considering Doublelift is the best North American player in history, but there is no going around the fact that his performances weren’t exactly spectacular of late. What’s more, one of Doublelift’s main strength – leadership – is not exactly needed in TSM’s current roster with Huni and PowerOfEvil both on the team.
This essentially makes Doublelift far less valuable to TSM and arguably makes Lost a better option. That is not to say Lost is guaranteed to blossom into NA’s future superstar, but he definitely has – like Fudge – the right mix of players around him to develop and grow.
The signing of Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon is another roster change that is often interpreted wrong. Although his performance at Dignitas and later in EG Academy were far from promising, he is still a very underrated player, who should do much better with the help of Mingyi “Spica” Lu from the jungle.
We should also mention SwordArt who will likely end the season as the best – or at least second-best – support player in the league. We have some doubts about PowerOfEvil and how well can he adapt to a more team-oriented playstyle rather than establishing his lane kingdom, but it’s not like he is a liability to TSM.
TSM have put together quite a decent roster which should have a fairly easy time locking in their playoff spot. They are far stronger than the bottom five teams, but at the same time, we are not ready to say they can compete with the top dogs in Team Liquid and Cloud9, largely due to their very questionable drafts.
Out: Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik (top), Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg (mid), Yiliang “Peter” “Doublelift” Peng, Vincent “Biofrost” Wang (support)
In: Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon (top), Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage, Lawrence “Lost” Sze Yuy Hui (ADC), Hu “SwordArt” Shuo-Chieh (support)
100 Thieves are essentially an upgraded version of last year’s Golden Guardians with Kim “Ssumday” Chan-hoin the top lane. That is not particularly bad nor is it outlandishly good, which basically sums up what we think about this team.
If we compare 100T to other LCS teams, they come off as the most unpredictable. There are plenty of positive things going for them, namely a stronger roster which should relieve Ssumday from doing all the heavy lifting last season, but at the same time, much of the team’s stability will come from the bottom lane.
There are even arguments to be made Can “Closer” Çelik, Victor “FBI” Huang and Choi “huhi” Jae-hyun have a much higher ceiling to what they have shown last season and if that proves to be true, we could imagine 100T contest a top-four finish. 100T also have a very solid academy team, which should help in cases where either of the players from the main roster underperforms.
On that note, it’s somewhat confusing why 100T did not promote Poome to the main roster, but we can understand they wanted to sign huni – to keep his synergy with FBI. While their decisions to buy players instead of using their own talent might not make the most sense financially, 100T still seem like a fairly solid team that should be in contention for a playoffs spot.
Out: Juan Arturo “Contractz” Garcia (jungler), Tommy “Ryoma” Le (mid), Liyu “Cody” “Cody Sun” Sun (ADC), Philippe “Poome” Lavoie-Giguere (support)
In: Can “Closer” Çelik (jungler), Tanner “Damonte” Damonte (mid), Ian Victor “FBI” Huang (ADC), Choi “huhi” Jae-hyun (support)
Things weren’t going as planned for Evil Geniuses last season so it’s reasonable to see changes, which don’t look all that bad. They have put together a fairly solid roster, albeit with one big question mark looming above Deftly. Had Evil Geniuses acquired a better ADC we would confidently say this is a team that could compete for a Worlds ticket, but for now, we have them ranked fifth, only slightly below 100 Thieves.
There are arguments to be made to rank Evil Geniuses higher than 100T, namely because of Jeong “Impact” Eon-young and Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro, who should help Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen find his old 2019 form and if they succeed in doing so, Evil Geniuses just might surprise many this season.
Some people doubt in Jiizuke, but quite frankly, he is a much better mid laner than many people give him credit for. It’s easy to forget his playmaking ability and with the right players around him, we can be sure the “Italian Stallion” will get a few of his plays in the highlight reel this season.
An additional advantage EG have over most other teams is their strong academy roster, where they can find replacements for the main roster if things go sour. As we see it, EG and 100Twill compete for a top-four finish, but we are ranking EG slightly lower mainly because we don’t know what to expect from Deftly in the long run.
Out: Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon (top), Greyson Gregory “Goldenglue” Gilmer (mid), Bae “Bang” Jun-sik (ADC), Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam (support)
In: Jeong “Impact” Eon-young (top), Matthew “Deftly” Chen (ADC), Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun (support)
Although FlyQuest deserve some praise for their remarkable run through the 2020 season and fairly solid performances in their debut at the League of Legends World Championship, it seems highly unlikely they will manage to replicate their 2020 run or even come close to it. With Santorin, WildTurtle and IgNar all leaving the team, FlyQuest initiated a full rebuild mode, which has some positive signs, but not enough to say FlyQuest will make their third consecutive LCS grand finals.
Johnson “Johnsun” Nguyen and Eric “Licorice” Ritchie are two of the biggest signings of the offseason, but it’s also hard not to be excited about Josedeodo and how will he perform in the LCS. Josedeodo comes off as a stable player, and from what the 20-year-old Argentinian has shown during LoL Worlds, he is also mechanically gifted, so it’s not entirely out of the question he has a couple of pop-off games this season.
The development of their younger talent – including their academy team – will play a crucial role in FlyQuest’s success this season. There is a world where we see no progress and FlyQuest finish outside top-six, but on the other side, it’s also possible they can compete for a fifth-place finish. A sixth-place finish is, however, a more realistic expectation.
Out: Colin “Solo” Earnest (top), Lucas “Santorin” Tao Kilmer Larsen (jungle), Jason “WildTurtle” Tran (ADC), Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun (support)
In: Eric “Licorice” Ritchie (top), Brandon Joel “Josedeodo” Villegas (jungle), Cristian “Palafox” Palafox (mid), Johnson “Johnsun” Nguyen (ADC), David “Diamond” Bérubé (support)
Counter Logic Gaming
Unlike other teams who initiated a full rebuild more, Counter Logic Gaming seem to have settled for a semi-rebuild. They have parted ways with everyone except Pobelter and Smoothie, but CLG should have done a much better job in signing better players, namely in the jungle.
That is not to say Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen is a bad player, but he is not the type of player that will carry the team to victory. He is stable and reliable but has also already hit his ceiling, so it’s not like he has much more to show. Much of the same holds true for Jason “WildTurtle” Tran, who is a solid player, but not someone with unexplored potential.
On the other side, acquiring Broxah and WildTurtle would make a lot of sense if CLG added rookies around them to mentor and teach, but that’s not the case. The only player on the team that has more room to grow is Finn, who could potentially impress and prove everyone who doubted in him wrong, however, there were definitely better options for an import slot on the table for CLG.
CLG seem like a mid-table team, who might not make it to worlds but should have a shot at a top-six finish. We are ranking them about as high as FlyQuest, since we believe Broxah and WildTurtle are (still) a bit underrated.
Out: Kim “Ruin” Hyeong-min (top), Raymond “Griffin” Griffin (jungle), Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes (ADC)
In: Finn “Finn” Wiestål (top), Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen (jungle), Jason “WildTurtle” Tran (ADC)
Like Dignitas and Golden Guardians, Immortals are looking to rebuild their squad, which we can respect, although they field far fewer rookie players than the other two. In fact, Revenge and Insanity are the only two rookies, whereas Raes falls somewhere in between since he has already played in the Oceanic Pro League (OPL) for the past five years.
Another positive we can take from Immortals’ offseason rebuild is the signing of three ex-Origen (Astralis) members in Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir, Mitchell “Destiny” Shaw and head coach André “Guilhoto” Pereira Guilhoto, which seems like a positive synergy-wise, despite OG’s disastrous run through the 2020 season.
Outside of that, Immortals simply lack the needed quality to compete for a high finish. They definitely look better than Golden Guardians and Dignitas and might even contest a top-six finish, but for that to happen, a lot will have to go their way. Like it’s the case with most mid-table teams, it will all come down to how their prospects develop since we already know what to expect from the veterans, who are solid, but unfortunately not good enough to make a massive impact.
Out: Kieran “Allorim” Logue (top), Jake Kevin “Xmithie” Puchero (jungle), Apollo “Apollo” Price (ADC), Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent (support)
In: Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir (jungle), Quin “Raes” Korebrits (ADC), Mitchell “Destiny” Shaw (support)
During the offseason, Dignitas have signed a few rookie players and teamed them up with veterans. Zaqueri “aphromoo” Black is an excellent mentor who should help Toàn “Neo” Trần develop into an LCS-level ADC, while Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett offers some of the veteran experience in addition to being a good enough player to help Dignitas grab a couple of wins here and there.
There are some arguments Dignitas should have signed at least one more star player instead of one of the three rookies, but then again, even that would hardly push them above the playoffs line. This semi-rebuild route is definitely better for longevity and eventual success later down the line.
The only and the biggest issue we have with Dignitas, or better yet with their off-season decisions was the selling of Johnsun. He has shown incredible potential last season, so it is very shocking to hear Dignitas were ready to let him go, however, it also seems likely Johnsun would end up leaving anyway, which makes Dignitas’ decision to sell him to FlyQuest a fairly good business move.
Regardless, Dignitas will be a fun team to watch this season, but we don’t expect any remarkable results from them. They should still finish above Golden Guardians, but that’s about it.
Out: Omran “V1per” Shoura (top), Kim “Fenix” Jae-hun (mid), Johnson “Johnsun” Nguyen (ADC)
In: Aaron “FakeGod” Lee (top), Max “Soligo” Soong (mid), Toàn “Neo” Trần (ADC)
As one of the most exciting teams of 2020, GG sold their entire roster – mostly to 100 Thieves – during the offseason and loaded up on high-potential players, who should develop and pay off the investments in a couple of years. While I am giving GG high marks for their idea, I don’t believe this team has the needed quality to compete for high spots in the 2021 LCS.
Out of all the signings, we are most excited about Aiden “Niles” Tidwell, who seems like a player that hast the potential to blossom into a proper star, but outside of that, there are more questions than answers about Guardians’ new roster. The idea of surrounding Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes with rookies seems good in theory, but then again, Stixxay is coming off a very shaky season, so it’s hard to believe he will serve as a strong glue to keep everything together.
Golden Guardians look like an experimental roster heading into the 2021 season and while they might find relative success down the line, it seems highly unlikely they will come even close to reaching the playoffs. In short, Golden Guardians had a good idea of how to rebuild their roster, but a disastrous execution.
They might prove me wrong and finish the split above the likes of Dignitas, Immortals and perhaps even CLG, however, much of their success will come down to how well their rookie players can develop.
Out: Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell (top), Can “Closer” Çelik (jungle), Tanner “Damonte” Damonte (mid), Ian Victor “FBI” Huang (ADC), Choi “huhi” Jae-hyun (support)
In: Aiden “Niles” Tidwell (top), Ethan “Iconic” Wilkinson (jungle), Nicholas Antonio “Ablazeolive” Abbott (mid), Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes, Leandro “Newbie” Marcos (support)