The League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) is set to continue its 2020 season with the Summer Split, slated to kick off on Friday. During the off-season, we have seen many roster changes, which thoroughly reshuffled the balance of power throughout the league, or at least so it seems.
Cloud9 are still widely regarded as the man favourites to claim the title, however, with many big names moving teams in the off-season, the LCS Summer will likely introduce a bit more volatility and a much tighter race which might even produce a team that will take down Cloud9.
And as if the top tier of North American LoL competition couldn’t get any more exciting, this split will see eight teams enter the playoffs instead of the usual six. Here we will try to make some sense of the chaos that is set to ensure and rank the LCS teams according to their power and chances to come away from the Summer split with something.
Perhaps it would be fairer to put Dignitas here, but I’m not too happy with Immortal’s decision to replace Jake “Xmithie” Puchero with Nicholas “Potluck” Pollock for the opening week of LCS, which makes me wonder what Immortals’ plans for this split are.
Additionally, Immortals did not bring in any big signings in the off-season, and without a proper star player this team is set for failure. The only bright spot in this team is Paul “sOAZ” Boyer, but he alone won’t be able to carry Immortals, especially not from the top lane.
I don’t see Dignitas’ decision to part ways with Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon as a huge negative, but I’m also not too excited about the signings of Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett and Omran “V1per” Shoura. The current meta favors more utility top laners, whereas V1per shines only on carry champions, namely Riven, which won’t help Dignitas with their performances. They might pick up an occasional win here or there, but consistency will still be a huge issue.
I’m not ready to say Dignitas are a terrible team, but comparing them to other LCS teams, the remaining eight look like they have a much higher ceiling (apart from Immortals), whereas Dignitas look like a team that won’t see much progress this split.
Counter Logic Gaming
I would like to believe in Counter Logic Gaming, but just like Immortals and Dignitas, they lack a proper star player around whom the team can play. I can still trust in Raymond “Wiggly” Griffin and Andy “Smoothie” Ta to be consistent, but you can’t expect a jungler and support to do all the work.
On a more positive note, CLG have improved since they signed Eugene “Pobelter” Park who added the veteran voice this team needed, albeit the improvement was rather marginal. Nevertheless, if we can see a bit more from their ADCs, CLG might even reach a bit higher, but in a bit to not be overly optimistic, I have CLG at eighth place for this split.
Golden Guardians, 100 Thieves and FlyQuest
Golden Guardians, 100 Thieves and FlyQuest are the three teams that will likely compete for the top-six finish this split and while there are a few key differences that set them apart, it’s difficult to rank which of the three is the strongest.
FlyQuest have reached the grand finals last split, but I don’t rank that success too much, as they obviously overachieved. Throughout the playoffs, FlyQuest played well above what they have shown throughout the regular season and I don’t see them being able to play at the same level in Summer. What’s more, their “success” was more a by-product of other teams failing to deliver rather than FlyQuest’s own quality.
As mentioned in our week 1 predictions, I expect FlyQuest to remain consistently good, but I don’t expect them to finish amongst top four, let alone repeat their success from last season.
Golden Guardians have acquired Tanner “Damonte” Damonte as their new mid laner, which is in our book a big positive. Not only is Damonte a better and more consistent player than Greyson Gregory “Goldenglue” Gilmer, but his roam-heavy playstyle will also benefit this team as a whole. With Yuri “Keith” Jew finally out of the team, GG can now focus on playing only Choi “huhi” Jae-hyun, which is another element that will help enable their underrated ADC Victor “FBI” Huang.
This team has a lot of room to grow and as long as they can play around FBI and form a strong synergy between Damonte and Can “Closer” Çelik, Golden Guardians might be set for a strong finish of the split.
Last but not least, we have 100 Thieves, who you never know where to put. Similarly to FlyQuest, 100 Thieves overachieved last split, when they finished second in the regular season, but like it was the case with FlyQuest, 100T’s success really came down to other teams underperforming.
Nevertheless, we have seen some improvement from this roster towards the end of the split. William “Meteos” Hartman started playing at the level that was expected of him and Tommy “Ryoma” Le improved his individual play at least to a degree where he was no longer holding his team back. Sun “Cody Sun” Li-Yu is another player that deserves some praise, but he is not at the level where 100T need him to be just yet.
Like last season, 100T will count on Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho to carry them through the season, but as long as the remaining of the roster will continue playing a level below Ssumday, this team will struggle to make much noise this split.
Team Liquid and Team SoloMid
After parting ways with Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, you would have expected Liquid to bring in another star ADC to replace him, but the problem is that there are not many available star ADC players in North America, so they were forced to use Edward “Tactical” Ra as their starting marksman, which is not all to bad. He has shown a lot of promise last split and the fact that he has a lot of unexplored potential means he just might impress everyone.
The departure of Doublelift also means that Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen is now the main carry of this roster which is another plus and if Jensen can establish strong synergy with Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen, Liquid might be set for success. In the end, a lot of things will have to fall in place for Liquid, but if they do, this team just might surprise everyone – don’t sleep on Liquid.
Team SoloMid were heavily criticised for their signing of Doublelift, but that doesn’t matter here, since this move was arguably the best signing TSM could have made. This team have severely underperformed last split not necessarily because they lacked star players, or because Kobbe played poorly, but rather because they did not have a strong leader, which is exactly what they gained with Doublelift, who ironically enough left Liquid because they did not allow him to lead the team.
On paper, TSM look stronger than they were in a very long time, but only time will tell how high this team can go.
I only rank Evil Geniuses higher than TSM and Liquid because we know what to expect from them. Besides the signing of Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon, this team made no roster changes in the off-season and I don’t see any reason why they should.
Evil Geniuses finished last season third, but in all honesty, this team is capable of much more. Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen and Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro have had their shaky games last split, while Colin “Kumo” Zhao left a lot to be desired with his inconsistencies.
There is nothing that would indicate EG have fixed those issues, but with the whole off-season to reflect on their mistakes, I have high hopes for EG this split. Additionally, if EG learn to play a bit more around Bae “Bang” Jun-sik instead of putting all their resources in the mid-jungle, EG just might impress everyone.
There is really not a lot to talk about here and from the looks of it, there is no team that can stop Cloud9 from reigning supreme in the LCS this season. A lot will have to go wrong for Cloud9 to not win this split and while I can confidently say the Summer split will be far more competitive than Spring, Cloud9 looked just too strong in Spring for me to say they won’t lift the trophy in September.
Prediction: Cloud9 to win LCS Summer – 1.40 Bet365
Prediction: Immortals to finish bottom two – 2.00 Bet365