2020 LCS Spring Split Winners and Losers
The 2020 LCS Spring Split has finally come to a close and boy what a wild ride it was. The Split ended with all but two teams still fighting for playoff spots on the last day of the Split and came down to three teams playing a tiebreaker set of matches to not only determine who made the final playoff spot but also took second through fourth place heading into the playoffs. We also saw a team tie the all-time LCS win record, and another team failed to register more than three wins this entire Split. We even saw the reigning champions fail to make the playoffs for the first time following winning the previous Split.
So who are the winners of this past Split, and who were those that need to go back to the drawing board heading into the 2020 LCS Summer Split? Let’s take a look at how each team did this Split, and give them a grade based on how their Split has gone. The grading system follows the League grading system and runs from F to S+, with S+ being the highest grading. With that all out or the way, let’s dive on in.
Preseason Grade: B+
Cloud9- had a tumultuous off-season, to say the least, and many had them coming into the Split as the fourth-sixth best team in the league. They’d gotten rid of the last remaining player from their original LCS debut back in 2013 summer, Sneaky, and also did away with their 2019 Summer MVP Svenskeren, trading him to newly returned org Evil Geniuses. The team then went out of their way to pick up Zven from TSM, who had struggled for the last two years on the roster, and young support Vulcan from Clutch Gaming, now known as Dignitas. Many thought the org would settle somewhere in the middle of the pack this Split: good enough for playoffs but unlikely to go all the way.
The team shattered these expectations the 2020 LCS Spring Split, however, as they stormed through the league to start the Split out 13-0, one of the best starts we’ve ever seen a team have in the league. With only a single loss to TSM, Cloud9 tied the all-time LCS Split win record, and at one point was close to Breaking the all-time KDA record with Zven. Cloud9 were the winners of this past off-season, and with how resounding they’ve been all Split, and how inconsistent and weak everyone else has looked, it should be smooth sailing to their first title in six years.
Team Liquid: D-
Preseason Grade: S+
The reigning four-time MVPs came into the Split with what was supposed to be a major upgrade in the jungle, taking Broxah from Fnatic and letting Xmithie go back to Immortals. Yet, despite this supposed upgrade, Liquid became the first team in LCS history to fail to make playoffs following winning the previous Split, coming in 9th in the league. There’s no other way to describe it, this Split has been an utter failure for Team Liquid: from their issues with visas to lacking motivation and a seeming regression of their mechanics, it was a pretty horrendous Split for Team Liquid fans.
On the bright side, they did put up a solid fight against Cloud9 in their last game of the 2020 LCS Spring Split, so there is hope for them going into Summer Split to succeed. but this is a Split to write off for Liquid fans and one that was utterly disappointing at every level. Hopefully, Doublelift regains some of the motivation that he seemed to have lost during the Split. Other than that, there much to say about this team except to wait for Summer to start up.
Counter Logic Gaming: F
Preseason Grade: B+
If Team Liquid had a bad Split, then Counter Logic Gaming had a horrendous meltdown from their form last year. The team, who was sitting in fourth place following the gauntlet last year, found itself this season failing to even surpass three wins for itself, a huge letdown considering the team only replaced two members on the roster. Crown, who was supposed to be a major upgrade given how he performed last year, was unceremoniously removed from the team and replaced with former CLG mid laner Pobelter. While Pobelter got off to a good start with the team, his play too began to regress as the weeks went on, only furthering the problems CLG was facing during the Split.
With so little positive going for this team this Split, it wouldn’t surprise me to see this team make drastic changes going into Summer Split, especially in the bot lane, which has just absolutely floundered so far this season. Stixxay and Smoothie look like the worst duo in the league, and it’s not even close, with constant mechanical and strategic issues in the lane and teamfights costing their team drastically. With so much to work on from the Split, what changes can we expect to see from CLG going into Summer, and will they be enough to get them out of 10th place and into the playoff picture?
Preseason Grade: C
Immortals started the 2020 LCS Spring Split off looking a lot stronger than people were giving them credit for, and it looked like they might prove everyone wrong when they got a hold of second place behind Cloud9 in the standings. The newly returned org had put together a rather confusing roster full of aging players, an AD carry who hadn’t played competitively in a year, and a French midlander that had been in the scene for a long time but failed to ever find a starting spot on a roster. Many thought they would just fall flat on their faces as other teams found their synergy and caught up to the experience that the roster had, and even after their strong start there were still questions about whether or not they could hold on for the rest of the Split.
These fears came to be proven true, sadly, as the team failed to register more than two wins in the back half of the Split, constantly dropping games as teams figured out their play style and exposed them in matchups. Immortals one strategy revolved around the team dragging the game out as long as they could for late-game scaling comp, relying on Soaz and Xmithie to get the ball rolling for them and carry the team, a problem when they were unable to pick up early kills or feel behind in lane.
As teams gained more footage of their play, countering this tactic only became easier and easier, and Immortals rapidly began slipping further and further down the standings, finally ending up just inside sixth place and on the cusp of dropping out of the playoff picture on the last week of the Split. An 0-2 week and a failure in the tiebreaker means the team will be sitting on the outside looking in for the playoffs in their first Split back, a rather embarrassing moment considering how prestigious the org was from their original LCS run at developing talent and showing up big in the regular season.
With the Eika experiment in the mid lane having failed, and problems in the bot lane not improving even with the swap from Altec to Apollo, the team is going to have to make some drastic changes if they want to even have a chance at the playoffs in Summer Split when teams are often at their strongest and ready to perform. Soaz seems fine in the top lane, but the rest of the lanes are going to be up for grabs, and Immortals will surely be looking towards some of the strong rookie that’s been sitting in Academy lineups all Split, especially some of the players in the Cloud9 Academy lineup. The likes of Palafox, Inori, and Diamond should be clear targets for this team to pick up for long-term growth, especially as many of their players start approaching the twilight years of their careers. This Split has been a major disappointment for long-time Immortals fans either way and one they and they will surely want to soon forget.
Preseason Grade: C
As much hype as there was around Froggen having a decent team around him in the 2020 LCS Spring Split and the hot start the team found itself in, Dignitas once again came up short in the LCS after a 2-year departure from the scene. While the team got off to a nice 3-1 start to the Split, they quickly started to struggle, failing to put together a 2-0 weekend again until Week 9 and going on a five-game losing streak from Week 5 to Week 7. A lot of the team’s problems were blamed on their strange decision to follow in TSM’s footsteps and start Grig for most of the Split over his familiar rival Akaadian, a move that would see DIG struggle to keep control of neutral objectives throughout the Split.
Even with Akaadian’s addition to the starting line-up, the team still faced a plethora of problems as the Split progressed, from Huni’s failure to live up to the multi-million dollar price tag he was re-signed for to exposure in the bottom side as teams picked on rookie Johnsun who, despite these setbacks, still managed to have a rather solid first Split for himself.
Still, despite his surprise debut, the team still felt entirely reliant on getting Froggen a large lead for their wins and hoping Huni wouldn’t feed in the top lane, a system that was doomed to fail as other teams figured out their playstyles and presented more multi-facet and consistent performances. With the team only one tiebreaker out of the playoffs, and Akaadian now in the starting spot, we’ll probably see this same line-up return for the Summer Split, though if they keep up the style they had I’m not expecting more than a bottom three finish.
Team SoloMid: – C
Preseason Grade: A-
TSM came into this Split looking like a challenger to Team Liquid for best in the LCS, and while I had concerns about Dardochs attitude issues, the team genuinely believed they wouldn’t be a problem and put together arguably the best roster they’ve had since franchising. Bringing Biofrost back to the squad from CLG and grabbing star European ADC Kobbe made it seem like TSM may finally be getting back into their championship-winning form.
Unfortunately, the same issues that have plagued the org for years returned in force, and the team enters the playoffs looking rather shaky. The team still struggles to close out early leads they get, featuring the longest average game time of any team in the league, and has struggled to keep their form consistent. They gave Cloud9 their only loss of the Split, but lost to CLG the week before and lost to IMT the week after. Bjergsen has been a key part of this with his struggles to adapt to his leadership role on the team and has been playing well below the level we’ve come to expect from him. Meanwhile, while Broken Blade has been putting one hell of a performance this Split, the rest of the roster has just felt similar to Bjerg with their wobbling play level.
The team can look forward to the playoffs at least, better than Liquid or CLG, but starting in fifth place in the losers bracket is not where we expected to see this roster at the start of the Split, With a three-game losing streak and the threat of facing either 100 Thieves or Cloud9 on their plate, there’s a good chance we see TSM once again missing out on the next round of playoffs yet again.
Evil Geniuses: A-
Preseason Grade: B-
A common pick for top four amongst analysts heading into the 2020 LCS Spring Split, Evil Geniuses has stepped up to the plate, especially after the start they got off to. At one point sitting tied near the bottom at 5-7 going into Week 7, with the team only seeming able to put together one win a week, it seemed like EG was going to flounder after all the hype they’d built around themselves and miss the playoffs in their first Split. The team seemingly found the magic to make it work and went on a run over the next three weeks to end the Split 10-8 and secure second place for themselves, a huge accomplishment for the brand new org.
The three-different strategies they were dealing with at the beginning of the Split, where Kumo, Sven, and Zeyzal were doing one strat while Jiizuke and Bang were doing their things, seems to have fallen away and a cohesive team with a coordinated play style has begun to take shape. True they still got run over by Cloud9, but they’ve proven themselves against basically every other team in the league, and are looking like a clear favorite for second place for the Split. Of particular note on the squad is Jiizuke, the Italian mid laner who appears to have found his 2018 form again on Ryze and Leblanc, running havoc across the league and making some plays reminiscent of his inaugural season and at times carrying the team on his back.
It remains to be seen if they’ll struggle going into the playoffs as teams try to pinch Jiizuke’s shallow champion pool or not, but things are looking up this squad and this org in their first Split.
100 Thieves: B
Preseason Grade: C
100 Thieves started the offseason off with some big roster moves. First, Aphromoo was dropped from the team, and returning to the roster were fan favorites Ssumday, Meteos, and Cody Sun. Secondly, coach Prolly was replaced by the highly lauded Zikz, and with him came a new general manager, the community beloved caster from Korea, PapaSmithy. With all this going in their favor, and a promise to bring home a title for the fans, hopes were high for 100 Thieves that they’d put together an all-star roster. A lot of that hype dissipated, however, when the team revealed that Stunt would be coming in for the starting support slot, while mid lane would be filled by Oceanic native Ryoma.
After PapSmithy had noted a focus on developing talent for the org, many had assumed he’d mean a native NA mid laner would be getting the starting spot mid and were rather disappointed to see the Aussie. The uncertainty was only met with disappointment after the team got off to a rough start and Ryoma looked like one of the league’s worst mids for half of the Split, with the team entering the second half with a 3-6 record to their names. That all changed soon after, however, as the team went on a tear in the back half of the Split, going 7-2 and taking third in the regular Split after a three-way tiebreaker for the top four spots that saw them overcome FlyQuest before falling to EG.
Ryoma has begun to show tremendous growth on the roster, and mechanical issues that Meteos had exhibited appear to be falling away, while Stunt and Cody Sun have strengthened their synergy and coordination to make them a strong force to be reckoned with. Even star carry Ssumday has shown more growth, putting up some rather strong performances that have turned the tides in games they’ve found themselves in a hole in. While this isn’t the Split-winning roster the org promised fans, it is one they can be proud of, and one that should be able to grow into a strong playoff contender as time goes on. Their match against Cloud9 in the first round will be a good indicator of just where they are at as a team, and even a single game win should be met with some strong praise given the level of their competition.
Preseason Grade: C-
Before the Split started, there was a lot of concern around FlyQuest, and for good reason. The team was returning ⅗ of their starting roster from the year before, dropping mid laner Pobelter and supports JayJ and Wadid for former CLG mid laner PowerOfEvil and support IgNar. While these two were upgrades on paper for the roster, and both had come off some solid top-four finishes the previous season on their old teams, many felt these changes wouldn’t be enough for this squad to compete with the other top teams, and would possibly result in them following down into the bottom of the standings and missing the playoffs.
The team got off to a solid start in the Split, getting to 8-4 by the end of Week 6 and looking like the second-best team in the league, with IgNar returning to his form from Misfits incredible run at Worlds and PoE looking like the second-best mid laner in the league. With only a couple of games to go to secure playoffs, it seemed like FLY would prove the doubters wrong and finally become a force to be reckoned with in the LCS. Unfortunately, this is the point when everything went off the rails, and the team began to struggle, dropping four of their next six games and having to play a tiebreaker for the second-place spot in the playoffs, where they lost to 100 Thieves in the first match and were relegated to fourth place and a match against the surging EG to kick off the first round.
A major problem has been the seeming regression of V1per in the top lane, with the former prodigal Riven main looking more and more lost with each game and reverting to an almost Academy level of play. The team seemed to have found an answer in Solo for themselves, but seemed unwilling to give him the long-term start role for the squad, a move that would likely have given them an extra win or two and a lock-down on second place. Many have questioned the decision to keep V1per in, and have even begun questioning if other moves need to be made on the roster to keep them a playoff contender going into Summer Split, with worries that they’ll fall apart after a solid 2020 LCS Spring Split run just like last year and their inaugural year again.
I think the team is in a solid spot for Summer at this time, but we’ll have to wait and see how they perform in the playoffs and next Split first before we can make any long term assessments. What we can say for now, though, is FLY is looking to be on a downward swing and will be needing to find their form if they don’t want to fall straight out of the playoffs.
So, do you agree with our 2020 LCS Spring Split gradings for the teams? Let us know on social media, and don’t forget to tune in to the LCS playoffs this weekend at noon as Evil Geniuses takes on FlyQuest in the opening match of the playoffs. It’s going to be an exciting match, and you won’t want to miss any of it.