By Petar Vukobrat
June 1, 2019
We are just days away from the second half of the competitive season, so let’s quickly go over the ten 2019 Summer Split LCS teams to see where each team is at right now, what’s expected from them going forward, and what’s most likely to happen. Now, have in mind that what’s correct right now may or may not be evident once these teams step foot on stage. Everything written below is based on facts and what we know so far, but how a certain team is doing behind the scenes and how their preparation is going isn’t something that’s public knowledge.
That said, no one’s expecting the LCS landscape to change much, if at all. There might be a slight change when it comes to who’s challenging for the playoffs, but as far as the overall standings are concerned, the three giants at the top seem rather untouchable at this point in time.
So without any further ado, let’s take a closer look at the ten 2019 Summer Split LCS teams!
At the top of the region — again. While their path towards the LCS trophy wasn’t as spotless as many anticipated, Team Liquid was still able to get the job done. Even when they were down 0-2 against Team SoloMid in the 2019 Spring Split finals, they were cool, calm, and collected, and were able to pull off one of the best and most spectacular reverse sweeps in LCS history. Fortunately, they were able to ride such a big momentum wave into the recent Mid-Season Invitational, in which they pulled off the biggest upset in League of Legends history. Not too shabby.
Anything other than a dominant repeat performance would be a letdown. While the LCS landscape is becoming more competitive as the years go by, Liquid definitely has the best and most stacked roster in LCS history. People are expecting a ton from them, and with good reason.
If they don’t burn out due to their grueling schedule, they should be able to — at the very least — reach the LCS finals once again. Whether or not they’ll be able to defend their throne is a completely different matter, but the odds are definitely in their favor. Their only real threat at this point is Team SoloMid.
The top three. Even though that’s a fantastic result overall, it feels like Cloud9 was underperforming after their spectacular 2018 World Championship run. Everyone hoped they would have a stronger showing, but for one reason or another, Cloud9 was simply unable to leave a mark. They ended the regular portion of the split in second place, but once the split concluded, they were unable to retain their momentum coming into the playoffs.
A repeat performance. They should, by all means, be able to reach the playoffs and create quite a fair bit of chaos. They should also be one of the best and most dangerous teams during the split as well, considering they have a ton of built-in synergy, and one of the most stacked coaching staff known to man. In other words, a spot in the Top 3 is almost a given at this point. While their path towards it might not be as easy or as predictable, they should be able to clutch things out and secure a ticket to Worlds as North America’s third seed.
Cloud9 is a tough nut to crack, that’s just a fact. But it feels like they’ve reached a point of diminishing returns. It’s hard to envision them taking down Team Liquid or even Team SoloMid, so they’re locked in a highly thankless position: they’re a top-tier gatekeeper. Unless they transcend their current level of play and surprise the world (which, to be fair, is somewhat in their DNA), they’re sentenced to playing second-fiddle to the teams above them while always being head and shoulders above the rest of the League.
On the brink of reclaiming their long-lost throne. Team SoloMid was, without a doubt, the most frightening team in the entire region. They had two match points, but were unable to capitalize and win the LCS trophy. Seeing them lose in such crushing fashion (while being ahead for so long), was a crushing sight, and it’s not because of allegiance. Regardless, they’re an LCS titan for a reason, and they should be coming into the Summer Split with a chip on their shoulder.
This part depends on who you ask. Some people are all aboard the Team Liquid hype train and it’s hard to blame them. After all, they just took down the defending world champions in a highly convincing 3-1 set. Regardless, the level of play that Team SoloMid displayed after just a couple of months of preparation was downright staggering, and they definitely have the right tools to upset Liquid and re-claim their LCS throne.
A Top 2 finish, at worst. It’s hard imagining Team SoloMid imploding at this point. They were simply too good throughout the entire split for that to happen, and they were able to set a fantastic foundation just after a couple of months of play. If they play their cards right, they should be neck-and-neck with Team Liquid from the very get-go.
Near the top. FlyQuest’s recent run deserves nothing but praise and commendation, and even though they ultimately failed to upset the LCS status quo, they at least looked good while trying. They were perhaps the only LCS team that managed to transcend its gatekeeper status and actually trade blows with the titans at the top, and were able to lock down an identity for themselves after just a couple of weeks of play.
Much of the same. FlyQuest’s five-man line-up is a very solid one, and with Kim “Wadid” Bae-in joining the ranks (of G2 Esports and Team ROCCAT fame), they should be stronger than ever. If there’s one thing that their players aren’t lacking, it’s mental fortitude. They’re reveling in their underdog status and are going to fight tooth and nail in order to become a bona fide contender.
A very similar end result. Right now there’s no team below them that’s quite as capable and talented, other than perhaps the Golden Guardians. So expect FlyQuest to hover near the very top of the region. They’re a capable dark horse that’ll surely upset from time to time — especially if the meta suits their team fight-oriented playstyle.
The playoffs. It was hard to judge the Golden Guardians even after multiple months of LCS play. The Guardians would tend to take one step forward, and then seven steps back. Sometimes the number of steps would fluctuate, but their core playstyle (land one punch and receive a dozen) never changed. They’re a talented bunch and even though they’re currently regarded as the grizzled, gray-haired veterans of the LCS, they’re still able to pack a punch.
The exact same thing. They could, in theory, become a bit more dangerous seeing how they had more time to synergize as a five-man unit, but anything above a Top 5 finish would be an unexpected result. They’re the perfect gatekeepers right now, but they’re unfortunately lacking in multiple necessary areas which are necessary in order to take on the upper echelon of the LCS.
The playoffs. Echo Fox was able to capitalize on a late split meta shift and were quite a capable contender once all was said and done. While they were never going to win anything, it was still surprising (and refreshing) to see them pull off such a resurgence.
A lot of people are expecting a similar result this time around, and even though Echo Fox have the right tools and players in order to make that a reality, it is far from a given.
They could, by all means, end up on the playoff precipice once again, but repeating that same result is going to be harder than ever. They are separated from the teams below them by the slimmest of margins, and seeing how they’re the definition of volatility their chances of reaching the playoffs are about the same as ending up tenth. With Echo Fox, everything is a coin toss.
Near the bottom of the standings. While Counter Logic Gaming did have a couple of good moments throughout the split, they were too few and far between to bring them concrete success. If their play had to be described in just a single word, then “mediocre” would suffice.
Much of the same. While the organization did make a couple of changes, it’s still too early to give them any benefit of the doubt. They need to step up across the board and start stringing victories if they want to be considered as a capable contender, rather than a bottom-tier dweller.
A slight improvement. If their recent roster changes pan out, they could, in theory, improve a bit in the standings. They might even be able to challenge for a playoff spot, but that’s a ways off at this point. It feels like they need to make additional changes to their starting five-man line-up before actually being able to compete with the big dogs.
Right next to Counter Logic Gaming. In fact, these two teams share a similar narrative. Unlike Counter Logic Gaming, however, OpTic decided to field both their LCS and Academy teams throughout the split. They were often switching players in and out and it seriously impacted their cohesion and chances for success. Will they repeat the same mistake? Given their mediocre track record, it wouldn’t surprise anyone.
A slight improvement, at best. If they decide on their starting five-man roster, they could be highly competitive, but until that happens, you shouldn’t bet any money on the boys in black and green.
Even when OpTic Gaming had the right tools at their disposal, they rarely made the right decisions. There’s no reason to think this split will bring out a different shade of OpTic Gaming.
Ninth place. Even though Clutch Gaming was able to start the season off on a high note, they quickly succumbed to the many meta shifts (and their own innate weaknesses) and started plummeting in the standings. Fortunately for them, 100 Thieves was so shockingly bad that there was no way for them to go any lower.
A similar result. They were always even in strength and potential with the many teams surrounding them, so it all comes down to which team synergized better during the off-season period.
This roster has a lot of talent, and it’s easy to discredit the whole line-up because they were unable to attain any concrete success. They have the right pieces of the puzzle, and if they make the right adjustments and lock down an identity for themselves they could, by all means, challenge for a playoff spot.
Last place. The 100 Thieves organization needed just a couple of weeks to go from contender status to being the laughing stock of the region. Not exactly a praise-worthy accomplishment.
Anything, really. We’re all grasping for straws at this point. Obviously, when you’re as low as tenth place, the only way to go is up, but if they were unable to be even remotely competitive with such a spectacular roster then there’s no telling how things will go this time around. In any case, most people are exciting an improvement. Everyone is willing to pretend their most recent split never happened, but before we see a refinement in their play and overall performance we’re going to be skeptical.
All doubts aside, they did make two changes to their starting five-man line-up and they should have learned quite a bit from their recent downfall. Will all of this be enough? Will it actually jumpstart positive growth? Only time will tell, but the odds are in their favor. Either way, if things go “according to plan,” don’t be surprised to see 100 Thieves competing for a playoff spot.
That’s it for our quick look at the ten 2019 Summer Split LCS teams! The split itself will begin on June 1st, and you do not want to miss it. If things pan out as expected, it’s going to be one heck of a ride.