The Best Players of the 2020 LCS Spring Split
With the 2020 LCS Spring Split behind us, let’s take a closer look at some of its best players and what they did over the last three months to warrant a spot on such a list. The individuals listed below have all left a mark in one way or another. They’ve dominated far beyond what anyone expected and were, in most cases, the biggest catalysts of their respective teams.
It always feels good when someone performs above expectations, primarily because it makes the whole split that much more engaging and less predictable. No one could have foreseen FlyQuest finishing second or Evil Geniuses finishing above a stacked Team SoloMid or Team Liquid line-up and yet here we are. These teams were able to shine bright in no small part because of these individuals and their mind-blowing impact on the Summoner’s Rift.
They’re not perfect, however. One could argue that most of them are heavily flawed and, at worst, even slightly one-dimensional. Still, when they’re given enough room to work with (and a solid amount of gold and assistance), they tend to take over the game in a myriad of spectacular ways.
Finally, these players didn’t play for the winning team — there are many ways in which we can define a “winner,” and getting showered in confetti isn’t the only measure of success (although it is what everyone strives towards).
With that out of the way, let’s start our list of some of the best 2020 LCS Spring Split players!
Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro — Evil Geniuses, Mid
The Italian Stallion moving across the Atlantic to compete for Evil Geniuses is a surprising twist that took everyone by surprise. In hindsight, it’s a match made in heaven playstyle-wise, but it certainly didn’t look like it at the beginning of the split. Heck, perhaps that’s even an understatement — Evil Geniuses’ play was mind-blowingly bad. They were so bad that it didn’t even make sense, given the depth and talent that was present within their roster.
Fortunately, that same depth eventually took over (paired with hard work and good coaching), and EG became a Top 3 team in their very first split back in the LCS.
Not too shabby.
At the heart of their success was none other than the first Italian player to ever compete in the LEC. Jiizuke is a fascinating kind of beast. Give him the right guidance and teammates, and he’ll carry harder than you thought was possible. But if he’s a part of a shoddy dynamic, a team without much depth or talent, he tends to regress — his play is far less bold, depleted of its aggression and bravado. Watching an out of form Jiizuke is like seeing a supercar stuck in rush hour or a wild beast tamed and held in the confines of a zoo.
Conversely, when he’s “unleashed” and supported by his allies, he’s an absolute force of nature. Fortunately for all of us, we saw the grand return of the Jiizuke who made his name on the LEC stage. As always, he’s not the most consistent player around, but when given the resources, he’s often capable of producing those mind-blowing highlight reel moments that we all love to witness.
For a good couple of weeks, we finally saw the return of the Italian stallion, and his weekly performances left no one indifferent, especially when he got his hands on LeBlanc, Zoe, or his staple Ryze. While he’s known for imploding as well, it was his mid lane dominance that pushed Evil Geniuses over the finish line when it mattered the most.
All things considered, it feels like he’s found a team that is the spiritual successor of the 2018 Team Vitality line-up.
Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage + Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun — FlyQuest, Mid & Support
FlyQuest’s mid laner and support often go hand-in-hand, and this listicle will be no different. To say that PoE and IgNar turned FlyQuest’s fate around would be an understatement. They were, without a doubt, standout performers not just in their team but in the region as well.
PoE, in particular, had what can rightfully be deemed as his most dominant split ever. Viewers and fans were quick to write him off after his disappointing stints with OpTic Gaming and Counter Logic Gaming, but his resilience paid off in spades once 2020 came along.
He didn’t shine non-stop but was instead lurking in the shadows, waiting to strike and capitalize on an opening in-game. He’s the leader in both Damage per Minute (583) as well as Damage Share (35.6%, over 10% above Cloud9’s mid laner) and his impact in-game is downright staggering. There’s always that one moment in which he goes into high gear and just obliterates whoever is standing in his way, and he was able to pull it off on both assassins like LeBlanc but also control mages like Orianna and Viktor.
PoE and IgNar were a spectacular duo back in 2017, and it’s amazing to see that their synergy and overall effectiveness didn’t drop even a bit after all this time. They’ve matured like fine wine and are looking stronger than ever!
Hopefully, they’ll be able to push FlyQuest to yet another strong finish in Summer and, at best, represent North America at the World Championship in China.
Eugene “Pobelter” Park — Counter Logic Gaming, Mid
To just think that Pobelter, a seasoned veteran with years of experience (and multiple LCS titles to his name) didn’t have a team to call home at the start of 2020 simply boggles the mind. He might not be the most insane mid laner in North America, but his mechanical skill, consistency in the mid lane, and veteran presence far outweigh the negatives.
The only team that was willing to sign him — out of necessity — was Counter Logic Gaming. Needless to say, they looked like an entirely different team the very next game. They were much more decisive, clean in execution, and they fought back. Granted, they still lost and were unable to finish above 10th place, but the point remains valid. It is as if they lacked a stable foundation, someone who would take on the role of a shot caller and leader.
Enter Pobelter. A play like this one isn’t something you’d expect from a dude who wasn’t given a chance to start in the LCS.
Needless to say, his stock skyrocketed and it’s hard not to feel good for his quick turnaround. He was dealt a pretty bad hand and he took it in stride and came back with a chip on his shoulder. He is by no means a Top 3 mid laner, but he still has what it takes to compete at the highest levels.
Can “Closer” Çelik — Golden Guardians, Jungle
Former TCL MVP sure does sound good on paper. Then again, seeing how the TCL is often considered as a wildcard region, it doesn’t necessarily mean much. Being dominant in a subpar league isn’t all that impressive, after all. Closer was drafted by the Golden Guardians and was brought over to compete in one of the most underwhelming rosters in LCS history.
Accepting such an offer is ludicrous and ill-advised, to say the least. Even if he were talented, he’d still be limited by his teammates and League is, obviously, a team-based game. Despite the odds, Closer took the offer and wasted no time in making the world take notice. He was, without a doubt, the best and most important member of the Golden Guardians line-up, often carrying the early game by himself en route to a fairly formidable (albeit inherently flawed) mid and late game. His jungling prowess gave GGS a fighting chance and he was immediately recognized for his talents and effort.
The fact that he was voted onto the second All-Pro team after his very first LCS split tells you all you need to know — being recognized as the second-best jungler in your region is a spectacular way to start the season off.
Now everyone’s wondering: where will Closer go next? Will he remain with the Guardians for the remainder of 2020, or will he seek greener pastures? Watching the TCL talent further develop will be an absolute must.
Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg — Team SoloMid, Mid
Praising Bjergsen evokes a case of deja vu. Sure, he isn’t always equally as impactful or dominant, but when push comes to shove — regardless of the line-up around him — this legendary Danish mid laner goes above and beyond and carries beyond comprehension. He’s the kind of player that’ll make the perfect play, position pristinely, pull off a clutch save, or land a game-changing ultimate. That’s Bjergsen at his core, and watching him flex his prowess even after so many years is as entertaining and impressive as ever.
Even though Team SoloMid failed to leave much of a mark so far in 2020, they did improve in the standings with their Top 4 finish. For an organization of their caliber and pedigree, that’s not exactly a successful split. Still, an improvement was made and that’s all that matters. Small, incremental steps and upgrades need to happen in the long-term if this perennial LCS titan is to reclaim its long-lost throne.
With an upgraded bottom lane, we can expect Team SoloMid to flourish and grow even further once the Summer Split comes along. If that does end up happening, you can be certain that Bjergsen will be at the heart of it all.
Putting Cloud9 members on this list feels like cheating. We all watched them dominate over their opposition, so it’s not like anyone’s unaware of their talent and awe-inspiring synergy. Still, three individuals have to be highlighted for their narratives.
Robert “Blaber” Huang — The faith Cloud9 had in their Academy jungler was mind-blowing. It seemed ludicrous to think that a rookie could fill the void left in Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen’s absence. But not only did Blaber one-up his talented predecessor, but he was also Cloud9’s biggest catalyst and even won the highly coveted MVP award in his very first LCS split. That’s the hallmark of a truly great player (a future legend, if you will) — the fact that he persevered in such a high-pressure situation and came out stronger than ever.
Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen — The main reason why Zven moved across the Atlantic to compete in the LCS was to become the first Western player to lift both the LEC and LCS trophies. It was a tall order, of course, but if anyone had the chance to pull it off, it had to be the talented Danish marksman. 2020 was the year Zven finally made history, but it certainly took him a while. He went through hell to get to this point which makes his triumph that much more impressive.
Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer — 2020 was the year Nisqy finally broke through. For years he was a highly promising talent but he was never able to leave a mark — he was always in someone else’s shadow. His most recent split changed that and has put him in quite prestigious company. At the time of this writing, Nisqy is one of the best mid laners in the world, and much like Zven, he had to fight day in and day out to realize his inherent potential and get the recognition and respect he deserves.
Finally, 100 Thieves’ Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho deserves a mention. This top lane behemoth had yet another mind-blowing split, and it’s hard not to feel like he’s at least somewhat imprisoned in “elo hell.” He’s a one-man army and while 100 Thieves are by no means a bad team, Ssumday is championship-worthy material. Unfortunately, all other championship-worthy teams already have their top laners and probably won’t be shopping around.
That’s it for our list of the best 2020 LCS Spring Split players! Make sure to tune in on June 13th when the Summer Split begins to see these incredible individuals back in action!