Going Over the 10 LCS 2020 Summer Split Teams
The 2020 LCS Summer Split is about to begin which means this is the perfect moment to do a somewhat quick breakdown of the 10 teams competing and their narratives coming into the second half of the season. This is effectively a preliminary power ranking but also a recapitulation of what happened and a short reasoning that’ll hopefully explain why it all went down the way it did.
As for the LCS, in particular, there’s a bevy of reasons to tune in and follow the many exquisite, mouth-watering storylines that have emerged throughout the first half of the year. There are many burning questions on everyone’s mind, unlike in the LEC which is a lot more rigid this time around. We know that Cloud9 is currently the best and most capable team North America has to offer, but almost everyone below them has a puncher’s chance of leaving a mark. Most teams are separated by the slimmest of margins and who’ll lock down a spot in the playoffs is anyone’s guess at this point.
This is why the upcoming Summer Split is so darn exciting. There’s uncertainty in every part of the standings and there’s also a possibility of huge surprises happening as well. Will we see the return of Team Liquid? Will Team SoloMid reach their 2016/2017 level of glory after re-signing Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng? Will FlyQuest remain a top-tier challenger, or was their Spring Split run a one-off kind of thing?
There are so many fascinating narratives and we cannot wait for the second half of the season to begin. With that out of the way, let’s go over the 10 teams that’ll compete in the 2020 LCS Summer Split!
Where they were: At the top of North America, with one of the most dominant splits we’ve ever seen. Cloud9 were setting records left and right, and their staggering level of play left no one indifferent. They’re the most original and awe-inspiring team NA ever fostered. Heck, slap any superlative next to their names and there’s a good chance it’ll be valid.
What’s expected: Most people expect Cloud9 to pull off yet another spectacular run. Whether or not things will transpire in such a way remains to be seen, however. If anything, they certainly have all the right tools to dominate in equal measure. They’re still hungry for success and want to represent their region as the number one seed at the upcoming World Championship in China.
What’s realistic: With such a stacked line-up brimming with potential, the sky’s the limit for Cloud9. They could very well go for yet another (almost) perfect split and if such a thing does end up happening no one will be overly surprised.
Where they were: Fifth place. Team SoloMid was downright impossible to read for the majority of the Spring Split. They had moments of brilliance but also games when you wondered whether you were watching a group of professional players or a couple of solo queue scrubs who were assembled overnight. When things went well, they were considered as the second best team in the region. When they didn’t, they were a puzzling challenger who imploded in ways we never thought were possible.
What’s expected: With two fascinating changes to their starting line-up, many are expecting TSM to flourish and reach their long-lost glory. Such a thing is understandable, after all, given the amount of success they were able to find with Doublelift way back when. Finally, TSM hasn’t been under the spotlight in quite a while now and have missed out on Worlds for multiple years in a row. With a line-up as talented as this one, there are no more excuses: they need to perform and deliver on home soil.
What’s realistic: This is an exceptionally tough question whenever TSM is in question. At best, they could end up second right behind Cloud9. At worst, they could once again finish somewhere in the middle of the standings. If Doublelift and Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg rekindle that legendary fire for which they were so respected and revered, who knows how high they’ll be able to climb.
Where they were: FlyQuest finished the Spring Split in second place. It is a result that seemingly came out of nowhere. They dominated far beyond what anyone expected and quickly became a force to be reckoned with. If you watched FlyQuest play in the LCS’ first year of franchising, you surely remember them skirmishing non-stop and often beating teams they had no business beating. If they fought on their terms in the mid and late game, that is. FlyQuest in 2020 is a more refined but also more aggressive line-up that’s unrelenting. They might not be the cleanest team around when it comes to execution, but give them a favorable team comp and they’ll trade blows with the best of them.
What’s expected: Depends on whom you ask. Some fans and analysts expect FlyQuest to preserve their spot in the standings whereas others think they’ll plummet at least ever so slightly. Both options are plausible, although it does feel like the latter might be a bit more realistic, seeing how we can expect TL, TSM, EG, and 100 Thieves to bounce back in style.
What’s realistic: A finish near the top of the standings. Don’t be surprised if they end up clinching a spot at the World Championship. They’re original, confident, and have all the right tools to get the job done. The fact that they can’t hold a candle to Cloud9 in no way diminishes their talent and overall potential.
Where they were: Ninth place. An abysmal result paired with an equally underwhelming 7W-11L record. Oh how the mighty have fallen. It’s hard to put Liquid’s 2020 into words. If we had to describe it in just two words, we’d probably go for “unlucky” and “complacent.” A strange pairing, for sure. How does one not become complacent after dominating for two years straight? Where do they find the motivation to keep grinding? In any case, luck was certainly a factor as they couldn’t compete with their imported jungler for the majority of the split — an unexpected twist that heavily affected their chances of leaving a mark.
What’s expected: No one’s quite sure. Those who are cautious among us believe Liquid will bounce back and, at the very least, reach the playoffs. Others, however, have a bit more faith and expect TL to come out the gates swinging. They made the right changes to their line-up and will have a brand-new head coach to lead the charge. What’s not to like?
What’s realistic: A Top 6 finish at least. This is still a roster with two former World Champions and an insanely talented jungle-mid duo. It’s only natural to assume that they’re angry and want redemption after dropping the ball in Spring. Team Liquid could potentially even reach Top 3 if they synergize well, improve their drafts, and lock down an identity for themselves.
Where they were: Third place, right behind Cloud9 and FlyQuest. EG wasted no time upon re-entering the LCS. They wanted success and were willing to spend as much money as they had to attain it in record time. Fortunately, they didn’t just invest in whomever they could find but rather went for a very peculiar group of players — individuals who are fairly similar playstyle-wise and have a ton of bravado, mechanical prowess, and confidence to back any kind of play or strategy. It took them a while to synergize, but once they got the ball rolling they were a dangerous top-tier contender.
What’s expected: A finish near the top of the standings. One glance at their starting line-up is all you need to realize what kind of team this is: volatile, aggressive, and unrelenting. Those are entertaining virtues, for sure, but they’re also dangerous. When things go well, Evil Geniuses need just a few minutes to blow your mind away. When they don’t — and they often don’t — they’re scattered across the map and are unable to mount any kind of offensive. They’re out of sync and engage on different terms which, naturally, ends in a catastrophe.
What’s realistic: If Team Liquid and Team SoloMid improve from Spring, Evil Geniuses will have to fight tooth and nail to preserve their spot in the standings. They have the talent and the right players, but whether or not they can become a more layered challenge remains to be seen. Either way, expect to see them in the playoffs.
Where they were: Third after the regular portion of the split concluded and sixth after the playoffs (an expected outcome given the fact that they had to face Cloud9 in the first round). 100 Thieves is impossible to read and it’s quite infuriating. They have a fantastic coaching staff along with one of the best top laners in the world but the rest of the team often leaves a lot to be desired. A mediocre import in mid and a strange pairing in the bottom lane are not enough for 100 Thieves to contest any higher. They’re the Origen of the LCS — too good not to be in the Top 6, but nowhere near as talented to compete with the best teams North America has to offer.
What’s expected and realistic: Playoffs. Whether they’ll get in as the sixth, fifth, or fourth seed is irrelevant at this point. With such a solid top side of the map they’ll always be competitive and fairly relevant; pair that with a very talented AD carry and you get a team that has a threat in every stage of the game. Still, when push comes to shove, they won’t be able to get the job done against the Cloud9s and Team SoloMids of the world.
Where they were: Seventh place. Where does one even begin with Dignitas? After starting 2020 off in style they quickly fell off a cliff and struggled mightily even against the worst teams in the region. It was baffling on every level. It was as if they lost all confidence mid-split and were on auto-pilot for what seemed like an eternity. An impressive run near the very end of the split wasn’t enough to balance things out, which meant they were forced to wait things out on the sidelines and watch the action unfold like the rest of us.
What’s expected and realistic: A somewhat similar result. Dignitas will start with a slightly more balanced roster so it’s fair to assume that they’ll be a more competitive team early on. In any case, they’re a dangerous gatekeeper and any team that has Henrik “Froggen” Hanses in the mid lane will always be a dark horse.
Where they were: In the playoffs, against all odds. GGS deserve a metric ton of credit for what they’ve been able to accomplish over the last couple of splits. They never have the best players or the biggest budget, but through intelligent coaching and boatloads of grit, they always end up being deceptively competitive. 2020 was no different.
What’s expected: A slight improvement, seeing how they’ve signed Tanner “Damonte” Damonte and will start with Choi “huhi” Jae-hyun as their support from the very get-go. These are two crucial changes and they should make a world of difference. GGS won’t become a giant slayer by any stretch of the imagination, but they’ll have more tools to work with which is the only thing that matters.
Counter Logic Gaming
Where they were: Dead last in the standings. Counter Logic Gaming played some abysmal League of Legends in the first half of 2020, and it’s still hard to fully understand why that was the case. The switch to Eugene “Pobelter” Park certainly reinvigorated the team, but it was a case of “too little, too late.”
What’s realistic: Unfortunately for CLG, the second half of the standings is stacked with teams that are separated by the slimmest of margins and most of them are slightly more dangerous when compared to the boys in black and blue. CLG will probably be a lot more competitive this time around but it’s downright impossible to put them any higher than eight or seventh place.
Where they were: Bottom three. To their credit, Immortals fought a lot harder than most people expected. Still, despite their efforts, they were unable to leave much of a mark and were heavily reliant on their jungler and top laner to do the heavy lifting.
What’s expected: 10th or ninth place. If they end up any higher that should, by all means, be considered as a small miracle. They lack a coherent identity and have a fairly underwhelming 10-man roster — a laundry list of players and no hard carry in sight. For Immortals, things can only go downhill from here.
That’s it for our 2020 LCS Summer Split teams breakdown! If things pan out as expected, we should be in for one heck of a ride! Mark your calendars and head over to Riot’s official website to see when your favorite teams are scheduled to compete!