Mid-Split 2021 LCS Spring Split Report Card: Great, But No Perfection
We’ve just gone past the halfway point of the 2021 LCS Spring Split and, needless to say, the pressure is starting to mount. So, it’s the perfect moment to create a mid-split report card of sorts and go over the ten teams currently competing in North America. The 2021 LCS regular season — at least at the mid-split of Spring — can only be described as “chaotic.” There’s just no other way of putting it. We haven’t seen a lot of fiestas, but inconsistency and volatility have been plaguing pretty much each and every team in the LCS.
And so we find ourselves in a very peculiar situation which, to be fair, isn’t all that foreign to LCS fans: no one’s quite sure whether the gap between the best and worst team has narrowed, or if no one’s even remotely consistent enough which gives off the illusion of a competitive region. Right now, as things stand, it’s mostly the latter which, to be fair, is not what you want to see from a region that has so many exceptional players under its banner.
Be that as it may, we know who’s good, why, and whether or not they actually have a chance of eventually leaving a mark. These teams might not be particularly consistent, but their talent is undeniable. In time, they’ll undoubtedly grow into bona fide challengers and championship-worthy contenders, and the fact that they’re struggling at this one point in no way diminishes their overall worth and long-term potential. On the contrary!
So, in other words, there’s a lot of uncertainty. There are no guarantees whatsoever, and predicting the final outcome isn’t nearly as easy as we initially thought it’d be. We saw the ease with which Team Liquid disposed of their opposition back during the first-ever LCS Lock-In, but for one reason or another, TL regressed whereas others improved. The playing field has been leveled, and with the playoffs being right around the corner, teams will have to perform without fault if they intend on eventually leaving a mark.
So, with that out of the way, let’s start with our 2021 LCS Spring Split mid-split report card!
Mid-Split Report Card | 2021 LCS Spring Split
For the purpose of this article, we’ll divide all ten permanent partners into separate tiers — from best to worst.
S Tier — Empty
Hear us out: there’s not a single team in North America that deserves to occupy this tier — at least not right now. That could easily change in a couple of weeks’ time, but as things stand, everyone’s a bit too volatile to be deemed worthy. Cloud9 is the closest of the bunch, but they’re by no means the epitome of consistency, which is why we’re putting them in the tier below.
To be a part of S tier, you need to be able to consistently deliver and execute when it matters most. You can’t look like a bona fide titan of competitive League on Friday and then fall apart by the time Sunday comes around. That’s not how it works. Or at the very least your inconsistency has to be the result of your experimentation — not of your glaring weaknesses.
No one has earned our trust just yet.
A Tier — Cloud9, Team Liquid
Coming in at A tier, we have none other than Cloud9 and Team Liquid. Seeing them ranked so high should come as no surprise — they are, after all, some of the most stacked and talented teams in the history of the region. They’re also flawed, and depending on whom they’re up against, their weaknesses and faults tend to either creep up ever so slightly or are on full display.
Cloud9 has been the more consistent team, but with Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami in the top lane they’re just not as good as Team Liquid. Not right now, at least. Fortunately, Robert “Blaber” Huang and Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen have been doing a lot of the heavy lifting which is why they’ve been so successful in the first place. Finally, Luka “Perkz” Perković — arguably the most bombastic signing of the most recent off-season — has finally started to perform up to expectations. Well, almost. This still isn’t the Perkz we all know and love, but he’s getting there performance-wise and will no doubt be dominating beyond measure once the playoffs come around.
Team Liquid, on the other hand, have been struggling mightily, and it’s hard to understand why. The meta didn’t shift all that much, and while certain members have been underperforming (namely Edward “Tactical” Ra), they still look like a pale shadow of their former selves. Now, they’re not bad or weak by any means — they’re just “bad” by Team Liquid standards. Still, the issues that are currently plaguing them can definitely be fixed in a week or two’s time, so no one should be sounding the alarms just yet.
If they don’t improve in the next week or two, however, then they’ll definitely move down a tier. Cloud9, on the other hand, seems to be pretty safe in that regard.
B Tier — Team SoloMid, Evil Geniuses, 100 Thieves
Next up, we have a group packed with promising contenders. Whether they’ll eventually be able to contest for the LCS throne heavily depends on two separate factors: their own level of play, and that of Cloud9 and Team Liquid. If the two frontrunners to win the whole split end up underperforming (for whatever reason), TSM, EG, and 100T all have the tools to beat them. If, on the other hand, C9 and TL deliver once it matters most, then it’s hard to imagine a world in which any B tier team gets their “hands raised.”
Still, they’re exceptional in more ways than one, although they’re also highly volatile and inconsistent in every way, shape, and form. What’s important, however, is that they’ve given us a glimpse at their long-term potential. And, fortunately, they all have it in spades. It’s hard to say which of the three is best right now primarily because the answer shifts and changes on a weekly basis.
100 Thieves have lost quite a bit of steam lately (losing to the Golden Guardians definitely isn’t a good look) but we know what they’re capable of and they will no doubt correct course in due time. Tanner “Damonte” Damonte, however, does seem somewhat exploitable. Whether he has champion pool issues or not is less important at this point, although it’s undeniable that he’s more impactful on picks like Galio and Twisted Fate. He just hasn’t been as clean or impactful as most of us expect, and it remains to be seen whether that’s just a short dip in performance or a sign of the things to come.
Conversely, Evil Geniuses — whenever Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro decides to put on a show — has quickly risen to prominence. They are by no means a gatekeeper, and even though they still have a couple of glaring weaknesses to iron out, they’re undeniably a dangerous contender and will surely give TL and C9 a run for their money.
Lastly, we have Team SoloMid. No one’s quite sure what to think or how high to rank them. They’re amazing at times, but these flashes of brilliance come at the most random of moments. But hey — at least they exist, which is a positive sign for the future. They don’t seem quite as consistent or dangerous to actually challenge for the 2021 LCS throne, but if they keep growing and developing in such a positive direction, that might eventually change — maybe even in time for the Spring playoffs if their mid-split performance is any indication. That alone is praiseworthy, to say the least; we mustn’t forget that this is basically a brand-new team with five players who didn’t have any synergy between them. The fact that they’re playing this well is a testament to their hard work and inherent talent.
At their best, you can definitely make a case for TSM being an A tier team, but their “best” isn’t always on display. If that changes, however, they’ll surely move up as — based on empirical evidence — they have a surprisingly high skill ceiling and might even be better than Evil Geniuses and 100 Thieves, although it’s still a bit too early to actually make such a claim with confidence.
Either way, these three teams will make the upcoming playoffs endlessly more entertaining and they definitely have a puncher’s chance.
B- Tier — Team Dignitas
The sole occupant of this peculiar B- tier is none other than Team Dignitas. Now, the sheer fact that they’re ranked so high definitely comes as a surprise. Frankly speaking, no one expected much from this particular line-up and it’s easy to understand why. Two seasoned veterans and three Academy players doesn’t exactly scream “potential.”
But lo and behold — Dignitas is actually trading blows with the best teams in the LCS, and no one’s quite sure how that’s even possible. Are they just overperforming? Is a brief moment in which the stars have aligned, or are they truly as good as it seems? The jury’s still out, but it’s becoming harder and harder to doubt them, especially with such a respectable win-loss tally. Their wins aren’t flukes either — they’re actually playing good League of Legends, in no small part because of Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black, an LCS mainstay who’s having quite a noticeable resurgence.
If they continue playing at such a respectable level, they’ll almost certainly reach the playoffs which, for an organization that hasn’t been relevant in what feels like a lifetime, is quite an achievement. How high they’ll eventually soar, however, is anyone’s guess at this point. Regardless, Dignitas is more than worthy of your undivided attention, in spite of their gatekeeper-esque appearance!
C Tier — FlyQuest, Immortals
This is the “gatekeeper” tier. There’s just no other way of putting it. These teams are good, but not great. They have some talent, but not enough of it to truly compete with teams ranked above them. And so they gravitate somewhere in the middle of the standings, always dangerous but never dangerous enough to actually break through and leave a mark. That’s the story of FlyQuest and Immortals, at least thus far. And, by the looks of it, their position won’t change any time soon.
FlyQuest, at least on paper, have a bit more potential than Immortals, but that doesn’t mean much if they don’t put their best foot forward and deliver when it matters most. In that sense, Immortals have been a lot more consistent. They might not have any one standout player, but they’re a feisty bunch and have been fighting for every inch of the Summoner’s Rift — unlike FlyQuest who had some fairly dreadful showings thus far.
Overall, both teams are looking pretty good at the mid-split point, but it’s a bit too late for either to make a run for the 2021 LCS Spring playoffs. Everyone ranked above them is simply better across the board and — barring any mind-blowing turn of events — Immortals and FlyQuest will almost surely end up in seventh and eighth place. Their odds of finding success could become a lot more favorable once the Summer Split comes around, though.
D Tier — Golden Guardians, Counter Logic Gaming
Finally, we have the Golden Guardians and Counter Logic Gaming in D tier. They’re not exactly abysmal performance-wise, but they’re so flawed that it’s impossible to rank them any higher. There isn’t any noticeable amount of potential either. They’ve had some good moments but they’re simply too few and far between to warrant a spot higher up the standings. Hopefully they’ll be able to perform a bit better once the Summer Split comes along.
That’s it for our mid-split 2021 LCS Spring Split report card! There’s still a slew of games left to be played, so make sure to tune in!