Top 5 LCS Teams to Look Out for in Summer 2020
The 2020 LCS Summer Split has finally started, and if last weekend’s games are any indication, it’s fair to say that we’re in for quite a fascinating ride. This season, in particular, has been especially entertaining with many fantastic storylines and an incredibly fierce fight in the middle of the standings. If you’re after the best and cleanest League in the world, North America probably isn’t the region for you. Still, what it lacks in macro and quality of play, it more than makes up in sheer entertainment value and mouth-watering narratives. So let’s focus on five teams that are worthy of your absolute, undivided attention!
First of all, much like in the LEC, the LCS is currently being dominated by an unassailable giant: Cloud9. Simply put, they’re the best team in their region by a country mile. It’s not even close, frankly. They have the best players, the most synergy, they’re exceptional in every stage of the game and are graced with supreme confidence. Even when they’re behind in gold, they’ll fight like they’re ahead, and it is this baffling approach that often allows them to pull off what everyone thought was impossible. Well, that, in addition to a metric ton of talent and mechanical prowess.
Don’t expect them to lose any time soon. The LCS throne is theirs, and by the looks of it, they don’t intend on relinquishing it. Still, even with such an invulnerable titan reigning supreme, there are many reasons to tune in to the LCS weekly. If you’re after the best League of Legends, Cloud9 is the way to go. If, on the other hand, you want spicy narratives and drama, multiple teams below them deserve our attention. They all know Cloud9 is in a league of their own, so they’re laser-focused on “winning” whatever is left. There are two more tickets for the World Championship in China, and locking down the best possible seeding is what matters the most at this point. They want to make their Summer Split matter; most teams put in a ton of effort throughout the year and now it’s “do or die.”
It might be an overused cliché, but every game counts going forward. A single win or loss can be the determining factor between going to China and waiting things out on the sidelines. Because of this, expect teams to fight like their lives depend on it. Well, most teams, at least.
With that out of the way, let’s focus on five 2020 LCS Summer Split teams you ought to follow over the coming months!
Team Liquid: The Pursuit of Redemption
Team Liquid went from being one of the most dominant champions in the history of North America to ninth place in just three months. Talk about a fall from grace. We don’t see a twist of this magnitude that often, primarily because it doesn’t make much sense. Liquid had more than enough talent to reach Top 3 last split. How could they not, with one of the best Western mid laners of all time, the most dominant marksman NA has to offer, and not one but two former World Champions.
We all witnessed their regression and subsequent decline, so there’s no use in analyzing it for the millionth time. Everyone who had an opinion on the matter made sure to air it, so let’s instead focus on the future and what’s possible going forward. It’s still too early to predict anything with confidence, but after watching them play last week, it’s hard not to board the impending hype train. Simply put, they looked good. Really good. They were by no means as dominant or clean in execution as they were in 2018/2019, but this was a huge step forward for a team that struggled with even the most basic elements of play last split.
Small, incremental improvements are the name of the game for Liquid, and they’re putting in the time and effort to contest for a spot at the top. Their synergy was much better as was their team fighting and ability to clutch things out once those hectic five-on-five skirmishes broke out. They have experience in spades and it made the difference last week against Team SoloMid and Golden Guardians. Perhaps most importantly, Jeong “Impact” Eon-yeong is no longer a pale shadow of his former self. The former SKT alumni obliterated his opposition and pushed Team Liquid over the finish line with relative ease.
A clean 2-0 start will have everyone talking. We all want Liquid to improve and reach their former glory — a more competitive region would benefit everyone involved. If there’s one team that has the potential to trade blows with Cloud9, it has to be Team Liquid. They’re up against 100 Thieves and Evil Geniuses next week, and if they manage to go 4-0 it might as well be time to board the TL hype train.
Team SoloMid: A Runback for the Ages
The boys in black and white didn’t look that well last week. They were pretty darn mediocre at best. No one expected excellence given the fact that they have to re-build synergy from the ground up, but still — what we saw was in no way impressive or promising.
Then again, if there’s one team in the LCS that can improve beyond reason in just a week or two, it has to be TSM. They put in a lot of work and while that’s not always visible on the Summoner’s Rift, it’s still worthy of mentioning and is highly commendable nonetheless.
While TSM, as an organization, didn’t find much success over the last two and half years, it’s impossible to write them off just based on their pedigree and amount of talent present within their roster. A team with Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg and Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng is always a threat, no matter the meta or opponent. It might take them a while to reach their final form, but they’re bound to get there in due time.
Three-fifths of this line-up has already won the LCS years ago. They know what it feels like and what it takes to get to that point. They might not have what it takes to dethrone Cloud9, but if they practice well and double down on their strengths, they could become a Top 3 team and represent North America at the World Championship.
Golden Guardians: A Challenger in the Making
This is where things get a lot more interesting. When someone says “Golden Guardians” the first thing that comes to your mind is either the word “abysmal” or the fact that they became the first team in history to finish two splits in tenth place back-to-back.
Hardly a prestigious accomplishment.
Still, the days of mediocrity seem to be long gone. GGS has consistently been able to reach the playoffs with lineups most people ridiculed whenever they got the chance. This year, however, they’re the ultimate underdogs, a dark horse for the ages, and a team that might be able to make a splash once all is said and done.
Can “Closer” Çelik and Tanner “Damonte” Damonte are shaping up to become one of the most dangerous jungle/mid duos in the entire region, and it is their confidence and aggression that will propel GGS to newfound heights. This is a team without any huge weak link. Now sure, their bottom lane does leave a bit to be desired, but they’re by no means awful and can hold their own when given the right champions and support.
Furthermore, they’re echoing a lot of what made Clutch Gaming so great last year. They have their way of doing things and are unafraid of trading blows with the best teams the LCS has to offer. They won’t back down, nor will they allow their underdog status to impede their confidence. Will this be enough to challenge for a spot at the very top? Probably not. Still, they’re a shoo-in for Top 6 and could, at best, upset the likes of FlyQuest and Evil Geniuses should they reach their full potential.
Evil Geniuses: Patented Aggression and Bravado
On the one hand, Evil Geniuses didn’t have the hardest strength of schedule to start the split off. On the other hand, it’s hard not to be impressed after watching them play against 100 Thieves and Counter Logic Gaming. It’s like they just picked up where they left off back in Spring. That makes sense seeing how they didn’t make a single change to their starting line-up, but it’s still a surprise as most teams need a bit of time to warm up.
Their aggressive playstyle and sheer bravado are intact and are as potent as ever. As a team, Evil Geniuses seems to be growing in a wholly unique direction. They don’t want to win through any predetermined strategy or meta, but rather forge their own path, for better or worse. This kind of approach is quite commendable, and it’ll provide them with a unique set of strengths and weaknesses. Going forward, they need to diversify their arsenal, contain their aggression depending on the opponent, and make a thorough back-up plan in case they don’t start the game off with a huge lead.
When they’re able to impose their will they quickly become a force to be reckoned with. They’re finally on the same page as a team and have distinct in-game roles as well. Most of the team is always looking to engage and frontline with Bae “Bang” Jun-sik dishing out tons of damage from afar. After a very successful Spring Split, their synergy is a bit more nuanced and you can see it in action whenever they go for layered plays or set things up in advance.
They’re also one of the most aggressive teams in the region and watching them in action is often extremely entertaining. Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile. Just ask Counter Logic Gaming.
It’s still hard to predict how high they’ll climb this time around, but if they continue growing at this pace they could very well challenge for a spot at the top yet again.
FlyQuest: A Deceptively Strong Contender
Finally, we have FlyQuest, the second-best team from Spring. For some odd reason, it’s hard to give them our full benefit of the doubt, and that’s strange primarily because they deserve it. They’re a layered team with multiple exceptional players; they can adapt in-game and play a wide variety of team comps, and their mental fortitude is amongst the best in the region. They also have a spectacular hardcarry in the mid lane who can push the team over the finish line should the need arise.
There’s a lot to like, and without any glaring weakness, FlyQuest are set for yet another fantastic split and, potentially, a spot at the World Championship. They might not look like a competitive behemoth, but unlike Team Liquid, Team SoloMid, and Evil Geniuses, they’ve improved in key areas of play and are more layered and dangerous than people give them credit.
The only question now is: will FlyQuest be able to fend off the incoming slew of challengers? It’s no secret that many of the teams listed above improved and upgraded during the off-season. FlyQuest, on the other hand, made no changes so they’ve retained both their strengths and weaknesses. They’re bound to face a gargantuan challenge, and you do not want to miss it.
That’s it for our list of five 2020 LCS Summer Split teams you need to follow going forward! The LCS will be back in action this Friday, so make sure to mark your calendars!