Top 5 Players to Watch in the 2020 LCS Summer Split
The 2020 LCS Summer Split has just begun, so let’s focus on a couple of players who are more than worthy of your undivided attention. We’re talking about five individuals with incredible narratives who also can carry their teams over the finish line and leave a mark in the LCS landscape. Some of them are already legends; others, however, are still fighting to join that ever-elusive North American pantheon and become household names.
In any case, they’re leaving it all on the Summoner’s Rift, and watching them over the coming months will be an absolute must. We also have a couple of imports — players who have found themselves in quite a unique position. They’ve already accomplished a fair bit of success (especially compared to some of their North American peers who’ve been competing for much longer), but they’re still trying to etch their names in LCS history.
These are the players worth tuning in for, the individuals who carry their peculiar storylines and are looking to grow in more ways than one throughout the second half of the 2020 season. There’s a lot on the line, so expect them to play like never before.
With that out of the way, let’s start our list of five 2020 LCS Summer Split players you should keep an eye on over the coming months!
Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng — Team SoloMid, AD Carry
Of course, Doublelift made the list of the top 2020 LCS Summer Split players to watch. Depending on your allegiance, you’re either happy to see him back with Team SoloMid or are incredibly irritated because his name popped up on what felt like a daily basis over the last couple of weeks.
Regardless, North America’s most accomplished player is back with its most polarizing organization. A strange pairing, but by no means an unknown one. TSM, in general, is often under the public’s eye. There’s an excellent reason why that’s the case. They’re one of the most dominant and successful organizations in the history of the LCS and have set the bar high when it comes to regional dominance and star-studded rosters. But it’s been two and a half years since they last found any semblance of success; two and a half years of absolute mediocrity and failure.
Both their fans and haters tune in with equal interest whenever they compete to see whether TSM is “back” or if they’re in for yet another disappointing split. This time, things are no different. There’s a lot at stake for the boys in black and white primarily because if a player like Doublelift doesn’t make a difference, they might as well rebuild the roster from the ground up. That includes signing an entirely different coaching staff, one that hasn’t been (rightfully) scrutinized by the community year after year.
If TSM fails to succeed after bringing Doublelift back, then it’s time to sound the alarms. Being a solid, well-rounded challenger is what most LCS organizations dream of, but for a team with a pedigree like TSM, that’s a debacle.
Everyone’s expecting excellence and failing to deliver for the third year in a row would seriously hurt TSM’s stock.
Still, even with so much on the line, people have a surprising amount of faith in the organization, a testament to Doublelift’s talent and ability to lead his team to victory. It’s impossible not to wonder: will his signing be enough to make Team SoloMid once again a top-tier team? Will they be able to compete with the likes of Cloud9? Is this line-up strong enough to secure a ticket for the upcoming World Championship in China?
Questions aplenty, and yet there are no immediate answers in sight. Their first two games were reasonably mediocre (at best), but if history is any indication, a slow start is nothing to be afraid of when it comes to the boys in black and white.
There’s a record amount of pressure on TSM to deliver, and whether or not they’ll do so is, without a doubt, a fascinating question of the 2020 Summer Split.
Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro — Evil Geniuses, Mid
The “Italian Stallion” has come a long way in just a couple of years. His fascinating rise to the top of the LEC was well-deserved. Once he realized that Team Vitality could no longer provide him with the right guidance and room to grow, he decided to move across the Atlantic and sign for a top-tier North American organization.
The fact that he reached Top 3 in his very first split in an entirely different region is quite a commendable success. To make matters even more impressive, many doubted his ability to channel the Jiizuke of old, seeing how he did have a massive dip in performance last year. Fortunately, the mechanically gifted and bravado-fuelled madman with a penchant for theatrics delivered big-time. His ability to create highlight reels on staple picks is still as potent and marketable as ever.
There is an important caveat, however, and it revolves around his inherent nature: he was never particularly consistent. It seems that his volatile style of play is an integral part of his identity, for better or worse. He does have somewhat similar teammates by his side, but many wonder whether Evil Geniuses, as a whole, has what it takes to grow into a layered threat and remain at the top of the LCS.
Their most important catalyst, at least in the early and mid game, has to be Jiizuke. When given the resources and support, he always turns into an unassailable behemoth. However, when that’s not the case, he’s quite a meek performer, and he’s also prone to tilting off the face of the earth. A strong Evil Geniuses needs a strong Jiizuke, and how high they’ll soar once all is said and done will heavily revolve around this talented Italian mid laner.
The potential is undoubtedly there (as evidenced by their impressive Spring Split run), but without the right set-up, it might end up unfulfilled.
Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen — Team Liquid, Jungle
Much like Jiizuke, this towering Danish talent didn’t need much time to solidify his spot as one of the best and most impressive junglers Europe ever fostered. His stint with Fnatic was historic in every sense of the word. The fact that he never really regressed performance-wise makes his LEC career all the more impressive. Dips in performance are a natural part of professional play, but Broxah never slumped for longer than a couple of weeks — at worst.
He’s incredibly talented, meta resilient, and an all-around wholesome guy.
His transfer to North America, however, quickly turned into a nightmare after failing to secure a visa in time. As a result, Team Liquid suffered beyond measure and ended up imploding in quite spectacular fashion. The fact that they didn’t have Broxah in time isn’t the only reason, of course, but his absence kickstarted a series of unfortunate events, a baffling twist Liquid couldn’t bounce back from.
Their Spring Split was, frankly speaking, a dumpster fire, further highlighted by the fact that they went from first to ninth place in record time. Fortunately, it’s all in the past. Broxah (and the rest of Liquid) now have a chance to redeem themselves for an uncharacteristically bad first half of the season. Even better, they still have all the right tools to compete for the LCS throne and represent North America on the international stage of October.
We mustn’t forget that this line-up is still as beastly as ever, and after watching them play last week, saying they’re “back” would be a reasonably correct assessment. They weren’t as clean in execution as the Liquid of old, but two wins on the board (in fairly dominant fashion) is exactly the start they were looking for.
It takes two to tango, and Cloud9 desperately needs a dance partner.
Tanner “Damonte” Damonte + Can “Closer” Çelik — Golden Guardians, Mid + Jungle
Separating Damonte and Closer already feels like a bad idea, even though they’ve only just played twice on stage together. The main reason this is the case is that they synergize incredibly well in terms of playstyle and overall philosophy. They’re mechanically gifted, incredibly aggressive, and looking to impose their will from the moment they spawn on the Summoner’s Rift.
No one should be overly surprised if this duo ends up becoming one of the most dominant jungle/mid pairings in the entire region. Now, that last sentence might sound a bit theatrical, but it’s by no means incorrect. A strong duo such as this one can go a long way in today’s meta, especially if they’re fully aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Damonte and Closer don’t want to channel the LCK or slowly create leads en route to a calculated finish. Instead, they want to style on their opposition and brute force their way to victory. They also have the mechanics to pull off such grandiose yearnings, which makes their upcoming run that much more enticing.
No one’s expecting them to upset the long-established LCS status quo, but they have the potential to cause a lot of damage to the current LCS pantheon. Heck, they could even end up in the Top 3 should they synergize in time — stranger things have happened over the years. Closer is already considered to be a Top 3 jungler, and Damonte, at his best, can single-handedly carry his team to victory (when given priority in the draft).
Watching them grow and develop over the coming weeks will be an absolute must. If their so-so bottom lane doesn’t end up being a huge hindrance, there’s no telling how high GGS will climb.
Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage + Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun — FlyQuest, Mid + Support
To round out our list, we have yet another lethal duo: PowerOfEvil and IgNar. The first time these two made the world take notice was back in 2017 when they nearly took down SKT T1 (now just T1) in a Best of 5 for ages. They’re every bit as aggressive and mechanically gifted as Damonte and Closer, but they’ve also proven their worth against the best teams out there — something GGS’ mid/jungle duo has yet to accomplish.
It’s hard to separate PoE from IgNar primarily because they synergize so well and have found so much success when playing for the same teams. Their aggression and willingness to skirmish are mind-blowing and are the main reason why FlyQuest went from being a mid-tier challenger to the second-best team in the region. The fact that FLY now have a playmaker in both mid and bottom lane allows them to attack from multiple different angles — in the same way and with the same goal in mind.
They also have a low-econ top laner who doesn’t require much assistance and can survive for the longest time without any help. In the meantime, FlyQuest’s carries and playmakers will push the pace of the game and create leads across the map. Even Jason “WildTurtle” Tran — a legend in his own right — has been seemingly unlocked thanks to his equally aggressive lane partner (and also shares his urge to flash forward and engage).
FlyQuest, as a whole, is a team that has been assembled with incredible care and understanding of just how each of these players think and which roles they need to fill. They might not be a world-class titan of competitive League, but they’re deceptively dangerous and have what it takes to compete at the highest of levels. The only question now is: will they be able to retain their spot at the top with Team Liquid and Team SoloMid coming in with improved line-ups? They’ll have to fight harder than ever to remain relevant. Fortunately, these individuals have been the underdogs throughout their entire careers — they’re well acquainted with such a role and will again embrace it with open arms.
That’s it for our list of five 2020 LCS Summer Split players you need to keep an eye on over the coming months! The fight for top billing will be incredibly fierce. We cannot wait to see these teams back in action!