By Petar Vukobrat
June 11, 2019
Let’s do a somewhat quick 2019 LCS Summer Split week 2 recap in order to go over last week’s games, and how much things have changed when compared to the first week of competitive play. In short, we got a better look into all ten teams that are competing, along with a couple of brand-new narratives that have just sprung to life. Not to mention the many upsets and surprising outcomes that happened, especially on Sunday.
When we take a look at the current standings, it’s hard not to be confused, shocked, and a little bit excited for the things to come. In other words, the standings are an absolute mess, and that’s the way we like it, at least in the beginning of the split. It tells us that all ten teams (or most of them, at least) are competing on a somewhat level playing field, and that in a Best of 1 format there are no clear favorites. Everyone can have a bad game, and that goes for the champions as well.
So without any further ado, let’s start our 2019 LCS Summer Split week 2 recap!
No, this is not a typo. OpTic Gaming really is in sole possession of first place. This is the strangest of timelines, that’s for sure. The OpTic gang was able to lock down an identity for themselves in the current meta, and even though they’re not exactly spotless in their execution, they’ve found avenues towards victory in all four of their outings, and that’s highly commendable.
That said, they didn’t exactly have the hardest schedule up to this point. Games against 100 Thieves and Clutch Gaming were basically guaranteed wins, and their triumphs over Counter Logic Gaming and FlyQuest are simply indicators that OpTic is a bona fide playoff contender that has just hit its stride. They’re playing like a well-oiled machine, and they’re making quick work of their opposition. Well, maybe that’s not the correct way to phrase things, seeing how they have one of the longest average game times in the region.
Regardless, a win is a win, and they have four behind their belt. They’re bound to register at least one loss this week, however, seeing how they’re up against Cloud9 and Team Liquid — two former LCS champions that are brimming with talent and potential.
As it stands right now, you can expect OpTic Gaming to solidify their spot as a playoff contender over the next couple of weeks. They’re probably not going to leave much of a mark in the grand scheme of things, but they’re one of the few teams in the LCS that have shown exceptional growth and progress over the year.
Following OpTic Gaming, we have a two-way tie between Cloud9 and the Golden Guardians. Now, both of these teams exhibited insane inconsistency in both their drafting as well as in-game decision making. There was a lot of good, but sadly even more bad across the board. The Guardians dropped a pretty underwhelming game to Clutch Gaming on Saturday, only to take down Cloud9 — but there is a small asterisk above their win column, at least for this one game.
Not only did Cloud9 (who had a solid lead in the mid game) make numerous egregious mistakes, but they also failed in every regard when it came to the pick and ban phase. The fact that they allowed Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung to grab his staple Tahm Kench — one of the few picks he actually has an impact with — eventually became their biggest blunder. Their cohesion in-game wasn’t much better either. They were making mistake after mistake, they took bad fights, their target selection was off, and were constantly getting picked off across the map.
This isn’t the Cloud9 anyone expected, to say the least.
The Guardians, however, are still in a state of flux. We’ve seen enough from them so far and they’ve definitely improved as a five-man unit, but they’re still far from a solid contender. They’re deceptively strong if they get the right draft, but overall, they’re still relying on Henrik “Froggen” Hansen to hard carry more often than not, and that’s a problem.
Regardless, much like OpTic Gaming, they’re a solid team in the making and should be able to fight for a playoff spot once all is said and done.
Below the top three, we have a huge tie for fourth. Now, this bunch, as a whole, is incredibly promising. That said, they’re as inconsistent as possible. They’re all basically winning games against teams many deem as superior, and losing when it’s least expected. That’s somewhat acceptable seeing how we’re still as the beginning of the split, but all four teams are making confusing mistakes fairly frequently. They’ve all been playing for quite a long while now, so everyone is expecting a higher level of play and synergy.
The next week or two will be extremely important for the likes of Team SoloMid, Counter Logic Gaming, and Team Liquid as they will provide us with a more complete idea on just how strong and capable they really are in the current meta.
Team SoloMid are on the rise, but their drafting tendencies leave a lot to be desired. They’ve drafted ultra late game-oriented team comps in almost every single game, and even though they’re making it work (50% of the time, at least), they haven’t been as dominant or as strong as one might expect from the boys in black and white.
They’re also 0W-2L with Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham in the line-up, and 2W-0L with Jonathan “Grig” Armao. They’re still rotating between the two, but if this streak continues, they’re probably going to opt for Grig as their starter, and it’s hard to blame them. He’s playing out of his mind and is far more impactful and aggressive when compared to Akaadian — on the same champions, as well.
This leaves us with Clutch Gaming. For every mindless play they make, there’s often a flash of brilliance. Predicting how well they’ll play is downright impossible at this point in time. They’re definitely capable, that’s for sure, but how high they could eventually finish is completely up in the air. That said, they have the capacity to upset and should not be underestimated.
Next up, we have a two-way tie for eight. This isn’t exactly a prestigious position to be in, but a lot can change over the coming weeks for both teams. Now, the important thing is that both of these two teams showcased a lot of potential — FlyQuest in particular. Their record might not scream “contender material,” but don’t let that fool you.
FlyQuest’s sole win against Team SoloMid was one of the better games of the week. They were in sync, and extremely proactive against the former LCS champions which allowed them to outperform them in every regard. It’s still too early to judge either team at this point, but we know what they’re capable of, and they deserve our benefit of the doubt.
Echo Fox, on the other hand, continued their hot and cold streak and they’re currently as hard to read as ever. They could drop a game to the 100 Thieves on one day and then upset Team Liquid on the other. They’re that inconsistent. But at least they’re entertaining, regardless of their form and cohesion.
And finally, in sole possession of last place, we have none other than 100 Thieves. This is far from a shocker. Still, despite their mediocre play, seeing them this low week after week is a pretty crushing sight. We know just how talented of a roster they have, but for one reason or another, they just can’t get off the ground. Will they improve over the coming weeks? It might happen, but they’re fighting from such a deficit (in every regard) that it doesn’t even matter at this point. Their competitive season is practically over, so the organization should instead focus on rebuilding its League team from the ground up for 2020.
That seems like the only solution to their problem, unfortunately.
That’s it for our 2019 LCS Summer Split week 2 recap! Tune in this Saturday and Sunday in order to see the madness unravel even further. We’re slowly (but surely) inching towards the halfway point of the split, and teams will no longer have the luxury of dropping games on a whim. Consistency and cohesion are the only things that matter at this point.