June 12th marks the start of the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) 2020 Summer Split. With the elimination of the championship point system and expanded playoff format for summer, it could be anyone’s race to fill up those coveted top three spots to attend the World Championship this Fall.
Cloud9 played at a level above the rest of the league for the entirety of Spring, with the closest team to them being FlyQuest, who had some struggles of their own against teams like Evil Geniuses and TSM in playoffs. Now that the preseason roster swaps and meta changes have settled, let’s take a look at where we can expect teams to land in summer.
This is the obvious one. Cloud9 were playing at such a level above their opposition in Spring, and it’s not likely a two-month offseason is enough for any team to close that gap. They were unable to test their mettle internationally at the Mid-Season Invitational this year due to its cancellation, so expect them to be all gas and no brakes in summer.
For C9, their biggest competition right out the gate will be themselves. They’re expected to start at their own pace and experiment here and there as a top team, but with a Worlds spot on the line, they can’t get complacent.
2. Team Liquid
Ninth place to second is a big jump for Team Liquid, but it’s not too much of a stretch to rate them this highly. TL had an historically bad split for a four-time LCS champion, and while they have nobody to blame but themselves at the end of the day, their split was marred by visa issues and internal drama. Some people, however, are getting excited about this team for this split.
They have a lot to prove from day one of Summer, but they’re poised to make a statement and gain some momentum early on. Not only are they hungry to win, but they’re still one of the most talent-stacked rosters in the LCS. Even Doublelift’s replacement Edward “Tactical” Ra is no slouch. He won the Academy League in 2019 Spring and put up good showings during his small stint with the main lineup this past split.
FLY had their time in the sun during Spring with their shocking Finals appearance, but it’s all fun and games until you have to do it all over again. As one of the few playoff teams from Spring that didn’t make any significant roster adjustments, good offseason prep will be a crucial factor in FLY’s success during the first round-robin.
They’re slated to keep some momentum from spring, but their weakness of being a two-threat team still stands. Lucas “Stantorin” Larsen and Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage have been the stars of the FlyQuest show from the beginning of 2020. The successful integration of Colin “Solo” Earnest as a permanent piece in their roster, as well as improved play from Jason “WildTurtle” Tran could be the difference between them heading to Worlds or staying home.
TSM have proved time and time again that roster swaps and player pedigrees alone can’t turn them into a top team overnight. The recent re-acquisition of Doublelift to their starting lineup and promotion of Lu “Spica” Mingyi to the main roster frankly won’t be enough to patch up glaring teamwork and coaching issues from last split.
People love to hate on TSM, but now more than ever they need to show up. With the two winningest players in the LCS on your team, the expectation is you make Worlds at the very least.
5. Evil Geniuses
We spoke with EG assistant coach Connor “Artemis” Doyle and he let us know that EG will be running a seven-man roster this split. Top laner Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon and ADC Matthew “Deftly” Chen will work as a duo to swap in and out with Colin “Kumo” Zhao and Bae “Bang” Jun-sik to adhere to import rules.
EG pulled out an impressive third place finish last split despite a slow start. Working with two different team synergies is bound to have it’s complications, so it’s difficult to say how the team will match up against other top teams. If they’re able to find their footing, however, they can absolutely make a push for a Worlds spot.
6. 100 Thieves
This team has been difficult to judge in 2020 due how long they took to ramp up in spring. Mid laner Tommy “Ryoma” Le exceeded expectations last split, however, and has the foundation to be a driving carry force on this team to take some of the weight off of Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho’s shoulders.
The issue for 100T, though, is that they’ve been over-reliant on Ssumday in each of their iterations. They have the skill and teamwork to earn a playoff spot, but in order to achieve something greater they’ll have to unlock their other carries.
7. Golden Guardians
Golden Guardians proved to the masses over the past two splits that counting them out is a mistake. Once again, we’ll be counting them out, but it’ll be harder for them to prove us wrong this split now that Team Liquid has a shot at coming back from the dead.
Mid lane wonderchild Tanner “Damonte” Damonte will be replacing Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer on GG’s main roster, which is a slight upgrade, but potentially not enough to help them shake up the standings. GG’s playoff chances will be heavily reliant on Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell and Can “Closer” Çelik having career-best splits.
Eighth is better than tenth, right? Despite a tragic split overall, CLG looked so much better once Eugene “Pobelter” Park returned to the starting lineup. Unfortunately, the other members of this team haven’t shown a level of skill that’s significantly higher than that of their counterparts.
This team’s struggled to show signs of life for a while now, and it wouldn’t make sense to put the responsibility on one player to fix it all. The other four members of CLG are certainly fighting for their jobs this split, so what we see in the first few weeks may possibly be exactly what we’ll be getting for the rest of summer from CLG.
Henrik “Froggen” Hansen once again finds himself at the helm of a team mostly made up of rookies. If that didn’t have enough Echo Fox vibes for you already, Dignitas has announced their plans to run a full on 10-man roster for summer as well.
Because 10-man rosters typically run internal scrims, expect Dignitas to have a good first week or two showcasing some strategies that they haven’t shown the rest of the league in scrims. Other than that, Dignitas won’t be making any waves this summer.
Despite some hype coming into LCS Spring, Immortals never found the clutch factor to spice up their consistently average play. Coupled in with their benching of Jake “Xmithie” Puchero for Nicholas “Potluck” Pollock, their chances at keeping significant momentum in summer are very slim.
Especially with games now being played online, certain teams may come out of the gate hotter than others. Once the dust settles, however, we’re not expecting the top of the standings to have too many surprises. The LCS 2020 Summer Split kicks off on June 12th at 6 p.m. with Evil Geniuses up against 100 Thieves.