This is part 1 of a mini-series of articles that will take a look at some teams with a shot to represent their region at Worlds this year for the 4 major regions (NA, EU, China, Korea).
It’s that time of the year again. With Worlds inching closer and closer, teams around the world are making their final push to qualifying for the final tournament of the year. Everything these teams have done up until this point has led up to this point but only three will make it from North America.
After yet another disappointing performance at Rift Rivals for the top North American teams, they will be heading into Worlds in a rough spot once again. With a clear top three teams set in Team Liquid, Cloud9, and Team SoloMid, will any team compete and take one of the spots for Worlds? Let’s take a look at the likely candidates that will be representing the LCS at Worlds this year.
Top: Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong
Jungle: Jake Kevin “Xmithie” Puchero
Mid: Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen
ADC: Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng
Support: Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in
The reigning defending champions of North America continues to look solid in the Summer Split. While the team has had a few rough patches after international tournaments (MSI and recently Rift Rivals), they have still been fairly dominant. While they haven’t been as dominant as they were during the Spring Split, Team Liquid should still be the favorite to win it all and become the first team to win four straight titles.
With the best bot lane tandem in the region and some of the top players in their respective positions, Team Liquid has evolved from their one-dimensional playstyle from Worlds 2018. No longer is all the pressure on Doublelift to put the team on his back and bring them to victory. With a solid supporting cast of CoreJJ and Xmithie who are both capable playmakers and a great backup carry in Jensen, the team feels a lot more complete than previous iterations of the roster.
While issues surrounding Team Liquid’s drafts still exist as a result of the player’s champion pools among other things, Team Liquid should still be the favorites to take the first seed in North America yet again. With a small taste of international success from MSI, will Team Liquid be able to make a deep Worlds run this year? Only time will tell.
Top: Eric “Licorice” Ritchie and Ziqing “Kumo” Zhao
Jungle: Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen and Robert “Blaber” Huang
Mid: Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer
ADC: Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi
Support: Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam
The always reliable Cloud9 looks to make another return to Worlds this year. For Cloud9, they’re hoping it won’t be as the third seed once again. While the team has run into some issues throughout the season, they’re continuing to look better. Whether it’s enough to take down Team Liquid in a best of five series is yet to be seen but with Cloud9 looking better and Team Liquid’s performance on a slight decline this could be their chance.
Throughout the whole season, Cloud9 have faced quite a few obstacles with their roster and has continued to push through. Despite losing all-star mid-laner Jensen during the offseason, Cloud9 were able to push ahead with Nisqy now in the mid lane. Now most recently, the loss of Licorice, widely considered the best top laner in NA, wasn’t even enough to stop the team’s momentum as Kumo stepped in from their Academy roster and dominated as well. Through this whole season, Cloud9 have shown that the sum is far greater than its parts as they continue to fight for another LCS title.
There are still concerns at times over the performance of Nisqy in the mid lane and Svenskeren in the jungle. Yet, Cloud9 have proven that they’re still one of the most consistent teams in the region. Although they haven’t been able to find any regional success in a long time, they’re still the most consistent and most successful performers at Worlds for North America. They might not win the Summer Split, but it’ll be a bigger surprise if they fail to qualify for Worlds.
Top: Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik
Jungle: Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham and Jonathan “Grig” Armao
Mid: Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg
ADC: Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen
Support: Andy “Smoothie” Ta
After some historic misses last season for TSM, their fortunes have finally started turning back around this season. After a heartbreaking 2-3 loss to Team Liquid in the Finals, TSM has looked great for most of this season despite the rocky start with a new roster. Now they try to stop Team Liquid from becoming the first team to win four straight and win another title while they’re at it.
TSM have looked rough recently due to their passive play and occasionally questionable drafts. That said, the team has been slowly improving their play and having a more proactive and aggressive early game. A lot of that improvement has been thanks to Akaadian’s play in the early game. Along with the continued solid play from the likes of Broken Blade and Bjergsen, TSM will likely still be a clear contender to win it all this split.
The concerns for TSM remain the same. Like Rift Rivals, the team can not afford to revert to a super passive and safe playstyle as it will only lead to losses. They can get away with it at times domestically, but they won’t be able to find the same luck internationally. As long as they don’t fall into the same pattern as past rosters, TSM could make a splash at Worlds this year.
Counter Logic Gaming
Top: Kim “Ruin” Hyeong-min
Jungle: Raymond “Wiggily” Griffin
Mid: Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage
ADC: Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes
Support: Vincent “Biofrost” Wang
“Despite an abysmal Spring Split that saw CLG barely miss playoffs, the team has figured it out” Does that sound familiar? It was the same line that described CLG last year as they were yet again a hopeful for Worlds. While the bot lane tandem remains the same from last year, the rest of the roster has looked very different. With a solid performance so far this Summer Split will CLG be able to knock out one of the top three teams from their spot at Worlds?
Wiggily and Biofrost are having amazing Splits thus far and CLG have looked like the clear fourth-best team. Along with the solid individual performances, the team play, in general, has been vastly improved since the Spring Split. However, just like last year, with no championship points from the Spring Split, their best chance at Worlds will be to win the split unless they want to run the gauntlet.
While CLG have looked good so far this Summer Split, their issue remains the same as what caused them to miss out on the playoffs and the gauntlet last year, inconsistency. CLG have looked solid in their victories and they have looked absolutely lost in their defeats. Ruin still struggles at times along with the team looking dysfunctional as a whole. There is still that chance at CLG falling short and missing out again. Will it happen this time? That is yet to be seen, but with how things are looking, it’s not too hard to be optimistic for CLG.
This will be a short one. Despite how good CLG have looked so far this split, it’s hard to see them taking out the top three teams of Team Liquid, Cloud9, and TSM in a best of five series. As a result, expect the three teams to represent NA at Worlds to be Team Liquid as the first seed, Team SoloMid as the second, and finally Cloud9 as the third.
While Team SoloMid are the most questionable team at the moment, their play in a best of five series is still one of the best in the league and should be able to beat out the CLGs and Optic Gamings of the LCS. Other than that, Team Liquid and Cloud9 have shown that they’re consistent and should have no problem dominating the lower tier teams as well.
To watch League of Legends tournaments, visit watch.na.lolesports.com. For more information on the Split, teams, standings and players, visit www.lolesports.com. Recaps of former weeks and other LoL content can be found at https://thegamehaus.com/league-of-legends/.
Featured image courtesy of LoL Esports Flickr
Follow Rui on Twitter @ruixu38
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