The Summer Split will be starting up this weekend, and while there have been some moves made, most teams will keep their same starters. This shows either that they felt their other options weren’t an improvement or that their teams could pick it up in the second half. To make it clear this is not a prediction for where the teams will end up, only their current standing as Week 1 begins.
10. 100 Thieves
It is very hard to put a team that has Bae “Bang” Jun-sik, Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black and Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho on it at the bottom of the power rankings. Yet, they ended up at the bottom last split and these are the only three pieces that stayed as 100 Thieves have decided to go with Max “Soligo” Soong in the Mid Lane and have brought in Amazing to play in the jungle. The hope is these changes will help bring the team back to prominence. The only problem is that Soligo has little to no experience, Maurice “Amazing” Stuckenschneider didn’t play last Split so he might be a little rusty to start the Split and Aphromoo has been more of a hindrance than a help for his team. If they expect to compete then they will have to hope that all three issues resolve themselves.
This week 100 Thieves will be playing CLG and OpTic. Both of these teams are very beatable should 100 Thieves be able to play their game. Should they go 0-2 though to start the Split then it could be an even rougher Split than the last for fans. While it sounds weird to say, this is already a pretty important week for 100 Thieves.
Releasing Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaya for Kim “Ruin” Hyeong-min brings almost as many questions as answers. While Darshan’s play certainly was not what many had expected over the past two years, he still was relatively consistent and clearly not their biggest issue. That belonged to Galen “Wiggly” Holgate who was arguably the worst Jungler in the LCS last season. While he is still young and has the chance to develop, it is still interesting that a more veteran presence was not brought in to help the team reach playoffs for Summer as they barely missed it in the Spring. It seems as though CLG are hoping that Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage, Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes and Vincent “Biofrost” Wang can get back to their old form. Also that Ruin can keep up what he found in Turkey and that Wiggly can just figure it out in general. This seems like a lot of things that need to go right for this team to succeed.
In the first week of action, CLG will be facing 100 Thieves and TSM. The 100 Thieves game may be a battle for the bottom of the standings this Split and could be a telling sign of things to come. As for the TSM game, they will need everything stated at the end of the paragraph above to fall in place. Even with TSM having their Junglers split time, it is clear that TSM are the better team.
This is definitely one of the more interesting teams in the LCS. They were only one game out of the Spring Split Playoffs, and that was even with them having two long losing streaks of five and four, respectively. This team definitely has some talented players with Lee “Crown” Min-Ho leading the way and Noh “Arrow” Dong-hyeon reminding everyone that he is still a solid ADC. The problem is that outside of them, this team really struggled. In most of the important statistics for their respective positions, Niship “Dhokla” Doshi, Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett, William “Meteos” Hartman and Terry “Big” Chuong were at or near the bottom. Even with that, they were still able to win seven games. Clearly Crown and Arrow can carry but, if they don’t get help it is very possible that OpTic could end up near the bottom.
OpTic will face off against Clutch Gaming and 100 Thieves to start off their Summer Split. For Clutch Gaming it really just depends on which team comes to play. If Clutch play the way they should then they could stomp OpTic. If they play the way they did most of last split then this game could very easily go either way. 100 Thieves have a major question mark where OpTic is strongest in the Mid Lane and that could give OpTic the slight advantage.
7. Clutch Gaming
Cody “Cody Sun” Sun is back and Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin is nowhere to be seen. This team is one of the hardest teams to predict. But, if one goes by their most recent performances then Clutch will likely be disappointing again. The only reason they aren’t lower is because of having Cody Sun instead of Piglet. He fits their style a lot more in the fact that he won’t require as many resources and shouldn’t have as many up and down performances. So that leaves it up to Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon, Nam “Lira” Tae-yoo and Tanner “Damonte” Damonte to play much better than they did. All three were near the bottom in most major statistics for their respective roles. Which is why they finished in ninth. Should they do the same it will be the bottom of the barrel again for them.
This week Clutch with start the season against OpTic and Cloud9. OpTic should be a team that Clutch is able to handle well, if Clutch play their game and Damonte keeps Crown in check. As for Cloud9 it is pretty unlikely that Clutch win, but since it is the start of the Split, Cloud9 could stumble out of the gates. If they do then look for Clutch to try and capitalize.
6. Echo Fox
This team is easily one of the most consistent in the entire league. They aren’t exciting to watch, but they play their slow and methodical style of League of Legends. With Lee “Rush” Yoon-jae and Kim “Fenix” Jae-hun having more time to adapt to the trio that have been together for awhile in Colin “Solo” Earnest, Apollo “Apollo” Price and Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent, this team should be a playoff team. They only way they aren’t is if they just get overwhelmed skill wise. This team doesn’t have much top tier talent so they have to rely on their teamfighting and sticking to their plan. Hakuho is clearly their superstar and one of the best at his position so be looking for him to make the plays to setup the rest of the team.
Echo Fox will play Golden Guardians and Team Liquid this week. The Golden Guardians game should be pretty even. If Rush can bully Contractz and spill an advantage into lane then Echo Fox could come out victorious. As for Team Liquid, Echo Fox just better hope they are still down from finishing second at MSI.
After finishing fourth during the Spring Split this team will hope to repeat and take their chances at making it to Worlds. With adding Wadid it seems likely that he will start over Juan “JayJ” Guibert even though JayJ had a pretty decent Split. It seems as though FlyQuest are looking for a support with more experience. They also have arguably the best Jungler in NA, Lucas “Santorin” Larsen, who will give them an instant advantage over just about every other team. Then it is up to the vets in Eugene “Pobelter” Park and Jason “WildTurtle” Tran to play smart and let Omran “V1per” Shoura continue to feel his way through the Split. There is no doubt that this team has playoff ambitions and having Santorin alone should enable them to make another push.
They will have one of the harder starts to the Summer Split as they play against Cloud9 and then Golden Guardians. Because it is a new patch and Cloud9 haven’t played in a while there is the chance that FlyQuest put up more than just a good fight. If Santorin applies pressure and allows Pobelter and WildTurtle to get ahead then a victory is very possible. For the Golden Guardians game, Santorin will again be the focal point as GGS have great laners and a struggling Jungler.
4. Golden Guardians
After making their first ever playoff appearance, Golden Guardians will be looking to repeat and try to make a deep run this Split. Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell, Henrik “Froggen” Hansen and Matthew “Deftly” Chen were near the top in most statistical categories, especially laning wise. Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung was a little below average and still struggled to be a playmaker, but he kept Deftly alive. The weakest link on this team was Juan “Contractz” Garcia. He seemed like he was constantly behind and couldn’t have as much of an impact on his lanes as they would have liked. Should he play better or at least average then this team would easily be in the playoffs if not making a deep run in it. They still have some work to do communication and team fighting wise but their laning alone should make them a team to be feared.
To start their Summer Split, Golden Guardians will be playing Echo Fox and FlyQuest. Both teams were in the playoffs and FlyQuest will be a rematch of sorts after they knocked Golden Guardians out. Echo Fox are one of the most consistent middle-tier teams in the LCS. They will play their style and not be dictated by others. If Golden Guardians get a lead in lane as they’re used to doing they can play a slower game and come out on top. As for FlyQuest they will need to be watching for Santorin, should he have a major impact early, GGS could quickly lose this game as Contractz would be too far behind.
The reverse sweep hurts TSM no doubt, but it could make them come back with a thirst for blood. Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen, Andy “Smoothie” Ta and Sergen “BrokenBlade” Celik will look to repeat their Spring Split performances, and should they do that they are a surefire playoff team. The biggest question and the main reason they are third instead of second on this power rankings is because of the Jungle. It was reported that Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham and Jonathan “Grig” Armao would be sharing the role. This leads to many potential problems. It likely stems from Akkadian underperforming during the playoffs and Grig being completely healthy. To start the Split it will likely be the two battling it out for who ultimately takes the spot. Once that is finalized it wouldn’t be surprising to see TSM in second or even first depending on the week.
TSM will start the weekend with a chance for revenge against Team Liquid. This should be a pretty close matchup but it could definitely go Team Liquid’s way if whoever ends up playing Jungle for TSM allows himself to get bullied. Their second game will be on the other end of the spectrum against CLG. While one should never count out another team, TSM should very easily dismantle CLG.
Another team that was reverse swept, this time by TSM, Cloud9 will be looking to start off the Summer Split with a vengeance. There is no doubt that they are in the top three teams, but this Split they will be looking to take that top spot. While they were all generally very good, Eric “Licorice” Ritchie had a relatively down Split. It is crazy to say this considering how good he was in 2018 but, statistically and visually he had some games where he seemed to struggle or be forgotten about. Other than that this team clearly answered questions about Yasin “Nisqy” Dincer as he was stellar in his first LCS Split on Cloud9. This team needs to shoot for the stars and make sure they are back at Worlds.
Of the top three teams, Cloud9 will have the easiest first week as they dont have to face TSM or Team Liquid. They will start against a FlyQuest team that is out to prove they should be in consideration for a top spot. That said if Kim “Wadid” Bae-in is indeed starting in at Support then Cloud9’s bot lane will look to take advantage of that. As for the Clutch game, Cloud9 should win without much of a challenge – unless Licorice allows Huni to get fed.
1. Team Liquid
Every NA fan should be thanking this team, even if they don’t like them, for getting as far as they did at MSI. While the finals weren’t pretty, finishing second is still really nice for NA. As for the Summer Split, Team Liquid come in as the top team without a doubt. The only real concerns they should have are with Jake “Xmithie” Puchero. He has looked really bad at times. Luckily, his entire team is full of superstars so they can cover his mistakes. That said, if his mistakes start to spill over into the other lanes and to other team’s best players that could become an issue. Other than that, this team should expect nothing less than to finish first this Split again.
Let the rivalry continue as Team Liquid and TSM will face off for the first time since St. Louis. It should be a very interesting match but if TSM decide to start Grig then TL will need to try and take advantage of the fact that he didn’t play with them all of last Split. Their second game will be against Echo Fox who should match TL’s aggression well with their passivity. The problem is that they aren’t even in the same arena talent wise and that alone should allow Team Liquid to come out with the win.
“From Our Haus to Yours”