The Summer split of LCS has finally begun and the new best-of-three format has finally been implemented. For those of you new to the LCS, it is Riot’s league-style competition for its game League of Legends. Each week, 10 teams play two matches to earn wins to hopefully clinch a playoff spot by placing within the top six, with the top two getting a first-round bye. Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) came out on top during the Spring split with its incredible macro play against Team Solo Mid. Will CLG be able to keep its title as the best team in North America or will a new team reign supreme?
The first week of competition saw Team Solo Mid, Counter Logic Gaming (CLG), Team Envy, NRG Esports, Cloud9, Immortals, Echo Fox, Phoenix1, Liquid and Apex taking one another on in best-of-three matchups. Week 2 will kick off on June 10.
1. Team Solo Mid (2-0)
This is the TSM that we all expected to see during the Spring split. Aggressive play mixed with proactive decision making allowed TSM to win both its series without a loss. Even though there were a few silly mistakes that need to be ironed out for future matches, TSM showed that its new addition to the support role was the correct decision during the off season. Add that on to the fact that Hauntzer has elevated his play, as well as Sven keeping his form from the playoffs, TSM will be a scary opponent for any team in the LCS.
2. Immortals (2-0)
Immortals is a team that likes to stick to its guns. And fortunately for them, it is still a viable way to approach the game. Carry top laners aren’t completely phased out of the meta, with the current patch favoring Reignovers champion pool, and ranged supports are the flavor of the month. And even though Immortals’ games against C9 were close, the team was still able to pull out the victories to ultimately win the series. Only time will tell if Immortals will be able to keep winning with the way they play.
3. Cloud9 (1-1)
It might seem weird to put Cloud9 so high in the power rankings since both of its series went to three games. But the way Cloud9 played really impressed me, even if there was a bit of a hiccup during Game 1 against Echo Fox. There does seem to be some issues when it comes to performing consistently, but I still ultimately believe that Cloud9 will be a top 3 team in NA. The loss that they had this week was against Immortals, so it is still hard to gauge whether or not the team should be lower in the power rankings. Hopefully as more matches are played, it will be easier to see where Cloud9 belongs in the overall picture of things.
4. Apex (2-0)
I honestly didn’t know what to expect from Apex coming into the Summer Split. Apex just recently earned its spot in the LCS, and some of its lanes didn’t seem that extraordinary on paper. But despite my opinion about the team, they were able to come out on top against defending LCS champions, CLG. Xpecial is on his way to proving that he could be the best support in NA again and Keane can play meta characters at a pretty good level. Apollo is still the consistent ADC that he is known for being, and Ray showed that he is a force to be reckoned with. So many things are coming together nicely for Apex and it will be interesting to see whether or not the team is able keep up its solid play.
5. Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) (0-2)
Despite losing both of its series this past weekend, anyone watching could see that CLG is still playing like a well-coordinated team. I do think that certain players need to get back to how they were playing during MSI. CLG’s biggest strength was its map movement and teamwork, but when players are under performing it is hard to take advantage of that strength. It’s hard to put CLG lower in the power rankings because even in the games it lost, you could see that the team was always trying to find openings to get back into the game. It is only the first week of play and both of CLG’s match ups were against pretty strong teams. If it loses to a weaker team in the weeks to come, expect CLG to see a drop in the power rankings.
6. Team Envy (2-0)
Team Envy has a lot of potential and will probably rise in the power rankings in the coming weeks. But this past week it wasn’t really tested and it makes it hard for me to put Team Envy higher on the list. It did beat Team Liquid without one of its star players in the roster due to disciplinary issues and a hugely underperforming NRG. And its win against NRG was a three-game series, which shows that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in terms of macro and team fights. Regardless, I have high hopes for this team. Seraph is making a case for being one of the best top laners and LOD is a very promising ADC talent. With a few tweaks to Team Envy’s overall gameplay, I know that it will be a team worth looking at during the end of the season.
7. Echo Fox (1-1)
Echo Fox is a tricky one to analyze. The team’s play style is too risk averse for my liking and while it was able to take one game off of Cloud9, Echo Fox was completely demolished in the next two games of the series. The series Echo Fox won was against Phoenix1 and that isn’t much of an achievement considering Phoenix1 is missing its starting jungler. I have a feeling that Echo Fox will do well this split, but it depends on how it handles opponents like TSM and Immortals, both of which have a proactive and aggressive play style. Echo Fox has the talent on its roster to improve and win more games to probably make it to the playoffs. Luckily, Echo Fox still has the entire split to grow as a team and make the proper changes to its play to get to that point.
8. Liquid (0-2)
Watching Team Liquid this past weekend shows how much of an impact Dardoch had during the Spring Split. Without him, Liquid’s top and mid laner didn’t have the same kind of control over their lane and that lack of control bled over to the team’s bot lane, which is Liquid’s strongest lane. And the moment Liquid put in Dardoch for its last game of the weekend, I saw a huge difference in how much more control there was on the map. Sure Fenix still got smashed, but at least there was proper jungle pressure when it was needed. But that being said, each lane needs to step up and get better if they expect to have a chance because of how unforgiving this patch is for struggling lanes. If Dardoch can stay disciplined and keep himself on the roster, I see Team Liquid making a good run back to the top of the standings.
9. NRG Esports (0-2)
Probably the most disappointing team so far. NRG has a top-tier mid laner in GBM and a hyped up ADC in Ohq and are still unable make things work. This is mostly due to Quas being a shell of his former self and with the new top lane talent, he just doesn’t cut it anymore. I have never thought of Kiwikid as anything more than just an average support, but couple that with Ohq underperforming, it just makes for a catastrophe in the bot lane. And since no lane has any game pressure, Santorin has no way of showing whether or not he has improved or is just the same AFK jungler that he was in the past. Something needs to change. It can’t just be GBM against the world again. Ohq and Kiwikid need to step up and Quas should just change into a low economy top laner because his mechanics aren’t good enough to carry a game. If these things can happen, then there is a chance that they can avoid relegation.
10. Phoenix1 (0-2)
There isn’t much to say about Phoenix1. The team is missing its starting jungler and has an unproven top laner. Its bot lane is average at best, and Slooshie has a chance of being the star Phoenix1 needs to succeed, but still needs time to get back to form. Until all the pieces come together I won’t say much about Phoenix1. I just hope it happens soon or the team will face relegation.