Mid-Split LCS Report Cards
With four games left to play for each team, the League of Legends Championship 2020 Spring Split regular season is nearly coming to an end. Despite all of the hype surrounding off-season moves and international aspirations coming into the year, this season has shaped out to be a total rollercoaster throughout the standings.
With the LCK and LPL taking various emergency precautions due to the coronavirus outbreak, the pressure is on for Western teams to be as competitive as possible going into the Mid-Season Invitational. Particularly for North America, a region desperately pining for a shot at redemption after an embarrassing Worlds run in 2019.
That being said, the LCS has looked like a barren wasteland in terms of the overall level of skill. Cloud9 are a head above the opposition with TSM creeping behind them as the only team to snag a game off of them. Let’s see where the rest of the teams in the league are at compared to where we ranked them in our initial power rankings a few months back.
We said that Cloud9 could be poised to be a full-on triple-threat team despite the community perception of them losing the off-season and we were more right than we could’ve prepared for. They were on track to make an unprecedented 18-0 speedrun in the LCS before falling to TSM in week seven, but even so, they’re clear contenders for the title.
As the only team in the league without a former LCS champion on the starting lineup, a Spring Split trophy is the only thing they’re after. The pressure is solely on them to learn from their loss and tighten up for playoffs.
If there was a Reddit thread back in December predicting FlyQuest to be a top two LCS team in Spring, it would've been downvoted into oblivion. A positive rebrand promoting environmental awareness and a new sense of direction with former Misfits teammates Tristan “PowerOfEvil”Schrage and Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun did wonders for this team.
FLY are probably the most likeable team in the LCS right now and are well-deserving of their second place standing. We initially had these guys at 7th place and missing playoffs, and boy did they prove the haters wrong.
Once a year TSM does this thing where they say they’re going to try various styles and eventually settle on something that works for them. They’ve made it clear that their goal is to be a good enough team in the Summer Split to qualify for Worlds. After a clean 2-0 weekend against the previously undefeated Cloud9 and the second place FlyQuest, however, they may have hit their stride earlier than anticipated.
Despite looking like a completely different team each week, we’ve got to give TSM props for their flexibility. Right now, they’re playing at a level that most would expect from the lineup and look like the only team capable of challenging Cloud9 for the Spring title.
100 Thieves (C+)
Nobody really knew what to expect from 100T this split, despite them signing some promising talent. We ranked them as a playoff team previously, but there’s still a chance they’ll get edged out by fringe teams like Dignitas, Golden Guardians, or Evil Geniuses.
Despite the re-signing of both William “Meteos” Hartman and Cody “Cody Sun” Sun, 100T seemed to struggle with synergy until now. Some good performances from Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho and Tommy “ry0ma” Le netted them a couple wins, but they can’t afford to lose anymore if they want to make playoffs in their position.
Evil Geniuses (C)
After all the shilling we did for them in the pre-season, EG were one of the biggest letdowns so far in Spring. People were expecting constant aggressive plays from Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro and Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen, but the squad was rather disjointed and uncoordinated until recently.
They’ve just now been stacking victories, but it may be too little too late. It’s nowhere near the end of the line for the newly-formed team, but anything short of a playoffs birth will be a total failure given the caliber of talent on the squad.
IMT have been bouncing around in the top of the standings for the past few weeks, and that’s way better than the 10th place finish we had predicted for them previously. The combination of stable veterans and unproven talent has panned out exquisitely.
Subbing in LCS veteran ADC Apollo “Apollo” Price seemed to be the exact buff they needed to give them a more reliable edge over strong teams. If they keep their cool during these final weeks, they’ll definitely be a threat to any team in playoffs.
Golden Guardians (B+)
Another team that was criminally underrated before the split started, GG has done well to integrate their new jungler Can "Closer" Çelik and off-role support Yuri “Keith” Jew into the line up. The competition, aside from C9, hasn’t exactly been stiff, but they’ve managed to rake in the wins where it counts.
Now that GG has overperformed to the level of possible playoff contention, they made the move to swap out Keith for Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun in the support role. While Huhi has had more reps in the role than Keith, they may come to regret the decision if things don’t click soon enough.
Team Liquid (C)
Liquid’s split has been abysmal, and not simply because of jungler Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen’s late arrival. Their individual players have more or less kept up with their consistent ways, but as a team they’re failed to get on the same page.
After subbing in Edward “Tactical” Ra to patch up issues with Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng’s illness and lack of motivation, Team Liquid managed to pull up enough wins to rocket them to third place. And when Doublelift returned for their game against IMT, they capped off week seven with an 0-2 finish.
The fact of the matter is this TL isn’t the same team that dominated previous splits. Playoffs are very likely out of reach for them for the first time in a while; it may be time to focus on Summer Split.
Team Dignitas (B-)
Dignitas was another one of those “retirement home” teams in the off-season, especially since it seemed like their roster was thrown together at the last minute. In combination with insane performances out of Henrik “Froggen” Hansen and rookie Jonathan “Johnsun” Nguyen, these guys have looked like an incredibly solid team.
Until just recently, they were fluctuating between the top three and top four, but a strong recent schedule has pushed them to the bottom of the standings. Given what they’ve shown us so far this split, they have the ability to bounce back, but their schedule for the last two weeks is fairly difficult with TSM, EG and IMT on the docket.
CLG’s Spring Split can only be described as utterly tragic. The signing of Lee “Crown” Min-ho was supposed to be a clear upgrade, but after going almost completely winless, the team ultimately benched him for Eugene “Pobelter” Park.
Spring WOULD be pretty much over for CLG under normal circumstances, but since the standings outside of the top two are so close, they still have a chance to pull off a very on-brand miracle run. Let’s be honest, it’s probably going to happen.
Images via Riot Games.