Finally… the wait for the summer split to begin is over. Doublelift is back, Dardoch is on CLG and Cloud 9… well they have the exact same lineup. But the battle for the top will be as close as ever with three teams capable of winning the NA LCS Summer Split. Here’s how each team stands up before the split gets underway.
1. Team SoloMid
TSM had a strong Spring Split but there were obvious weaknesses at MSI. The first was the AD Carry position where WildTurtle was constantly caught out of position. The second was Svenskeren as his early invades often back-fired and gave the opposing team an early advantage. With Doublelift coming back, the ADC problem is gone but if TSM wants to win this split, they’ll have to rein in Svenskeren and bring him back to form. Luckily for TSM, all three lanes should have no problem winning on their own and helping out their jungler.
2. Cloud 9
Cloud 9 hasn’t made any roster changes and this team now has a full split under their belt. They were one game away from winning the Spring Split and I expect them to be improved now that their top lane substitution strategy has been ironed out. The team looks equally comfortable with both Impact and Ray sitting in the top lane. Contractz is no longer a rookie and with some LCS experience he’ll take a big step forward. As will Cloud 9.
3. Counter Logic Gaming
Xmithie is out and Dardoch is in. The controversial yet skilled jungler steps into a team that has played together for a long while. Dardoch brings with him the ability to carry games. His aggression will be a breathe of fresh air for a team that is accustomed to Xmithie and his support-style of jungling. CLG might start out slow but come mid-split they’ll be a top tier team.
Arrow was the MVP of the spring split and he’ll continue to be a top 2 or 3 ADC in the summer, but there are questions revolving around the support position. Shady saw time last split with mixed results though he did appear more comfortable down the stretch. Inori and his aggressive/carry style will be a large determining factor in how P1 performs, but expect P1 to take a small step back from their impressive spring performance.
Somehow FlyQuest finished fourth in Spring and now that expectations are high, this team won’t catch others off-guard. With the acquisition of WildTurtle the roster is now full-steam ahead. There’s going to be a lot of blood and a lot of team fights as Hai leads this reiteration of Quantic Gaming towards another playoff berth. FlyQuest’s success will largely depend on how Balls and Hai hold up in their solo lanes, but don’t expect another semi-finals berth for FLY.
This is a team that could definitely job out in front of FlyQuest and Phoenix1. It took Dignitas a while to look like a competent team which is to be expected from a brand new roster with two korean imports. Now after playing a full split together, Ssumday and Chaser will have meshed with their teammates to put together a more consistent performance. With a lot of attention focussed towards the top and jungle, Dignitas really flourishes when Keane gets going. If Chaser can focus his attention towards the mid lane then prepare for a jump from DIG.
The bottom four teams in the NA LCS have a lot of question marks. For Immortals, the question is ‘Who is going to carry this team?”. The answer was previously Dardoch but now that Xmithie has replaced him, someone else will need to step up. That will likely need to be Pobelter as Xmithie and POB already have some chemistry from CLG. I’m not sold that the leadership of Xmithie will lead IMT to summer success.
8. Team Envy
Envy finished last in spring and barely survived the promotion tourney as they edged GCU 3-2. Lira was arguably the best jungler in NA last split and will have a lot of pressure to carry his team. The only change Envy made to help out Lira was that they replaced Ninja with Pirean, not really an upgrade. This team will only go as far as Lira takes them.
9. Team Liquid
After Doublelift got Liquid back into the NA LCS I was expecting to see some big roster adjustments for Liquid. Instead, they send out the exact same line-up that started the Spring Split. Goldenglue is back as the starting mid-laner and Piglet returns to ADC. Goldenglue went 2-8 in his matches last split and simply doesn’t supply the carry potential as other LCS mid laners. Just like Envy, this team only goes as far as their jungler will take them.
10. Echo Fox
The last place finisher could really be any of these bottom four squads but as of right now I’ll go with Echo Fox. The team is now rocking a 10-player roster loaded with mediocre talent. With Akaadian and Froggen being locked into the line-up, it’ll be interesting to watch the revolving door at the other positions. On top of that, Echo Fox will only be scrimming within their organization. Sure that keeps their strategy and gameplay a secret but they also lose out on playing top tier competition and gaining insight into how other teams approach the meta.