LCS Spring Expectations Review

2020 LCS Spring Expectations Review

With the LCS split over we thought it was time to revisit our initial power rankings and discuss with our LEC expert how our power rankings held up, and if what we said held up. For reference make sure to check out our initial Power Rankings here and just for some more information, I went 45-45 for an even 50% prediction rate, not the best when compared to the analyst desk, but pretty good for Spring predictions. I’m going to include Playoffs in the final standings so the top 6 teams will look a bit different than what the Regular Season Standings show.

1. Cloud9

Cameron: 6

Miika had a lot more faith in my favorite team than I did that's for sure. Either way they finished with a 17-1 regular season record and only dropped one more game in their playoff run to win their first championship in 6 years. I’m upset with myself that I didn’t believe in them, but as a diehard fan, I think I would have been playing favorites if I had put them in the top three. Summer Power Rankings will look way different that's for sure.

Miika: 3

The expectation was that Cloud9 is clearly in the top three. TSM and especially Team Liquid underperformed so the clearly distinguishable top three turned into a clearly distinguishable top team. Cloud9 was the most powerful LCS team of all time this season and it says it all about the team. A special highlight is Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen, whose miserable seasons at TSM raised a lot of doubts about whether the Danish player will no longer be able to play for the top teams in the league. After this season, no one will question Zven’s hiring for the team anymore.

2. FlyQuest

Cameron: 8

I know Miika and I weren’t alone in not expecting much out of this roster, but they sure shut everyone up. They had a bit of a flop at the end of the regular split but managed to winout to the finals in playoffs. I can’t say for certain that I would put them this high up come Summer but they have proved they are a playoff contender and a team to beat in the regular season.

Miika: 7

At the same time, FlyQuest is the biggest surprise of the season and the team that made the best player change of the season. In all the ratings, FlyQuest was the team that just reached the maximum in the playoffs, so advancing to the finals is definitely a tremendous accomplishment. It’s noteworthy that the team dared to make a big change in the middle of the season, even though it was battling for a playoff spot to the fullest at that point. Highly criticized Colin “Solo” Earnest was acquired in the middle of the season to compete for playing time with Omra’s “V1per” Shoura and at the latest in the playoffs, Solo took his place permanently in the opening line-up. At the start of the season, Solo hadn’t received a single offer, even from the Academy teams, and in the playoffs, the same man was one of the brightest stars in the league. A stunning growth story from both Solo and FlyQuest as a whole.

3. Evil Geniuses

Cameron: 4

I knew this roster would be a strong team and although I put them in 4th, the race for the 3rd seed was super tight all the way up to the end, and then EG knocked FLY into the losers bracket before losing to them in the Semifinals. They could have very well been a top 2 team by the end of it all and in fact, off tie breakers, were at the end of the season.

Miika: 6

EG is both a disappointment and a positive surprise. Before the start of the season, I raised EG to sixth mainly because I felt it had a lot of question marks like its competitors, especially as EG is a completely new team. After even having two pre-favorites in contact throughout the season, EG had the opportunity of his life to fulfill his tough threats before the start of the season and thus the loss to FlyQuest in the playoffs is disappointing in my eyes. On the positive side, however, Bang has finally found a home where he can play a completely different level of play than last year, and also the fact that Jiizuke has found a completely different level of evenness in his game than what was seen when playing in Europe. It will be interesting to see where EG settles in the summer season when presumably TSM and TL get their game to the expected level.

4. Team SoloMid

Cameron: 3

TSM’s regular season was so back and forth, that an overall finish of 4th, with a 5th place finish in the regular season makes sense. Their triumph over 100T is the only thing that earns them the 4th place spot overall, otherwise I feel 100T fit in here perfectly. Next season is going to look so weird with Doubllift joining the roster and while I feel Dardoch fit well on the team, with an open import slot and some whispers of Brokenblade and Dardoch not getting along… we will have to wait until Summer to see how this squad will end up come 2021.

Miika: 2

One might say that looking at TSM’s recent years, fourth place is not a disaster. But considering that on paper, this line-up was second only to Team Liquid during the season, at least I was very disappointed with the TSM season. The ranking is moderate, but the journey towards it was really bumpy. Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett was a big question mark in my papers and honestly I wonder if Dardoch is a starting jungler at the start of the summer season. In other respects, the team more or less underperformed, but Dardoch was clearly the biggest problem in the team’s game. Dardoch is known as a mechanically talented player whose decision-making is questionable. This season, however, not even those famous mechanical skills were on display, and while more attention should be paid to the bottom of the map through the upcoming player change for the summer season, Dardoch is unfortunately not the right piece in this puzzle. To fix the spring’s problems, TSM seized the opportunity to acquire legendary Yiliang “Peter” “Doublelift” from Peng Team Liquid to replace Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup. Kobbe was not the team’s weakest performer, but on the other hand, the star moments were also unfortunately low, so TSM couldn’t resist the temptation to get the most successful North American player back into the team through time.

5. 100 Thieves

Cameron: 2

We had pegged 100T for the third best team, after averaging it out, and lo and behold that's where they finished, in the regular season anyway. They had a rough Playoffs getting 3-0d by Cloud9 and falling to TSM 3-2. I hold the position that all of the teams from 3rd to 5th on this list are swappable, so I think we did pretty good with 4/6 correct with our Power Ranking top 6, when you consider GG and Flyquest replaced Team Liquid and Counter Logic Gaming, arguably the two biggest failures this split.

Miika: 4

Actually, in all respects, the advance was true for this team. It was at the top of the middle caste, the Cody Sun - Stunt duo was a good acquisition and Ryoma was a useless risk. However, the team’s absolute bright spot was Ssumday who was at times completely unstoppable on top Lane and played a big role in the team’s success. Unfortunately, Ryoma was right at the tail end, if not quite at the tail. On the plus side, Ryoma didn't have any support, so decided to take the defense on himself, he managed to weave his way to the edge of the area and instantly unleashed a powerful shot that rattled the bar. At least so far, there have been no rumors that the team is making changes for the summer season, so presumably Ryoma will continue to hang on the ankles of Ssumday and Cody Sun.

6. Golden Guardians

Cameron: 9

One could say that Golden Guardians outdid themselves and some would say that the other four teams underperformed by a mile. Either way GG made it to the playoffs over some orgs considered way better than themselves. It was a miracle run for sure and with some touching up to their Bot lane they could be a real contender come Summer.

Miika: 10

The Golden Guardians was definitely a success story, even though the ranking is only sixth. In advance, the team was bet right on the tail and for a long time it looked like it was out of the playoffs and it even switched its support to Yuri “Keith” Jew in the Choi “huhi” Jae-hyun who played at the Academy during the season. Both players have changed their roles to support this season, so the situation on the support front is at least interesting. The biggest honor of the playoffs belongs to the team’s newcomer-jungler Can “Closer” Çelik, who was right at the top of the league in his role throughout the season. However, it is difficult to judge whether GG’s playoff spot was on its decisive day for its goodness or the badness of the challengers. The team has a lot of work to do if it wants to repeat the same trick during the summer season.

7. Dignitas

Cameron: 10

I was immediately surprised and then immediately vindicated after Dignitas started off 3-0 and then failed to find a rhythm to secure a playoff spot. They have offered Huni out on a trade and quite frankly, that isn’t the only adjustment they need to make if they are to come back strong in Summer. They did better than we expected but not much.

Miika: 8

The biggest topic of the winter was Heo “Huni” Seung-Hoon’s massive player contract and Dignitas ’complete roster renewal around Hun. I wanted to believe in Dignita, but eventually the team’s problems came to light at the time of the solution. Hun’s contract was considered oversized, but hardly anyone still believed the team’s biggest problems were just at the top of the map. In the middle of the season, Jonathan “Grig” Armao was allowed to make room for Matthew “Akadian” Higginbotham, who was raised from the academy, and immediately after the end of the season, Dignitas announced that Huni had been moved to the free market prematurely. The team’s absolute positive performer is newcomer Johnson “Johnsun” Nguyen, who hit himself right off the debut season even though Solo lanet and Jungle were in big trouble for much of the season. Dignitas is once again on the verge of important decisions and making decisions in the middle of the year is more difficult than during the winter break, so Dignitas has a challenging summer season ahead.

8. Immortals

Cameron: 7

They ended about where we expected them to, which is kind of crazy considering they were hanging out at the top of the standings for a while. They easily could have stolen that 6th spot in the playoffs with just one better week of games but in the end didn’t have what it took, I’d honestly consider it as bad luck after watching the team play, but I never could get behind them enough in the regular season. Bot lane is problematic for the team and this was perhaps the worst Split Xmithie ever had.

Miika: 9

Immortals is only ranked higher than my predecessor, but nonetheless it feels like the team was a positive surprise. Throughout the season, I was able to criticize Immortals in really harsh words, but dropping it from the playoffs only in roadbreakers is a strong accomplishment when looking at the roster. Unfortunately, Jake “Xmithie” Puchero was unable to help this group of “surplus players” in the playoffs, but the team looked stronger than expected. Jake “Eika” Puchero still doesn’t think I belong in this league, but the other players performed better than expected in the spring season. Immortals is still not a strong team in my eyes, but it has done well for the careers of the players who joined the project.

9. Team Liquid

Cameron: 1

I almost don’t even want to talk about them. This was an abysmal Split for the Org and we kept making excuses for them all the way up until the end of the regular season. After this Split they should still be considered playoff contenders for Summer, but now that they have gotten rid of Doublelift, I don’t see a world where this team fights for their Champion status back anytime soon without some major coaching staff adjustments.

Miika: 1

A clear pre-favorite of the season and while its starting jungler Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen only joined the team’s strength when the Regular Season was already halfway through, the ninth place is a completely unforgivable performance. It’s hard to say where the team’s biggest trouble spots were, but much to say is that the team’s biggest star was first benched due to motivational problems and sold out at the end of the season to improve group dynamics. This is, of course, Yiliang “Peter” “Doublelift” Peng, who moved to TSM for the summer season. The team has a lot of work ahead of it to be able to reach the same level as expected during the summer season.

10. Counter Logic Gaming

Cameron: 5

If you add our pre-season Power Rankings together you get where CLG actually finished in the standings. They won 3 games the whole split and all of the blame falls on Crown and Ruin. Stixxay, Smoothie, and Wiggily weren’t anything special, but when Pobelter joined in place of Crown the team seemed to function just a bit better. They need to make some roster changes if they want to improve for Summer but I don’t know where they should start.

Miika: 5

I have been taught that those who lie on the ground should not be kicked anymore and so I do not want to go very deep into the problem areas of the CLG. The CLG season got a catastrophic start mainly due to the poor performance of Lee “Crown” Min and when the team replaced Eugene “Pobelter” Park, its performance improved significantly. Unfortunately, the damage had already largely occurred and the playoffs were no longer a dream. If in the LEC team rating I called FORG1VEN the worst player in the league ever, the Crown won’t be terribly far from this “honor” on the LCS side with this season’s performances. It’s hard to see that the CLG would be at the top in the summer season, but with small changes, it can fight for the playoffs, as behind Cloud9 all the other teams (except the CLG) were on a really flat front in the spring season.

Cameron Carr image

Cameron Carr

6 May 2020

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