LCS Summer 2020 Power Rankings
The second half of the LCS Season is starting up on Saturday, June 13th! Like Spring we would like to take some time out to pinpoint who we think ranks where in the standings, and predict who is going to finish where on those standings by the end of the Summer Split. There were some roster swaps and some big moves since the Spring Split ended and after Spring Split we now know what to expect from some of those teams. So let’s get into it.
A seemingly no brainer this time around, C9 won the Spring Split 2 weeks before it was over. They then went on to win their first regular season title since 2014 and this team looks untouchable. They didn’t make any roster swaps in their starting 5 and their biggest hurdles this split aren’t much better than they were last split. They may not go 17-1 again but they’ll secure that first place seed with some wiggle room.
Cloud9 was completely unstoppable during the spring season and will leave for the summer with exactly the same occupation. So there is no reason to doubt that Cloud9 would be a top team even at the start of the summer season. Of course, to be honest, in the spring, Cloud9 was the only steadily performing team in the entire league and its worst competitors were in the swamp at least to the waist. Now TSM, Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses and Dignitas have made changes and are presumably more ready for the summer season than what was seen in the spring season. That means Cloud9 won’t get as easy and also that a more exciting fight is expected for the season than we saw last season. However, I think Cloud9 is number one in the regular season and a pre-favorite for the playoffs as well. However, it would be an excellent thing for the Worlds that Cloud9 will have to develop the game forward because their own league would become a challenge. Let's hope so.
2. Team SoloMid
They dropped Dardoch, and picked up Doublelift. They haven’t found a good enough Jungler yet but assuming they figure something out by the end of the split or Spica ends up being enough, then there’s no real reason to believe any of the other teams deserve this spot in the Summer Power Rankings. Obviously they’ll still need to correctly utilize Bjergsen but that need is lessened by Doublelift’s presence.
TSM’s seasonal jungle roulette spun again and this time Mingyi “Spica” Lu, who convinced in the Academy roster, was selected as the starting jungler. This pass must be started by TSM to hunt junglers for the seasons coming from the LEC, as the jungers of LCS are starting to be tried (/ spoiled). However, Jungler’s change isn’t the most significant change to TSM, which performed unevenly in the spring, as Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, who lost faith in Team Liquid, returned to TSM! I’m not saying Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup would have played badly in any way, but adapting to a situation where the jungler isn’t entirely up to you with the team’s way of playing and the jungle presence required at the other end of the map didn’t really work for Kobbelle. Doublelift is the most successful player in North America and will certainly bring much-needed experience and the will to win, assuming the motivation is in place this time around. With nine teams more or less confused and uneven in their performance during the spring season, I believe TSM has put together its best package and is the strongest challenger for Cloud9. Once again.
3. Evil Geniuses
It gets a little easier to figure it out after this, whether you use stats or not Spring Split saw Evil Geniuses slip into second after tie breakers, then flatline in the Playoffs. They picked up Huni but that raises questions about their starting roster week to week and a team as already unstable as this one, a boom or bust player doesn’t look like an improvement, even if he is directly better than Kumo. They won't have a repeat of Spring if they play the same way that they did.
I had a tough fight inside my head over whether to raise EG or TL to third team. Both have fixed weaknesses during the break, but looking at the performance of the spring season, Evil Geniuses needed significantly smaller changes to grab third place, so it’s also more likely that these changes have been successful. I must admit that I am greatly embarrassed EG's to do with the changes, specifically the primary was thinking. It acquired last year's star player Heo “Huni” Seung-Hoon to patch up the leaking top lane, but at the same time it acquired a third imported player and thus can only play Hun if either Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro or Bae “Bang” Jun-sik don’t play. Neither of them has a viable substitute in the lineup at the moment, so I don’t know at all how EG is going to handle the matter. The situation is complicated by the fact that Evil Genius has to play Hun over the course of the season, as at the end of this season, Hun's status will become an NA player if there are enough games accumulated during the season. Huni is probably a long-term acquisition for the team, but this acquisition will complicate the summer season considerably.
FlyQuest came out of nowhere with that Solo pick and I think that he has improved a lot since his last starting spot in the LCS, he might be coming for Licorice as the best Top Laner in the entire NA region. That being said Ignar and POE weren’t as good as they should have been together and the biggest problem their team has is a lack of true style, they’re a strong side and should be treated as such all split long.
This may be a real self-kicker, but the other finals team of the spring season has ended up in sixth place in my power rankings. However, my strong belief is that FlyQuest managed to take advantage of the fact that others played miserably in the spring and now that the teams have got their game in order, they will come past the right and left FlyQuest who lost V1per. FlyQuest's lineup is full of experienced players, but if you ask which of these players would have the opportunity to play for the top teams then it will be pretty quiet. I hope to see FlyQuest in the playoffs and it is very likely that both 100 Thieves and Golden Guardians will experience FlyQuest stronger, but at the same time I also believe that FlyQuest’s spring season was a miracle of one season and reality strikes a face during the summer. How many teams manage to overtake FlyQuest through the changes remains to be seen.
5. 100 Thieves
Second place is the hardest, are EG better? Are FLY better? Will TSM and Doublelift challenge C9? There’s a lot of teams that could go here, but I think 100 Thieves will be the best of the rest when it comes to the LCS. Mostly due to the shortcomings of the other teams. 100 Thieves keeps the same 5 from Summer and Ssumday and the Bot Lane continue to be top 3 among the rest of the league, with Meteos and Ryoma needing to pick up their slack a bit. I think they will and will seriously contend with C9 by the end of the split.
If it is not broken, do not repair it. 100 Thieves is the only team to advance to the spring playoffs that did not make any line-up changes between seasons. Unfortunately, during the spring, it did not show its readiness to challenge Cloud9 and now the challengers have strengthened themselves. It leaves 100 Thieves in an awkward position, as Dignitas and Team Liquid, who were out of the playoffs, have made changes and thus 100 Thieves have had to develop their game forward to maintain their position. I think 100 Thieves can still be a playoff team, but unfortunately the top of the chart is likely to change to the bottom. 100 Thieves has always been a team with a good body, but something is missing to make it to the top of the list.
6. Team Liquid
Tactical is not better than Doublelift, even if his mentality is better he is not nearly as good a player. That being said the switch was probably necessary for the team to improve and move forward but the TL Dynasty ended at 4. I see a world where TL misses out on Worlds and I think we are living in it. No other team really feels right making it to the top half but luckily for them that isn’t really needed this split.
The catastrophic season is behind and has been responded to by tossing an unmotivated star player into the field and hiring a new head coach. Joshua “Jatt” Leesman is a familiar face to viewers as a longtime expert on LCS broadcasts and now the newcomer coach is thrown in a tough spot. The trio Jung “Impact” Eon-Yeong, Nikolaij “Jensen” Jensen and Jo “CoreJJ!” Yong-in, so the building blocks should at least be in place. Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen, who joined (finally) in the middle of the spring season, has now had time to spend with the team and thus the weak performances of the spring are hopefully history. Edward “Tactical” Ra will fit in Doublelift’s size 48 boots, which also replaced the Doublelift in the spring season for a couple of weeks. For Tactical, it’s an arrival season, so it’s interesting to see how it affects the performance of a team bustling star players. Either way, Team Liquid’s season can’t go any worse than spring. Worlds are still fully reachable, but it requires a real rebirth. Now that the team is able to play with an occupation that everyone really wants to play, this rebirth is very possible. However, I don’t yet elevate Team Liquid as the biggest winning favorite.
The best of the worst last split was Dignitas and they’ve picked up Dardoch and V1per and whether or not they use Dardoch I don’t think matters. They upgraded the wrong positions and still somehow managed to lose Damonte. Hopefully they got enough of their money back to even pretend to improve this split.
Dignitas was a sensibly thought-out package on paper for the spring season, but the poor performance personified the problems of Huni and Jungle, who played below their own level. Now, the team has acquired new talent for both of these roles, yet retaining the same concept as the spring team. Spring season comet Omra’s “V1per” Shoura takes Huni’s place and Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett, who flopped at TSM, gets one more chance to tighten up Matthew “Akkadian” Higginbotham in the Jungle role. For one reason or another, I have a lot of credit for this structure where both the top and the bot have a mechanically talented carry player and mid-Lane has a very comfortable and resource-efficient veteran Henrik “Froggen” Hansen. This opens up a lot of different tactical possibilities for the jungler. Also, the fact that V1per not only pulled bans from outside the meta, he also carried the FlyQuest lineup in the backpack in the playoffs. If the same flight continues at Dignitas, this lineup is definitely at least a playoff team.
8. Golden Guardians
They got rid of their best player and replaced them with a barely better player. Goldenglue sits out for Damonte and it’s going to be a very similar season for them as Spring. The problem with that is that all the other teams will be better meaning that GG loses the race this time around. Hopefully they figure out their Bot Lane just isn’t good enough or Damonte solo carries every game in order to get this team a solid 7th place finish.
I would say the Golden Guardians are one of the winners of the break just because it got hold of Can “Closer” Çelik even though several of the top teams made changes to the jungle. Closer was definitely one of the league’s biggest bright spots in the spring season and instantly rose to perhaps the league’s best jungler. Somewhat surprisingly, the Golden Guardians fixed their problems by replacing their steadily strong mid-lane Greyson “Goldenglue” at Gilmer’s Dignitas Academy with Tanner “Damonte” Damonte. But at the same time, the confusing situation in the support role continues and Choi “huhi” Jae-Hyun, who changed from mid-lane to support for the summer season, gets the starting point. Fortunately, there is a newly retired Kim “Olleh” Joo-Sung on the coaching line, who is certainly ready to do “Pobelter” if the team’s game doesn’t go through. The Golden Guardians are actually the last team to seriously fight for the playoffs, so the final playoff spot is likely to be settled between 100 Thieves, Flyquest and the Golden Guardians unless one of the top teams underperforms in a significant way.
Immortals made some coaching staff changes but realistically their team remains the same. I see them playing upset and luckily, even with their Power Ranking placement, they have some real manpower on their team capable of upsetting enough matches to make the top cut. Unfortunately, being able to make the top cut doesn’t mean they will make the top cut and the rest of the teams are just generally a lot better than this one.
If you have read the spring season LCS articles or listened to our spring podcasts so it is probably not very vague what I think about the composition of Immortals. Jérémy “Eika” Valdenaire is not an LCS-level mid laner and Paul “sOAZ” Boyer is not in his best years. Not even Jake “Xmithie” Puchero will be able to save this French sinking ship. Unfortunately, the Immortals won’t fight for the playoffs if the teams play at the expected level and don’t see similar collapses as were seen by a few teams in the spring season. The flop season and important decisions are expected next winter.
10. Counter Logic Gaming
They didn’t do anything. They’ve made no changes since Crown left and Pobelter joined. There’s nothing left in this squad that it is actually insane that they’ve made no improvements. Dardoch was available, Damonte was available, Grig was available. Sneaky probably could collect a big enough paycheck to come back, Huni was available. Guys they did nothing with the mid season break and they’re probably going to go 5-13 at best in the Summer. Where did you go HotshotGG?
If we look at the list of names alone, I would definitely raise the CLG above the Immortals and probably a couple of other teams. But when you look at the spring performances on the playing field then the place in the tenth is more than earned. I find it a big surprise that there were no changes in the lineup during the break, as the team has a big job back as a playoff team. The CLG has proven to perform well in the playoffs before as an underdog, but this time already, advancing to the playoffs would be a tricky trick for the underdog team.
Miika and I disagreed a lot this time around but honestly, that makes for a more dynamic Power Ranking and gives us a little more excitement than we already had for the Summer Split! Make sure to check out our LEC Power Rankings and stick with us for the rest of the year as we follow the major leagues to their conclusion for 2020!