After 14 weeks of non-stop League of Legends action in the North American LCS, the end of the regular season is finally dawning, paving the way for the start of the playoffs.
Recently renamed the LCS Championship, it serves as the last hurdle before qualifying for the World Cup, in which there are three spots up for grabs in NA (two automatic bids for groups and one for play-ins), and after deciphering all the scenarios in qualifying, the league is intricately left with this situation:
- Five teams are looking for the first two seeds (guarantees goodbye to the second round)
- The next two are targeting the sixth seed (guarantees a spot in top bracket)
- The last three look for the eighth seed (avoid total elimination)
Normally, spectating fans would be delighted with the parity developed across the field, and the crux of it comes from the traditionally strong squads. And yet, as this summer proved, that was not the case. Instead, the best have regressed and the average has outperformed them, creating a fully open window.
Here is a visual representation of how the LCS fared.
It’s a story as old as the LCS itself, oddly enough.
This division was plagued with a flurry of chaos for nearly every team and despite the anticipated return of the game in person, the scent of chaos did not abate to affect whatever team was behind. Rather, it only exacerbated its potency.
Fighting for the top 2 seeds (1st to 4th)
No move was more catastrophic than that made by Team Liquid and defending LCS champions Cloud9. Calvin “K1ng” Truong was selected by C9 as their starting ADC, replacing veteran Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen. At the same time, Team Liquid replaced top laner Barney “Alphari” Morris with Thomas “Jenkins” Tran. Unsurprisingly, both teams caused quite a stir among fans.
While C9 explained their ADC change as a means of generating competition between both players, TL’s was based on fan skepticism. Head coach Joshua “Jatt” Leesman highlighted the player’s longstanding attitude issues as the reason for the change, while Alphari alluded in fact, it was a stealth action. The subsequent jarring atmosphere was so tense at TL that it eventually led to Jatt’s resignation, and as if that wasn’t the only thing causing concern, Santorin backed away from the jungle position due to injury. As a result, Jenkins and Jonathan “Armao” Armao, two members of the TL Academy roster, were alternates and have performed moderately well, but their effectiveness has not been on par with the starters.
So how did those moves affect the Mid-Season Showdown finalists? The short answer to that is not good. With nearly identical overall ranking records, C9 and TL are just one game apart in third and fifth place.
Zven returned to the lineup starting in Week 4, but C9 has yet to rekindle his old strong form. Comparatively, TL’s regression is more pronounced even after Alphari started again in Week 6. As a result, they set unfavorable head-to-head records with their rivals (1-4 vs 100T, 0-5 vs TSM, 2- 2 vs C9 & EG), holding them to the shorter end of the stick in case a tiebreaker is necessary.
“My focus right now is on us and I think we are our own worst enemy. With all the chaos that happened within our team, with the player swapping, this was like the first week we played with the same five guys, so we’re behind the curve, “said TL interim head coach. , Jonas “Kold” Andersen said after week 7.
“What will determine how well we do is how quickly we can improve with this core, so the scariest opponent right now is ourselves, because if we fix our game, I don’t think any team can compete against us. Right now, we are just not playing as one and that is hurting us. “
While sudden roster changes signaled the downfall of one team, they also led to the rise of others. Such a result favored 100 thieves and evil geniuses.
Despite a strong start in the spring, 100T eventually relented and finished fourth in the MSS even after adjusting mid-season by replacing center-back Tanner “Damonte” Damonte with Tommy “ry0ma” Le. For a team with a clear goal for the World Cup, repeating their struggles is unacceptable, so they bought replacements on the market. At the end of his search, 100T snatched Felix “Abbedagge” Braun and brought Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu from the hiatus as his next head coach.
Needless to say, the 100T shot fast on all cylinders with Reapered and Abbedagge. Their summer record of 17-7 brought them to pole position for the first time since the summer of 2018. Originally intended to play top laner Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho, 100T has been moved to a full composition with Abbedagge and The FBI / Huhi association will move forward as carriers if the moment calls for it. All of this makes for a 100T with the balance and the prospect of capturing its first league championship.
“I know this sounds like a sound bite, but I’d say everything has changed,” 100T LCS general manager Christopher “PapaSmithy” Smith said of his team’s change since the spring. “With being the best comes things like the top three, the world championships, the title fights, the best of the five. If we model ourselves on who we want to be and we keep closing the gap there, if fans come and want to see our games behind that, of course we invite them and we will post a lot of content to celebrate the team that we become. “
Likewise, EG is enjoying its own boom. From their 26-16 overall record in a 16-8 summer, EG is tied with Cloud9 for third place.
Under the direction of coach Peter Dun, EG has improved greatly since the spring to float near the top of the table, which was notably marked by an eight-game winning streak. Additionally, through the debut of ADC 17-year-old Kyle “Danny” Sakamaki and the individual prowess of Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro, EG was transformed into a team with the potential to trample their competitors. However, Week 9 will offer one last tough test to overcome with C9, TL and 100T as their opponents.
Despite all the attention that was focused on its rivals, TSM remained intact throughout the season. They are one of two LCS (Immortals) teams to have played the spring and summer split with the same lineup. Initially struggling to adapt to each team member’s style of play, they found their nexus in team fights, which was just what the support that Hu “SwordArt” Shuo-Chieh wanted to formalize when he came to NA.
Everything for the upper support (6th and 7th)
Moving down the table there are two different struggles for seeding. The first is the Dignitas and Immortals race for the sixth seed, where last place in the top group awaits.
Pending any movement, IMT will become one of two LCS (TSM) teams that have stayed with the same lineup throughout the year. It is a testament to the stability they have cultivated with coach Andre “Guilhoto” Guilhoto. Although they are in seventh place overall, they managed to double their win total since the spring with a 13-11 record in the summer.
Additionally, IMT has seen an improvement in their team’s performance this summer compared to spring. With nearly two full divisions from the same lineup under their belt, some IMTs feel now is the time to take the next step and compete among the league’s greats.
“I am the limits of the river, but they are the flow of water. They will decide the direction he will take, “Guilhoto told esports.gg about his team’s performance.” The only thing I have under my control is trying to lead the way, but it is their water. Hopefully we can show this in the playoffs. “
As much as IMT’s stability is revered, Dignitas’ work has been deemed shaky. With a control in third place after Week 1, DIG surprised everyone by calling in David “Yusui” Bloomquist from Academy to replace Max “Soligo” Soong. It was a strange move as they subverted expectations for spring with Soligo driving center lane, but as management saying Regarding the change, it is intended to “allow acceleration of growth (of both players) and, in general, work better for the team in the long term.”
However, such a move disrupted the coordination that DIG already had with Soligo, causing some to doubt whether his chances can improve with Yusui, who has not been in the LCS since 2019 and has been retired for three years. As such, after weeks of poor form, complemented by communication issues between the team and jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett, who seemed to have restored his reputation as a no-nonsense leader about two years into his tenure, leading to the Two parts. abruptly parting ways and Akadian being brought in as the new headline.
Despite all the scrutiny surrounding DIG, they still remain in sixth place and have a chance to send IMT, who signed Dardoch as their assistant head coach shortly after the break, to the bottom group. If both are tied after Week 9, it will be DIG who wins the coveted seed due to having a better head-to-head record (3-2).
“We know it can come down to a single game in terms of whether we finish in the Top 6 or not. Even if DIG decides to lose all the remaining games, we would still need one more win than we have now, ”said IMT top laner Revenge of Pressure with the playoffs approaching in an interview with Inven Global. “I would say it is unlikely, but either way, we need at least one more win than DIG, so we are taking every game very seriously.”
Just stay alive (eighth)
FlyQuest, Golden Guardians and Counter Logic Gaming, which endorse the eighth position of the playoffs, made several moves during the division.
With the sudden elimination looming from a 10-game losing streak, FLY replaced their LCS roster with their Academy team as a last resort to save their season. But fielding a majority stack of rookies was a risky move due to the lack of time they had to synergize. However, to his surprise, the Academy team did well, with a 4-5 record from Week 6 onwards.
Still, that doesn’t take away from the disappointment felt by the introduction of the starting lineup before the time of dispersal. With a group of skilled Academy players, a LATAM champion, and a world semifinalist and LCS champion, FLY was heralded as a promising team with room for development during the preseason. Together on paper, they were great, but in the Rift during games, they were slow. No, it is worse than that. They were non-existent. Devoid of substance.
The team opted for a final adjustment by mixing Academy and LCS players for Week 9, but with the little time they have to prepare, it will take a herculean effort to make the playoffs upon death.
At GG, they improved their top lane and support by bringing in Colin “Solo” Earnest and Jonathan “Chime” Pomponio. His arrivals worked up to a point, as they quadrupled his spring win total, but even that wasn’t enough to get him out of the basement.
Fortunately, its direct competitors experienced the same lethargy and need for adjustments. Sensing FLY’s particular struggles with Eric “Licorice” Ritchie, GG sealed a transfer for him after less than a day of deliberation. Although Licorice made an immediate impact on the team with the Player of the Week honor, they went 4-5 as their business partner, amplifying the suspense for the playoffs.
Although he’s no longer in the GG LCS starting lineup, Solo said about the LCS status at the beginning of the summer split from its volatility, which continues to ring true today.
“None of the best teams have been unbeatable so far. It’s hard to even say that League of Legends right now has a style that you can play and that beats everyone at all times. It’s so much about team fighting, map movement, and team play that it seems like anyone can beat anyone. “
In last place is CLG, whose highest rank for the entire year was eighth during weeks 3 and 4 of the summer. Even after creating a lineup with an incredible accumulation of experience as FLY, they could not match the expectations that were set for them.
Have they competed for the head table? No. Are they floating in the middle? No way. What about the lower table? Nonsense. Do they perform so poorly that fans laugh at them? In the philosophical words of six-time WWE champion “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, “Hell yeah.”
If anything was expected from CLG this year, it was the lineup changes needed to fix their problems. There was the required jungle substitution from Mads “Broxah” Pedersen because of visa issues and the pair of changes involving Eugene “Pobelter” Park that led to Damonte’s return to the league.
If CLG has any chance of sneaking into the playoffs, they must win at least two of their last three games and wait for FLY and GG to collapse. It seems like an insurmountable task for a team hanging by a thread, but since this is CLG, a team that inexplicably gets a result when they seemingly want it, one wouldn’t rule them out.
Amid the turbulence currently engulfing the LCS, two sides have emerged to share thoughts on the matter: those who enjoy it and those who are skeptical whether it is beneficial to NA’s opportunities at the World Cup. For the latter, it would be better if the spring script was seamlessly repeated in summer.
Aspects such as the best teams continue to dominate, the mid-level teams trying to climb to the higher plane, and the rest are begged to do their best to avoid humiliation. But for those clamoring for the continuation of such features, that ship has long sailed. The moment Alphari showed his fury in the first scrum sealed the division’s messy fate. Better yet, it would be more appropriate to say that it opened the floodgates for the destruction of the established hegemony.
Has it been nine years since your formation and you still haven’t learned? Unexpected roster changes, vague explanations, fierce scrutiny from the community, occasional flagging, and huge wasters of money have graced NA as a whole and only continue regardless of anyone’s projections.
If anything, LCS is living in its natural element.
“To be honest, I no longer have a clue,” said DIG supporter Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black in an interview with esports.gg about who he thinks is the best team in the LCS right now. “The teams are losing left and right. Everyone is losing games, so it is very difficult to say who is the best team in the league. I think the rankings are very close at the moment, even if the records don’t show it. “
The LCS Remains Chaotic as Ever With Playoffs Approaching publication appeared first on Gamezo.