Spring Split is at the midway point for the North American region and titans have started to emerge within the scene as Cloud9 and FlyQuest have gotten out to commanding leads in the standings. Lying in wait, Team SoloMid, Team Liquid and Dignitas are all vying for their chances at playoffs as the stakes have been getting higher each week. With Team Liquid finding their groove with the return of their starting jungler, the matchups have gotten that much tighter as Cloud9 seeks out their first ever undefeated season. Here are our ten bold predictions for what’s to come in LCS 2020.
1. Cloud9 will NOT finish undefeated
Although an undefeated season would be the ultimate cherry on the cake for a team that is firing on all cylinders, the volatility of best of one’s are just too much to shake as Cloud9 only continues to grow in confidence. With four weeks left on the schedule, C9 still has to face an in-form FlyQuest and a surging Team Liquid that have found their footing with Broxah back in the bushes.
Even with the top teams accounted for, there is a chance teams like Dignitas or Immortals can take a stab at the winning streak if Cloud9 doesn’t remain 100% careful. Only time will tell if they can surpass expectations.
2. Team SoloMid will finish 4th in Spring
Team SoloMid have looked good in their wins, but dismally out of sorts in their losses. The ability to close out a game is not there yet for the still developing team. Their ability to get early leads is consistently there, but the shotcalling in mid-game has fallen short of the mark and that is why TSM don’t currently have a better record than what they have at the end of week five.
Positivity starts with their player base, and TSM have plenty of playmakers and self-starters that can get advantages. Securing those leads into the late game will be their biggest challenge as the year progresses.
3. PowerOfEvil is MVP of the league thus far
Although Nisqy has the same amount of player of the game awards as PowerOfEvil, it seems like the German international has done a lot more with a lot less as the season has progressed for his team. FlyQuest’s blistering start to the split was no fluke, however. After POE’s stock plummeted with a turbulent end to 2019 at CLG, players and fans alike thought he would be phoning it in as a member of FlyQuest but the results have spoken for themselves.
If PowerOfEvil can continue his output, he should undoubtedly be awarded the Most Valuable Player award for Spring 2020 on the back of his consistent carrying performances.
4. Evil Geniuses will make a roster change before the end of the split
Evil Geniuses are teetering on the verge of a failed experiment after their boisterous entrance into the LCS this year. The CEO of Evil Geniuses branded them as ‘evil Team Liquid’ to brand their roster, but the only TL-esque aspect of their play thus far is a heavy reliance on jungle pressure to get anything off the ground.
On top of that, EG has some of the most accident prone players in all of the LCS with Zeyzal, Jiizuke and Kumo regularly finding themselves at the end of lopsided trades that are bleeding their team’s chances at victory. Yes, they have secured wins thus far, but 9th was not the barometer for success EG were anticipating back in January. Another 0-2 week will surely put this team into survival mode.
5. Immortals will beat out Dignitas for final playoff spot
Assuming Team Liquid rally back into playoff position in time for week nine, there is at least one team in the top six right now that won’t be in that picture in just a few weeks. When assessing the playing field, Immortals and Dignitas find themselves neck and neck in the standings and player strength given their rosters. While both teams possess strong players that can impact the game, Immortals’ veteran prowess seems to be the defining characteristic of this team that will keep them consistent in crunch time.
Huni on paper is a better top laner than sOAZ, but the volatility of his playstyle, and the dependency on Grig in jungle for Dignitas will be their undoing as the more poised and polished playmaking of Xmithie will lift them over in the head-to-head.
6. Immortals will make playoffs in Spring, miss out in Summer
Although we have Immortals slated to make playoffs this split, the expected changes for Summer will more than likely bounce IMT out of that 6th place spot as other teams scramble to improve. The reliance on Eika in mid has panned out somewhat, but the heightened intensity of Summer Split will push this European imports talents to the test.
From the outside looking in, Immortals seems like one of those teams that caught fire before everyone in the LCS could gel, but that kind of early spark will likely fade next split if Immortals are even a tiny bit complacent in the downtime between Spring and Summer this year. Immortals are a team that simply cannot afford to be complacent, or the consequences will be drastic.
7. Broxah will improve with Team Liquid, but international results will remain the same
The first few weeks with Broxah in the jungle have been turbulent, but that doesn’t mean Team Liquid won’t find a way to gel with their new import come playoff time. Their last outing against Evil Geniuses on Monday Night League was promising, and more than likely a sign of what’s to come now that Broxah has afforded himself some comfortability with his team. Doublelift is also a player hungry for improvement, and that will get them ahead in the weeks to come, but TL with Broxah doesn’t look any more complete than they did in 2019.
At the end of 2020, even with a full year of synergy under their belts, the Broxah experiment will likely yield the same results as years previous given the state of LCS in comparison with other leagues. The level of competition in North America isn’t up to snuff, and Broxah’s level of play over the year will dip because of it.
8. Prominent former pros will return to the LCS next split
This year’s off-season for 2020 was a weird one to say the least. With new imports from different regions being offered a spot, prominent faces that were once considered household names in the LCS have fallen off into Academy or back into streaming due to the influx of talent. While teams were vying for exotic options to test out success in Spring, we expect a return to normalcy in Summer as some of these player tryouts will be quickly altered for more proven commodities.
With that being said, some players have already opted for those changes as Counter Logic Gaming subbed out Crown in favor of a returning Pobelter, who missed out on a starting spot in LCS this year. That trend will surely continue as other teams like 100 Thieves, Evil Geniuses and Golden Guardians will want to patch up their rosters with more consistent players to hopefully improve their chances.
9. Blaber has the best team, still not the best jungler in NA
Blaber’s renaissance in the jungle has been long overdue. The high-intensity playmaker has always had glimpses of brilliance as a sub jungler for Cloud9, but the consistency as a starter at this stage has been refreshing to see. Even still, his spoils at the role are heavily favored by him being on the strongest team at the moment, and Nisqy’s roaming style is also nothing to scoff at when looking at both of their sky-high kill participation scores.
While ‘best jungler’ may be a title handed to Blaber at the moment, raw impact alone has to be taken into account regardless of winning lanes. Junglers like Svenskeren, Broxah and Dardoch are finding ways to get leads with a lot less consistency on their teams overall, but the stats don’t give them enough credit for the work involved.
10. TSM will miss Worlds for the third consecutive year
As much as we like the new look TSM of 2020, there are still plenty of question marks surrounding this team, especially in terms of best-of-five that must be ironed out heading into Summer split and playoffs. For the past two years TSM have found themselves in the gauntlet and have failed to qualify both times through the tournament.
This year the removal of the gauntlet tournaments means a double-elimination bracket for Summer will be the determining factor for how the third-place team for North America will be decided. With Team Liquid and Cloud9 virtually a lock for Worlds, there are more than a few teams contesting TSM for that coveted last spot, and there is a high chance they can be overwhelmed by a surging Dignitas or FlyQuest in that span of time.