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Grading The LCS Spring Split 2020 & Playoffs Expectations




The LCS Spring Split 2020 regular season has come and gone, resulting in what many call the weakest season in the history of NA. There was a three-game difference between ninth place and second. There was a SEVEN game gap between second and first. This gave LoL bettors a good opportunity to make a good buck off of the LCS, having some of the most predictable outcomes in LCS history. But enough of that, let’s start at the bottom and work our way up. 

  1. CLG, Grade: F

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This team finds new ways to disappoint. Many a weekend we have heard the woes of the #FaithAge faithful, for good reason. Counter Logic Gaming finished the season at an awful 3-15, the worst record achieved since franchising in 2018.

Where do we even start with this team? Crown got the boot after setting records for ineptitude during the 1-7 start. Pobelter was significantly better in the role, but it could not cover the rest of the team. Smoothie and Stixxay looked like husks of their former glory, losing nearly every lane possible. Ruin had the most deaths for gold invested among all players in the league. Wiggly was alright, but any more of this two-man show could kill his confidence. Wind was a complete flop in his two games.

What does CLG need to change? What don’t they? CLG might be the first team we would suggest tank for the future. There is actual talent in Academy (not CLG Academy, who also finished last) but CLG seem unwilling to make any moves for the future of NA talent.

  1. Team Liquid, Grade: Z

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How the mighty have fallen. This split was frankly an embarrassment. 80% of this roster won two titles last year. We don’t want to hear any “Xmithie leaving was the problem” when that is not the case. Broxah is not at fault for a team this talented finishing at 7-11. The highest-paid roster in the league and they earned their first relegation strike.

Where do we even start with this team? Doublelift pulled a Shawn Michaels “losing his smile” by outwardly saying he wasn’t motivated this split. It showed, as he posted his worst numbers in over half a decade. This team didn’t get outclassed on an individual level; they simply had no idea how to play as a team. Only Jensen seemed to be playing up to par, and one of five showing up is no way for a reigning four-time champion to play.

This team needs to engage in a full mental reset. Anything less than Worlds is an utter failure for this team. Whether that comes from starting Tactical, cutting players, or a coaching change, we have no clue. But another ninth-place finish is unacceptable.

  1. Immortals, Grade: C-

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This placement is a bit odd, because Immortals lost their playoff spot on the very last day of the regular season. They tied for sixth at 8-10 with DIG and GG and lost the tiebreaker for the final playoff spot.

The weirdest part of this team is their inconsistency. They were in the top four until Week 8, choking the end of the season away. What many people consider “Old Guys, the Team” was plagued by inefficient play that kept them around the 500 mark, but still in the hunt. The benching of Altec for Apollo turned out to be solid on paper, but Apollo was a non-factor in most of his games for Immortals. We, to this day, still wonder why Eika is a starting mid laner in the LCS when IMT could have signed Damonte or Pobelter. Soaz and Xmithie are past their prime and it really shows.

Looking ahead, this team needs a culture change. We don’t see Immortals; we see a recoloured OpTic Gaming. OpTic was one of the worst run organizations in esports. Abandon the Altec project and make moves to build on young talent. Apollo and Hakuho can stay, but the rest need to be put under pressure to perform.

  1. Dignitas, Grade: C-

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Was Huni worth all the money? Dignitas tied with IMT and GG for sixth but lost to Golden Guardians in a 46-minute back and forth slugfest. 8-10 and seventh place was the consolation prize for the black and yellow.

Looking at the roster, there were bright spots. Froggen returned to top form, and Johnsun would be rookie of the split if there were other rookies. Akaadian and Huni need some time to gel, but the weakest link is Aphromoo. He has stayed in a degraded form, a shadow of his former MVP glory. His pairing with Johnsun might have been instituted to develop the rookie, but he just isn’t up to snuff anymore.

For Summer, this team is in a pickle. There aren’t really any upgrades Dignitas can make unless they snag Diamond from C9A, and Akaadian was swapped in for an underperforming Grig mid slide. We think they should have no problem making playoffs in Summer but have a very low chance at Worlds.

  1. Golden Guardians, Grade: C

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If we didn’t see it, we wouldn’t believe it. This team only moved into a top six spot ONCE throughout the first eight weeks. They somehow pulled a miracle to close out the season, tying for sixth at 8-10 and winning the tiebreaker to make playoffs.

On paper, we have no idea how this team managed to win so many games. They sport the lowest team KDA, a coinflip style if there ever was one, and the legendary streak of crap that was Keith at support. Closer was somehow voted to LCS All-Pro 2nd Team, but we feel that speaks more to the weakness of NA in 2020. Huhi proved he could play better than Keith, but he and FBI were still frequently out of their depth. Hauntzer and Goldenglue were as much a hindrance as a help. But it still worked. HOW DID THIS TEAM MAKE PLAYOFFS?!?!?

For playoffs, Golden Guardians would need a miracle akin to OG at TI 2018. They are expected to be eliminated by whoever faces them in the first round of the loser’s bracket.

  1. Team SoloMid, Grade: C-

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We come to yet another team stacked with talent that underperformed. TSM finished the season alone at 9-9, finishing fifth and in the first round of the lower bracket in playoffs.

If one only looks at the statistics, TSM could be seen as the second-best team in NA. All their players played well this season. But as a cohesive unit, there was something missing. Instead of being a well-oiled machine, TSM looked more like a car with a headlight out and a squeaky belt. They choked away games they had no business losing, most notably their 0-2 Week 9 against Dignitas and 100 Thieves.

For playoffs, TSM must stop the bleeding. Inconsistencies can no longer be allowed. A finish outside of finals should be considered a failure for this team.

  1. FlyQuest, Grade: B-

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The team that speaks for the trees churned out a surprisingly good split. They finished tied for second at 10-8 but lost the tiebreaker to 100 Thieves.

FlyQuest seemingly have been on top of their roster moves. There isn’t any underperformer on the team, but there also isn’t a standout. Santorin, Wildturtle, and PowerofEvil were consistently top three or four in their position. IgNar was solid and consistent. Viper had some issues, but Solo has been a good replacement until the former Riven one-trick can find his footing again. Solo has performed surprisingly well and could be a part of a deep run.

We are incredibly interested to see this team in a best of five setting. They will face Evil Geniuses, a team they could not beat in the regular season. On paper FlyQuest could be able to win, but stranger things have happened.

  1. 100 Thieves, Grade: B-

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Trust in the Papa. 100 Thieves came back from the brink to finish tied for second at 10-8. They defeated FlyQuest in the first tiebreaker and lost to Evil Geniuses in the second.

There are two stars that stand above the rest on this team: the ever elite Ssumday and the prodigal son Cody Sun. They finished 2nd and 3rd in their respective All-Pro votes. Meteos is still a decent shotcaller and clutch teamfighter that allowed the team to pull wins out of their back. Ryoma and Stunt are notable underperformers but aren’t quite to the level that they can drag the roster down. In hindsight, there are at least four games this team should have lost, but their opponents choked as hard as Team Liquid. (Or they were Team Liquid.)

For playoffs, 100 Thieves drew the short straw. They drew Cloud9, the most dominant team in the history of North American League, as their first-round opponent. They should look to use this to get on the same page as a team and look to the lower bracket as their shot to get to the Finals.

  1. Evil Geniuses, Grade: B

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For how much talent and money that was put into this roster, we expected a more convincing second place record. We expected at least 12 wins, not a 10-8 that required a tiebreaker victory over 100 Thieves.

While the season started poorly, Evil Geniuses rallied around their imports to close out the season. Jizuke and Bang found their forms and put out some of the best play either man has seen in years. Zeyzal became one of the biggest engage threats in the league, and one of the lowest risk ones to boot. Svenskeren and Kumo look far worse than their form on Cloud9, but again have not been enough to drag the team down.

The talent on this team should get them to at least one matchup with Cloud9 in playoffs. All players except Kumo have extensive best of five experience, and their first-round opponent hasn’t defeated them in 2020.

  1. Cloud9, Grade: S+

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What can we say about this team that hasn’t been said? 2020 Spring Split Cloud9 is the most dominant team in the history of North American League of Legends. They finished the season at 17-1, tying the records of 2016 Immortals and 2016 TSM. Their sole loss of the season was a fluke against TSM.

Cloud9 set the record books off the rift as well. They are the first team to have their full starting five on the LCS All-Pro 1st Team. No team has ever done that. Not 2019 TL. Not 2016 IMT. Not even 2016 TSM. Licorice, Blaber, Nisqy, Zven, and Vulcan have established themselves as elite in North America. This comes as a blessing for Zven and Vulcan in particular, as both were discarded by their former teams. Zven finished the season with a KDA over 15, and Vulcan is the best support in NA.

For this team, there is one goal, and only one outcome. C9 either win the split, or they are regarded as the biggest chokers in the history of professional League of Legends. For how dominantly they reigned over NA, we do not see any team touching the boys in blue. We are calling that they go on to win the finals and their third LCS title. Six long years, but to get there, they need to win nine games. We cannot see any other outcome occurring than a C9 victory.

Be sure to check out our LEC Spring Split 2020 Grading and our betting odds for top LoL events: LoL Pro League, League of Legends World Championship and Mid-Season Invitational.