The 2021 LCS summer split is just around the corner. Will Cloud9 retain their championship or will there be a new king crowned?
After a disappointing Mid-Seasonal Invitational for North America, the LCS Summer 2021 returns this week with NA's best looking to book a trip to the world championship. Mid-Season Showdown champions Cloud9 will take to the stage for the first time since Reykjavik. The League kicks off with a monstrous clash between Team Liquid and TSM. Here is a rundown of the league's title contenders, playoff dark horses, and the sides likely to miss out on the playoffs.
The LCS Summer 2021 Title favorites
Cloud9 is back in action for the first time since the MSS champions competed at the Mid-Season Invitational. It was a tournament filled with many lows, but also the occasional highs. While they were able to take games off of the MSI finalists in Damwon KIA and RNG, it was not enough for them to progress to the knockout stage.
It would not be Cloud9 without roster changes and community confusion. Following MSI, Cloud9 owner Jack Etienne announced on Twitter C9 would be promoting Calvin "K1ng" Truong to the starting line-up. This came at a shock to many, Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen was considered to be the best ADC in the region and was one of the sides best performers at MSI.
Despite the changes, Cloud9 is still one of the favorites to lift the trophy come to the end of the summer split. The MSS champions are in a great spot as far as their regular-season record goes and have a roster stacked with talent. Ibrahim "Fudge" Allami is the player to watch out for on the side of Cloud9. The LCS top laner was arguably the best player in his role at MSI. Fudge's exponential growth since the lock-in tournament is one of the reasons C9 are the favorites to lift their second consecutive trophy.
TL will be itching to get back into action this week in the LCS Summer 2021. The four-time LCS champions came within touching distance of winning their first title since 2019 at the MSS. What made their playoff run even more impressive is the fact they played the majority of it with a substitute jungler. TL are on a collision course with Cloud9 with the pair meeting in the last two finals, firstly the lock-in tournament and secondly at the Mid-Season Showdown.
Team Liquid with their full starting roster will come out of the gates swinging, they will be the immediate favorites to take control of first place in the regular season. With a strong early game and two months worth of practise under their belts, it could be time to crown a new LCS champion.
Challengers: Can they, can't they?
TSM has made great strides since the start of the new season. The seven-time LCS champions got off to a poor start with inconsistent performances both in the Lock-in and in the spring split. This was to be expected, however, TSM was putting together a brand-new roster . What has sometimes gotten lost in the mix of the results is that this is Bjergsen's first split as a coach. While this is a results-driven esport, Bjergsen is starting from the bottom and it will take time for him to find out his coaching philosophy.
PowerOfEvil has been the crutch for the side when they have needed him most. POE during the spring split was great on control mages and was the late game insurance his side needed. Given the lengthy amount of time they have had off since the playoffs, if this is the style coach Bjergsen has gone with, then TSM can cause a big upset in the summer split.
100 Thieves during the offseason has made two massive upgrades to their League of Legends roster. Firstly, 100T brought in Felix "Abbedagge" Braun from Schalke, followed by veteran coach Bok "Reapered" Han-gyu. Both of these moves are considered to be game-changers for 100 Thieves.
Starting with Reapered, the Korean coach is known for his aggressive approach to the game. During his long tenure on Cloud9, Reapered was known for his ability to get the best out of his players. Even when his sides did not have the best rosters, they were able to punch above their weight.
Moving onto Abbedagge, the European mid laner is a talented player and should hit the ground running. Abbedagge's most recent accomplishment was helping Schalke take down G2 in the LEC playoffs. While he and Tommy "Ryoma" Le share the same champion pool, Abbedagge has shown he can do more with the same tools. If they work out, these upgrades should be enough for 100T to make it into the top three.
And finally, the Underdogs
It is a long road ahead for the Golden Guardians. The LCS side sits in last place with a miserable record of 3-15. And while eight teams qualify for the summer playoffs, GGS are three wins behind eighth place. Even though it is a triple round-robin to close out the split, it is a tall task for the Golden Guardians. GGS has made two roster changes that should help stabilize the side.
Colin "Solo" Earnest is a great top laner for a young side to build around. The veteran top laner provides an abundance of experience and should be a driving force for Golden Guardians. The second change GGS made to their starting roster is in the support position. Chime will be taking Diamond's place at the starting support for the upcoming split. Chime has been an excellent servant for the organization, competing in academy across multiple splits and has earned his place on the starting roster.
Immortals are the side that is likely to finish outside of the playoff picture. While the LCS did do better than expected, the teams below them such as FlyQuest and CLG are tipped to improve drastically. This leaves IMT likely falling into the ninth position, they have enough wins over GGS to not finish tenth, but this would mean missing out on the eight-man playoff tournament.
One of the bright spots for this roster in the spring split was Mohamed "Revenge" Kaddoura. The LCS top laner had a solid first season in the league for a rookie, averaging a 2.5 KDA and having some solid highlight plays, especially in their game against Team Liquid.
LCS Summer 2021 kicks off tomorrow at 3PM PDT as Team Liquid and TSM go head to head in the opening game of the season.