First thing first who are the teams competing to be North America’s Champion?
|Teams||Spring Split Record||Championship Points||Our Summer Split Prediction
|Cloud 9||12-6||10||4th (11-7)|
|Team Liquid||10-8||30||5th (11-7)|
|Echo Fox||6-12||0||7th (7-11)
|Team Envy||DNP||0||8th (6-12)
Format Changes in the LCS-
This split will look far different than any other split with all the new format changes. For the first time, games will be simulcast meaning two games will be going on at once. Riot has created another “battle arena” that is close to the one currently used and will hold two games at once during the season. The North American professionals for the first time will also be playing Friday nights instead of the usual Saturday-Sunday only format. If that all was not enough, teams play a best of 3 series every single match. Each team will play a BO3 against every team twice making a total of 18 series played for each team. The new format will not only double the amount of games played at a minimum but if a series goes three games will add even more games for the professional League of Legend players to play. This format is nothing new to League of Legends though; it was used in the LCK for the past two years with a lot of success.
Our top 3 Predictions-
Immortals will return the same roster that they competed with in the spring split as all contracts are set to expire at the end of worlds this year.
What’s to like-
A team that went 17-1 in the regular season with arguably the best top and jungle of the split is returning in full force. We all know WildTurtle’s ability as a hyper-carry and he has had even more time to synergize with Adrian.
What’s to dislike-
The 2016 Spring Playoffs made the Immortals look mortal. Some questionable champion selection led to getting 3-0’ed by TSM. There will be some questions to be answered this split if the team can repeat the regular season dominance or if the playoffs showed weaknesses in the group. Adrian similarly only played three supports all split long in Karma, Janna, and Soraka. The new mage updates show a lot of potential for burst, and there is some concern if squishy peel supports are playable in the new meta. From Adrain’s champion pool, only Karma looks to be in meta providing damage stats. Can Adrian adapt or make his small champion pool larger? Only the season will tell, but we foresee a lot of tank type supports which Adrain has not shown in competitive play.
We had to nitpick things to dislike as most of these concerns are minor compared to everyone else except for CLG. We expect this to be another two-horse race in the Summer split and with advantages at Jungle, Mid, and Top we still have Immortals finishing first in the regular season just ahead of CLG.
2.) Counter Logic Gaming-
What’s to like-
This team finished a strong second in the regular season at 13-5, was the only team to beat Immortals during the regular season, won the Spring Split Playoffs, and then stormed the Mid-Season Invitational to a surprising and well deserved 2nd place finish. The entire roster returns to defend its crown as it has won the last two LCS playoffs. A star that stuck out during the playoffs and at MSI is Afromoo. He was arguably the best support among the best teams in the world at MSI, and it was his play that allowed Stixxay to carry the final and deciding game against TSM to win the Spring Split Playoffs.
What’s to dislike-
Still considered a weak point of the team HuHi struggled against stronger competition. HuHi played his best on Corki but with all the changes and updates to mage might be out of meta. His Azir play was lacking a lot at MSI, and he only showed he was able to make plays when on a TP summoner Mid-Laner. He will have to step up his champion pull and show more consistency in his game on other champions not named Corki.
Anyone arguing that they will finish first in the Summer Split’s regular season has some ground to stand on. They showed at MSI they can hang with the best of them. Immortals strengths seem to be present where there are few chinks in CLG’s armor. Immortals mid and top lanes are unyielding and exploited CLG’s mid and top in the games they played. CLG also thrives off of high kill games, team fights, and a very fast paced game which can lead to the occasional upset (the new format might protect CLG here making a team win twice to win the match). We predict this being a closer race than the Spring Split’s regular season was, but we still see Immortals finishing first and CLG a close second.
We had Team Liquid placing 3rd place in North American Summer Split but with the news Dardoch being suspended we are moving them to honorable mention and bumping up TSM into the top 3.
TSM- (WAS AN HONORABLE MENTION BUT NOW 3RD)
What’s to Like-
This team showed up in the playoffs and took CLG to the brink and really it was one team fight with TSM ahead that gave CLG the championship. TSM had a lot of roster moves and looked to gel near the end of the split as a team. They looked a top three team that we are accustom to from the North American giants.
What’s to Dislike-
They lose an amazing talent in YellOwStaR as the support he is heading back to Europe. TSM is going back to what was good by picking up a North American challenger player in BioFrost. The new bot lane is going to take some time to get used to each other’s tendencies and that can put TSM behind the eightball. Also with the meta and the way some early game strategies go support in lane swaps also double jungle a lot. It will take time for BioFrost to get used to the team and playing in the LCS at a level he has never played before in his life.
As stated above we like TSM to finish 3rd now that Team Liquids top lane is a mystery. TSM has the talent, the pedigree, and are one of the few teams that can win a series against CLG and Immortals. Huges wins against one of those teams will go a long way in the standings and should be enough for TSM to be in the top three in NA LCS yet again.
Team Liquid (MOVING TO HONORABLE MENTION)
What’s to Like-
The are returning everyone from the last split. First time LCS players Dardoch, Lourlo, and Matt got the experience worth its weight in gold. Team Liquid gave CLG all they could handle in the semifinals losing 3-2. If you are doing a “what’s to like” you have to mention Piglet and Fenix. The mid lane and top lane Korean players can take over a match at any time. With the new meta putting a bigger emphasis on the mid lane this bodes well for Team Liquid as they are in very capable hands with Fenix.
What’s to Dislike-
They turned around after a strong showing against CLG to only crash 3-0 against Immortals to claim 4th place in the playoffs. They never had a foothold in games against Immortals at any time during the season and after a couple of brief leads against CLG in the regular season got swept by the future champions. They will need all 3 of the newcomers of the last split to make tremendous progress to be able to compete consistently against the top two. The biggest news out of Team Liquid’s camp is Dardoch has been suspended. This puts a very important lane that requires a lot of synergy in flux. Jungle ganks, jungler participation in lane swaps, and smite on baron and dragons will be a challenge yet again for Team Liquid. At the time of writing this no jungle replacement has been announced and there is not a jungle sub on the bench for the team.
We like them to finish 3rd here. 3rd place through 5th place is a lottery picking who will finish were. Team Liquid get the nod over Cloud9 and TSM mostly because of god-like talent at ADC and Mid. We also expect the top to be a big lane for Team Liquid. They don’t finish 3rd without growth from Dardoch and Matt, but we think the talent and potential are there to secure 3rd. They are a notch well below the top two, however, don’t expect them to win many games against CLG or Immortals.
EDIT: We have moved them to honorable mention just ahead of Cloud 9 and below TSM. We have no clue how long the Dardoch saga is going to last but from the report on Team Liquid’s website we don’t expect this to solved easily.
They could have easily made the top three, but there are still some question marks on starting lineup. According to C9’s website the starting lineup includes Meteos at jungle and Bunny FuFuu at support. That would be a change from Rush and Hai, who played in all but two games in the spring split and playoffs. While all the players mentioned above are professionals and capable the uncertainty makes it tough to put them back into a top 3 finish.