The 2019 LCS Summer Split kicks off on June 1! North American teams are looking to pull out all stops in a race to qualify for the upcoming World Championship, but only three of them will make the cut. We break down the mid-season roster changes and highlight the likely trajectories of different lineups to bring you in-depth LCS power rankings for the 2019 Summer Split!
10. Echo Fox
ROSTER: Solo (Top), Rush (Jungle), Fenix (Mid), Apollo (Bot), Hakuho (Support)
Our LCS power rankings start with Echo Fox. It might seem counterintuitive to deem them the last-place team in summer when they managed to reach the playoffs in spring. However, half of their Spring Split wins came during the last weeks of the regular season when most teams have already written them off as a lost cause. And while such ability to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat deserves some props, it won’t be enough to carry Echo Fox through summer.
The main reason behind this is the lack of roster upgrades. Sure, Echo Fox managed to put together a coherent playstyle towards the end of the 2019 Spring Split, but they still had to work around the individual shortcomings of their players. Rush is too volatile, Fenix is too one-dimensional, and Apollo and Hakuho are just about average. The only Echo Fox starter that shows consistent improvements is Solo, but even then, it’s unlikely he’ll ever grow into something more than a role player.
9. OpTic Gaming
ROSTER: Dhokla (Top), Meteos/Dardoch (Jungle), Crown (Mid), Arrow (Bot), Big (Support)
OpTic Gaming are a mixed bag. Crown still has the brains and the brawn to be a top-tier mid laner, and with any luck, he’ll finally have built up some synergy with his teammates. Yet, when you look at the pieces surrounding him, it’s clear that the Korean import has his work cut out for him.
Most of it stems from the side lanes. Dhokla is downright dysfunctional in the laning phase, and OpTic will have to invest a lot of resources into covering their top laner. Arrow and Big are a bit more resilient in the bot lane, but it’s still common to see them falling behind in CS and giving up lane priority in winning matchups. To make matters worse, the jungler—Meteos—employs a very reserved playstyle, so he will have a hard time finding the right plays to tip the scales in his team’s favor. And while OpTic could circumvent this weakness by subbing in Dardoch, their 2019 Summer Split will still be an uphill battle.
8. Clutch Gaming
ROSTER: Huni (Top), Lira (Jungle), Damonte (Mid), Cody Sun (Bot), Vulcan (Support)
Clutch Gaming are in the running for having the most cost-inefficient roster in the league. Their decision to build a team around three Koreans backfired spectacularly, as none of their imports performed up to their usual standard. If that wasn’t enough, Clutch Gaming were so focused on trying to make these pieces work that they ended up completely ignoring Damonte in the mid lane.
Credit where credit’s due, at least they’re trying to change something. Replacing Piglet with Cody Sun might seem questionable, but Piglet rarely—if ever—carried games on anything other than Irelia. Cody Sun should be able to free up some resources for his solo laners while acting as a more stable presence in late game teamfights. However, this doesn’t change Clutch Gaming’s identity of a top-focused team. And considering how volatile Huni can be as a player, that means Clutch will remain at the bottom of our LCS power rankings.
7. Counter Logic Gaming
ROSTER: Ruin (Top), Wiggily (Jungle), PowerOfEvil (Mid), Stixxay (Bot), Biofrost (Support)
Counter Logic Gaming are also trying to turn their sinking ship around. Removing Darshan from the starting lineup is definitely a step in the right direction, and while Ruin isn’t the greatest player in the world, he should still be able to bring some much-needed firepower to CLG’s top lane. Combine that with a capable mage player in PowerOfEvil, and this team has two potent carries to play around.
Unfortunately, the other pieces leave a lot to be desired. Wiggily is still a rookie in the jungle and his lack of experience shows when he goes against LCS veterans. Moreover, Stixxay is going through a slump in the bot lane position, and Biofrost seems to be stuck on tank duty. Is it possible to play around these weaknesses? Sure. But CLG is the last team to do so.
6. 100 Thieves
ROSTER: Ssumday (Top), Amazing (Jungle), Soligo (Mid), Bang (Bot), Aphromoo (Support)
The 2019 Spring Split was an absolute disaster for 100 Thieves. Not only did their Korean imports feel disconnected from the rest of the team, but every single one of their native players hit career lows in the regular season. With that, it’s not exactly surprising 100 Thieves made some mid-season roster moves. Their decision to bring in Amazing in place of AnDa is a welcome one, as the German jungler has the perfect mixture of experience and game sense to get everyone on the same page.
Yet, the fact that they promoted Soligo to the starting roster leaves us worried for the future of this lineup. The new mid laner is a greenhorn in every sense of the word, and it’s hard to imagine him standing up to the likes of Bjergsen, Froggen, and Jensen. Aphromoo presents another possible weakness. The 2019 Spring Split was one of his worst showings to date, and only time will tell whether he can bounce back in summer.
ROSTER: V1per (Top), Santorin (Jungle), Pobetler (Mid), WildTurtle (Bot), Wadid (Support)
FlyQuest figured things out much quicker than other LCS lineups. Their players are naturally civil and agreeable, so it took them close to no time to build up synergy and establish a functional team dynamic in the 2019 Spring Split. However, most teams will start catching up in summer. And if you look past the teamwork, there’s not much else that FlyQuest bring to the table.
Sure, Pobelter and WildTurtle are solid in the carry positions, but ‘solid’ doesn’t cut it when you’re aiming for the top of the league. In a similar fashion, V1per is still too raw to take over games on his own. This leaves Santorin as the main carry threat in the jungle, and that’s just not enough firepower to challenge the best teams in our LCS power rankings. And even though FlyQuest tried to reinvent their identity by bringing in Wadid to the bot lane, it’s unlikely that a defensive support will fix their issues.
4. Golden Guardians
ROSTER: Hauntzer (Top), Contractz (Jungle), Froggen (Mid), Deftly (Bot), Olleh (Support)
Golden Guardians are in a weird spot. Most of their success stems from teamfighting and Froggen’s off-meta champion pool, and they should be able to ride this high in the 2019 LCS Summer Split. Moreover, Hauntzer acts as a potent secondary threat in the top lane, so Golden Guardians can exert a lot of pressure in the solo lanes.
Yet, every other part of their roster isn’t up to the necessary standard. Contractz might be the worst jungler in the league, as he looks nigh invisible for the first 15 minutes of the game. The same applies to Deftly and Olleh who are struggling to make their presence known in the bot lane. With that, Froggen and Hauntzer face the difficult task of dragging three mediocre players past the finish line, and even though they’ve done it before, it won’t get them into our top-3 of our LCS power rankings.
ROSTER: Licorice (Top), Svenskeren (Jungle), Nisqy (Mid), Sneaky (Bot), Zeyzal (Support)
If you look at Cloud9 from a strategic standpoint, they might very well be the best team in North America. Their teamwork is superb, their drafts are creative, and their playstyles are incredibly diverse. But for all the good things Cloud9 have going for them, they suffer from a distinct lack of firepower.
It’s not as bad as with FlyQuest, as all of their players are well above average, but they still fall into the same good-but-not-great category. Nisqy has a hard time filling the void left by Jensen’s departure, and Sneaky is a known quantity in terms of how he matches up against world-class AD carries. This leaves Licorice and Svenskeren as the only players that can consistently carry games. And while this will likely be enough for Cloud9 to qualify for Worlds, it remains to be seen whether they can keep the momentum going against international teams.
ROSTER: Broken Blade (Top), Akaadian/Grig (Jungle), Bjergsen (Mid), Zven (Bot), Smoothie (Support)
TSM might’ve lost the spring finals, but they’re in a great spot to exact their revenge in summer. Broken Blade has already proven himself as a powerful carry top laner, and he’ll only get better as he gets more experience under his belt. Meanwhile, Bjergsen has fully embraced the aggressive mid lane meta, so TSM can once again build their strategies around their ace.
The jungle situation is a bit sketchier. Sure, Akaadian can be a loose cannon, but his proactive playstyle is a perfect fit for the current state of the game. Which makes all the more surprising that TSM decided to go with a double jungle setup in 2019. The bot lane also presents a slight concern. Zven’s reserved playstyle was fine and dandy when professional matches lasted for 35-40 minutes, but now it just turns him into a resource hog. Granted, TSM don’t need to make any drastic changes to get to Worlds, but if they want an LCS trophy, they will definitely need to make adjustments.
1. Team Liquid
ROSTER: Impact (Top), Xmithie (Jungle), Jensen (Mid), Doublelift (Bot), CoreJJ (Support)
Despite their 3-0 loss to G2 Esports, Team Liquid exceeded expectations at the MSI. They also still enjoy the benefit of having the strongest roster in the league. Impact shored up the holes in his play by incorporating a number of carry picks into his arsenal, and as shaky as Jensen is internationally, he’s still a top-2 mid in North America.
But the best part about Team Liquid is their bot lane. Doublelift and CoreJJ are unmatched as a duo, and it’s hard to imagine anyone challenging them in North America. The only possible weakness on this roster is Xmithie, but even then TL can cover it by putting him on picks like Jarvan IV or Skarner. Of course, they might need some time to catch up to other teams after their MSI run, but once they shake off the rust, Team Liquid will prove why the deserve to be at the top of our LCS power rankings.