Get Your Suntan Lotion, Folks: It’s A 2016 NA LCS Summer Split Preview

League of Legends betting Summer Split NA preview
It’s that time of year again.

With a little less than two weeks to go before the start of the 2016 NA LCS Summer Split, we’re here to provide an early power ranking guide and in-depth esports betting analysis for each team.

Just a reminder, Riot has yet to announce the other team that will be replacing Team Impulse (EnVyUs has acquired Renegades’ spot). There are also a few more roster changes to hash out.

Nevertheless, here is our first round of power rankings.

Our EU LCS power rankings can be found here.

2016 NA LCS Summer Split power rankings

10. TBD (Team Impulse’s former spot)

We’re still waiting for Riot to announce who the last team will be in the NA LCS Summer Split. We’ll update our power rankings as soon as we know which League of Legends team that will be!

9. Apex Gaming

Apex Gaming qualified for the NA LCS Summer Split via the Challenger Series, beating Team Dragon Knights 3-0 in the Challenger Series Final for the automatic spot.

The organization also had a team that qualified last year, but decided to sell its spot to NRG eSports in order to build some capital and forge a more dominant team. The organization then bought Team Imagine’s Challenger Series spot and assembled the current roster.

This is a roster filled with veteran players.

Alex “Xpecial” Chu is the starting support player after spending over three years on Team SoloMid’s roster (2011-2014). There’s no doubt he’s excited to have a starting spot in the LCS again after bouncing around with Team Curse and Team Liquid in 2015.

In the mid lane will be Korean talent Lae-Young “Keane” Jang. He’s previously played for Gravity Gaming and Curse Academy.

The team features two potential junglers. The scheduled starter is Seo “Eve” Jun-cheol who formerly was part of the Samsung organization.

Their other, alternating jungler is Lee “Shrimp” Byeong-hoon. Shrimp previously played for Team Coast (owned by Apex Gaming) before they sold their starting LCS spot to NRG eSports.

Rounding out the team will be Cristian “Cris” Rosales, one of the few professional League of Legends players from Mexico. Cris has played for multiple teams in the past, including COGnitive Gaming and Curse Academy. He brings a ton of experience to the top lane.

At the AD Carry position will be Apollo “Apollo” Price. Apollo previously played for Team Impulse and Dignitas.

It’s hard to accurately predict how these new teams will do in the LCS. We’ve seen it can take some time to adjust to the new level of competition. They were unable to beat TIP in the NACS playoffs, which indicates this team has some growing to do.

We anticipate Apex to struggle in the early part of the split, similar to what we saw last split with Renegades and Echo Fox. How quickly they can improve their play and adapt to the meta will determine if this spot is too far down.

Complicating matters further is the suspension of one of their two junglers.

Eve has been indefinitely suspended as of May 2 by Apex Gaming. While there have been no confirmations as to the reason, ESPN reporter Jacob Wolf announced the suspension was due to Eve’s account being permanently banned in Korea for the use of program(s) that perform automated, in-game actions (also referred to as scripts).

Riot has yet to make a competitive ruling on Eve’s availability, but Apex decided to take preemptive action.

8. Team Envy

Welcome to League of Legends, EnVyUs.

EnVyUs will be playing in place of Renegades after Riot forced the team to sell their LCS spot.

The organization has immediately started filling out its roster, agreeing to contracts with three former Renegades starters – top laner Shin “Seraph” Woo-yeong, mid laner Noh “Ninja” Geon-woo and support Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent – to be the core of the roster.

The team has also announced they are close to finalizing contracts with a jungler and an AD Carry, but no names have been rumored as of yet.

While these current roster acquisitions won’t wow anyone (we are talking about players who failed to find success last split), it’s hard to build a roster mid-season, especially with all of the moving parts we’ve seen.

Current Team EnVyUS managing director Mike “HastrO” Rufail (a former professional Call of Duty player) stated just as much to ESPN:

“It was very difficult to assemble a roster midseason. It was not easy to do. This was very, very time-consuming because I’m dealing with Koreans and North Americans at the same time and owners in both regions.

You don’t have time to sleep. It was just very time-consuming, very difficult to negotiate, and there are a lot of moving pieces in the LCS right now during the offseason.”

As of now, there are too many questions left unanswered with this team. Only half of the team’s roster has been confirmed, and it doesn’t include a superstar player that jumps out at you as someone who can carry for extended periods of time.

Similar to Apex Gaming, I see this team struggling in the early goings of the split. They do have experienced players who saw action during the Spring Split, but is it enough to carry them to a playoff spot?

We’ll know more when the rest of the roster is filled.

7. NRG eSports

Well that was a roster implosion.

After qualifying for the playoffs in their inaugural Spring Split, NRG will only have one returning player, Chang-suk “GBM” Lee in the mid lane.

Former Team Liquid top laner, Diego “Quas” Ruiz, will be replacing Impact. Making his return to the NA LCS will be former TSM jungler, Lucas “Santorin” Larsen.

After contemplating retirement, Alan “Kiwikid” Nguyen will now be the featured support for NRG. Korean talent Oh “Ohq” Gyu-min is slated to be the starting ADC. He previously played for NaJin and Team Dragon Knights.

NRG started the LCS Spring Split strong, tied for either first or second place through the first four weeks. After the fifth week they fell down to fifth place and remained there for the rest of the season. They were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by Team Liquid 0-3.

One of the main issues last split was communication. After their blistering start, the team began to regress. The adversity caused rifts throughout the team, with Altec and Konkwon bickering at the end of season. Communication looks like it could still remain an obstacle to overcome with this new team.

Other concerns include if Quas can retain the quality of play we saw in 2015 before he was indefinitely suspended by Team Liquid for personal reasons. Santorin was a sought-after commodity during the off period as well, but that indicates a lack of strong talent in the jungle position more than anything.

We saw glimmers of promise before his lackluster play ultimately led to his departure from TSM, and he’s bounced around a couple Challenger teams this past year before landing on NRG.

Ultimately, it’s hard to place this team accurately. They won’t have a lot of time to practice together, and this split will be especially grueling thanks to the switch to a Bo3 series format.

It’ll take some time to grow and we’ll also need to see where Quas and Santorin stand mechanically at this point in their careers. If Quas can play at the same level he did with TL and Santorin has matured to the point of being a competent jungler every week, this spot may be too low.

6. Echo Fox

This is one of the few teams that made no changes during the brief lull between splits. After purchasing Gravity’s NA LCS spot last split, Rick Fox’s squad suffered from visa issues all season.

It wasn’t until the end of the split that we saw what a fully manned roster could do.

After multiple weeks playing with a substitute roster consisting largely of players from the Challenger team Ember due to visa problems keeping Hard, kfo, and Froggen out of competition, Echo Fox placed seventh at the end of the spring split – out of playoffs but also safe from relegation.

Their overall season record was 6-12, with six of those losses coming from their games with a substitute roster as well as a forfeit prior to determining their substitute roster. With their full lineup, their record was 6-6.

Froggen proved he can still play at an elite level, setting the record for most creep score in a competitive game. Top laner kfo also lived up to the hype that he brought with him from Korea.

Perhaps the best sign for Echo Fox was the play of support Terry “BIG” Chuong and Yuri “KEITH” Jew in the bottom lane.

With the visa issues behind them, we are predicting Echo Fox to place one spot higher this split, securing the last playoff spot. They’re just on the fringe of being at the level of the next five teams, with plenty of talent to make some moves this split.

Froggen is the catalyst for this team though, and he has to prove his 89 percent kill participation (top 5 last split) and 9.2 CSPM (Creep Score Per Minute – top 3 last split) weren’t just aberrations.

5. Cloud 9

With no disrespect to the bottom five teams in our power rankings, these next five are the real contenders this split, starting with one of the most intriguing offseason roster revamps we’ve ever seen, Cloud 9.

The three biggest roster changes during the offseason involve the jungle, top, and support position.

Season 3 world champion and former SK Telecom T1, Team Impulse and NRG Esports top laner Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong has signed with the team, former starter and current substitute jungler William “Meteos” Hartman has been promoted to the starting position, and substitute/alternate starter at support, Michael “Bunny FuFuu” Kurylo, will permanently start at support now.

Mid laner Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen and AD Carry Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi will remain on the current roster as well.

The former starters will be participating in Cloud 9’s new venture, a Challenger squad team that purchased Enemy’s spot in the Challenger Series.

That will include former LCS starting top laner An “Balls” Van Le, jungler Lee “Rush” Yoon-jae, mid laner Hai “Hai” Du Lam and support Daerek “LemonNation” Hart.

The team is also currently using Johnny “Altec” Ru on-loan from NRG Esports to fill their AD Carry role.

Back to the starting LCS squad, this is still a very talented team. Impact should be a net plus over Balls in the top lane. Jensen and Sneaky are still considered two of the best players at their positions.

Meteos isn’t as mechanically skilled as Rush, but he’s more than capable of providing a veteran presence and a different skill set from the jungle position over Rush for C9. The real wild card will be the support position.

BunnyFuFuu started the Spring Split for C9, but the team suffered without Hai’s vision and shot calling. By week three, it was apparent BunnyFuFuu was no where close to that level.

Cloud 9 has stated he vigorously watched Hai and listened to all their game’s voice comms, hoping to pick up a few things from Hai. Has he though? We’ll find out pretty quickly.

If he can be even 80 percent of what Hai was from the shot-calling perspective, this team could finish much higher. I’m not ready to make that call after what we saw last split, however.

4. Team SoloMid

The only significant move during the mid-season break for TSM was replacing Bora “YellOwStaR” Kim in the support position. After hosting tryouts in both North America and South Korea, the organization has decided to bring in Korean player Vincent “Biofrost” Wang.

Replacing YellOwStaR may actually be what TSM needs. His play was nowhere close to what we saw when he was Fnatic’s team. The team looked lethargic at times, and struggled for the entirety of the split, causing them to finish in sixth place.

Not all of that was on YellOwStaR, but for a player known for his leadership, it was apparent TSM was not tuning in.

In his first split as a professional player, Biofrost will be supporting veteran AD carry Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng. Prior to signing on with the SoloMid organization, Biofrost was a member of Challenger squad Dream Team.

Another issue for TSM was the play of Bjergsen last split. He posted a pedestrian 4.3 KDA, something we don’t expect from one of the best mid-laners in the world. He’s still a monster in the laning phase though, and his 8.6 CS advantage at 10 minutes is nearly three CS better than the next midlaner.

Ultimately the fate of this team will come down to two things – the play of it’s two superstars, Bjergsen and DoubleLift, and how consistent the supporting cast will be. DoubleLift can be a demanding ADC with his playstyle, and Biofrost will have to quickly learn and adapt.

Xmithie needs to work on his consistency. He showed the propensity to carry games, but he also had games where he never showed up. Hauntzer has been a great find in the top lane as well, but the meta is shifting back to tankier champions at that position.

If TSM can find the right balance, they’ll be serious contenders once again.

3. Team Liquid

Talk about a cinderella run last split. After some roster turmoil early in the season, TL found the right mix of rookie and veteran players.

It was a bumpy start, with an 0-2 first week and cumulative win rates of 50 percent or worse after each of the first eight weeks, but the team really came on at the end of split and climbed into a fourth-place regular-season finish.

TL’s quarterfinal series was an easy 3-0 over NRG, but in the semifinals, they lost a narrow five-game series to CLG (the eventual champions).

Rookies Matthew “Matt” Elento (support) and Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett (jungler) made some big time plays for TL. In fact, Dardoch was awarded the title of “rookie of the split” for the NA LCS. Matt became known for his Bard, though his highest win rates were with Alistar and Janna.

TL’s two carries and Korean imports, Kim “Piglet” Jae-hoon and Chae “FeniX” Gwang-jin, finally have the talent around them to shine. Samson “Lourlo” Jackson has proven to be a competent top laner as well, replacing Quas.

For TL, they need to capture the momentum they created at the end of the split and just forget about how their playoff run ended. They were so close to beating CLG and I think that loss really put a damper on their spirits before being swept by Immortals in the third place game.

Matt and Dardoch can’t take a step back, either.

I like the talent this team has, but the real question is, can they take the next step forward? They famously suffer from the fourth-place curse, never having finished better than fourth place.

They should make the playoffs, but a top three finish may be too generous here. For now, I like what this team has done and what they represent.

2. Immortals

I spent over 10 minutes trying to decide which team is number one: Immortals or Counter Logic Gaming.

Immortals only dropped four games all split long (one in the regular season and three in the playoffs). Yes, they were upset by TSM in the playoffs, but upsets happen, that’s why it’s so fun to watch each series.

There’s no questioning the talent level of this team, as all of the starting players on this roster were top five at their respective positions last split. Immortals’ real issue is champion selecting and adapting quickly to meta shifts.

Those all can be easily fixed through proper coaching and a competent analytical support staff.

Immortals should have another dominating split, but the talent gap isn’t quite as wide as it was previously. They’ll lose a few more games but the biggest issue will be not becoming complacent.

At times it didn’t feel like they were playing with the focus and determination it takes to finish games, and teams began to see the crack in the armor at the end of the split/playoffs. We’ll quickly see if that was just a momentary letdown by Immortals or a growing trend.

1. Counter Logic Gaming

In all honesty, I think Immortals will finish the split with a better record. However, this power ranking includes the playoffs, and CLG hasn’t been beaten there in two splits now. Until someone can beat them in the playoffs, they’re the number one team in North America.

Furthermore, this team just finished the Group Stage at MSI in second place, following that up with a Finals appearance against SKT. That builds confidence and it also shows that CLG’s style of play can take them far in international tournaments.

CLG’s main concern is not becoming complacent during this split. They have to continue to play with an innovative, quick adapting style they’ve shown over the past year.

I think this team’s coaching staff is one of the best in the world, and their roster changes during the offseason were some of the best. Rookie Stixxay really burst onto the scene at MSI, and the experience he garnered will pay huge dividends next split for CLG.

As the season draws nearer, you’ll want to stay up-to-date with what’s happening at real money esports bookmakers, and for that you can use our esports betting odds tracking tool, which features current odds from various esports betting sites like Bet365 Esports, AlphaDraft, and Ladbrokes.

Rachel Perry

About

Rachel is an avid gamer whose insatiable desire for all things gaming related has been augmented by the inconceivable growth of eSports and how competitive gaming is viewed. When she’s not busy writing about her favorite games, Rachel can be found playing League of Legends, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, or watching too much Twitch.tv.