2019 LoL Championship Series Summer
The League of Legends Championship Series is the premier circuit in North America, hosting some of the most recognized brands within western esports.
The summer split leads up to the World Championship with the season winner automatically qualifying for the event as the first seed and the team with the most amount of circuit points accumulated over the 2019 season Spring and Summer split go as the second seed.
The third seed will be decided by a gauntlet consisting of the teams with the most amount of points after the two first seeds have been decided.
2019 LoL Championship Series Summer Betting Tips
The moment we’ve all been waiting for. Or some of us, at least. After almost six full months filled with high octane League of Legends, we’ve come to the 2019 North American LCS Summer Split. The path towards it was fascinating, but perhaps for different reasons than one might expect.
The most recent Spring Split left a lot to be desired overall. It had a couple of exceptional moments but in the end, they were too few and far between to call it a complete success. This was North America’s second year after franchising, and yet it wasn’t evident in any way, shape, or form. The region itself entered an era that was defined by financial security. Teams had the ability to invest more money into their rosters, into developing and guiding young and up and coming North American talent — and yet that didn’t happen.
Teams went for the safest options yet again, and as a result, attained the safest and most expected results. There wasn’t even a single surprise throughout the entire split. Everything simply went “according to plan”, which was rather underwhelming and perhaps even boring at times. To make matters even worse, the average North American team simply doesn’t have enough strength and mechanical prowess to fight for a spot at the top, and they also aren’t particularly adept at the current meta in order to actually be competitive.
That means that anyone below the top three or so is simply playing in another league — a less powerful, fiesta-like realm. Their games lasted for what felt like an eternity, and they rarely had anything worth mentioning. These teams weren’t playing to win; they were playing not to lose, and as a result, were sluggish from start to finish. They traded meek and subdued blows throughout the game due to a paralyzing fear of making the wrong choice at the wrong time and subsequently losing the game entirely.
Franchising was supposed to usher in a more competitive LCS. That, simply said, didn’t happen.
Furthermore, a lot of teams simply don’t have any inherent strengths. They are lacking a concrete identity. There’s just nothing they’re good at, and it’s baffling to see so many recognizable faces not improve over longer periods of time. Perhaps the worst thing about such a state of affairs is the fact that teams aren’t improving — at all, it seems. They’re perfectly content with being mediocre, and they’re in no hurry to actually challenge the LCS status quo.
Which makes for quite a boring viewing experience, frankly. Teams are sloppy, they are out of sync, they’re obviously not enjoying playing League of Legends that much, and they’re treating their jobs like basic office work. Like a nine-to-five kind of job that is soul-wrenching.
Fortunately, there are a couple of teams that do stand out. They’re the names we’re all accustomed to. The titans that have reigned supreme for the longest of times. They’re the ones that make the LCS worth watching. The teams that are actively trying to improve and to challenge on the international stage. The fact that they’re almost always incapable of leaving a mark internationally doesn’t really matter at this point — it’s the thought that counts. They’re trying, so no one can really blame them. And even their multi-year-long international drought came to an end this year, but more on that below.
Before delving deeper into our Summer Split predictions, let’s take a closer look at how the Spring Split ended.
First Place — Team Liquid
Once all was said and done, Team Liquid obliterated all opposition and were able to get their third LCS title in a row. They were the undisputed champions, and even though Team Solo Mid nearly took them down when it mattered the most (in one of the best and most entertaining LCS finals in history), the Liquid boys were able to not only get the job done but they looked spectacular in the process as well. They have the best players lane for lane, and their work ethic and mental fortitude are second to none. They’re a world-class team and they’re playing in one of the least versatile and competitive major regions.
Fascinating, to say the least.
With two former world champions within their ranks along with a European mid lane prodigy and two staple, grizzled LCS veterans (without a doubt the best North American jungler and ADC in history), they’re poised to dominate the region. They have the right players in order to adapt to any meta and playstyle and they’re playing like a well-oiled machine.
They are, however, fairly one-dimensional when it comes to their playstyle. But they’re so darn talented and cohesive in-game that it doesn’t really matter — at least not against the opposition they’re facing on home soil. They were simply never forced to adapt to such a degree. They had a winning formula and were unwilling to adapt and further grow.
Liquid is poised for yet another spectacular split, and if their recent international success is any indication, we should be in for one heck of a ride.
Second Place — Team Solo Mid
Then we had the perennial LCS titans. They started off the year slow, but even when they were off the mark, their inherent potential and talent were on full display. Everyone knew they would eventually became a spectacular threat to the Team Liquid dynasty, but what surprised everyone, however, was just how quickly they reached and realized a good chunk of their potential.
The organization was basically fielding a fully revitalized roster that was — as usual — built around their star mid laner Bjergsen. It was a mixture between experienced, grizzled veterans, and some relatively, still somewhat unproven talent. But on paper, this was a momentous roster; a team filled with exceptional players who were brimming with talent.
And their attained an enviable level of play after a remarkably short amount of time. On one hand, it was baffling, to see them so cohesive and strong so early on. And yet it was also perfectly understandable. How could they not succeed with such a spectacular roster?
But even though they were a League of Legends titan in their own right, they simply couldn't go the extra mile and actually take Liquid down in the finals. Then again, they came as close as possible, and they only had a couple of months to work with. Admirable, to say the least.
They are definitely the biggest threat to Liquid’s throne — if everything goes as expected. They’re also exceptional in all facets of play, they can go for any style or strategy and still pull it off, and perhaps most importantly: we are finally seeing a new Team Solo Mid. This isn’t the team we’re used to — not in the slightest. They’re aggressive, prone to making plays in every stage of the game, they’re all on the same page and they’re willing to throw down the gauntlet and skirmish no stop if the need arises.
This is arguably the best and most stacked Team Solo Mid roster in history. Whether or not they will be able to take down Team Liquid this split still remains to be seen, but it’s going to be a clash for the ages regardless of the final outcome.
Third Place — Cloud9
What can one say about the boys in black and blue? After their spectacular performance at last year’s Worlds, they lost their star mid laner and signed a solid, relatively proven talent in Nisqy. Nisqy is, by all accounts, a talented player, but he’s nowhere near Jensen’s caliber. Perhaps his only and best strength is his ability to occasionally transcend his level of play and play out of his mind in a key moment of the game, but those highlight reel-worthy plays are often too few and far between.
He’s solid, but the mid lane talent in North America is absolutely stacked. While great overall, he simply doesn’t have the tools in order to fight against the upper echelon of the LCS. And that is a problem. Cloud9 depended on Jensen’s mid lane kingdom, and they were often carried by his team fighting prowess as well as spectacular positioning. He never lost lane, and while he did take a good chunk of the resources for himself, he always made it worthwhile for the team as a whole.
So without such a key player, Cloud9 had to adapt and grow. Were they successful in doing so? Not exactly. They were still an incredibly strong team, they have a couple of exceptional players, but they were too volatile and inconsistent. Their pre-built synergy allowed them to dominate more often than not early on in the split, but once other teams caught on, Cloud9 barely stayed at the top.
They’re crazy and both incredibly talented, but they kind of became a victim of their own playstyle. It feels like we saw all the shades of Cloud9; like we saw all they had to offer. While they’re still one of the best teams in the world and definitely a Top 3 contender in North America, it still feels a bit underwhelming seeing how their historic Worlds run is still fresh in everyone’s mind.
Coming into 2019, they’re not really changing anything. They’re bolstering their coaching staff but we’re not that optimistic for their chances. They’re still a force to be reckoned with, they’re still talented and highly capable, but anything higher than a third-place finish would be highly surprising.
They’re not a bigger threat than Team Solo Mid, and they were unable to take down Team Liquid over the last year and a half, so they’re currently in a limbo of sorts. They’re obviously stronger than anyone below them, but simply aren’t capable of improving in the standings.
Either way, Cloud9’s games never leave anyone indifferent, and this split should be no exception.
Fourth Place — FlyQuest
FlyQuest are currently in a tier of their own. Much like Cloud9, they’re incredibly talented and are surprisingly cohesive for a team that underwent so much change during the off-season. But as capable though they were, they were unable to go any higher than fourth — and chances are, that’s going to be the best they’ll get.
They definitely pass the eye test, and their level of play is rather surprising. Perhaps their mental fortitude and grit is what deserves the most praise. They don’t always start off on the right foot, but they never surrender regardless of the state of the game. This willingness to fight until their Nexus explodes often gave them the chance to turn things around and actually get the win. Once they got a couple of items, they were always able to get on the same page and team fight out of their minds.
V1per is a spectacular players (especially when on bruisers and fighters), Pobelter is a household name and he’s still in his prime, and WildTurtle is as crazy and capable as ever. They’re all willing to follow one another into the heat of battle, and that often gave them an upper hand regardless of the opponent. They’re going to fight, and they’re going to give it their all, regardless if they’re playing with a lead or from a deficit. That’s just the way FlyQuest functions, which makes them a very entertaining team, to say the least.
But for all of their talent, they’re simply not as stellar in all facets of play in order to crack the Top 3. Their early game often leaves a lot to be desired, they’re sometimes too crazy for their own good, and when they meet someone who can challenge them on the Summoner’s Rift from start to finish they often crumble under the immense pressure — and it’s hard to blame them. Team Liquid, Cloud9, and Team Solo Mid are so clean in their play that making just a single error leads to a deficit.
These three titans at the top need so little in order to turn things around. Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile. FlyQuest definitely isn’t a spotless team — they’re more like the cliché veteran boxer that’s still throwing heavy punches and haymakers even though he should be reserving energy for the final rounds.
Coming into the 2019 Summer Split, they’re bringing over Wadid from Europe, which should bolster their team quite a bit. Whether or not that’ll be enough still remains to be seen, but they’re a solid contender for sure, and should not be underestimated.
5th Place — Golden Guardians
The Guardians were a mixed bag from start to finish. But love ‘em or hate ‘em they were a solid and relatively capable contender. When they played well, they could throw down with the best teams in the region — for a short amount of time. They always lacked the strength and the ability to maintain their level of play for prolonged periods of time. But once they were all on the same page, they looked good. Surprisingly good, even.
Then again, “good” plays are just one part of the Golden Guardians equation. Bad plays, egregious errors and mind-boggling decision making is what highlighted and defined their play more often than not. They were never a bad team per se, but they were so shockingly out of sync at times, that it prevented them for shooting any higher in the standings. Their potential was always there — after all, they’re all grizzled veterans with tons of experience. A couple of them even went to Worlds on multiple occasions. They’re as experienced as they come, but their play didn’t exactly showcase the fact that often.
In fact, cohesive team play was far more infrequent than one might expect.
Olleh was, in particular, the member who made the bad plays more often than not. His positioning was suspect at best, and he often made the wrong decision at the worst possible moment. But his teammates weren’t spotless either. Their level of play fluctuated beyond logic throughout the regular season, and they were all relatively mediocre at certain points in time — except Froggen.
The European mid lane prodigy had one of the best splits in his career. And seeing how he’s been playing at the top for so long, that’s really saying something. He’s as old-school of a name as they come, and yet even though he’s a grandfather of competitive League, his play is still as crisp and spectacular as ever. In fact, he’s like fine wine. He got better with age, more proficient, more aware of his impact and ability to hard carry the game.
His play allowed the Golden Guardians to transcend a certain level of play and throw down with the LCS giants. He was their rock, their foundation, and he was up to the task on almost every single occasion.
As a five-man unit, they have a fair bit of potential. But they need to find a concrete identity for themselves, and work tirelessly in order to perfect and improve as a team. It seems like every player has a different idea on how they want to play at times, and it’s impacting their chances of attaining success.
Finally, all of these players want redemption, for one reason or another. They want to prove they’re still worthy of playing on the LCS stage, seeing how they were basically replaced on their former teams.
If they play their cards right, and play to the best of their ability, they definitely have a chance at not only reaching the playoffs but perhaps even getting a higher spot than last split.
Sixth Place — Echo Fox
Taking up the last playoff spot, we had none other than Echo Fox. The fact that they reached the playoffs after multiple weeks of abysmal play really speaks volumes about their resilience and willingness to fight for what they think belongs to them.
On paper, this roster didn’t look that good. Some elements were fantastic — that’s for sure, but when you add everything up, they didn’t seem like a solid contender. They had some avenues towards success, but if someone said that they would reach the playoffs instead of teams like OpTic Gaming, 100 Thieves, or even Counter Logic Gaming, they would’ve been laughed out of the room.
But Echo Fox, unlike many other teams, found their identity much earlier than most expected. They fought tooth and nail and adapted to the meta far quicker than most of their peers. They were never really a threat to the LCS pantheon, but they were a formidable foe that was hard to read from the very get-go. You never really knew what they were going to do, in true Echo Fox fashion. Maybe even the players themselves didn’t have a pre-planned idea on how they wanted to play the game out. They were always open to improvise, and in a meta that allows for so much flexibility, that gave them an upper hand.
Now, they didn’t exactly upset the LCS status quo, but they emerged as a solid, well-rounded contender than no one could underestimate. They’re entering 2019 with the exact same narrative, and while they could slightly improve over the next couple of months, they’re pretty much poised to end up with the exact same result.
They’re a team that has the capacity to upset when you least expect it. But at the end of the day, they simply lack the horsepower necessary in order to tango with the upper echelon of the LCS.
Tied for Seventh — Counter Logic Gaming and OpTic Gaming
Right outside the LCS playoffs, we had a tie for seventh. We had two teams that, for one reason or another, were unable to maintain a solid enough level of play and actually lock down a playoff spot, even though they had all the right pieces of the puzzle.
They had the right players, the right amount of talent, experience, and everything else that a playoff-worthy team might need in order to make a solid run. But they were also inconsistent, volatile, meek and afraid of playing to their strengths. They were unwilling to play their own game and instead went for the “tried and true” method that simply didn’t work any longer.
Two teams that, by all accounts, should have graced the LCS stage once the playoffs came around. But all of their innate potential wasn’t enough. They lacked in certain key areas of play, and it affected their chances as well. If anything, the fact that they missed out on the playoffs isn’t that disheartening. They only had a couple of months to synergize after all. The upcoming Summer Split matter much more in the grand scheme of things.
So what about 2019? Counter Logic Gaming have imported former LEC top laner Ruin (who actually made his name by playing in the Turkish region recently) and definitely look like a very solid team coming in. Will that single change be enough? Will it push Counter Logic Gaming over the line, and enable them to leave their gatekeeper status? Only time will tell, but there’s potential for sure.
They have the right tools in order to lock down a playoff spot, and they’ll need every single win they can get if they want to slot into the top six.
OpTic Gaming isn’t much different in that regard. They have slightly worse players, but they’re equally as strong in certain facets of play, and they have an exceptional three man core — Meteos in the jungle, former world champion Crown in the mid lane, and LCK alumnus Arrow. That trio alone should be more than enough to get them into the playoffs.
They decided to finally stop juggling players from their Academy roster, and they’re definitely a fascinating team to watch. They just needed more time in order to gel as a five-man unit, and if they play as well as they can, if they work out a couple of kinks which were on display in the Spring Split, they should be able to challenge most of the teams which are ranked above them.
Ninth Place — Clutch Gaming
At a very underwhelming ninth place, we had Clutch Gaming. A team that started off with a bang, and yet quickly fell in the standings as the weeks went by. Predicting just how strong Clutch will be in the Summer Split is as hard and perhaps even impossible as it was back in January. They’re just so hard to read. They’re arguably the most inconsistent team in the entire region, and even though they have exceptional strengths (which are mostly tied to individual players), they also have crippling weaknesses and holes in their game.
They might dominate in one week, only to fall apart in the very next. They might take down Team Liquid on Friday, and then lose to the worst team in the region on Saturday. That’s the Clutch Gaming way — they’re the definition of a coin toss.
But one thing is for sure: they do have potential. They’re just unable to really capitalize on their strengths and actually develop in the right way, or at least they were unable to do so throughout the entire Spring Split.
Will things change this time around? The odds are definitely not on their side, but it’s possible. They could surprise quite a lot of people, but once the dust settles, their final ranking shouldn’t be much different than before.
Tenth Place — 100 Thieves
Finally, at tenth-place, we had 100 Thieves. A lot of time has passed, and that sentence, that fact, is as hard to comprehend as it was back when the whole shebang was happening. How could a team with so much innate talent be so out of sync, and so mediocre on the Summoner’s Rift? They looked absolutely horrendous any time they stepped foot on stage, and no one really knew why.
100 Thieves had spectacular veterans across the board, with just a single relatively unproven young talent in the jungle. They had all the right players and they were set up for success, but were unable to actually get the job done.
But there’s no point in going over their abysmal failure. It happened, so let’s focus on what’s next, and whether or not they have the capacity to turn things around. In short — the odds are in their favor, but until we see an actual improvement, they’re pegged as a bottom-tier dweller. There’s just no way around it.
But seeing how they’re entering Summer without any expectations, without any pressure to perform, they should be able to improve at least a little bit. This team never lacked in talent or mechanical prowess. They’re just five players that aren’t being guided in the right way, and they’re just not meshing well as a five-man unit.
You can change a single player, or perhaps even two (as they did), but those are superficial adjustments. They need to go for a complete overhaul if they want to remedy their problems. They set a bad foundation all the way back in January, and they need to start from square one if they want to stand a chance of getting back to the top of the region.
This was an in-depth look at all teams and their power levels based on what we’ve seen over the last couple of months. With all that said, there’s one extremely important thing that we have to highlight:
Things are bound to stay the same.
For the majority of LCS teams, this Summer Split won’t bring a lot of change. The problems that plague the North American region aren’t surface-level. They go deep all the way to the bone marrow. Most teams lack the courage to experiment, and they’re also relatively inept at playing the game at its highest level.
They might do something right, but overall, they will always fail to get over the finish line. There are a couple of giants who are simply too strong for the rest of the teams, and they’re also formed from the best players and coaches the region has to offer.
Wen the first few teams assemble such stacked line-ups, the rest of the LCS has to work with sub-par rosters, and even though the gap is getting smaller as time goes on, the likes of Team Liquid, Cloud9, and Team Solo Mid are simply too strong at this point in time.
In fact, if the Summer Split ended in the exact same way as Spring, it wouldn’t come as that big of a surprise.
To summarize, slight change is bound to happen. But don’t expect anything too extreme. This is both great and disappointing. We’re not going to see any new narratives spring to life over the next two and half months, but this fact will also make betting a lot easier.
Either way, the Summer Split is going to be a load of fun mainly because North America finally left a mark on the international stage. Team Liquid’s triumph over Invictus Gaming was arguably the biggest and most shocking upset in League of Legends history. So even though a lot of teams won’t “wow” you with their play, we’re still getting to see a couple of exceptional LCS titans improve and duke it out — the big three teams that make the LCS worth watching. We've seen a North American champion take down the reigning, defending world champions. That's not a small thing. Not in the slightest. It means anything is possible going forward, and the North American region finally has a couple of teams that can pose different and highly concrete threats on the international stage. Team Liquid is basically the second coming of the LCK meta but with a slight twist, Cloud9 is the creative team that will throw down at any point in time if the need arises, and Team Solo Mid is the capable, and dangerous powerhouse that's brimming with mechanical prowess and potential. They're the most versatile of the three (at this point) and they have the biggest number of threats. In other words, they can play through any lane and still find success. That's absolutely huge for their chances at the upcoming World Championship.
By all metrics, 2019 is already proving to be North America's most successful year when it comes to international success, and we've only just gotten to the mid-point of the competitive season.
Finally, as always, if you’re betting on competitive League of Legends, make sure to tune in whenever possible. This is just a preliminary power ranking, and these things constantly fluctuate. They change on a weekly basis, and how well a team will play depends on a ton of factors, some of which never get to the public eye. By watching as many games as possible, you’ll always have the latest information which could give you an upper hand when betting.
Double round robin. Matches are Best-of-One.
Top six teams qualify for the Summer Playoffs.
Single elimination Best-of-Five bracket. Top two teams from the group stage are seeded into semifinals with the remaining four teams seeded into the quarterfinals. First placed team from the group stage will select their opponent from quarterfinals.
Single elimination gauntlet style bracket with the teams seeded in based on their 2019 Season circuit points. The winner moves on to the World Championship as the third seed from North America.