After a scandal rocked one of the league’s top teams and a franchise player moved from one rival to another during the off-season, North America’s League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) now returns once again for the start of the 2020 Summer split.
After a scandal rocked one of the league’s top teams and a franchise player moved from one rival to another during the off-season, North America’s League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) now returns once again for the start of the 2020 Summer split. With Team Liquid’s throne taken by Cloud9 in Spring, hopeful sides will see as great a chance as ever to push for the top spot and earn qualification for this seasons’ World Championship.
The LCS is NA’s primary league and features a double round-robin regular season followed by a playoff tournament. Held in Riot’s LA Studio, the franchised LCS will see ten organisations battle it out across the 9 week regular-season in order to earn their playoff spot.
The regular season begins on Friday 12th June and ends on Sunday 9th August, with each team playing two matches per week in the best-of-one, double round-robin. Though most games are held on Saturdays and Sundays, there will also be two matches held on Friday nights, accompanied by LCS Academy games (NA’s 2nd division). Once the regular season is complete, the top six teams will advance to the playoff stage.
Like the LEC, the LCS opted to change their playoff format to add a more popular double-elimination, allowing some teams a second chance to avoid elimination while also leading to more games played by top sides.
The 1st seed team will have their choice of 3rd/4th for round 1 of the winner’s bracket, with the victorious sides moving to round 2. The losing sides will move down to round 1 of the lower bracket, where they each face either of the 5th or 6th seeds. The upper bracket winners then face each other, with the victor moving on to the grand final and the lower moving to the lower bracket.
The winners from round 1 of the lower bracket then face each other to earn a spot in the semi-final. The side that makes it through will then go head to head with the upper bracket round 2 loser with a place in the grand final up for grabs.
The eventual winner of the grand final will not only go home with the LCS title, but also a spot in the group stage of this season’s World Championship to go along with it. All playoff matches are decided in best-of-5 series.
After an exceptionally dominant Spring split, Cloud9 will be firm favourites to take the Summer trophy and clinch back-to-back LCS titles. Their all-pro lineup remained unchanged during the off-season, with ADC Zven seeing Team Liquid as their only real competition as they are “the only team that feels somewhat good” in scrims so far.
Despite the Spring to Summer off-season usually being the quieter, Team Liquid’s tumultuous Spring split led to one of the biggest dramas in recent memory. Due to the disappointing start to the season (and rumoured behind the scenes issues), ADC Doublelift was allowed to explore his options amongst other sides and eventual re-joined rivals Team SoloMid in controversial circumstances (his spot going to previous substitute Tactical).
This led to Kobbe’s departure from NA, joining LEC’s Misfits, while TSM jungler Dardoch was also up for transfer with team President (and Doublelift’s partner) Leena leaking his availability and lack of demand on stream. Dardoch eventually did earn a move elsewhere, joining Dignitas to share the starting jungle spot with Akaadian and being replaced on TSM by academy jungler Spica.
DIG also saw a change in the top lane, allowing large earner Huni to join Evil Geniuses while being replaced by V1per from Flyquest. With most of FQ’s games towards the end of Spring played by top lane substitute Solo, it seems more than likely that he will now fill in the starting position left by V1per’s departure.
Although a number of the league’s top organisation are going to into the Summer split with reasonably large odds, it would take an extremely brave punter to bet against C9 winning back-to-back titles. Their superiority in Spring simply cannot be ignored and it would take vast improvements from any other side to see a team match them at the top of the standings.
A dark horse to challenge Cloud9 may come in the form of four-time LCS winners Team Liquid, who failed to make the playoffs in Spring after winning the previous four splits in a row. Visa complications for ex-Fnatic jungler Broxah combined with Doublelift’s behind the scenes issues likely played a big role in their downfall, and having both problems resolved may see them make a much stronger push this time around.
On the topic of Doublelift, his previous time with TSM was extremely fruitful and saw him earn two LCS titles in as many years. The reunion of 3/5 of those players (including Bjergsen and Biofrost) may be a catalyst for the side to propel them to their first LCS win since Doublelift’s first spell with the team in 2017.