Signalling the second half of the North American League of Legends season, the 2021 LCS will see the Summer split continue on from Spring’s results for the first occasion since the league began in 2013
Signalling the second half of the North American League of Legends season, the 2021 LCS will see the Summer split continue on from Spring’s results for the first occasion since the league began in 2013. Rather than Summer being its own separate split, the regular season positions from Spring will now be carried over, giving some teams more comfortable journeys into playoffs and putting others up against it from the get-go.
Held offline for the first time in over a year, the Summer split is set to take place in Riot’s Los Angeles LCS studio and kicks off on Friday 4th June with veteran organisations TSM and Team Liquid going head to head. The regular season will be played out through a best-of-one, triple round robin with games played every Friday and Saturday until 1st August.
Based on the regular season positions, the top 8 of the 10 teams in the league will progress to playoffs. All playoff matchups are decided by best-of-five series.
The 1st and 2nd seeded teams will head straight into the second round of the upper bracket, while 3th to 6th seeds compete against each other for the chance to progress and face the top two later on. Each side that loses in the upper bracket subsequently drops to the lower knockout bracket.
The lower bracket is the guaranteed starting point for the 7th and 8th seeds, though their opponents will be based on who drops down from the upper bracket. Teams that are knocked out of the lower bracket are instantly eliminated, and the one team that wins the lower bracket will head into the grand final alongside the upper bracket winner.
The grand final is set to take place on Sunday 29th August, and while no venue has yet been announced, it can be presumed that the league’s organisers will look to finally hold an in-person, fan-attended event as soon as they’re able to do so.
The off season break has unsurprisingly brought with it a number of roster changes, though some have come as much more of a surprise than others.
The biggest shock came with the recent announcement from Mid-Season Showdown winners Cloud9 that their veteran bot laner Sven will be stepping back from their roster, replaced by substitute ADC K1ng, as the Dane will move down to play in Academy.
Cloud9 didn’t stop there, also announcing that previous head coach Reignover will take a step back to assistant coach, citing his previous role as having taken a toll on his mental health, and will be replaced by former strategic coach Mithy. The Spaniard is no stranger to the head coach role, having retired to lead Fnatic’s coaching staff last season.
Elsewhere, 100 Thieves were fortunate to see Korean top laner Ssumday earn North American residency which freed up an import slot in their starting roster, one that they took no time to fill as the side paid a reported $1m buyout to bring Schalke 04’s Abbedagge to their mid lane.
100 Thieves was also another organisation to make backroom changes, releasing previous head coach Zikz and replacing him with ex-C9 coach Repeared.
Roster moves from other teams included FlyQuest’s Dreams moving up to their starting roster from Academy as well as Golden Guardian’s Solo and Chime doing the same with their team.
Even with their off season shenanigans, heading into the Summer split as MSS holders will undoubtedly make Cloud9 one of the early favourites, while fellow old-guard organisations Team Liquid and TSM will both also fancy their chances.
An outsider for the title could be the new look 100 Thieves whose mid lane swap alone can only be seen as a direct upgrade, while newly appointed coach Repeared comes in with both national and international experience having previously led Cloud9 to an LCS title last Spring as well as a Worlds semi-final run back in 2018.
Despite any potential negative impact from Cloud9’s controversial roster changes, the simple fact that they already start the Summer split with eight more wins than 9th place Counter Logic Gaming means that playoff qualification is mostly a formality.
Their form will need to go drastically wrong to see the side have any chance of not making the later stages of the split and the mere opportunity to qualify for Worlds after 2020’s disappointment will surely give C9 more than enough motivation to ensure that things go to plan.