So far, this LCS split has been nothing short of electrifying. From the shocking rise of CLG to the sustained dominance of Evil Geniuses, the 2022 LCS summer split is gearing up to be one of the most competitive seasons of North American League of Legends ever. The top five teams have never been more competitive and unpredictable.
Prior to the opening of the summer split, names like EG; TL; 100T; and C9 were the inarguable top four LCS teams. While their order was highly contentious and uncertain, there weren’t any other teams in serious consideration for a top four spot. Now, with CLG; TSM; and FlyQuest upsetting and disrupting the preconceived top teams, the LCS’s top four are significantly more ambiguous.
With ten more matches scheduled for this weekend, the top four will become increasingly more discernible. This week’s top matches are all about CLG. Despite becoming the first LCS team to beat the reigning LCS champions (EG), this week is make or break for the boys in blue (and pink, now). With the most difficult schedule of any team this weekend, CLG is going to have to prove that their current first place seeding is not a fluke.
Match One: CLG vs. Cloud9
Kicking things off on day one of this week’s festivities, CLG takes on the other boys in blue: Cloud9. Fresh off of a complete roster debut and a complete dismantling of 100 Thieves, Cloud9 appear to be in elite form; they are undefeated since their entire intended starting roster was given the green light last week. Although their record may indicate a mid-of-the-pack status, their first three matches were no indication of this team’s actual ability. With all of their starters now active, the only way to go is up. With a combined 31 splits (15.5 years) of LCS experience, Jensen; Zven; Blaber; Berserker; and Fudge form one of the most intimidating and experienced rosters to date.
CLG, on the other hand, is rather young. Although Dhokla, Palafox, and Contractz have been in the LCS scene for quite some time, they’ve spent comparatively little time on actual LCS rosters. These three players have spent most of their time in the academy and even amateur scene; they’ve played for a total of 27 unique teams, 6 of which were LCS teams. Luger and Poome; however, are first year rookies. Debuting last split, these two were formerly 100T Academy players, with significantly less amateur experience.
While Cloud9 are certainly the more accomplished and experienced team, CLG have drastically improved since their 8th place spring finish. This matchup is going to come down to two factors: Cloud9’s ability to perform consistently with their new roster and CLG’s ability to continue to perform at an elite level despite their relative inexperience.
Match Two: CLG vs. Team Liquid
If you thought Cloud9’s new lineup was decorated, Team Liquid’s aptly named “superteam” is going to blow your perceptions out of proportion. With a combined 32 splits of LCS experience (16 years), three of TL’s players have more North American professional League of Legends experience than all of Cloud9’s current roster. Their remaining two players have only two splits of LCS experience, because they’ve spent the majority of their professional careers in the LEC, a much more competitive League of Legends region.
Although TL has faltered recently against TSM, and nearly against FlyQuest, they are still one of the most dangerous contenders this split: some viewers have them ranked #1. While Cloud9 will undoubtedly be a challenge for CLG, Team Liquid are the real threat to their winning streak this weekend. Like in their matchup against C9, their ability to continue to perform at a top four level will be tested this weekend. Similarly, Team Liquid’s ability to perform consistently, and akin to the sum of their parts, is going to be put to the test once more.
While non-CLG fans might not be too happy to see the top matchups both belonging to CLG, there are some other exciting matches you won’t want to miss this weekend; including but not limited to, 100 Thieves vs. Team Liquid, and EG vs TSM. To avoid missing out on this week’s action, be sure to tune in to the LCS when it returns this Saturday at 4:30 pm EST!