We kicked off the official start of the LCS Spring Split second round robin with Week Five, as teams face each other a second time for the next full set of games before the beginning of the new layout for playoffs.
So how did the teams fair? Here's some of the high and low points from the LCS Spring Split Week Five.
Cloud9 is dominating the LCS Spring Split (Picture: lolesports)
Team Liquid: No more excuses, 4-6 in the split
First, they had a substitute jungler. Then, it was because Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng could not play Senna. Then, it was because Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen was jet lagged and didn’t have a lot of time to scrim with the team. Now, there are no more excuses for Team Liquid.
Despite getting a win during their game on Monday Night League, the team still has a lot to prove if they want to not only show North America they can bounce back, but also that they can make it to playoffs.
They played Dignitas and Evil Geniuses this week, teams who are either higher in the standings or at the same level as Liquid. While they lost their game to Evil , a team who seems unable to find synergy within the massively different play styles of their players, they won against Dignitas, who at times seem to rally behind their top laner Heo “Huni” Seong-hoon Geniuses. It was Huni who made a lot of their starts to team fights against Liquid, which would lead to their downfall.
This begs the question of whether Team Liquid is finally figuring out their stride, or are they only able to punish the mistakes of teams that aren’t so strong?
They lost against Dignitas the first time they played them, but you can pick from the list of excuses to decide which reason caused the loss. They’ll be playing TSM and 100 Thieves for Week 6, who they have won against, and lost against, respectively. We’re no longer looking for justification of their record; we’re waiting for them to do something about it.
Cloud9 continues to dominate, going 10-0
What even is this team? This roster has come out swinging from day one and they have all of North America - and possibly the world - watching.
Cloud9 is synergized and strong, with each of their wins averaging at about 30 minutes. The bot lane of Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Phillippe “Vulcan” Laflamme have been, quite frankly, amazing to watch as well, which began when they went weeks ahead of their team to begin bootcamping together. The two of them are massively in sync and they bring the team into the fray easily.
This was showcased most interestingly during their game against Immortals, where Zven and Vulcan were on Senna and Tahm Kench. Nothing too surprising, except their plan was different. Senna was recently changed slightly to nerf her AD Carry side so people would play her more as a support champion, like she was intended.
One of the ways they did this was to change the amount of souls Senna would receive. The soul drop rate on minions Senna does not last hit on increased to 25% from 20%, and the soul drop rate on cannons Senna last hits on was lowered to 1.67% from 100%.
So Zven and Vulcan took a different tack and played it almost like the Sona/Tahm Kench meta of last year: Vulcan would CS and Senna would focus on poke and hitting champions. Vulcan, as support, was about 10 CS ahead of Immortals’ Johnny “Altec” Ru, the ADC, at 10 minutes.
By this time as well, Zven had already been the one who got both of Cloud9’s two kills. The game was pretty close until a Baron fight at about 26 minutes got Cloud9 the Baron and about four more kills, Zven getting three of those. The game snowballed and they won about 3 minutes later.
Will Cloud9 be able to continue to pick off teams in the second round robin or will they eventually find a loss? It’s unclear, but at this rate, this iteration of Cloud9 is certainly a powerhouse and a force to be reckoned with.
LCS Standings: Is NA just bad?
Will Cloud9 be topped? (Picture: lolesports)
Now we’re at the halfway point in the split, these are the standings for the LCS. As you can see, Cloud9 is far and away first place. But what does this mean for North America as a whole?
A common argument made after Worlds 2019 was Team Liquid, a team that’s won four LCS splits in a row, could never seem to get out of Group Stage – due to not knowing how to deal with international talent which was always miles ahead of the LCS. Now, Team Liquid find themselves tied with three other teams for 6th place while Cloud9, who could never quite beat them in LCS but always did better internationally, is first.
So, are the arguments true? Say Cloud9 were to pull a Team Liquid, win Spring Split, go to MSI, continue through Summer Split in the same dominating fashion, would they completely fall out at Worlds?
Keep in mind Cloud9 has always done better internationally than any North American team, even going to semifinals at Worlds 2018. We cannot, however, forget teams like FlyQuest, who were 9th place in Summer, and now are right behind Cloud9 in second place. The same applies to TSM, who have steadily moved up in the standings. But the rest of the teams just hover between fourth and sixth places, most of them tied at 5-5 and 4-6, with CLG in last place at 1-9.
This is only the first split of 2020 with many more games to go, but what does this mean for North America? Are most teams lacking effort because championship points have essentially been eliminated and Spring only matters towards MSI? Is it less of a big deal to make it to playoffs now that the top eight out of ten teams can go?
Or is North America how it always is; where two or three teams stand out and the rest are forgettable? And it just happens this split Team Liquid is not among those top teams.
The second round robin is still underway, with LCS Spring Finals upon us in a little less than two months. We will see who ends up there. For now, we’re just along for the ride.