We’re now halfway through the 2018 LCS Summer Split and as such, we have a large enough of a sample size to determine who has what it takes to go into the playoffs, and hopefully, go to Worlds. However, this time, we’re not making a list of the usual top-of-the-table teams. Instead, we’re making a list of those who, we think, display the most potential to go from underdogs into a legitimate threat in the weeks ahead.
Clutch Gaming — NA
Clutch Gaming rose into prominence by taking down Team SoloMid in the quarterfinal of the spring split playoffs, a first in NA LCS history. The credit mostly goes to Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent’s great playmaking on Thresh, making the hooks appear to be a point-and-click ability. Since then, hopes have been higher for this team, but they ended up losing to 100 Thieves in the Semifinal, and they lost to Echo Fox in the third place match.
Clutch Gaming’s strengths lie within its bottom lane, with Hakuho’s aforementioned playmaking, and with Apollo “Apollo” Price being a serviceable carry. A huge improvement that the team has displayed from last split is that Colin “Solo” Earnest has been able to been more comfortable in champions that are not tanks. He has displayed great performances on champions like Gnar and the older Aatrox, and with this particular weakness padded, the team has become more rounded out.
With aggression being rewarded more in the current metagame, Nam “LirA” Tae-yoo is expected to prosper. Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten is also a reliable mid laner that will do well if properly set up to carry.
However, a problem area for them is drafting. Often, you’ll see Clutch Gaming reaching out for team compositions that take quite a while to come online. They have historically been a late game team, but it would be a pleasure if they tried to be more proactive in the early game and not just wait to outplay their opponents in a late-game teamfight.
Regardless, don’t let Clutch fly under your radar; they might just deliver the next big upset of the 2018 LCS Summer Split.
Misfits Gaming — EU
Misfits Gaming is another team with redemption in mind. Fans thought that the team would still qualify for the EU LCS championship now with Chres “Sencux” Laursen in the midlane, replacing Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage who went over to North America, and Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle replacing Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun as their support.
Misfits, however, shocked followers of the EU LCS by not making it to playoffs in spring.
Misfits’ problem in the spring split was that they had fantastic early games, but when the middle and late stages of the game hit, they would appear to be so lost, and would eventually lose the game. Sencux in particular has been the subject of criticism, as the lack of midlane priority has served as a bridge towards most of their losses.
During the 2018 LCS Summer Split, Misfits Gaming have seemingly reformed themselves.
The current metagame can be said to have provided them some benefit. The earlygame focus of the game is the first good thing for them– after all, if the middle and lategame is not expected to come, Misfits would not lose the game from there. In addition, with all the craziness from the different kind of carries in the bottom lane, Misfits was among the first to realize that the meta mostly encourages teams to play the way that they want to, and Misfits stuck with what they wanted to do.
Misfits are currently sitting on an 8-0 record over in the EU, and fans will hope that this continues to fully make up for last split’s shortcomings.
Counter Logic Gaming — NA
CLG, part of the NA LCS’ old guard, failed to make it to playoffs last split. This came as a shock to a lot of people, since their roster is filled with proven superstars.
Redemption is clearly on the CLG squad’s mind this split. Currently, the team is the best in the early game. The team has a 100% first blood percentage this split, and it has so far involved both Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaya and Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin. This is because of Reignover’s intelligent pathing. He has been wherever he is needed to make plays and set his laners up for success. He is always a step ahead of enemy junglers, and Darshan has been the one to benefit from this the most.
Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun has been in a counterpicking spree all split so far, having played eight different champions in all eight games. Some of them have not worked out, but at this point, due to the range he has exhibited it would be quite difficult to draft against him.
Their bottom lane has been completely outclassing opponents. Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes and Vincent “Biofrost” Wang are averaging a +22 CS lead at 15 minutes. Take this into consideration as well: Reignover does not gank the bottom lane. This means that CLG’s bottom lane has been dominating their opposition without help from the jungle. Even against mages and bruisers that should bully them out of their lane, Stixxay and Biofrost manage to stay ahead.
Fom what we’ve seen so far during the 2018 LCS Summer Split, it may finally be time to believe in CLG, but, who knows? We never really know with this team.
Team Roccat — EU
Team Roccat has always been famous for discovering great talent, only for them to move on to other organizations. For the 2018 LCS Summer Split, however, someone actually returned to the organization: Jonas “Memento” Elmarghichi has come back with a desire to lead Roccat to the finals.
Last split, they were unsuccesful as Roccat only got as far as the quarterfinal. Splyce defeated them 3-0, and now they wish to go to playoffs and go further than they did the last time.
Now, Roccat lives and dies through Memento, although the other members are still worthy of mention. Tore “Norskeren” Hoel Eilertsen has been very good in setting up vision and making plays when provided with the right support pick. Kim “Profit” Jun-hyung usually looks good on scaling champions such as Vladimir.
Jin “Blanc” Seong-min has been solid in the middle lane, with great performances on Zoe recently that prove vital towards the wins that they have gotten. Martin “HeaQ” Kordmaa has shown some proficiency on champions that aren’t marksmen, while at the same time being a reliable marksman player in his own right.
Team Roccat is currently sitting at a 4-4 record, in the middle of the pack. Perhaps they can inch forward towards playoffs once again, and show better performances from there.
FlyQuest — NA
If you’re looking for a team that’s a clear underdog, with almost no “hot right now” names, and one that’s silently creeping up in the standings, well you’ve found them.
Under the supervision of Brandon “Saintvicious” DiMarco, the team has been triple-blocking scrims. The results of doing so have been showing and the team has overall increased synergy, their plays look a lot cleaner and decisive. Lee “Flame” Ho-jong is arguably the best player of the team: he is always good at absorbing pressure, and is capable of piloting either tanks or carries in the top lane. Once he gets the help he needs, he can take over games.
Lucas “Santorin” Tao Kilmer Larsen and Jang “Keane” Lae-young have been usually on champions that have a great influence on side lanes— Santorin has most notably been in the more aggressive side of the jungler pool, like Xin Zhao and in one game, he picked Kha’zix and delivered a carry performance. The team has notably reached repeatedly for the Galio for Keane, which is a great threat for piling into a teamfight and swiftly turning it around.
Since more champions are viable to be a bottom lane carry, it has been claimed that this metagame is good for Jason “WildTurtle” Tran, as he often plays other roles in solo queue. Juan “JayJ” Guilbert, upon his entry into the team, has shown to greatly improve their team in a communication and a shotcalling perspective.
It is interesting to see just how far this team will go, but so far through the halfway point of the 2018 LCS Summer Split, we can say that they have already exceeded expectations.
G2 Esports — EU
The metagame shifts of the 2018 LCS Summer Split seem to have greatly benefitted the current iteration of G2 Esports. Their bottom lane, which used to be a real problem area for them, is now a pressure point that enemies must constantly answer to. Due to mages being viable picks in the bottom lane, Petter “Hjarnan” Freyschuss has been having a better time. Teamfighting marksmen were not a particular class of champions that he seemed to excel at. Hjarnan, however, is a famous Heimerdinger one-trick in European solo queue. Since Heimerdinger is good at taking turrets early and exerting lane pressure, Hjarnan seems to be doing better overall.
Kim “Wadid” Bae-in has generally been freed to influence other parts of the map due to Hjarnan’s lane pressure and proficiency with Heimerdinger. Wadid used to appear to be struggling when his main job was to make sure his teammates stayed alive, but now he is left to play champions on the playmaking side of the support pool.
Luka “Perkz” Perkovic has always been a top-of-the-table mid laner, and this split only accentuated his strengths as a carry. Meanwhile, Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski has done the most adjustment in order for his team to succeed. He has been playing supports for the greater part of this split so far, with Braum being his most played champion. Our first blood king is now the assist king, I guess.
Finally, Martin “Wunder” Hansen has consistently been one of the strongest laners of the EU LCS. We even saw him demolish those in the NA LCS, dominating top laners like Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon, and Jeong “Impact” Eon-yeong at Rift Rivals 2018.
So far, it’s looking like the teams that have done well during the first half of the 2018 LCS Summer Split are those who excel early game. And while it’s still too early to pick out a Split winner just yet, it won’t come off as a surprise if any one of these teams ended up surprising everyone and winning their respective splits.
Which of these teams from the NA and EU 2018 LCS Summer Split do you think have the best potential? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below!