NA LCS: 2016 Summer Split Primer

Jun 4, 2016
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The NA LCS Summer Split has kicked off last night with TSM versus CLG followed by Team Envy versus NRG Esports. NA LCS on a Friday? Yup. The Summer Split will feature 3 days dedicated to NA action; 2 matches on Friday nights at 8PM and 11PM EST, and 4 matches on both Saturday and Sunday during the usual 3PM-6PM EST time slot.

NA LCS matches will also follow a Bo3 format this split, so you’re guaranteed more than double the amount of games relative to last split. Saturday and Sunday will feature split streams where two games will be played simultaneously across two different streams. This is a necessity with how many more games are being played this split.

Here’s a complete rundown of the active storylines each team enters the split carrying, and the question marks each team has hovering over them:

CLG

CLG MSI
CLG enter the Summer Split a clear favorite over the rest of the league after winning the NA Spring Split and putting in a strong showing at MSI. Photo via Riot Games.
  • Top: Darshan
  • Jungle: Xmithie
  • Mid: HuHi
  • ADC: Stixxay
  • Support: Aphromoo

Is Stixxay’s streak of dominating performances a sign of a real breakout, or just a flash in the pan? Doublelift’s replacement has proven he is capable of showing up when it really matters, now it’s just a question of consistency. Mid laner HuHi is the only other question mark on this North American team known for their strong team play. How will he stand among the best NA mid laners?

TSM

TSM Support Biofrost
The face of TSM’s new support, and YellowStar’s replacement; Vincent “Biofrost” Wang. Biofrost won the TSM support sweepstakes even when pitted against strong Korean competition.
  • Top: Hauntzer
  • Jungle: Svenskeren
  • Mid: Bjergsen
  • ADC: Doublelift
  • Support: Biofrost

TSM managed to clean up their team play at the end of Spring just in time to make a deep run in playoffs… and then they changed their roster again. Hopefully TSM learned from the YellowStar experiment and are able to adapt quicker this time around. Just how good is rookie support Biofrost? Are we going to see lackluster, regular season Svenskeren, or carry jungler playoffs Svenskeren?

Immortals

Immortals Win
After only dropping a single game during the regular season of Spring, Immortals faltered in playoffs. Photo via Riot Games.
  • Top: Huni
  • Jungle: ReignOver
  • Mid: Pobelter
  • ADC: WildTurtle
  • Support: Adrian

Immortals tasted their first dose of adversity during the Spring playoffs where the team was upset 3-0 by a struggling TSM. We’ve yet to see how the team responds to defeat. It’s a lot easier to be comfortable on stage when you’re an undefeated team. Will we see a more disciplined Immortals style this split? Do teams now know what to expect from the aggressive Immortals?

Cloud 9

C9 Impact C9 Meteos
Remember when Cloud 9 had the longest active (unchanged) roster in the LCS? They seem to have made constant tweaks over the past year. Photo via Yahoo Esports.
  • Top: Impact
  • Jungle: Meteos
  • Mid: Jensen
  • ADC: Sneaky
  • Support: Bunnyfufuu/Smoothie

The return of superstar jungler Meteos, Bunnyfufuu’s chance to shine, and the debut of C9 Impact. This team is overflowing with question marks that could make or break their season, but the only one you need to pay any attention to is this – can C9 perform without Hai? This time around they’ve had a long time to prepare from Hai’s inevitable departure from the LCS. Let’s see if newly hired coach Reapered can successfully rebuild how Cloud 9 functions as a team for the better.

Team Liquid

TL Moon
Moon is getting his second chance in the NA LCS faster than anybody expected. Photo via Team Liquid.
  • Top: Lourlo
  • Jungle: Moon
  • Mid: FeniX
  • ADC: Piglet
  • Support: Matt

The surprise suspension of carry jungler Dardoch just 2 weeks before Summer begins couldn’t have done any good for Team Liquid’s practice over the off-season. Dardoch was a big part of the team’s success last split. How will they adapt? Moon has big shoes to fill, but he won’t be able to pick up all the slack himself.

NRG Esports

NRG GBM
NRG completely rebuilt their roster around Korean mid laner GBM over the off-season. It remains to be see whether or not NRG 2.0 is better or not. Photo via HK Esports.
  • Top: Quas
  • Jungle: Santorin
  • Mid: GBM
  • ADC: Ohq
  • Support: Kiwikid

Quas has returned to the LCS. Quas has always been a strong, versatile top laner capable of playing whatever his team needs from him. However, he’s spent a lot of time away from competitive. Is he in LCS shape?

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Santorin, former TSM jungler, is back in North America to try and prove he can do more than just ward for Bjergsen, while Kiwikid was pulled from a possible retirement to support Korean ADC Ohq. Does this roster feature many seasoned veterans, or washed up players? We’ll find out soon.

Echo Fox

Echo Fox Hard Froggen
Echo Fox had a rocky start to the Spring split after being forced to frequently fill team holes with substitutions from the Challenger scene. Photo via Riot Games.
  • Top: kfo
  • Jungle: Hard
  • Mid: Froggen
  • ADC: Keith
  • Support: Baby

Echo Fox looked like a completely different team when they were finally able to dress their entire lineup. With no roster changes being made and a full off-season to practice, this is a team that could surprise many during Summer. Will kfo emerge as one of the strongest top laners? Is jungler Hard due for a breakout season?

Team Envy

Team Envy NA LCS
Team Envy is in the NA LCS after purchasing the slot from Renegades. The team has retained 3/5 of the former Renegades players.
  • Top: Seraph
  • Jungle: Procxin
  • Mid: Ninja
  • ADC: LOD
  • Support: Hakuho

Renegades are gone, Team Envy is in. Envy rosters a lineup of players who have plenty of potential, but are they ready to compete against the best LCS teams? When Seraph is your most proven player, it’s a question that must be asked. We’ll quickly find out how good the bottom lane of LOD and Hakuho are. Sink or swim!

Phoenix1

Phoenix1 NA LCS
Phoenix1 purchased Team Impulses’ LCS slot, but they may not retain it for very long. Photo via PvPLive.
  • Top: Zig
  • Jungle: Zentinel/Inori
  • Mid: Pirean/Slooshi
  • ADC: Mash
  • Support: Gate

Phoenix1 is a favorite to finish at the bottom of standings at the end of Summer. They took most of Team Impulses’ roster, but then filled in rookies in the top and jungle roles. The goal will be to avoid relegations for Phoenix1. Maybe one of the team’s rookies will breakout and make Phoenix1 games worth watching.

Apex

Apex NA LCS
Apex is the only team this split to enter the NA LCS by means of winning the promotion tournament. Photo via Big Bad Esports.
  • Top: Cris/Ray
  • Jungle: Diamondprox/ShrimP
  • Mid: Keane/Shiphtur
  • ADC: Roar/Apollo
  • Support: Xpecial/Konkwon

Apex steps into the NA LCS with a 10 man roster featuring young unproven talent and experienced veterans alike. This intriguing combination will keep teams guessing and help mask strategies, but how will it affect team atmosphere? Apex presents a chance for outsides to see how just how viable large rosters are in the NA LCS.

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Jamie Jacobs
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Jamie Jacobs is a bot lane main who once won 17 consecutive Janna games. His favorite champions are Thresh, Kalista, and Bard. Jamie writes about competitive League of Legends and the professional gaming scene every week at Esports Edition.
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