The kickoff for the return of the North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS) is only a week away. After a very exciting first half of season 5 of Riot’s esports titan, the League of Legends competitive scene is almost ready to shake things up worldwide once more with well established returning region favorites as well as new teams looking for a place in the spotlight.
We’ll be taking a brief look at each of the ten teams competing in this split and where the influence may lie in the North American region.
Starting Line Up:
Dyrus- Top Lane
Bjergsen- Mid Lane
WildTurtle- AD Carry
TSM is one of the longest running teams still competing in the League of Legends pro scene. They have been around since season 1 of the esports circuit and have been a sort of crowd favorite and poster team for the North American region. The team has grown and evolved since season 1 as there are none of the original members on the current line up, but TSM continues to be one of the top performing teams in the LCS. TSM is strong, but are often inconsistent when pitted against teams from other regions.
They finished in first place at the end of the NA LCS spring split with 13 wins and 5 loses, but ended up dropping the ball at Riot’s Mid Season Invitational, failing to even make it out of group stages against teams from China, Korea, Europe, and Taiwan. Many believe TSM to be another strong contender this split, but wonder if they’ll ever come out on top of their international rivals.
Starting Line Up:
Balls- Top Lane
Incarnati0n- Mid Lane
Sneaky- AD Carry
Cloud 9 was a real powerhouse that took the NA circuit by storm. Joining the NA LCS in season 3, Cloud 9 went on a 13 win streak, the longest in League of Legends history. The team is still considered one of the best, finishing second in the last split, behind TSM by just one loss. Cloud 9 has performed consistently for the most part, but a lot of the fame was directed toward their star mid laner, Hai, who is no longer playing on Cloud 9 due to medical reasons.
He is being replaced by Incarnati0n originally known as Veigodx, a player with a questionable history of poor sportsmanship and DDOS activity resulting in what was thought to be a permanent ban from League of Legends and the pro scene. However, he is now being allowed to play on Cloud 9 as he has shown much in the way of reform. Incarnati0n’s skills are definitely up to par with the rest of Cloud 9, so expect them to continue to be LCS powerhouses for sure.
Counter Logic Gaming
ZionSpartan- Top Lane
Pobelter- Mid Lane
Doublelift- AD Carry
CLG is one of those teams that really comes close, but doesn’t quite cut it every time. They are one of NA’s oldest teams with roots stretching back to season one, but also one of NA’s most changed teams with the exception of their star player and arguably one of the best ADCs in the world, Doublelift.
Although much has changed about CLG and other roles have shown their excellence in many games, the spotlight always seems to fall on the team’s strategy centering around putting most of their eggs in one basket. It is a strategy that works more often than not as CLG finished last split in 3rd place with a record of 12W-7L.
Impact- Top Lane
XiaoWeiXiao- Mid Lane
Apollo- AD Carry
Team Impulse, formerly known as LMQ in Season 4, finished the last split in 4th place with a record of 11W-7L. They were originally a sister team of the Chinese team Royal Club, but since switching sponsors, have been competing in the North American circuit. Impulse have preformed well overall after their region change with their Chinese style of play, even making it into last year’s World Championship. It’s hard to believe they don’t have the potential to do so again.
Hauntzer- Top Lane
Keane- Mid Lane
Altec- AD Carry
Formerly known as Curse Academy, Gravity has been a team with a rocky run. A sort of child team from the old Team Curse that had two of the original members, Cop and Saintvicious, help get them started. Altec from Team Winterfox is replacing Cop as ADC who has become the team’s coach and Move, a Jungler from Korea, is replacing Saintvicious who has left to coach Team Coast. It will be interesting to see if the new team can break past the 10W-8L, 5th place finish from last split.
Quas- Top Lane
FeniX- Mid Lane
Piglet- AD Carry
For those of you who follow eSports, you’re probably familiar with the name Team Liquid. The multi-gaming organization originally founded as a Starcraft team back in 2010 is trying to establish the foothold of excellence in the LCS as well. The team finished in 6th place last split, but has the roster and foundation for potential to be big contenders.
Xpecial the former solid support for TSM, and Piglet, former ADC for World Champions SK T1 show a lot of influence and experience in one lane alone. Team Liquid still has a lot to work on as a team and have yet to find a play style that works and defines them as they are often inconsistent, but the potential is there.
CaliTrlolz- Top Lane
Slooshi- Mid Lane
Nien- AD Carry
Team 8 was a new team in the spring split for LCS. Their performance wasn’t the most impressive for their debut to the competitive scene placing into 7th with a record of 9W-10L just squeaking by the relegation. Since then they’ve picked up Nien as their new ADC, a veteran player who has been on Teams MRN and CLG in the past.
There wasn’t much to write home about their performance as they were inconsistent and were the bottom of the safety net, but they could definitely come back with a strong showing for their second chance. This team is definitely a wait and see, so don’t count them out.
Gamesu- Top Lane
Shiphtur- Mid Lane
Core JJ- AD Carry
Dignitas is a veteran team that has been around since season 1 was once regarded as major rivals to TSM and competitors for the NA scene, but this past split has many fans scratching their heads at the recent performance. Dignitas seems to be one of those teams that is just not adjusting as well to the constantly evolving game that is League of Legends.
Along with the loss of their Jungler, Crumbz, who decided to personally quit the team mid split, DIG has not been the same team they once were. DIG finished with a 6W-12L record, ending up in 9th place forcing them to play in the Summer Promotion tournament. They did end up qualifying and are back again for the summer split, but they have a lot to make up for in the way of adjusting.
Flaresz- Top Lane
InnoX- Mid Lane
otter- AD Carry
Enemy Esports were the victors of the spring season challenger series which allowed them a spot in the LCS summer split. The challenge circuit is considered the best of the best of “amateur” play, to the point where people are mechanically sound enough to play at a professional level.
Whether or not NME have the game sense and teamwork required to hang with the veterans and adapt to the professional scene is yet to be determined, but should be looked at as a rising team that very well could make waves here and there, potentially gaining enough momentum to secure their place in the LCS.
Team Dragon Knights
Flaresz- Top Lane
InnoX- Mid Lane
otter- AD Carry
Team Dragon Knights is another team that comes from the League of Legends challenger circuit. They did end up coming in second place to NME in the challenger spring playoffs forcing them to compete in the NA LCS Summer Promotion tournament. TDK fought hard and well, beating out Team Winterfox who had played in the LCS in the spring split. Team Winterfox ended up having to play in the Summer Promotions as well, as they ended the spring split in 8th place with a record of 7W-11L. Although it’s not like TDK beat TSM or C9, but they did beat a team with 7 wins in the LCS, showing that they can in fact compete with the pros on some level. They’re an interesting team and one to keep an eye out for as another potential rising team.
Although skill distribution was clear between the top and the bottom of the ladder of last season, the gap between each step was not incredibly wide. Each of the teams that will be competing show some sort of ability to make the second half equally, if not more exciting than the first. The NA LCS Summer Split starts on Saturday May 30th at 12:00PM PST/ 3:00PM EST on what is sure to be an interesting match between the top two teams of the first half of Season 5, Team SoloMid vs. Cloud 9. You can tune in at na.lolesports.com for all of your League of Legends related esports needs.