LCS Summer Split: Veterans and Newcomers Bring Something New



Fri 7th Jun 2013 - 7:04pm

There is a changing of the guard for this LCS Summer Split with new teams like Velocity eSports and Cloud 9 entering the arena. There are also major roster changes hitting the veteran teams Counter Logic Gaming and Curse, causing uncertainty amongst fans. Due to the currently dynamic scene, expect teams to start bringing new strategies and champion picks as the competition grows stronger and with Season 3 World Championships right around the corner.

Velocity eSports

Top: Cristian 'Cris' Rosales
Jungle: Andrew 'Nk Inc' Erickson
Mid: Joseph 'Vileroze' Bourassa
AD: Ainslie 'Frommaplestreet' Wyllie
Support: Even 'Evaniskus' Stevens

A lot of pressure rides on these newly qualified teams and VES is no exception to this. As they showed a strong performance at the LCS Summer Promotion tournament, knocking out fan favorites Marn 3-2, many fans will certainly be curious of what they will bring to the split. They brought some interesting champion picks and team composition to their series against Team Marn but will such tricks work against the highly experienced LCS teams? I don't think so.

I expect VES to struggle coming into this split as they will be entering a completely new level of play. The teams remaining in the LCS bring more organization and experience which VES greatly lacks. But this doesn't mean that they don't have potential. This will be VES's trial by fire and a great learning experience for the team. If they are able to survive the beginning of the split without getting too burned they may be able to take games off the top teams towards the middle and end of the season, there is always a chance they can make top 6 and compete in the summer playoffs. If VES can stay motivated and dynamic with their strategies under the leadership of Vileroze they may be able to surprise many LCS fans.

Cloud 9

Top: An 'Balls' Le
Jungle: Will 'Meteos' Hartman
Mid: Hai 'Hai' Lam
AD: Zachary 'SnEaKyCaStRoO' Scuderi
Support: Daerek 'LemonNation' Hart

It is interesting to say that one of the teams with the most hype surrounding them is a team that just qualified into the LCS summer split. Cloud 9 shocked the scene by bulldozing its way through the summer promotion series without losing a single game, and knocking out CompLexity. Their play is highly inspired (if not completely mirrored) by competitive play in the Korean scene and their results reflect that. Cloud 9 have shown the mechanical strength to push the smallest advantages into large ones to take down their opponents decisively. Fans and professional teams alike are both expecting huge results from the newly initiated team, and so do I. But we will first see that they are also human.

Fans have seen Cloud 9 go up and dominate the challenger circuit but there is a huge skill gap between challenger teams and the LCS teams. I do not think we have seen this team be challenged which it definitely will be against more experienced teams like Team Dignitas and Curse. We will stop seeing the one sided dominating form that Cloud 9 has been playing with as they face teams that can actually stand toe to toe with them in team fights and late game. Besides that I see them doing extremely well this split with Hai and Meteos making many highlight worthy plays. In these best of ones anything can happen and hopefully their fans stay with them through their ups and downs.

Counter Logic Gaming

Top: Zach 'Nientonsoh' Malhas
Jungle: Michael 'Bigfatlp' Tang
Mid: Austin 'Link' Shin
AD: Peter 'Doublelift' Peng
Support: Steven 'Chauster' Chau

The veteran LCS team CLG will be coming into this summer split with a completely revamped line up, almost feeling like an entirely new team. As George 'HotshotGG' Georgallidis is stepping down from starting top lane to take on a coaching position, they brought in former AD carry of Team Marn, Nientonsoh, to go top. Then their support Zaqueri 'Aphromoo' Black left the team so Chauster slid back to his role of support, and Bigfatlp will be coming back to the starting roster in the jungle. Needless to say this team is now stacked with talent but are they utilizing the talent in the best possible way? Time will tell, but the potential is endless.

CLG brought together 3 of the most mechanically skilled players in North America with Doublelift, Nientonsoh, and Link and put them with 2 of the most experienced and intelligent players, Bigfatlp and Chauster. It may take Nien a little while to compete with the LCS top laners but I see Bigfatlp's jungle prowess surprising many fans. As Nien's champion pool grows for top lane, the team's flexibility in champions and strategies will continue to grow. The return of ChauLift can only bode well for CLG as they bring back an experience support to help the always dominant Doublelift. I see CLG having a rough start but as the season goes on this team can become very scary.

Team Curse

Top: Joe 'Voyboy' Esfahani
Jungle: Brandon 'Saintvicious' DiMarco
Mid: Jacky 'Nyjacky' Wang
AD: David 'Cop' Roberson
Support: Edward 'Edward' Abgaryan

Curse will be coming into the LCS summer split finishing in third overall in the spring. But there are still many people questioning on how they will perform going forward. They left week 5 of the spring split with a record of 12-2, and subsequently went 7-7 in the second half. They replaced their veteran support player Elementz with Rhux, and now replaced him with former Gambit Gaming support and EU All Star, Edward. It is hard to see this pick up as anything but a very good move for the entire North American scene. NA is already known for it's dominant bottom lanes with duos like Doublelift/Chauster, Alex 'Xpecial' Chu/Jason 'WildTurtle' Tran, and Michael 'Imaqtpie' Santana/Jordan 'Patoy' Blackburn, and now Curse will be bringing one of the strongest support players in world with them into the summer split.

Many people are wondering how this huge move will work out, and just how will Edward and Cop synergize together. Cop has shown a more passive style of play throughout the LCS which is completely different from the extremely aggressive nature of Edward. Cops passive play in the first split was more often than not the result of playing with sub par support players who weren't able to help carry through the early laning phase, which is just Edward's style. Cop has shown himself to be a mechanically sound player who has not been able to grow due to the struggling support position on the Curse lineup. Now the team will have one of the most talented and aggressive supports from the European scene, and expect Cops playstyle to be changing dramatically. LCS fans will begin to realize just how dominant Cop can be with Edward at his side. With a new found power surge into the Curse's bottom lane I see the team returning to their dominant playstyle we saw early in the spring split. 

This summer split is shaping up to be an extreme competitive series with new teams and new players entering the fold. Fans can expect much closer games throughout the entire season as these teams prepare their strength for the Season 3 World Championships. As each new LCS split passes the level of play will increase exponentially and we will see that begining here in our summer split. Now it is up to the veteran teams to prove why they made the right changes to their roster and for these newcomers to prove they deserve to be in the LCS.