As the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) 2020 Summer season reaches its final weeks, the race for the playoffs is down to the wire. No teams are mathematically eliminated from the top six cutoff, and no teams are completely safe. With the season and qualification for the World Championship on the line, the LCS teams must give it their all this weekend to keep their hopes alive.
100 Thieves vs Counter Logic Gaming
Starting off the Saturday is eighth-place 100 Thieves against seventh-place Counter Logic Gaming (CLG). At 4-8 and 5-7 respectively, both teams are in the dangerous sub-50 percent win-rate zone.
100 Thieves are coming off a difficult 0-2 week and must rally with their recently-added jungler Juan “Contractz” Arturo Garcia if they want to pull ahead. In particular, mid laner Tommy “Ryoma” Le must step up and exert more influence in the mid to late stages of the matches.
CLG also suffered an 0-2 weekend, losing to both Dignitas and Immortals, two teams lower than them in the standings. With their remaining matches against higher-ranked opponents, CLG must stop their slide and work on regaining their lost momentum from earlier weeks. In a team crumbling from multiple positions, all eyes are on mid-laner Eugene “Pobelter” Park to somehow hold this squad together.
The junglers should decide this game. Contractz has performed well since joining the Thieves, while CLG’s Raymond “Wiggily” Griffin continues to look among the worst of the starting LCS junglers. That gap will heavily affect the early game; expect all initial objectives (First Blood, First Dragon, First Tower) to go the way of the Thieves.
Team SoloMid vs Dignitas
The main element holding third-place Team SoloMid (TSM) together is their mid-laner Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg. In wins and losses, Bjergsen has impressed across a variety of champions. The biggest question mark lies around rookie jungler Mingyi “Spica” Lu. His debut season as a starter began with acceptable performances, but his play in recent matches has gotten worse. Spica will need to clean up his gameplay if TSM hopes to go far in the playoffs.
Tied-ninth-place Dignitas is currently flailing for a solution. After a surprising 2-0 week 5, the team has swapped their top laner again to go 1-1 in week 6. They are indecisive, both with their roster and on the rift. Their loss to Golden Guardians on Sunday is a contender for the worst game of the season. A terrible draft led to them helplessly waiting to lose. Before anything on the Rift, Dignitas must sort out their roster and their draft if they hope to go on a miracle run and salvage their split.
Even with Spica’s recent poor performances, this game is easily in TSM’s hands. So long as they remember to ban out Omran “V1per” Shoura’s signature Riven should he start, TSM should just walk over the disorganized and dysfunctional Dignitas. First blood and first tower should go to TSM through simply better laning unless a mishap occurs in the top lane. The first dragon is a toss-up given TSM’s jungling situation, but it should go to TSM through the mid and bot lanes’ efforts.
FlyQuest vs Golden Guardians
Both FlyQuest and Golden Guardians (GGS) are among the three teams tied for fourth at 6-6. FlyQuest has looked shakier recently but seems to be returning to form with the reinstatement of Jason “WildTurtle” Tran as starting bot laner. With his competent play stabilizing the bottom side of the map, it should allow FlyQuest to focus on their strengths around the top half of the Rift.
GGS is similar to FlyQuest as another decently-balanced team that is missing that spark of excellence to take them over the top. GGS has a stronger superstar than FlyQuest in jungler Can “Closer” Çelic, and that may prove the key to victory. While support Jae-hyun “huhi” Choi is unremarkable at best, his safer playstyle leaves less exploitable holes in GGS than FlyQuest’s support Dong-geun “IgNar” Lee.
This game has the potential to be close, but the edge goes to GGS and specifically Closer. His stellar performance at all stages of the game should bring a strong early game that GGS needs. Expect Closer to bring in First Blood and either First Tower or First Drake, depending on which side of the map GGS drafts stronger lanes.
Immortals vs Cloud9
Closing out Saturday is a battle between the top and the bottom. Cloud9 (C9) is tied first at 10-2 while Immortals (IMT) are tied ninth at 3-9.
Cloud9 looks significantly more mortal than their earlier untouchable rampage through the season. The first loss to 100 Thieves can be easily dismissed as an experiment gone wrong, but Evil Geniuses straight-up beat C9 in a fair fight on Saturday to deal them their second loss. Even so, C9 are still the favorites to win the season. Star talent at every position gives C9 an edge over any team simply through just better mechanics.
IMT is going through growing pains. Since the complete overhaul of the roster, the team has had a few wins and some very close losses. The potential is clearly there, but it’s uncertain if the team can realize it in time. Even with shining star solo laners in Kieran “Allorim” Logue and David “Insanity” Challe, IMT is hard-pressed to beat C9 without a significantly better draft.
Unless there are more draft shenanigans, C9 should win this game. Their players are simply more experienced and less liable to misplay in crucial mid and late-game situations. However, the early objectives are very uncertain. If on form, C9 jungler Robert “Blaber” Huang should rampage over the early game with his signature aggression and skill. If caught out, though, he can easily donate the early game to IMT.
Week 6 Day 2 of the LCS takes place on Saturday, 24 July. The matches begin at 1 p.m. PST with 100 Thieves vs CLG. The broadcast is available on YouTube and Twitch. Dedicated fans can liven up their viewing experience by participating in esports betting on Thunderpick.
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