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Despite weeks of uncertainty and doubt regarding the possibility of League of Legends being played in North America this summer, the second half of the season is on.
The player-incited walkout of the LCS season ended on June 8 when the league and its Players Association came to terms regarding the future of tier-two League in North America. Although negotiations are expected to continue throughout the Summer Split, the regularly scheduled competition is back in full swing, with teams set to compete on a three-match-day schedule to compensate for lost time due to the strike.
Almost every team in the LCS is coming into the Summer Split with a different roster than the one they fielded in the spring. The only two teams to not change their rosters were the two who represented North America at MSI—Cloud9 and Golden Guardians. Beyond them, rosters across the league were struck by free agent signings, one-for-one swaps, and even retirements.
With the LCS beginning on June 14, we ranked each of the squads heading into the Summer Split. Here are our 2023 LCS Summer Split preseason power rankings.
|Summer ranking||Team||Spring Split finish|
|4)||100 Thieves||Sixth place|
|5)||Team Liquid||Eighth place|
|7)||Evil Geniuses||Fourth place|
After finishing one game above last place in the Spring Split and failing to make any pendulum-swinging free agent signings before the summer, we’re comfortable placing Immortals at the bottom of our pre-split power rankings. The biggest question mark for Immortals will be the signing of support Treatz, who hasn’t played pro League since last August and has not been a part of a roster with a winning record since 2020.
Last split, Dignitas stunned the LCS community by finishing in last place with an abysmal 3-15 record, even though they had experienced players like Santorin, Jensen, and Armut come through during the previous offseason. This time around, there still isn’t much faith in the legacy organization, even though it picked up former Heroes of the Storm icon and NiP top laner Lee “Rich” Jae-won to bolster its roster. If Dignitas fail to show any signs of improvement in terms of cohesion in the first couple of weeks, it might be another long split for this team’s fan base.
After Reginald confirmed in May that TSM is looking to leave the LCS for another tier-one region, it became clear that fans are witnessing the final dying gasps of a once-legendary organization. TSM’s League division has become a shell of itself in its final seasons, and this summer, the team will need more than a miracle to break into the upper echelon of the league. This mishmash roster features familiar vets like Hauntzer and WildTurtle and journeyman imports like Ruby and Bugi—and they aren’t doing much to instill confidence in the TSM faithful.
7) Evil Geniuses
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Once heralded as the next great dynasty in North American League, Evil Geniuses has managed to fumble its riches, shake up its fan base, and is now fielding a roster that is a far cry from the powerhouse it had only a season ago. On paper, the roster isn’t too bad, but Revenge, Armao, Jojopyun, Unforgiven, and Eyla are all either looking to bounce back from a down season or trying to make an impact on a roster that has plenty of big shoes to fill.
Despite NRG owner Andy Miller promising to keep the entire League infrastructure of this team intact when ownership shifted hands between CLG and NRG in April, the squad rolls into the Summer Split with a fresh-faced bot lane pairing of FBI and IgNar—and maybe that’s for the best. The two veterans give NRG an immediate upgrade at both AD carry and support and could elevate the roster past another sixth-place finish. Alternatively, the shake-up could negatively affect the chemistry of a roster that seemed poised to finally put it all together after three splits together.
5) Team Liquid
Last split, Team Liquid failed to live up to the grand expectations that were placed on their shoulders after signing a defending world champion in Pyosik and a superstar top laner in Summit and pairing them with one of the greatest players in the region’s history, CoreJJ.
With a disappointing 8-10 record behind them, this team has had plenty of time to not only build more chemistry among their players but also adjust their game plan alongside rookies Yeon and Haeri. With enough time and patience, Liquid should be able to find the right fit for all of their pieces and possibly become a dark horse challenger when the postseason rolls around.
4) 100 Thieves
100 Thieves had a disappointing start to the year and immediately lost its biggest veteran in Bjergsen and biggest prospect in Tenacity during the mid-season roster shuffle. One retired after 11 seasons and the other retired after one split—are you seeing the problem yet?
100T have plenty of up-in-the-air variables coming into the Summer Split, the biggest of them being new mid laner Quid. The Korean import has only played two matches above the Challenger level in his two-year career and is taking up the mid lane mantle for an organization that has struggled to find a permanent answer there for years. While other roles like top lane and jungle have been reliably held down by Ssumday and Closer—the former of which is making his return to 100T after one split away from the team—the mid lane position at 100T has played host to a revolving door of talent. If the 19-year-old Quid evolves into even a shadow of a franchise player, it would be a victory for 100T.
This year, the LCS is getting an extra slot at Worlds in the form of a ticket to a fourth-place play-in game against the LEC’s fourth-place squad. That’s a situation this low-ceiling-high-floor 100 Thieves team has no reason to miss out on, regardless of how many question marks they might have.
3) Golden Guardians
Golden Guardians have easily been the most pleasant surprise of the season thus far. Between a seven-game winning streak, LCS Finals run, and an against-all-odds, franchise-first international berth at MSI, the team has been one of the easiest to root for across the entire League global scene this season. After seeing them hold their own at MSI—even taking eventual runners-up Bilibili Gaming to a last-game scenario—Golden Guardians proved they’re a worthy representative for North America on the international stage. We like them to finish third in the split and head to Worlds as a respectable threat for NA.
After falling flat in the spring postseason against Golden Guardians, FlyQuest will be returning to the stage with a vengeance, joined by arguably the best support in the region as the team’s newest weapon of war for the summer. Vulcan will be adding his firepower alongside one of the best AD carries in the region, Prince. The rest of the team hasn’t changed, and if they can continue to build on the successes they found last spring, the rest of the league might be in trouble—even the No. 1 team on our list.
How can you argue against Cloud9? C9 are fresh off their fourth LCS championship in as many years and are only one of two teams in the league to not make any roster moves coming into the second half of the year. Time and again, C9’s lineup of all-stars have proven that they can win titles, clean house on the All-Pro team, and consistently outclass the rest of the league. It’s going to be hard to outdo the 23-6 game record that C9 put up in the Spring Split, but if any team has proven that they can set the bar higher split after split, it’s this one.