LCS Summer Split 2020 Week 1 Special Pick: Cloud9 vs FlyQuest
The League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) begins its 2020 Summer Split today. Fans of NA LCS haven’t had serious domestic competition since the Spring finals in mid-April.
The opening day looks promising with two exciting matches. First up is 100 Thieves vs Evil Geniuses, two Spring playoffs teams whose opposing styles should be fun to see. Then, to close out the day, the Spring finalists will duke it out in a rematch. Our question. Will current LCS champion Cloud9 (C9) reign victorious once more?
Team Analysis: FlyQuest
FlyQuest is currently second place in the LCS, but their claim to the title is tenuous. The team only started looking like a serious contender once they brought in Colin “Solo” Earnest to replace Omran “V1per” Shoura as their top laner. Even then, FlyQuest almost lost to Team SoloMid (TSM) in the second round of playoffs. In the close 3-2 victory, many could say that TSM’s strategically poor draft contributed more to FlyQuest’s win than any effort on FlyQuest’s part.
Their strong showing over Evil Geniuses in the semifinal showcases FlyQuest’s greatest strengths: a competent supporting cast in the jungle and bot lane bolstering the premier domestic performers in the top and mid lane. FlyQuest’s top laner, Solo, is capable of playing Tanks and Carries in equal measure. Mid laner Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage has a unique and unconventional playstyle, but it is undeniably effective if properly supported.
FlyQuest’s ability to properly support PowerOfEvil demonstrates FlyQuest’s key advantage over most LCS opponents: team cohesion around star performers. FlyQuest is strategically sound with competent strategies that the team executes well around. It was this tactical ability coupled with mechanical proficiency which saw FlyQuest reach the Spring finals.
FlyQuest may have a harder time replicating that success this Summer. Balance changes to the game have shifted power away from the support to the jungler. FlyQuest’s support player, Dong-geun “IgNar” Lee, is a superstar on high-impact engage supports like Blitzcrank or Rakan, mediocre on low-resource tank supports like Braum. Meanwhile, jungler Lucas Tao Kilmer “Santorin” Larsen has the mechanical prowess and strategic mind to play all styles of jungler. However, Santorin lacks that superstar spark to completely swing games in his team’s favor, especially from a losing position. More pressure on him could lead to a dip in performance.
These two players, IgNar and Santorin, will dictate how the entire Summer Split goes for FlyQuest.
Team Analysis: Cloud9
Cloud9 is the reigning LCS champion, and unrivaled in their ownership of the trophy. The team lost a total of two games in the entirety of the Spring split. They lost once in the regular season against TSM, and once in the playoffs against Evil Geniuses. Otherwise, C9 regularly beat their opponents in one-sided games.
During the regular season, Cloud9 was regularly up by 2712 gold and 1.67 dragons at the 15-minute mark. C9’s average game duration, 31 minutes and 7 seconds, shows that the team rarely squandered that lead. In the playoffs, Cloud9’s statistics got even better. Gold advantage at 15 minutes was 3188, and correspondingly the games ended even quicker at 30:01 on average.
This level of dominance is due to having the five best players at their positions in the LCS. All five of C9’s starters are delivering superstar performances. Normally, that level of play is unsustainable. For Cloud9, though, it is held together by the strategic minds of the coaching staff and the excellent chemistry between the players. It says something that Cloud9 top laner Eric “Licorice” Ritchie had perhaps his worst split since his LCS debut on C9 in 2018 Spring, and still looked like a Top Three domestic top laner.
The meta changes also favor Cloud9. Support player Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme performs well on both extremes of the engage/disengage and carry/tank spectrums. Loss of power in his role is unlikely to affect his impact in the game. Meanwhile, more power towards jungler Robert “Blaber” Huang only allows C9 to excel at what they’re already good at. Blaber was the LCS Spring Regular Season MVP and his signature pick in Kindred benefits from changes that promote carry junglers.
2020 LCS Summer for Cloud9 looks to be a repeat of 2020 LCS Spring. Though some potential rivals are rising in strength, it is unlikely that FlyQuest will be one of them. It’s also telling that, for once, C9 is the champion that rivals look to challenge, instead of the rival challenging. Don’t expect the team to give up that spot without a fight.
Cloud9 should completely dominate FlyQuest in this match-up. Their previous meeting was a 3-0 in C9’s favor, and the changes to the game’s balance since then have only pushed the advantage further to Cloud9.
C9’s control of the early game has been unrivaled in the LCS, and is unlikely to change now. Expect all of the pre-15 minute benchmark statistics to go Cloud9’s way. First Blood is almost guaranteed to be C9’s. Barring any shenanigans, Cloud9 has better laners and a much better jungler.
This early kill is likely to be transitioned towards the top-side of the river to gain control of the Rift Herald. Cloud9 maintained an 86.1% control of Rift Herald in the Spring regular season, and that’s unlikely to stop now. Securing that Rift Herald transitions seamlessly into the First Turret as well.
FlyQuest isn’t lacking in strategic or tactical ability either. Expect FlyQuest to concede the first Rift Herald in favor of taking the First Dragon. Unless things go wrong in the first ten minutes, it will likely still be up and available to take in response to Cloud9 shifting their presence and territory upriver for the Rift Herald. That leaves the bottom river and the Dragon open for FlyQuest to take.
It is likely going to be the only real objective for FlyQuest to secure over the course of the game. Barring ring rust on C9’s part from the break, or significant improvement from further integration of Solo into FlyQuest’s line-up, this match should be a done deal by the 15-minute mark.
Cloud9 should win this match, and moreover it shouldn’t be that close. There is opportunity for LoL betting on exotic markets for this match. First Dragon, First Blood and First Turret should all go down for Cloud9.
It's beginning to feel like summer, are you ready?
— LCS (@LCSOfficial) June 8, 2020
The LCS begins on Friday, June 12, at 6 pm PST. The broadcast is available to watch on the LoL Esports website.
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