Top 5 LCS Summer 2020 Midseason Trades
The LoL Esports landscape is constantly changing. Aside from a handful of players, most will never begin and end their careers on the same team. This statement holds true for all regions including the LCS. Ahead of the Summer 2020 split, there were over 20 roster changes.
Here are the five most impactful, influential, or otherwise just interesting player trades.
5) Spica is promoted from TSM Academy to Team SoloMid
Minigyi “Spica” Lu debuted on EF Academy in July of 2018 and moved to TSM Academy in April of the following year. Thirteen months later, on May 27, 2020, Team SoloMid (TSM) revealed that Spica would be promoted to the main roster as the starting jungler.
This is not the first time Spica played on the main TSM roster. He was brought in near the end of the 2019 Summer season after TSM spent the year juggling between Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham and Jonathan “Grig” Armao before deciding to not continue with either. Spica started for the last few weeks of the 2019 Summer regular season and in the playoffs. He saw play mostly on simple tank junglers like Jarvan IV and Sejuani and made little impression.
Those few weeks should not be held against him, however. Spica clearly did not have the synergy or preparation to play in critical LCS playoff matches alongside the main roster. Now, debuting properly in the LCS as part of the main roster from the beginning of the Summer split, Spica has the opportunity to show who he really is.
4) V1per leaves FlyQuest for Dignitas
Omran “V1per” Shoura leaves the top lane of LCS 2020 Spring runner-up FlyQuest to join seventh place Dignitas. Although FlyQuest ultimately finished second in the Spring playoffs, one could argue that the team only did so by benching V1per and starting Colin “Solo” Earnest as the top laner from the last weeks of the regular season onwards.
It’s a less-than-ideal scenario for V1per to leave FlyQuest. However, his team didn’t even make the Spring playoffs, so it’s hard to say he doesn’t deserve it. V1per has proven himself a star talent at Riven, but thus far it is the only champion he has piloted with excellence. With plenty of bruisers and Tanks in the top lane, V1per’s shallow champion pool is an undeniable weakness he must overcome.
For V1per, Dignitas could be the make-or-break team for his reputation after his mediocre stint on FlyQuest since joining the LCS in the 2019 Spring. His fourth LCS split could be his last chance to knuckle down and establish himself as one of North America’s elite top laners. Otherwise, if he falters again on champions outside his Riven comfort zone, Dignitas may be what consigns him to mid-table mediocrity.
3) Huni leaves Dignitas for Evil Geniuses
The player V1per is replacing is someone who is similarly struggling to live up to his early reputation. Seung-hoon “Huni” Heo is a player with one of the most diverse careers in the entire LoL esports scene.
With the move to Evil Geniuses, Huni has now officially been a part of seven different teams across three major regions. More impressively, he has made it to the World Championship thrice. Each time from a different region: in 2015 from Europe on Fnatic, in 2017 from South Korea on SK Telecom T1, and in 2019 from North America on Clutch Gaming.
However, despite his skill, one cannot help but shake the feeling that his name is losing some of its lusters. His in-game performance feels like its peaks are less high than in the past. His one-dimensional resource-heavy carry style of play often warps the entire team’s dynamic to have to play around him, but the weakness of top lane in the current meta makes this an unsustainable, inefficient strategy.
It is telling that when Evil Geniuses (EG) traded for Huni, they reportedly renegotiated to lower the compensation. Back in DIG he was earning 2.3 million USD with his contract. It is also unclear how Huni will even play for Evil Geniuses, given that EG already has the maximum allowed two imported players on its starting roster. The Summer Split might be terrible for Huni if he must spend the split either riding the bench or playing in the academy league.
The one upside for Huni is that if he stays on an LCS team for one more split, he will gain residency status and no longer be treated as an import. Thus, he could return as a full-time top laner for Evil Geniuses come 2021, as despite his flaws he could still be a superior option than Colin “Kumo” Zhao.
2) Dardoch leaves Team SoloMid for Dignitas
While Huni needed three continents and five years to rack up seven different team jerseys, Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett needed only four years in North America to get eight. An undeniably talented player, Dardoch has often been stymied in his career by the self-admitted personality flaws that make him a difficult teammate.
It is unclear if Dardoch himself is the cause of his latest transfer to another new organization. In spite of the controversy regarding TSM president Leena Xu reportedly claiming that teams did not want to sign Dardoch, there is little to no reason to believe that his new team was due to behavioral conflicts.
With that out of the way, Dardoch is finding himself on a less-than-ideal roster. It is unknown if he or Akaadian will be starting for the main roster in Summer. With V1per as the new top laner, the top half of Dignitas’s map will be lacking synergy and stability. For Dardoch, a top finish in Summer on Dignitas looks unlikely. Instead, this could be an opportunity for him to continue to work on improving as a teammate and maybe finally find a team to call home.
1) Doublelift leaves Team Liquid for Team SoloMid
Yiliang Peter “Doublelift” Peng was the leading face for Team Liquid after joining in the 2018 season following his departure from TSM. He quickly became the face for Team Liquid’s LoL roster and played a crucial part in seeing the organization reach new heights. Additionally, he set a record by winning the LCS title four times in a row over 2018 and 2019. This was not enough as TL defeated the 2018 World Champions Invictus Gaming to become a finalist at the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational. Doublelift still holds the record for most LCS trophies won by a player.
And now, after a disastrous 2020 Spring that saw Team Liquid finish in ninth place, he’s back on TSM. Talk about a closed-loop career.
Compared to the other interesting trades, Doublelift’s is both the most and least interesting. It is the most interesting due to all the implications and the drama and the controversies. It is the least interesting as the path forward is extremely straight-forward. For the others, personal improvements or high placements or individual performance would be enough to mark a successful Summer.
For Doublelift, anything other than a first place for TSM in the upcoming Summer split would be a failure. No more, no less.
All these players will see play on their new teams when the LCS returns for its Summer 2020 season. The LCS begins play on the Saturday of June 13, 2020. Viewers can watch the broadcasted games on the LoL Esports YouTube channel or the LCS Twitch channel.