2019 LCL Summer Split Preview
The League of Legends Continental League (aka the LCL) kicks off on July 20! This is the biggest LoL esports competition in the CIS region, and LCL teams like Gambit Esports, Albus Nox Luna, and Vega Squadron have time and time again made a splash at international tournaments. Moreover, tensions are at an all-time high, as teams are looking to make the push for the World Championship, so here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming 2019 LCL Summer Split!
How is LCL Played?
At first glance, it might seem like the 2019 LCL Summer Split follows a similar format to leagues like the LCS and LEC. The competition begins with a best-of-one group stage where each team has to play two games against every single opponent. However, the number of participants is capped at 8, and only 4 of them advance to the playoffs. If that wasn’t enough, the LCL teams are renowned for their creativity, so you can expect an influx of unorthodox team comps and unconventional strategies in the group stage.
The knockout stage starts with the semifinals. Each playoffs match is a best-of-five, so players have plenty of room to show off their strengths and cover their weakness. Once the dust settles, the team that remains standing gets an ample chunk of the prize pool as well as the title of the 2019 LCL Summer Split champion. It’s worth noting that only the #1 team qualifies for the World Championship, making the LCL the definition of an all-or-nothing competition.
3 LCL Teams to Follow
Gambit Esports is a competitive legend. This organization has been a part of the esports scene since the early days of professional League of Legends, and while it doesn’t have the same presence it used to, it’s still a force to be reckoned with.
Most of its strength stems from the solo lanes. Both Kira and PVPStejos are battle-hardened veterans, and their wide champion pools and acute game sense allow them to continuously outmaneuver their opponents on the Rift. But what really makes them shine is their synergy with Diamondprox. Gambit’s jungler has been playing professional League of Legends since season 1, and his bold invades and calculated jungle routes make him one of the most dangerous players in the region. And even though Gambit’s bot lane is less impressive, they still have what it takes to take over the LCL.
Unicorns of Love
Now that’s a name we haven’t heard in a long time! Unicorns of Love are back, and they’re officially a part of the 2019 LCL Summer Split. Of course, the current iteration of UOL is very different from the team they were in the EU LCS, but their ambitions remain the same.
The organization took the 3-man core of BOSS, AHaHaCiK, and Nomanz from Vega Squadron that has already proven its worth at the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational. AHaHaCiK, in particular, was an absolute monster in the jungler, and his relentless aggression should make him the driving force behind UOL’s offensive. Moreover, Unicorns of Love brought in a veteran support—Edward—and paired him with a promising up-and-comer in Innaxe. The only downside is that UOL don’t have much time to work out their team identity, but if their players click, they can be real title contenders.
Elements Pro Gaming
Elements Pro Gaming came out of nowhere. This team spent the entirety of 2018 at the bottom of the LCL food chain only to have a massive resurgence in spring of 2019. Their 12-2 run made them the #1 team in the regular season, and while they fell short in the finals against Vega Squadron, it’s safe to say they will be looking to mount their comeback in summer.
Unfortunately, not everything is sunshine and rainbows for Elements Pro Gaming. Most of their success came off the back of clean teamwork and practiced rotations, but they didn’t shine much in terms of individual skill. That’s not to say you should write them off. Archie2b is quite potent on playmaking supports, and Vincent Vega is solid on traditional marksmen, so Elements Pro Gaming have a good bot lane to work with. And if the rest of the team steps up to the plate, EPG can become the dark horse of the league.
Can LCL Perform Internationally?
Historically, LCL teams performed reasonably well at international tournaments. Whether it’s macro, player strength, or unusual team compositions, the best LCL lineups have the tools to hold their ground in the Play-In stage. Granted, it’s been a while since the region managed to break into the MSI or Worlds Main Event, but considering the 2019 LCL Summer is looking like the most competitive split yet, this might be the year where everything changes.