Photo: Riot Games

The first week of the 2019 LCS Summer Split is behind us, which raises the question — was it any good? Did any of the ten teams improve, did we see anything new? The answer lies somewhere in the middle. There were a lot of positive things, but also many negative ones. The region overall looked good, but it doesn’t feel like it improved much during the off-season. Still, there are many good teams present in North America, and they’re fighting tooth and nail in order to challenge the status quo.

So without any further ado, let’s take a closer look at the second week of competitive LCS play!

DAY ONE

Cloud9 vs. Echo Fox — To open up the day we have a rather exciting clash between the perennial LCS titans Cloud9 and Echo Fox. Now, generally speaking, this clash wouldn’t bring that much entertainment on most occasions, but seeing how both teams played exceptionally well last week, this game has the potential to be the best and most entertaining game of the day.

Cloud9 had a couple of their moments of patented brilliance, but a couple of fumbles as well. All in all, we can fairly summarize their week one performance as “commendable”, considering that they were probably going through initial stage jitters after being away from the LCS stage a while. Most importantly, we saw them in their best form — aggressive and in sync. This was the Cloud9 everyone expected, and even though their execution wasn’t spotless, they were still more than able to get the job done and end the week with two wins to their name.

Echo Fox, on the other hand, are entering the second week of competitive play with a fair bit of hype and momentum, and that’s mainly because they were able to take down Team Liquid. And it wasn’t just a flash in the pan either — they outclassed Liquid on all fronts. Now, Liquid made numerous egregious errors, they lost the game by themselves basically, but Echo Fox did everything they had to in order to get the win, and they were pretty much spotless in their play.

Echo Fox’s aggression, even though unhinged and unfiltered in nature, is always somewhat calculated and under control. They know what they’re doing, and they’re always ready to take momentous risks regardless of the state of the game. To the untrained eye, this can look like absolute chaos, but they revel in it, and they know their way around a hectic five-on-five team fight.

We’re going with Cloud9 on this one, but this is far from a one-sided match. Echo Fox have supposedly been dominating in scrims over the last couple of weeks, which means their win over Liquid might have not been a fluke, but rather an indication of their new-found strength. Regardless, we simply have to give Cloud9 the benefit of the doubt. They might not be particularly clean or dominant, but they should be able to get the job done.

Winner: Cloud9, 1.25 (odds @ Betway)

Team Liquid vs. 100 Thieves — A fight between the reigning champions and the worst team in the region. There’s really not much that one can say about the game at hand. If anything, Liquid are entering week two off of a loss to Echo Fox, and they’re surely hell-bent on revenge. You can expect a quick and one-sided shellacking in the favor of the defending champs.

Winner: Team Liquid, 1.18 (odds @ Betway)

Team Solo Mid vs. FlyQuest — This is where things get a lot more interesting. By all accounts, the boys in black and white have the edge across the board, but seeing how both teams entered the Summer Split in a somewhat weakened state, this battle should be on a much more level playing field. Team Solo Mid were outclassed by Team Liquid on the first day of competition, but were able to bounce back with a solid showing against their perennial adversaries Counter Logic Gaming.

Now, the fact that they weren’t as aggressive or cohesive in their first week of play shouldn’t deter you from boarding the TSM hype train. Even though they might need a bit of time in order to ramp up, they’re still one of the most stacked and talented teams that North America has to offer.

FlyQuest, on the other hand, looked nothing like their Spring Split selves. They were passive, unwilling to throw down when it mattered the most, and were out of sync as a five-man unit. Perhaps most surprisingly, their team fighting was nowhere near as potent and strong as it once was. Whether this was just a slow start or a sign of their upcoming decline still remains to be seen, but they’re entering this week without any hype or momentum.

To add insult to injury, they’re in a three-way tie with the likes of Clutch Gaming and 100 Thieves — two teams that ended last split in ninth and tenth place, respectively. That doesn’t mean they won’t be able to pick up the pace, but they’re currently not seen as a solid contender. We need to see more from them on the Summoner’s Rift before giving them our benefit of the doubt.

Winner: Team Solo Mid, 1.28 (odds @ Betway)

Optic Gaming vs. Counter Logic Gaming — Next up we have yet another exciting clash between two mid-tier teams. This will be a must-watch game for many fans of the LCS because it will give us a better look into two teams that are trying their best in order to become bona fide contenders. They both showcased a lot of positive growth and potential last week and they’re looking to continue building on their most recent success.

Counter Logic Gaming were, however, a bit more cohesive, and they were quicker to snowball their leads. They didn’t lose a lot of time when they saw an opening, whereas OpTic basically played two of the strangest games possible. They were a lot more passive and reactive — almost scared to make a play in fear from failing. That’s quite a big difference between them, and it will heavily impact their play this week as well.

In the end, we have to side with Counter Logic Gaming. They should have an edge in almost every single lane, and they’re much stronger in the early and mid stages of the game. That said, this will probably be an insanely close game that will be decided by the slimmest of margins.

Winner: Counter Logic Gaming, 1.90 (odds @ Betway)

Clutch Gaming vs. Golden Guardians — To close out the day, we have a pretty interesting clash, although it’s far from a must watch. It is a fight between a bottom-tier team and a solid gatekeeper that’s looking to solidify its contender status. Either way, both of them have something to prove. Clutch Gaming wants to leave the bottom of the standings and actually register a win after their abysmal showing last week, whereas the Golden Guardians want to continue building on their stellar 2-0 record and prove to the world that they not only belong in the upper echelon of the LCS, but that they also have the tools which are necessary in order to upset the status quo.

While this might not look like a spectacular clash, make no mistake — both teams love to skirmish and they’re not the ones to shy away from a good old fashioned fiesta. Clutch wants to bring the fight down to their level and they have the right players in order to make this into one heck of a game. That said, the Guardians have shown more than enough last week in order to earn our trust, so we’re siding with them. They’re a team on a mission and they’re wasting no time whatsoever. They know every win counts and they’re making the right improvements in order to not only end up in the playoffs but also challenge the three LCS giants at the top — Team Liquid, Team Solo Mid, and Cloud9.

Winner: Golden Guardians, 1.50 (odds @ Betway)

DAY TWO

Counter Logic Gaming vs. Team Liquid — For our first match of the day, we have a pretty exciting clash between the defending champions Team Liquid and Counter Logic Gaming. Now, while the odds are heavily stacked in Liquid’s favor, that doesn’t mean CLG doesn’t have the tools in order to bring the fight to the defending champs. This will surely be a hectic affair with a ton of action, especially if CLG come out the gates swinging.

While it’s still too early to give out a concrete verdict on either team, we simply have to side with Liquid. Even though they needed a bit of time before ramping up after their most recent Mid-Season Invitational success, they’re still the best team in the region and should be given the benefit of the doubt regardless of opponent.

Winner: Team Liquid, 1.20 (odds @ Betway)

100 Thieves vs. Clutch Gaming — Next up, we have a clash between two of the worst teams in the region — statistically speaking. They’re currently regarded as two bottom-tier teams but they do have some potential overall. Clutch Gaming is entering today’s clash with a fair bit of hype after their one-sided shellacking of the Golden Guardians, and if they play the way they can (and draft a one-dimensional team comp which they can execute to a tee), they should be able to dispose of 100 Thieves with relative ease.

While it surely won’t be a clean or one-sided performance, we simply have to side with Clutch on this one. Until 100 Thieves do something worthwhile on the Summoner’s Rift, they’re going to be regarded as the worst team in North America, and with good reason.

Winner: Clutch Gaming, 1.75 (odds @ Betway)

Echo Fox vs. Team Solo Mid — A rematch of the 2019 Spring Split playoff quarterfinals. A clash between the perennial North American titans TSM and the definition of a volatile dark horse Echo Fox. An exciting clash, without a doubt. Predicting the outcome of this one game is particularly troubling seeing how both teams currently have huge ups and downs.

TSM has a confusing tendency to draft late game-oriented team comps with Sona and Taric, but things just aren’t going in their favor. They often find themselves in such a big deficit early on that they simply don’t have the ability to turn things around even when they do attain all of their items. Echo Fox, on the other hand, are as inconsistent as ever. They’ll have one abysmal game and then improve over night and dominate the very next day. Whether or not it’ll happen today as well remains to be seen.

Either way, regardless of the final outcome, this game will be a good indicator on just how strong both teams are. We’re going with Team Solo Mid on this one because they already know how to take Echo Fox down, and if they play as well as they can they should have no trouble in emerging victorious.

Winner: Team Solo Mid, 1.22 (odds @ Betway)

Golden Guardians vs. Cloud9 — For our fourth game of the day, we have an exciting clash between two former playoff teams: Cloud9 and the Golden Guardians. Even though the Guardians quickly emerged as a solid contender, we simply have to go with Cloud9 on this one. They’ve been more consistent throughout 2019, and they’ve shown exceptional synergy and cohesion every time they stepped foot on the Summoner’s Rift. While this might not be the cleanest game of the day, the boys in black and blue should be able to get the win.

They simply have too many tools at their disposal in order to drop a game to the Guardians at this point.

Winner: Cloud9, 1.32 (odds @ Betway)

FlyQuest vs. OpTic Gaming — Who would’ve thought that a clash between FlyQuest and OpTic Gaming would be considered as a “must watch” clash? OpTic have quickly solidified themselves as a bona fide contender with their stellar 3-0 record, and if they have a repeat performance and take down FlyQuest, we simply have to consider them a playoff-worthy team at this point.

Their play still isn’t that clean and they’re rough around the edges, but they’re playing more and more like a cohesive five-man unit, and it’s quite a treat from a spectator’s standpoint. They will surely run into trouble once they clash against the upper echelon of the LCS, but anyone not located in the Top 3 should be beatable at this point. That said, FlyQuest are far from a bad team, and they’ve shown signs of life in yesterday’s game against Team Solo Mid. It feels like they’re more and more dependent on V1per and his stellar playmaking (which is far from a bad thing), so expect them to not only draft in his favor but to also prioritize the top side of the map.

Either way, this is surely going to be one heck of a game. We’re siding with OpTic Gaming, at least ever so slightly. They’ve shown a better understanding of the current meta, and they’ve all been performing incredibly well on an individual level. That said, expect fireworks from the very get-go.

Winner: OpTic Gaming, 1.95 (odds @ Betway)