Photo: Riot Games

It feels like the Summer Split had only just begun and yet we’re quickly approaching the midway point. This was fast, to say the least. Well, four weeks are more than enough to get a solid enough of a read on ten teams, and last week especially gave us some much-needed closure. Now, this might seem like a strange thing to say seeing how over half the region is tied for first place, but we can confidently say which teams will remain at the top and which ones will drop as the weeks go by.

Obviously things could resolve in a different manner entirely, but overall, we’ve seen more than enough to predict things with confidence going forward.

DAY ONE

Team Liquid vs. Golden Guardians — This is an exciting way to open up the day, that’s for sure. A clash between the defending champions and a team that has quickly risen in the standings and has solidified its spot as a top tier contender that’s worthy of respect and admiration. But let’s look at Liquid first. They’re entering this match with quite a fair bit of hype. While their start to the split wasn’t exactly incredible, that was understandable seeing how they burned out at the most recent Mid-Season Invitational. Last week, however, gave us a showing of Liquid at their most dominant. They were downright spectacular, and while they were still a bit too cautious at times, they didn’t skip a beat once they had to up the tempo and get the job done.

Their clean wins over FlyQuest and OpTic Gaming allowed them to push their overall win-loss tally to four wins and two losses, tying them with a plethora of other teams in the standings. This time around, they have the Golden Guardians as well as Clutch Gaming, two teams that pose different threats but they’re not favored against the defending champs, and with good reason.

The Guardians, in particular, are a bona fide contender this time around and they’re definitely worthy of respect and admiration. While they’re still painfully one-dimensional, and overly dependent on Froggen hard carrying, they’re far better than most people expect. They’re also incredibly aggressive which is a great virtue in the current meta. They’re proactive and unrelenting which should allow them to fight against Liquid on a somewhat level playing field, at least early on. They’re either going to impose their will, or they’re going to lose trying.

We’re going with Liquid on this one, but this should be a closely contested clash that will ultimately be decided in the later stages of the game by Liquid’s stellar macro and team fighting.

Winner: Team Liquid, 1.40 (odds @ Betway)

Team Solo Mid vs. OpTic Gaming — For our second match of the day we have yet another exciting clash that will give us a better read into both teams and their overall strength.

Now, coming into the third week of play, OpTic was riding quite the hype train. They had a lot of momentum and were showing no signs of stopping. But once they fought against Cloud9, they were heavily outrotated and outmacroed. That, in and of itself isn’t a problem, but the fact that they were completely shut down in the pick and ban phase was a worrying sign.

They improved as a five-man unit, that’s a fact, but if they don’t get their priority picks then they’re just unable to get off the ground. Meteos is their biggest catalyst in the early game and if he’s unable to have as big of an impact as he has to, then they’re just not as strong in the early and mid stages of the game.

That said, they’re capable and are rightfully considered as a top-tier contender that can upset.

Team Solo Mid, on the other hand, are entering this week on a high note, to say the least. They outclassed Cloud9 last week and were able to enter this week tied for first place even though their initial Summer Split start left a lot to be desired.

They’re incredibly strong, both individually as well as a five-man unit, and they’re playing out of their minds right now. They might experiment a bit too much, but you can’t blame them for testing their limits this early into the split.

They’re considered as the heavy favorites this time around and with good reason. They should be more than able to get the job done, but don’t be surprised if they need a bit of time before getting the W. OpTic are surprisingly solid in all facets of play and will surely fight back to the best of their ability.

Winner: Team Solo Mid, 1.40 (odds @ Betway)

100 Thieves vs. Cloud9 — Our third match of the day isn’t exactly a must watch, to be quite honest. But it is a good chance for both teams to do entirely different things. Cloud9 are slowly but surely getting back into form, and they need an “easy” win in order to regain a bit of momentum after losing to Team Solo Mid last week.

Conversely, 100 Thieves were, surprisingly, able to get their first win on the board, and even though it wasn’t the greatest of skirmishes. They god the job done which is the most important at this point in the split. They’re by no means a solid contender right now nor do they have the tools in order to compete for the playoffs, but her — a win is a win, and they’re at least improving on a weekly basis.

Fortunately for the 100 Thieves, when you’re at the bottom, the only way left to go is up. So, objectively speaking, they’re somewhat solid at this point in time. Amazing’s experience, guidance, and early aggression was exactly what the doctor ordered.

They’re stronger than most people give them credit for, and they should be more than able to register a couple of wins over the coming weeks.

That said, Cloud9 are not an easy team to tackle. Not in the slightest. They’re a versatile challenger and one of the best teams in the region by far.

So betting on Cloud9 is the only logical option in thsi case.

Winner: Cloud9, 1.18 (odds @ Betway)

Counter Logic Gaming vs. FlyQuest — This match-up might not seem exceptional on paper, but in reality, it could end up being a spectacular clash of seismic proportions.

Both teams love to skirmish from the very get go, and this game should prove to be no exception. That said, they’re both entering this clash with different goals in mind, and they’re also on the opposite sides of the standings.

Counter Logic Gaming is currently tied for first place and they were able to take down both Cloud9 as well as Team Liquid over the lat couple of weeks. They’re not perfect, but they’re proving to be quite a fascinating challenger — one that’s layered and incredibly strong in multiple aspects of play.

They’re a force to be reckoned with and the fact that Ruin and Wiggily are playing so incredibly well is really pushing them not just into the playoffs but also towards the very top of the region.

They might not leave a mark this time around, but they should become an incredible challenegr sooner rather than later.

FlyQuest, on the other hand, are currently sitting with just a single win — against Team Solo Mid, of all teams — and five losses. They didn’t make any changes to their starting five-man line-up but they are simply unable to get the job done at this point in time.

They’re more reactive, they’re passive, and they’re playing abysmally both on an individual level but also as a five-man unit. They’re just not particularly good at this point in time and that’s a shame. Could they improve? By all means, but one has to wonder whether it’s a bit too late at this point in time. A third of the split is already completed, and they’re basically completely out of the running for the playoffs, barring any exceptional flashes of brilliance.

They’re a capable team, that’s for sure, but the task at hand is simply too overwhelming.

Counter Logic Gaming are a very tough team right now and they should be more than able to shut down FlyQuest from the very get go.

Winner: Counter Logic Gaming, 1.50 (odds @ Betway)

Echo Fox vs. Clutch Gaming — Finally, we have a somewhat confusing clash between two incredibly inconsistent teams. Much like the game preceeding this one, this could end up being an absolute war across the board with the winner getting decided by the slimmest of margins.

Echo Fox looked like the more capable team early on, but they fell off pretty hard as the weeks went by. With Clutch Gaming, things are the opposite. They started off as badly as possible, but were able to find an identity for themselves sooner rather than later, and are currently sitting on a very respectable 3W-3L record.

Predicting the outcome this time around is downright impossible. If you’re looking for a safe bet this is as far from that as possible, so it’s best to just skip this match entirely. That said, we’re leaning towards Echo Fox, at least ever so slightly.

Winner: Echo Fox, 2.30 (odds @ Betway)