With the opening weekend of the LCS summer split (debuting with a superweek) now over, we have a better indicator of the strengths of each team moving forward. Although each team has only played three matches, and their current records are no indicator of the final standings, the LCS power rankings have shifted quite a bit.
On the Rise: CLG, EG
The most unanticipated outcome of the LCS’s opening superweek was CLG’s 3-0 record. While many analysts claim that strength of schedule plays a factor, and it most certainly does considering that the highest ranked team (from spring) CLG played was Golden Guardians at 6th, the teams CLG played were all expected to outperform them. In the official analyst predictions provided by the LCS Studio cast, CLG was unanimously ranked 10th (last) place. I also felt that CLG wouldn’t be a strong contender this summer in my summer predictions, citing the same reason as the LCS analysts for their predicted placement: a lack of midseason roster changes for an otherwise lackluster spring team. Regardless of viewer/analyst perceptions, CLG pulled out three victories over Dignitas, Golden Guardians, and, most notably, their perennial rivals in TSM.
On the less surprising side, EG seemed to easily manage a 3-0 run this weekend. The reigning LCS Champions were expected to perform poorly in their summer debut due the historical precedent of returning MSI teams having losing or neutral opening weekends. Instead, they broke the trend and became the first team since 2015 to produce a winning record. What’s even more impressive is the teams they managed to defeat to get there. EG played their matches against Cloud9, 100 Thieves, and FlyQuest: the second, third, and sixth place teams from spring. In other words, don’t expect the EG victory train to end anytime soon. The only team in their sights that might put up a fight are Team Liquid (spring first place) in week four.
In Hot Water: Dignitas, Cloud9
While there are upsides and positive surprises every weekend, there is always someone on the receiving end of these shocking defeats. This weekend, we look no further than Dignitas and Cloud9.
Dignitas is perhaps the more disappointing of these two. After signing Gamsu to replace their struggling top laner FakeGod, Dignitas was in a position to be a top contender this summer; however, it appears they have a little more work to do. Finishing 0-3 this weekend, Dignitas lost all three of their matches to CLG, Team Liquid, and 100 Thieves, respectively. While a loss to TL might not seem too out of the blue, a loss to 100 Thieves breaks their “100 Thieves’ Killers” mantra they acquired after beating 100T four times last spring, leaving 100T winless against them.
The more surprising defeat; however, came from CLG. While CLG have certainly outperformed expectations, Dignitas were the expected victor of their matchup. With both teams changing their top laner this midseason, the LCS debut (and return) of these two players swung in the direction no one anticipated: a CLG domination.
The other shock this weekend was from the reformed Cloud9, or at least part of them. Due to passport issues, the starting ADC for C9, Berserker, is still in Korea. With Zven role-swapping from ADC to support to lane alongside Berserker, Cloud9 opted to field their academy duo instead. While the reason isn’t known, the general assumptions are that Zven’s inexperience in the role would make laning with someone other than Berserker undesirable.
With only half of their intended starting roster being fielded, Cloud9 weren’t in their best form. To make matters worse, this broken roster had quite possibly the most difficult schedule on opening weekend. Challenged by the best of the best, Cloud9 faced off against reigning Champions Evil Geniuses, spring first place TL, and spring sixth place Golden Guardians.
Dropping all three of their matches, Cloud9 are currently ranked last place alongside Dignitas. It is worth noting, however, that both Jensen and Fudge performed very well in their roles, the first time for both of them since summer 2021.
Despite these upsets and shortcomings, the season is not close to being over. Each team has 15 more games to play, where anything could happen. Cloud9 could overcome their VISA issues and win every single one of their remaining matches, and CLG could lose momentum and drop all of their remaining matches.
To see how these two teams perform moving forward, be sure to watch week two of the LCS where Dignitas face off against C9 in the battle for last place and CLG shoot for the moon against Evil Geniuses to see which rookies really have it this summer. These can’t miss matchups happen on June 25th and 26th, starting at 4:30 EST.