This week we saw the pro leagues start up again- first came LCS, then came the LPL and LCK, and the LEC joins the party on Friday! Let’s take a look at the teams having a great time this week, and the ones that had a week to forget.
After a somewhat disappointing end to the Spring season that saw TSM finish 3rd behind Team Liquid and eventual winners Cloud9, this week’s matches have shown there’s plenty of life in this team. Solid performances from everyone, but especially Lost and PowerOfEvil, saw TSM rocket ahead to a 3-0 start to the Summer Split, putting them in real contention for a Worlds spot, even with the strong showings from teams like Dignitas and 100 Thieves to challenge Cloud9 and Team Liquid’s grip on the top.
The old Korean powerhouse started their week off with a dominant 2-0 win over Hanwha Life Esports, who have the likes of Deft & Chovy on their roster. With coach Daeny seemingly stopping his constant roster rotations and returning to his most experienced & strongest roster of Canna, Cuzz, Faker, Teddy and Keria, the team swept aside HLE without much difficulty. With the LCK gaining an extra Worlds spot this year due to DAMWON KIA’s Worlds win and MSI final appearance, it feels that as long as T1 can keep this form going throughout Summer, a trip to China is all but confirmed.
In the space of a year, Dardoch has gone from a persona non grata at TSM to the captain of a high-flying Dignitas, and has rediscovered the form we saw from him in patches when on Team Liquid. His high-aggression and kill heavy playstyle is fitting perfectly with the current jungle meta, with his love of early ganking also catching teams off guard. If some of the NA teams continue to stumble, Dignitas could be in with an outside chance of nabbing a Worlds spot, and a lot of it will be because of Dardoch.
It’s been a week to forget overall for the reigning NA champions. C9 shocked a lot of people by announcing they have promoted K1ng to the main roster, with Zven being moved down to Academy. K1ng didn’t have the greatest start and wasn’t able to influence games as well as Zven does, but it would be unfair to put the blame primarily on him- everyone was making silly mistakes and judgment errors that we aren’t accustomed to seeing from C9. They finished the week 1-2, winning their game against TL but dropping matches to 100 Thieves and Golden Guardians, who are holding up the foot of the table. Simply put, Cloud9 faltered heavily this week, and while the team seem to be calm and sticking to their guns, the alarm bells might be starting to ring for the fans, who saw C9 collapse last Summer and fail to make Worlds.
This one is turning into a real saga. Following an unfortunate game against TSM where Liquid ended up throwing a good lead to lose the game, Alphari looked less than pleased on stream. Not long after that, TL head coach Jatt announced via the official team Twitter that for the rest of this week, and possibly going forward, Alphari would be playing Academy, with Jenkins stepping into the LCS team. Alphari has been #1 in his role for practically every stat and was a massive part of TL’s push to the final in Spring, so such a move could only have been because of disciplinary issues. And yesterday (6/8) Alphari seemingly confirmed this with a shot at the TL management team on Twitter. Whether we see Alphari come back into the fold, or if we see a ‘Thank You Alphari’ video posted soon remains to be seen, but it’s definitely not all happy families backstage at Team Liquid right now from the looks of things.
Considering Suning were featuring in the Worlds final not even 9 months ago, their chances of even making it back to the World Championships this year look slim. Suning finished in 7th in the Spring season with an average 10-6 record, and 5-6th place in the LPL Spring Playoffs. Coming into Summer, they’ve retained all of the team that went to the final save for SwordArt, who left in the 2020 offseason, and coming into Summer fell to Invictus Gaming 2-1. While this isn’t a shock result, it doesn’t necessarily bode well for Suning, who with the strength of the region’s top teams, may find themselves missing out on Worlds even with that extra spot thanks to RNG’s win at MSI.