For the first five years of North American League of Legends, Team Liquid had the reputation of a team that couldn’t come through when it mattered. Liquid made it to the semifinals three times, but they couldn’t make an LCS Final and largely underwhelmed despite lofty expectations in the preseason. The organization has put all the memes and disappointment in the distant past over the last two years though. Liquid have won four straight LCS splits, becoming the first team to sweep for two consecutive years in the history of the LCS. They are even money to make it five straight titles in the 2020 LCS Spring Split, but there are some major question marks heading into the split.
2020 LCS Spring Split Betting Odds (Courtesy of BetOnline)
Team Liquid +100
Team SoloMid +601
Counter Logic Gaming +1002
Evil Geniuses +1602
100 Thieves +2504
Golden Guardians +4006
Liquid have been the best team in North America for two years, and they are the overwhelming favorites to win another split. The defending NA champions are returning four of last year’s starters, but there are major concerns at one position for at least the first few weeks of the Spring Split.
The organization moved on from former jungler Xmithie after two years of titles, yet they added one of the best Western junglers in the world in Broxah. Broxah helped lead to Fnatic to the World Championship Finals, and he was added to help Liquid more competitive on the international stage. Shernfire was brought over after years of being the best jungler in the OPL too, making this position as strong as any on Liquid.
Unfortunately, both Broxah and Shernfire have experienced delays in receiving their visas. Neither player is expected to be cleared by the start of the season, forcing mid laner Pobelter into the jungle. Pobelter only rejoined Liquid three days ago, and this is a big switch to make. Additionally, Broxah and Shernfire won’t have valuable scrimmage time to develop chemistry with their new teammates, putting Liquid in a potentially tough spot. Even with stars like Doublelift and Jensen, those absences make it difficult to bet Liquid at even money.
Cloud9 are the second most likely team to win the NA LCS Spring Split according to the oddsmakers, but this organization underwent some major changes this offseason. Long time bottom laner Sneaky is stepping away from his starting role after seven years with the organization, and C9 lost star support Zeyzal to Evil Geniuses.
Zven had some great moments during his time with Team SoloMid, but he was not the game-changing bottom laner the storied organization thought he would be after acquiring him from G2 Esports. Cloud9 are optimistic that they can get the most out of Zven, and they paired him with an aggressive support that can help him make plays in Blaber.
If these two additions play well, Cloud9 have a real chance of knocking off Liquid to win their first LCS title in six years. Licorice is one of the best top laners in North America, and NIsqy came on strong on assassin champions in the mid lane. That makes them an intriguing bet at this price.
TSM had an intriguing offseason. They accomplished their top priority, re-signing mid laner Bjergsen despite some lucrative offers from other teams, and they acquired a strong bottom laner in Kobbe. However, there are still major questions in the jungle as Dardoch has bounced around the LCS for the last five years for a reason. Top laner Broken Blade was strong at the beginning of 2019, but he stumbled as the year went on, and TSM are hoping he can recapture the former form.
I’m not a believer in either Counter Logic Gaming or Evil Geniuses after the moves they made this offseason, but I think that there is value in 100 Thieves after a disappointing 2019 campaign. The Thieves signed popular LCK caster PapaSmithy to revamp their roster, and he rebuilt this squad around talented top laner Ssumday.
The big concern is mid laner ry0ma. He was brought in from the OPL, and there will be a significant learning curve to adjust to the LCS. He is raw, but talented, so the move is high risk, high reward.