Olivia R. November 7, 2019
The League of Legends Championship Series has announced the North American teams who will be competing in 2020.
Celebrating Team Liquid, Cloud9, and Clutch Gaming's 2019 World Championship qualification, the LCS official Twitter account also shared the 10 teams who will be fighting for those coveted spots next year. While many fan favorites are returning to prove themselves in 2020, there's also some new rosters hoping to make a name for themselves in the LCS.
After a strong second place finish in the LCS Summer Playoffs, Cloud9 easily secured a spot representing North America at Worlds. While the $50,000 prize was nice, Cloud9 most likely has their sights on their biggest rivals, Team Liquid, who they never seemed to be able to catch up to this year. Cloud9's AD carry Zachary "Sneaky" Scuderi has been hyping up fans leading up to Worlds with a spot-on gender-bending cosplay.
Counter Logic Gaming
CLG surprised everyone in the Summer Split. After spending 2018 in a seemingly permanent 7th place, CLG took that spot once again in the Spring Split earlier this year. But swapping Darshan "Darshan" Upadhyaya with former 1907 Fenerbahçe top laner Kim "Ruin" Hyeong-min for the Summer Split saw CLG get an impressive third place finish. Then they took third place in the Summer Split Playoffs thanks to a 3-2 victory over Clutch Gaming. Unfortunately, their run ended when Clutch turned the tables in The Gauntlet.
After merging with Clutch Gaming, Dignitas is entering the LCS once again. Clutch Gaming, who will compete in Worlds under their current name and brand, will return in 2020 under the Dignitas brand instead. CG mid laner Tanner "Damonte" Damonte told WIN.gg that his squad wants Dignitas "to be proud to have us as their players." While Clutch Gaming started the Summer Split in 9th place, a new coach and a new attitude saw their performance drastically improve.
The return to the LCS will be a major move for Dignitas, who announced new parent company New Meta Entertainment earlier this week.
After disbanding in 2015, Evil Geniuses are back in the LCS. The organization's League of Legends team was formed in 2013 and originally competed in the LEC before acquiring FlyQuest mid laner Eugene “Pobelter” Park and taking on the LCS instead. But that was short lived.
Now, Evil Geniuses are taking Echo Fox's LCS slot after the orgnaization's co-founder Rick Fox decided to sell it for $30 million. Despite finishing dead last in the Summer Split, Echo Fox gained a lot of attention this year thanks to inner turmoil between Fox and one of the organization's investors, Amit Raizada, complete with racist emails and money scandals.
Golden Guardians didn't make it to the playoffs after a disappointing 7th place finish in the Summer Split. Despite being the constant underdog team each time they took to the LCS Arena stage, Juan "Contractz" Garcia informed WIN.gg that they were slowly improving throughout the split. It's possible that the team will continue this upward climb in 2020, with the players remaining quite confident. Choi "Huhi" Jae-hyun told WIN.gg that it was only a matter of time before the Golden Guardians showed their true form. That might be next year.
100 Thieves had quite the disappointing Summer Split run. But that 8th place wasn't as bad as their Spring Split, where they came in 10th. This was quite the discouraging performance for fans to witness after 100 Thieves not only made it to Worlds last year, but came in an impressive 9-12th place.
The rocky performance in 2019 could have been due to a lot of roster changes mid-split, including top laner Aaron "FakeGod" Lee moving up from the Academy team. While FakeGod seemed to be turning the team's performance around, it may have been a little too late for the fan favorites.
Although they finished in fourth at the end of the Spring Split, FlyQuest saw themselves spiraling out of they sky come the Summer Split. In fact, they didn't even make the playoffs. Despite this disappointing end to the year, FlyQuest head coach Gabriel "Invert" Zedoltan-Johan felt that more was yet to come. 2020 may be FlyQuest's year.
"I think we understand wave management and baron management. We’re one of the better teams at playing with and against baron buff in the LCS," Invert told WIN.gg. He also noted that despite the team's loss to Clutch Gaming before the playoffs, he saw a lot of improvements in his team's performance.
After buying out OpTic Gaming, Immortals are returning to the LCS in 2020. While Immortals had become one of the LCS' most popular teams in 2016 and 2017, the organization wasn't able to compete in the last year's season. Riot Games had denied the Immortals' application after the organization formed the Los Angeles Valiant, one of the first teams announced for the Overwatch League. Although Riot claimed it was Immortals' "shaky financial sustainability" that saw them barred from the LCS, fans were not convinced.
Team Liquid is looking to "take out the trash" at this year's World Championship. After losing in the group stages in Worlds last year, Liquid has a lot to prove this time around. The squad took first in the LCS Spring Split, the Spring Playoffs, the LCS Summer Split, and the Summer Playoffs. While Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng would most likely beg to differ, the team's only competition all year had been Cloud9. Team Liquid was the only North American team to take a win at Rift Rivals, beating G2 in the finals, giving North America a glimmer of hope going into Worlds.
Just like in the 2018 Spring Playoffs, TSM couldn't seem to beat underdog team Clutch Gaming for a spot in the World Championship this year. Despite being heavily favored, TSM couldn't take down Clutch in the Summer Playoffs or in The Gauntlet, where they waited to face them for the third seed position at Worlds. TSM was looking shaky all year, even losing to an obvious troll comp by Team Liquid. Despite all of this, TSM remains a fan favorite and will most likely be looking to prove that 2017 wasn't a fluke come next year.