Aheado the last weekend in the 2020 League of Legends Championship Series Summer playoffs, only half of the players in the race for the Honda Most Valuable Player award in the 2020 LCS Summer Split remain.
The players to first drop out of the MVP running were Team Liquid top laner Jeong “Impact” Eon-young, Cloud9 top laner Eric “Licorice” Ritchie, FlyQuest mid laner Tristan “PowerOfEvil Schrage as well as jungler Lucas “Santorin” Tao Kilmer Larsen, and 100 Thieves top laner Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho.
There are five players who are still eligible for the MVP award this summer. Golden Guardians jungler Can “Closer” Çelik and TL mid laner Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen have never won the award. C9 jungler Robert “Blaber” Huang is the most recent winner of the award as this year’s Spring Split MVP, and TL support Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in won the award in the spring of 2019. TSM mid laner Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, a 4-time LCS mvp, rounds out the five finalists.
The 2020 LCS Summer Split Honda MVP should be announced before the finals of the LCS Summer Playoffs. Let’s take a look at the five finalists and rank them from least likely to most likely to win the award.
When Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng left Team Liquid for TSM before the start of the LCS Summer Split, Jensen became his team’s primary carry for the first time since his days on C9. Jensen has had his best split on TL yet, and has successfully carried many a game while receiving the majority of jungle attention from Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen.
Jensen has often been the leader of the TL pack, but it’s still a pretty talented pack. Unfortunately for Jensen, other players were as good or better oftentimes with less to work with, so while his summer has been stellar, it will be a huge surprise if he is named 2020 LCS Summer Split MVP.
Golden Guardians’ 2020 season is over, but it was undeniably the best in the organization’s history, and a huge part of that was due to signing Closer at the beginning of the season. Closer proved himself a successful signing in his first split, but rose to truly elite jungler status in the LCS in summer as a star in his own right.
Closer was often the catalyst of many aggressive Golden Guardians early game plays, but to say he did it all alone would be a disservice to GG AD Carry Victor “FBI” Huang. FBI was an absolute monster in summer, leading every single laning category amongst his bot lane peers and establishing himself as a top talent of his own.
Frankly, FBI should have finished in the top 10 MVPs alongside Closer in place of Impact. Closer often got the party started for Golden Guardians, but FBI was absolutely the player to bring it home more often than anyone else on the roster.
Closer was phenomenal this summer, but his bid at the MVP award, especially after a 5th place 9-9 finish, is unlikely.
Blaber won the 2020 LCS Spring Split MVP Award, and then started the first half of summer on an even higher level. Other teams were seemingly incapable of answering his Olaf,, and C9’s other members played around Blaber’s berserker immaculately. Even after C9’s 4-5 second half, Blaber still led the most statistical categories of any LCS jungler and was named to the All-Pro team for the second consecutive split.
Perhaps the greatest indication of Blaber’s value to C9 is the team’s shocking demise in summer. When Blaber was otherworldly, the team was 35-2 in its first 37 games of 2020. A few months after that dominant stretch, C9 found itself eliminated from the post-season and missing the World Championship for the first time in org history. Blaber is certainly valuable to C9, but the team’s late-season collapse coincided directly with Blaber coming down to earth and being merely great instead of ‘best jungler in NA history’ unfortunately proves that his value wasn’t enough.
It may seem odd to see a Team Liquid player ranked so closely to the top of Summer MVP likelihood given the primary reason for Jensen’s 5th ranking was the immense amount of talent and experience on TL’s roster. However, that simply emphasizes just how incredible CoreJJ has been this split.
Not only did CoreJJ nearly replicate his MVP performance from the 2019 LCS Spring Split but he did it while simultaneously integrating Tactical in Doublelift’s place by his side. CoreJJ has been phenomenal in both lane and out of lane, is a huge part of Team Liquid’s shotcalling, and has been crucial in TL returning to elite LCS status after Doublelift’s departure.
Due to TL’s 1st place finish, there is a very good chance CoreJJ could win the award, but Jensen’s eligibility may siphon some Team Liquid votes away.
Bjergsen will likely win his 5th LCS MVP this summer, and it will be deserved. Even if Jensen wasn’t there to potentially take away votes from CoreJJ, there’s a good chance Bjergsen would win anyway.
TSM’s mid laner has had an incredible individual resurgence, playing his best League of Legends since 2017 and carrying TSM to its first Worlds qualification since that same year. Bjergsen adjusted well to playing low econ mid lane to accommodate the carry presences of Doublelift and top laner Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik, and then took over when the team decided to return more resources to the mid lane.
Doublelift’s return to TSM has not created the superteam expected, and though the team has shown it has found its style by playing around Bjergsen and Broken Blade in its last Summer Playoffs match against Cloud9, it’s hard to imagine TSM anywhere near a Worlds 2020 berth without Bjergsen. Bjergsen hasn’t just been single-handedly carrying his team, he’s also showcased the highest level of play in the LCS this summer and is fully deserving of the Honda MVP this split.
Disclaimer: The original version of this column stated that Bjergsen would win his 4th MVP this split, but it would actually be the 5th of his LCS career. This column has been updated with the correct information.
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