The 2021 League of Legends Championship Series Mid-Season Showdown is well underway, and like previous iterations of the North American post-season, accolades for the LCS Spring Split have begun to roll out to those awarded. After the 2021 LCS Spring Split All-Pro teams were announced, Cloud9 was awarded Coaching Staff of the Split simultaneously with the top 10 nominees reveal for the Honda Most Valuable Player award.
Let's take a look at the 10 highest vote-garnering candidates for the 2021 LCS Spring Split MVP award and rank them in terms of their respective likelihoods of winning the award.
10. Aaron "FakeGod" Le - Dignitas [TOP]
The odds of FakeGod winning the MVP award are far and away the least likely of the bunch. The Dignitas top laner proved that he could hold his own in the LCS outside of being a simple opening of an import slot for 100 Thieves when he replaced Kim "Ssumday" Chan-ho in 2019, but despite his improvements, FakeGod was still less valuable to DIG than the veteran battery of jungler Joshua "Dardoch" Hartnett and support Zaqueri "aphromoo" Black.
With Dardoch falling outside the top 10 nominees for 2021 LCS Spring Split MVP, it's hard to imagine a world where FakeGod is worthy of a top 10 spot in his place, let alone winning the award.
9. Lucas "Santorin" Larsen - Team Liquid [JG]
Since joining Team Liquid for the 2021 season, Santorin has done more than enough in his role to integrate new top laner Barney "Alphari" Morris, but also to make TL's early game one of the best in North America. However, despite the positive variables Santorin has introduced into the Team Liquid gameplan, the fact remains that the jungler has joined a stronger team than his 2020 roster on FlyQuest and simultaneously provided less individual impact than on FLY.
8. Jeong "Impact" Eon-young - Evil Geniuses [TOP]
After three straight season of almost entirely weak side play for Team Liquid, Impact has had his aggressive capabilities supported within the team identity of Evil Geniuses. It's not difficult to argue that Impact is the sharpest spear EG possesses in its arsenal currently, but the roster's success hingest as much on its top laner as it does jungler Dennis "Svenskeren "Johnsen and mid laner Daniele "Jiizuke" di Mauro being able to enable the top lane win condition from the start.
Impact is absolutely the go button in EG's system, especially when coordinating his aggression with Jiizuke, but while his success has proven his own individual ability, the execution of that strength is entirely reliant on the executive synergy of the top side of the map for Evil Geniuses.
7. Victor "FBI" Huang - 100 Thieves [ADC]
FBI's relationship with his squad on 100 Thieves is similar to that of Impact's with Evil Geniuses, but there is one major difference: while EG can get the most out of Impact by playing consistently around him, 100 requires FBI to be consistent as a buoy for a team who has struggled with its identity for the majority of 2021.
6. Zaqueri "aphromoo" Black - Dignitas [SUP]
It's astonishing that aphromoo can continue to play such a pivotal role in the LCS after a career spanning over eight years, and in addition to his individual play, his synergy with young AD carry Toàn "Neo" Trần has only been trumped in value by his leadership and unification of the Dignitas roster alongside Dardoch.
It's hard to argue anyone is as vital as aphromoo in getting the most out of DIG's all NA roster, but with Dardoch as his equal in terms value, calling aphromoo the MVP of the 2021 LCS Spring Split would be a reduction of Dardoch's contributions. There are other teams who have had equal contributors like DIG has had in Dardoch and aphromoo, but the accomplishments of those teams outweigh those of DIG in that context as well.
5. Tristan "PowerOfEvil" Schrage - TSM [MID]
PowerOfEvil's vitality to TSM's success is well-documented. The team's excellent mid-game decision making allows it to buoy its lackluster early game, but not without the help of an excellent teamfighter in the mid lane.
That being said, POE's strengths, despite being a perfect match for TSM, don't necessarily translate to him being the most valuable player in the LCS. POE was an individual stronger player on FlyQuest in 2020, and in some ways, even on CLG in 2019, but the perfect stylistic match between TSM and its mid laner has allowed POE to maintain his level of significance. Nonetheless, his performance has been individually outstanding in the ways TSM needs it to be, but not enough to warrant an award.
4. Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-In - Team Liquid [SUP]
CoreJJ has been a pivotal part of Team Liquid's success since joining the team before the 2019 LCS season, as is indicated by his two MVP awards in the 2019 LCS Spring Split and the 2020 LCS Summer Split. However, as good as CoreJJ continued this spring, other players on rosters as good as his team's or better outperformed him, which leaves him out of the top 3 most likely candidates for the 2021 LCS Spring Split MVP award.
3. Luka "Perkz" Perković - Cloud9 [MID]
After leaving a bit to be desired in the 2021 LCS Lock In, Perkz delivered in full for Cloud9 in the Spring Split. Perkz tied Jiizuke for the most solokills of any player in the Spring Split and was awarded LCS All-Pro mid laner for his unparalled versatility amongst his peers.
However, even if Perkz was the best mid laner in the region, it takes a bit more than just individual excellence on the best team in the league to win the MVP award. Perkz has nothing to be ashamed of in terms of his performance in the Spring Split, but C9's dominance in all aspects of its play throughout the past few months diminishes the significance of his play only slightly in context of his team's ability.
2. Barney "Alphari" Morris - Team Liquid [TOP]
There's simply no way of avoiding the truth: Alphari was an absolutely monster in his first LCS split. Alphari showed a higher level of play at a more consistent basis than any of his peers, and his 14.1 CSD at 10 minutes is the highest of ANY player in any split in LCS history.
In addition, Alphari was the primary carry of Team Liquid throughout the 2021 LCS Spring Split, receiving the most gold of any top laner in North America but also doing the most damage by a significant margin. Alphari was a standout in all aspects of his play on TL, but one player managed to provide more value than Alphari — on a better team, no less.
1. Robert "Blaber" Huang - Cloud9 [JG]
There is no one more likely than Blaber to win the award for the Honda Most Valuable Player in the 2021 LCS Spring Split. Not only was the C9 jungler the best in his role, as indicated by his nomination to the All-Pro LCS team, but the context of his performance was incredibly significant in C9's 1st place finish and continued success.
Cloud9 faced a tough task re-building 3/5 of a previous roster around as pivotal of a player as Perkz this season, and the linchpin of that integration is in the mid/jungle synergy showcased by the roster. Blaber has not only excelled individually, he has helped Cloud9 get the most out of an incredibly important signing in Perkz, and through jungle nerfs and meta changes, has continued to stay a step ahead of every other jungler in the LCS.
It's entirely possible that Perkz or Alphari will be given the Honda Most Valuable Player award over Blaber due to their transformative impact in their first LCS splits, but when considering both individual play and team value in context of each team's success, no player has been more valuable to any team in North America this spring than Blaber has been to Cloud9.