With the 2022 LCS Spring Split playoffs just around the corner, fans will finally get to see the best North American teams face off in some good ol’ fashioned best-of-five action. Six teams are left trying to win the LCS title and head off to the Mid-Season Invitational. Though the regular season saw teams like Team Liquid breeze through the split while Golden Guardians barely made it through, everyone has a chance of snatching the trophy.
Whoever you support (unless you like TSM), Inven Global has you covered. Each Inven writer was assigned to argue in favor for one of the LCS teams competing in the playoffs (thank goodness it’s not called the Mid Season Showdown anymore). Here’s why your favorite team will be the next LCS champions.
Team Liquid: Bow down.
It's an utterly ludicrous concept that any team aside from Team Liquid will win the 2022 LCS Spring Playoffs. When taking a look at the Spring Split, Team Liquid is the only team in the top 3 who didn't experience a significant slump at some point in the young season, and that was despite not having starting support Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-in for half of spring.
Team Liquid has the individual ability in names like mid laner Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg and AD carry Steven "Hans sama" Liv, but more than anything, TL's roster boasts a wealth of experience that far and away exceeds the cumulative experience of any other roster in the Spring Playoffs. Experience alone is not enough to win a title, but between the squad's veterancy and current levels of individual proficiency in the players' respective roles, the 2022 LCS Spring Playoffs belongs to TL.
— Nick Geracie
Cloud9: Trust the process
Almost no one could have expected Cloud9’s split would have gone the way that it did. Though signing Nick "LS" De Cesare was considered one of the biggest moves of the offseason, and the team was met with early success with him leading, crisis soon struck. A crusade on the Church of LS led many to a lack of faith in Cloud9.
However, those concerns did not last long. Even after the team fired LS, Cloud9 continued to succeed. Though there were some hiccups early on, it was clear the positive attributes of the team were still there.
After almost completely revamping their roster from 2021, the sun is shining on Cloud9 in almost every way. Park "Summit" Woo-tae has come into his own as the best top laner in the LCS — excelling in almost every facet of the role. Jungler Robert "Blaber" Huang continues to provide excellent pressure to his lanes. Ibrahim "Fudge" Allami has made a strong transition to the mid, and the team’s bot lane is easily one of the best in the region.
The most notable aspect of Cloud9 — what sets them apart and makes them a front-runner going into playoffs — is their support structure. In the absence of LS, Max Waldo has proven himself to be a very competent head coach. While Team Liquid has many players you could argue are as strong as those found on Cloud9, up until this season, TL head coach André "Guilhoto" Pereira Guilhoto has not demonstrated any good results as a coach for almost three years.
Cloud9 have the players and the support staff behind them to cross the finish line.
— John “Oddball” Popko
100 Thieves: A proven formula
Other teams have reached higher peaks than 100 Thieves this year. No doubt, rosters such as those of Cloud9 and Team Liquid have had players perceived as more talented, and perhaps of more potential going into summer. However, at their core, 100 Thieves is still the most reliable pick for winning the Spring Split. They have the cohesion, the support structure, and proven success to make them the clear favorites for the playoffs.
The roster speaks for itself. The bot lane is one of the best in NA — same with their mid laner and jungler. More than that, while Park "Summit" Woo-tae has been lighting up the league with one of the most impressive debuts in the LCS, many still argue Kim "Ssumday" Chan-ho to be the superior top laner.
From a pure talent perspective, 100 Thieves is one of the strongest teams in the league. What they have over every other roster is stability. Cloud9 and Team Liquid have won a game or two more in the regular season, but both rosters are very fresh. 100 Thieves’ players know how to play with one another — even when competing internationally.
Not only that, they have one of the most effective one-two punches for a coaching staff: Bok "Reapered" Han-gyu and Aleš "Freeze" Kněžínek. No coach in the LCS has surpassed the track-record of Reapered. Though other teams may pass them going forward into summer, 100 Thieves has too much going for them right now to not consider them the favorites for the spring title.
— Radoslav "Nydra" Kolev
Evil Geniuses: Plot armor
I haven’t had the chance to watch much of the LCS this year and, if I look at Evil Geniuses’ 9–9 score, perhaps it takes a blind person to make a case for them. But as an LEC expert, I’ve learned to embrace something so powerful it can topple even the bleakest situations: the power of narrative. And boy oh boy, is EG filled with it.
Jeong "Impact" Eon-young is a literal world champion and has consistently been among the best in the LCS top lane pool. Moreover, he always steps up in best-of-fives. Kacper "Inspired" Słoma, LEC MVP last Summer Split, single-handedly pulled a heavily bleeding Rogue across the finish line, securing them a Worlds ticket in game five against Misfits with a Viego pentakill that should be included in the history books.
You can count on him being clutch. The duo of Joseph "jojopyun" Joon Pyun and Kyle "Danny" Sakamaki laid bare the lies of import-addicted LCS owners who said that the NA talent pool was too shallow, as the young mid laner and bot laner both have shown their abilities to pop off. They’re still inconsistent, sure, but that volatility makes them so hard to gauge for enemies.
And speaking of NA talent: are we going to ignore that Philippe "Vulcan" Laflamme has been one of the best supports in NA for years now? Of course we’re not gonna ignore that!
Evil Geniuses has the pieces. In the best-of-fives, where teams can throw multiple curveball compositions, the potential of these pieces can be explored to the fullest. I believe.
— Tom Matthiesen
FlyQuest: Substance over flare
FlyQuest is an organization that has always been very middle of the road. Other than their exceptional 2020 roster, FlyQuest have had a hard time cracking the top 3 and making their mark on the LCS. And that was at the best of times, with some serious talent like Lucas "Santorin" Larsen and Tristan "PowerOfEvil" Schrage spearheading the team and leading them to new heights.
Now, FlyQuest is made up almost entirely of rookies and unproven players. And they’re a serious contender in the playoffs.
Despite a mid-season slump that resulted in them falling down the leaderboard a bit, it’s hard to deny just how strong Loïc "toucouille" Dubois and Brandon Joel "Josedeodo" Villegas' mid/jungle combo is. toucouille is one of the best mid laners in the LCS right now, and Josedeodo has finally paid off the narrative from last year of him being a standout jungler. FlyQuest may not be the strongest team on paper, but their peaks have given them the potential to be at the top of the LCS.
They have a long climb out of the loser’s bracket ahead, but not an impossible one. On top of that, much of FlyQuest’s slump can be attributed to them having to play remotely. FlyQuest is a stage team at the end of the day, and playoffs are their time to shine. Don’t be surprised to see FlyQuest make a miracle run and come out as, at the very least, a top 3 team.
— Carver Fisher
Golden Guardians: Unpredictable underdog
As a team starting in the lower bracket, Golden Guardians do have one advantage over their opponents: the element of surprise. That is to say, Golden Guardians will get to sit back and watch their opponent’s first best-of-five series and see what new strategies they have adapted for the playoffs without revealing any of their own.
In addition, Golden Guardians’ top side of the map has been their strong suit for the past split. Top laner Eric "Licorice" Ritchie has returned to a form more resembling his time on Cloud9 (or at least, not as bad as his time on FlyQuest).
Import jungler Milo "Pridestalker" Wehnes has been one of the most creative and aggressive junglers in the league.
Mid laner Nick "Ablazeolive" Abbott is probably the best native NA mid laner (I said native, Bjergsen and Fudge you don’t count) in the league right now.
Now, will that be enough to overcome whichever of the top four teams they face? Probably not. But they did manage to split their season series against EG and TL. Once one of those teams drops to the lower bracket, maybe they have a chance.
— Josh Tyler
All images by: Riot Games
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