At the 2021 League Championship Series Spring Proving Grounds, amateur teams came out in force against the teams competing from the LCS Academy League. Amateur squads went 7-9 against Academy squads, punctuated by a Spring Proving Grounds title for amateur team No Org which culminated in a 3-1 finals victory over Cloud9 Academy.
However, Summer Proving Grounds has told quite a different story. Amateur teams went 1-9 against Academy teams this time around, with the sole win coming from Resolve NA, who defeated C9 Academy 2-0 in the first round of the tournament.
Here's how each head-to-head matchup between amateur teams and teams in the LCS Academy League shook down throughout LCS Summer Proving Grounds 2021.
Team Liquid Academy > Supernova
FlyQuest Academy > Zoos Gaming
Cloud9 Academy < Resolve NA
100 Thieves Next < Cloud9 Academy
Immortals Academy > Zoos Gaming
Team Liquid Academy > Cloud9 Amateur
Cloud9 Academy > Cloud9 Amateur
Resolve NA < Immortals Academy
100 Thieves Academy > Wildcard Gaming Red
Wilcard Gaming Red < Golden Guardians Academy
All four teams left in the LCS Summer Proving Grounds are Academy teams. In addition to amateur teams finishing outside the top 4, the head-to-head winrate for Academy teams jumped up from 56.25% to 90% from spring to summer. What caused such a massive jump in winrate in a mere matter of months?
Between spring and summer, the North American amateur League of Legends scene lost three of its strongest teams, each in its own way. Evil Geniuses Prodigies continued to exist, but with its roster changes, particularly the promotion of AD carry Kyle "Danny" Sakamaki to the LCS, saw the previously top 4 Proving Grounds squad fall from relevance throughout summer.
In addition, top amateur squad SolaFide Esports disbanded before Spring Proving Grounds after establishing itself as the best squad in the scene due to an organizational failure to properly compensate its players.
SolaFide's presence was a pillar in the 2021 amateur scene, and losing top competition affects the scene's overall strength as a whole. However, perhaps no loss was larger than the dissolvation of Spring Proving Grounds champion No Org.
No Org's top laner Omran "V1per" Shoura and jungler Andy "AnDa" Hoang were signed by Immortals Academy ahead of the LCS Academy League Summer Split, but the rest of the roster, as well as the staff, have remained unsigned since the organization's dissolvation.
No Org was far and away the best amateur team in the scene by the end of spring, running through multiple Academy squads at Spring Proving Grounds and even 3-0'ing SolaFide in the tier 1 finals the previous month. One could argue that while the amateur scene as a whole has not gotten 'worse', multiple former No Org players remaining unsigned months after the team's dissolvation has undoubtedly played a part in the nuance of the ongoing development of the amateur scene.