The 2022 LCS Summer Split is right around the corner. Some of the best League of Legends teams in North America’s history will begin their eight-week battle for a chance at lifting the trophy at the end of the season and representing the region at the 2022 World Championship.
It’s the greatest honor for any LCS team to have, but first, they must earn their place among the strongest players that the world has to offer. This season, there are plenty of storylines to watch out for, with many contenders to consider. There are veterans returning to the stage along with younger, newer stars trying to pave their own path into the history books. Some teams are trying to keep their grip on the top of the standings, while other squads look to bounce back and break into the clouds where the best rosters reside.
Here are three big questions ahead of the 2022 LCS Summer Split, answered by three of Dot Esports’ League writers.
Which team is your dark horse LCS championship contender of the summer?
Tyler Esguerra: Not many teams come to mind when dark horses are concerned, except for Cloud9. The two-time LCS champions haven’t looked nearly as good as their form of last year, especially after the way they stumbled to a second-round exit during the 2022 Spring Split playoffs. This summer, however, they’ve built a formidable core on paper with a lot more experience than their previous iteration with the additions of Jensen and Zven to the lineup. There are still plenty of things that need to go right, though. Jensen’s been gone for half a split and will probably need a bit of time to adjust to pro play again, while Zven is moving into the support role for the first time in his career. The cards must fall perfectly for C9 to lift the trophy again, but this roster definitely has the firepower to force the dealer’s hand.
Michael Kelly: I don’t think there are many other options here outside of C9. On any given day, you could very easily make the case as to why EG, 100 Thieves, or Team Liquid could win the LCS, and people you give your reasoning to would say “yeah, sure, I buy it.” But you have to make a serious case for C9, and that’s why they firmly fall into the “dark horse” category. I believe they can win, but it would take a seamless transition back into the top lane from Fudge, as well as the condition that Jensen picks up right where he left off last year. The guy hasn’t played a professional game in eight months—it’s a tall order to ask him to get right back in the saddle and win you a championship.
Ethan Garcia: C9 looks to be back in top form, at least from the stacked roster it has put together for the summer. After a tumultuous split full of controversies ranging from head coach changes to getting rid of the Spring Split MVP, it seems C9 are ready to erase their beginning-of-season issues and replace them with new memories made by returning members to the main squad—some even in new roles. While the top of the LCS standings remains congested with some of the best talent in the region, it is very likely that C9’s new roster can bring the org back to the top.
Who wins the MVP of the Split award?
Tyler: It would be an incredible story if C9’s prodigal son Jensen returns just in time to help build a championship-winning run that propels the roster into the 2022 World Championship. If this roster shows an improved level of consistency with Jensen leading the way—even after taking a split away from competition—he’ll be easily in the running for MVP, especially with the number of people who have been clamoring for his comeback since the 2021 offseason.
Michael: If you’d believe it, it has been five years since Bjergsen last won the LCS MVP trophy. He came close in the spring, earning a first-team All-Pro recognition, and was among the top 10 vote-getters for the MVP award. In a world where Summit doesn’t tear a path through the LCS for nine weeks straight, Bjergsen probably coasts his way to a quick-and-easy MVP award. And hey, would you look at that, Summit has left the league as soon as he entered it, so he won’t have the chance to eat into Bjergsen’s MVP votes this summer should Bjerg have a repeat performance.
If the Spring Split was Bjergsen’s “transition period” back into pro play (and he already looked like the best player at his position), then I have no doubt he’ll look similar to his prime self this summer.
Ethan: After tasting international competition for the first time, I believe Danny, the 18-year-old prodigy ADC on EG, will take hold of his first MVP title this split. Over and over, Danny has continued to show what the future of the LCS has in store by completely gapping even the most veteran talent in the scene. It’s only a matter of time before Danny gains hold of this achievement that has eluded him in his short career this far. And with all of the momentum from his Spring Split victory, this may be the split he can refer to himself as MVP.
Which teams make it to Worlds?
Tyler: The amount of trust I’m placing in the veteran core that C9 has built might seem unhealthy, but I won’t doubt the strength of three of the best players in LCS history with Jensen, Blaber, and Zven banding together for one final push into the tournament. The other two teams that make Worlds this year should be EG and Liquid, whether you’re a fan of EG’s fiery youth movement or Liquid’s star-studded cast.
Michael: I know I said C9 had a chance at winning the LCS earlier in this piece, but if we’re thinking critically here, it’s hard to argue against the precedent that EG, Liquid, and 100 Thieves set in the Spring Split. It’s going to take time for Fudge to reintegrate himself back into the top lane position, and it may take even more time for Jensen to ingratiate himself back into the league as a whole. While C9 have a real chance to hit the top three by the time the split ends, I still believe EG, Liquid, and 100 Thieves have built a strong enough foundation to keep themselves from falling out of Worlds contention.
Ethan: This is going to be one of the most competitive Summer Splits in recent history. Between EG, Liquid, 100 Thieves, and C9, there are so many talented players leading these teams to continued success, and many more returning to once again take control of the LCS. With that being said, I think that EG, Liquid, and C9 will be this year’s LCS representatives at Worlds, though 100T follows very close behind. They may not qualify exactly in that order, but the talent on these teams is more than enough to propel them all back to international competition.