Going back across the pond to the LCS, the opening weekend saw the return of several legacy organizations to the tournament. Evil Geniuses, Immortals and Team Dignitas have replaced Echo Fox, Optic Gaming and Clutch Gaming respectively.

Many of you will recognize these names from the early days of League of Legends as these legacy organizations helped to create and sustain the competitive NA League. With the introduction of franchising, many of these names disappeared but this did not stop them from actively pursuing these slots and this weekend has shown that their determination has paid off as they return to the stage.

Saturday

Opening day saw the 2019 summer finalists Cloud9 and Team Liquid face off against each other in a clash of titans. Despite the bravado from Liquid’s side, Cloud9 delivered the upset win over their rivals to secure the first win of the season. Some have suggested this is due to the last-minute substitution of Shernfire into the Liquid line up.

To many this win will come with mixed feelings as long-time member of Cloud9, Sneaky, has taken this split off. While he is still a member of the organization, and with many being confident he will return soon, some are worried that this may be the end of an era. Either way, this certainly means that his replacement Zven has a legacy to uphold and surpass if he is to carve his own story in the Cloud9 Bot lane role.

Taking to the stage after the match of the day, Team Dignitas faced off against CLG. To the delight of this writer, Dignitas secured a decisive win over their opponents and secured a win in their first game back in the LCS. In the words of Captain Flowers who commentated for this game, Dignitas played decisive zone control throughout the game. They kept to this strategy, ensuring that they did not take any risky gambles when they had control of the match-winning objectives. In turn, they used this control to knock CLG out on day one. This writer hopes that they can continue to turn this momentum into more victories and show the LCS that they are here to stay!

100 Thieves followed up Dignitas by securing a victory over the Golden Guardians. This defeat will only add to GoldenGlue’s pressure to perform. Being the only midlaner competing on stage that is from the NA region and not an import, he stated in an interview to the LCS that he feels he represents the NA midlane talent pool. If he does not perform well, this could impact the perception the international community has of the capability of NA mid lane rookies. This could make it more difficult for them to break into the professional scene.

The last game of the day saw Immortals face off against Flyquest. Unfortunately for all the legacy fans, Flyquest’s V1per brought his signature Riven pick to the top lane. Combined with an impressive performance by the Flyquest team, this secured an opening day win over the Immortals side. Of course, with Flyquest’s new ‘green’ approach of planting 100 trees for every win they manage to get, there are definitely worse times to lose a match.

Sunday

Day Two of the LCS kicked with Dignitas facing off against another legacy organization that hoped to make a definitive return, as Evil Geniuses made their debut. Despite some initial promise, Dignitas have shown themselves to be a decisive team in the opening weekend. While Evil Geniuses secured the first blood with a well-executed gank by Svenskeren onto Froggen in the midlane, Dignitas soon rallied.

After equalising, they then began to pull ahead after a prolonged battle around the second dragon, securing two kills from their opponents, while unfortunately losing the objective. From here, they continued to employ their zone control to great effect once more, and any opportunity Evil Genius’ had to secure objectives was punished greatly.

Following this, Immortals took to the stage once more as they faced off against the juggernaut that is TSM. What followed was a gruelling affair for both sides as each struggled to overcome their opponents. Neither were willing to give any ground, as they fought each other to a standstill during a 61-minute grind. Despite playing for the longest match so far, it remained a relatively bloodless fight as both sides finished out with nine kills apiece, as sOAZ from Immortals backdoored the TSM front-line to eliminate their inhibitor. No doubt many an Immortal’s fan, both old and new, are happy to see their team secure a respectable 1-1 opening weekend.

In contrast to the preceding game, Golden Guardians versus Cloud9 was a brutal and quick fight. Rounding out the match in under 34 minutes, Cloud9 only lost a measly three turrets in their decisive victory, while securing a comfortable 19 kills against their opponents. This has not been a happy opening weekend for Golden Guardians as they are pushed to the bottom of the table with a 0-2 opening weekend. Cloud9 are no doubt happy to secure an early lead as they look to re-forge their identity around the many doubters of their organization’s capability this split.

The last game of the night saw Flyquest take to the Rift against CLG. Here we saw Flyquest adopt the Cloud9 approach as they pushed for an early win, slipping ahead with a win in 31 minutes and a 19-5 kill score. Oh, and of course, another 129 trees to be planted by their organization. At their current rate, Flyquest will have their very own Ivern in no time! (queue cringe)

Monday

In addition to this, there is shake up to this year’s presentation format as the LCS brings us Monday Night League. Kicking off at 5:30 PST, 100 Thieves had an opportunity to secure an opening 2-0 weekend as they went up against Evil Geniuses. However, rallying from their debut defeat, Evil Geniuses showed to the LCS that they too are capable of making a decisive return to the Rift. Securing their momentum from a gradual build up, by the 20-minute mark they had begun to turn the tide against 100 Thieves.

Jiizuke personally showed his dominance against his opponent as they duelled to within a fraction of each other’s health, but in the end ensured he killed Ryoma’s Ryze. 100 Thieves did maintain a close proximity in terms of gold and towers, but Evil Geniuses hoarded every dragon and brought the Infernal Soul to their side of the table. This power balanced showed as 100 Thieves began a baron play, only to be eviscerated by Bang’s Senna as he quickly secured a triple kill. Following up with the Baron and Elder Dragon for themselves, Evil Geniuses pushed out their opponents to secure the win and a 1-1 weekend.

The night rounded off with Team Liquid competing against TSM. Liquid may have showed some cracks in their performance on the opening night, but they have shown they are still capable of performing in the LCS.

Facing off against TSM, the match flowed both ways as each sought to gain an edge. Gradually Liquid’s ability won out, as they forced TSM’s Brokenblade to commit his ultimate on a Baron Play attempt, while forcing Biofrost to retreat to heal. Taking advantage, Liquid were able to secure the Baron and pivot towards the dragon pit. Drawing TSM in, they were able to counter Biofrost’s attempted flank, following up with a steamroll of their opponents. With only Brokenblade surviving the engage, Team Liquid redeemed themselves with a victory and securing the final 1-1 opening weekend slot.

There are many questions raised after this opening weekend. Will Cloud9 be able to maintain their performance, or is it merely them taking advantage of first day nerves? Can TSM rally quickly enough to prevent another Clutch Gaming-esque style denial into playoffs? Will the legacy organizations that have joined continue to shake up the long-standing power rankings of the NA competitive scene? Finally, the most important question of all. Are Flyquest going to label their trees? All this writer knows is that it is already shaping up to be a fantastic year of competitive League of Legends and I cannot wait for more!

Written by Brendan ‘PlantsDontFly’ Feely