7 Question Marks Heading Into The 2021 LCS Season

The 2021 LCS season is rapidly approaching and there have been quite a few shake ups from the 2020 season. Teams across the LCS are fielding different rosters across the board, the format of the season has changed, and NA is still chasing after international success. Some teams appear to have taken major steps forward, others are up in the air. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest questions heading into the season and how things may play out:

Can Anyone Keep Up With Team Liquid?

Team Liquid finished the 2020 LCS season with the best regular season record despite falling short of the championship. The team seems to have made steps forward in the off-season as well, and are well posed to have a dominant 2021 season. Still featuring reigning MVP CoreJJ, emerging superstar Tactical, and star mid laner Jensen; Team Liquid revamped the top side of the map in the off-season. Impact and Broxah are no longer on the team, instead being replaced by LEC All Pro top laner Alphari and a top tier LCS jungler in Santorin. The new top side of the map for TL should offer them considerably more flexibility in terms of playstyle. By being able to implement different draft strategies and play more comfortably through a carry top style of play, Team Liquid should have many more options at their disposal in 2021. Combine that with a new jungler who may synergize with the team at a higher level and this looks like the team to beat in the LCS in 2021.

Will Perkz Take Over The LCS?

Cloud9 has had some major shake ups of their own over the off-season, and look to be a clear top 2 team in the LCS on paper. If any team is capable of besting Team Liquid in the 2021 season, we’d expect C9 to be the one to do it. However, Cloud9 aren’t without question marks of their own.

The number one question going into the 2021 season for C9 is with their mid laner Perkz. Cloud9 paid nearly unthinkable amounts of money to buy out his contract from G2 Esports and bring the superstar over from the LEC. There’s no question about Perkz being good, he’s one of the best players in the world, but after some time spent playing the ADC role, is he going to step back into the mid lane and immediately take over the LCS? If Perkz performs a bit below his peak in 2021, C9 will still be a force to be reckoned with on the Rift. However, if Perkz plays to his full potential and let’s his inner superstar shine through, he may just dominate the LCS in a fashion never seen before and propel Cloud9 to the top of the standings and championship.

 

Did FlyQuest Fly Too Close To The Sun?

FlyQuest had a very strong showing in the 2020 season. Making the finals in both the Spring and Summer splits, they came up just short both times and failed to win either title. The question now is did FlyQuest pull an Icarus and fly about too close to the sun and melt their wings? The 2020 roster of FlyQuest consisted of Solo, Santorin, PowerOfEvil, WildTurtle, and Ignar. FlyQuest’s 2021 roster on the other hand sees none of those players returning.

That’s not to say FlyQuest is now a team of nobodies, they made some strong pickups over the off-season. A package deal with Cloud9 brought in Licorice for the top lane, Palafox for the mid lane, and Diamond in the support role. Adding an up and coming potential star in the Jungle with Josedeodo from Argentina and rounding out their 2021 roster with Johnsun in the ADC role, FlyQuest is still poised to make a run this upcoming season. Time will tell how far they can make it with the complete roster overhaul.

Golden Thieves or 100 Guardians?

Speaking of roster overhauls, do you remember 2020’s Golden Guardians lineup? Golden Guardians featured Hauntzer, Closer, Damonte, FBI, and Huhi in 2020; they have none of those players in 2021. Despite a promising late push in the Summer split and an admirable showing in the playoffs, Golden Guardians has moved on from this iteration of their roster and are now fielding a roster of Niles, Iconic, Ablazeolive, Stixxay, and Newbie.

But just because Golden Guardians decided to move on from their roster, doesn’t mean that roster decided to move on from each other, at least for the most part. 100 Thieves snatched up the bulk of that roster for the 2021 season and are fielding a roster of Ssumday, Closer, Damonte, FBI, and Huhi moving into the season. The odd man out here is Hauntzer, but picking up 4 out of 5 players of a strong team and upgrading the top lane with one of the best top laners in the LCS is a move that looks strong on paper.

Time will tell if Golden Guardians was correct to move on from this roster, or if 100 Thieves was correct in keeping them together (mostly) to see what more they can achieve.

Team Solo Coach?

TSM, one of the most popular gaming franchises in the world, is seeing some major changes heading into the 2021 season. Perennial star mid laner, and rock of the team, Bjergsen – he’s retired now. Oh yea, and he’s coaching the team. Doublelift? Also retired. Broken Blade? Not on the team anymore. Biofrost? No longer the TSM support.Spica is all that remains from the 2020 roster for TSM, but luckily for them he appears to be a rising star worth building around.

TSM has rounded out their 2021 roster with Huni in the top lane, PowerOfEvil in the mid lane, Lost at ADC, and world finalist SwordArt at support. While Huni is a bit of a coin flip and POE can be a resource heavy mid who is a step down from Bjergsen, this is still a solid looking team, a team that we would put 3rd in our pre-season power rankings of the LCS. That being said, there are a lot of variables at play here. Does the team adapt to SwordArt’s shot calling? Can Huni become more consistent? Are POE and Lost able to fill the massive shoes left behind by Bjergsen and Doublelift adequately? Can Bjergsen coach as well as he could play mid lane?

TSM has more questions than they have answers right now. But, if things work out, and the roster the organization has put together plays up to their potential, TSM will be right in the mix come playoffs.

Can Broxah And CLG Find Redemption?

Broxah was an extremely hyped import signing for Team Liquid leading into the 2020 season. Visa issues, a global pandemic, a bit of an unfavorable meta for his playstyle, and a team he didn’t seem to synergize with all that well killed that hype off. Broxah was widely considered one of the worst junglers in the LCS in 2020. That being said, we aren’t far removed from the playmaking monster of a jungler that was Fnatic Broxah. Is the 2021 season under a new banner what he needs to get back on track?

CLG likewise is one of the original powerhouse organizations of the North American League of Legends scene. Those days are long in the past however, and CLG has been chasing that former glory without success for years now. Can Broxah reach his former highs and bring back that hype to this once great organization? Will the rest of the roster consisting of Finn, Pobelter, WildTurtle, and Smoothie be enough to turn this perennial bottom feeder into a playoff contender once again? The LCS is better when CLG is doing well, time will tell if this is the year they right the ship.

Will The New LCS Format Make A Difference?

Last but certainly not least, how will the new LCS format play into all of this? Spring and Summer splits are now combined into one big season, with a pre-season tournament, mid-season tournament (spring finals essentially), and the playoffs at the end of it all. On top of that, we will be getting 3 full days of LCS games per week in the 2021 season, and teams will play more games overall than in 2020. Is this the end of the “Spring split doesn’t matter” memes? Will this kill the playoff chances of slow starting teams who synergize later in the year? Will there be a Cloud9 esque team who dominates the first half of the year before falling off that finds their footing in the playoffs? We can’t know until the season unfolds, but upon first look, the changes to the season format look like good ones and we’re excited to see how it all turns out!