It looks like more than just Yuumi will take over the LCS this year.
Less than two weeks ago, the future of the LCS remained uncertain. Massive changes to the broadcasting schedule and the removal of long-time host Dash completely shrouded conversations regarding the high level of competition the Spring Split had in store.
But following transparency from Riot Games and a plethora of pre-season-start hype content, the anticipation for the start of the LCS was rejuvenatedthough the skepticism for what the broadcast had in store remained overwhelming. But with the first week of the Spring Split officially behind us, not only is the competition the fiercest it has been in years, but changes to the stream itself have provided more ways for fans to stay entertained throughout the entire duration.
Riot kept any and all changes to the broadcast a complete secret outside of the announcement that the LCS would be going forward without a host for the foreseeable future. This left fans wondering if the broadcast would retain its regular pattern of preshow, game, analyst desk, or if something new entirely would be put in place to address the growing concern of decreasing LCS viewership.
For week one of the Spring Split, fans were greeted with not only a new set resembling the one used at last years World Championship, but the addition of personalities from the sceneQTCinderella and Bwipothat joined returning analysts Jatt, Emily Rand, Markz, and Raz in various segments. Bwipo and Evil Geniuses’ support Vulcan even joined the casters to provide their perspectives as pro players.
And though the new broadcast segments werent perfect, they successfully engaged the audience with their entertainment factors, as well as provided a look at a number of players that arent normally given the opportunity to display their personalities on stream. Its unclear if Riot will be inviting personalities back to the LCS for future weeks of the LCS, but both QTCinderella and Bwipo did nothing less than make the first week more enjoyable outside of just the games.
Yet the hole left by the departure of Dash cannot be filled, and this first week proved that. While the idea for the broadcast is to remain hostless, it oftentimes felt that Jatt had assumed Dashs roleunderstandable in a show structured similarly to a traditional sports broadcast.
Leagues newest champion, KSante, finally made his LCS debut after spending the last few weeks disrupting professional leagues internationally. His impact on the Rift was felt immediately in the first match of the week, 100 Thieves versus Cloud9, where Fudge sought to introduce rookie top laner Tenacity to the power of dashes and slashes.
Though most teams recognized the sheer power of KSante, especially in the hands of many tenured LCS top laners, Fudge was given access to the Pride of Nazumah in both of C9s matches and proved to be a pivotal piece to their wins, ending the weekend with a combined score of 14/2/25.
In the games which KSante was played, only one game was lost, and it wasnt by much. Even in EG’s loss to start day two, Ssumday’s K’Sante remained oppressive from the game’s start to its end, requiring nearly the entirety of CLG to remove him from fights.
After having appeared in nearly every draft phase over the past two days, its unlikely that any playerespecially those named Fudgewill get to pilot KSante in the coming weeks. But if he somehow does get through the ban phase, teams might be simply setting themselves for an almost-ensured defeat.
At the end of the first week of the Spring Split, only four teams remain undefeated: the reigning LCS champions Cloud9, the unwavering runback in CLG, the greatness of FlyQuest, anddespite all the doubtersTSM, a team that has struggled immensely to reach its former glory in the past year.
Out of these four teams, however, it is CLG and TSMs undefeated streak that stands out among the others, especially when you consider the teams they needed to defeat to get to that point. CLG, the only team to have made no changes to their roster this split, dominated their first match against Dignitas, only to find the cracks in Evil Geniuses offenses the next day to prevent them from registering a 2-0 week of their own.
Though TSM made quick work of Immortals in their first match of the split, it was their victory against Team Liquid today that had many questioning whether they had yet again underestimated the team or not. In a post-game interview with Bwipo, TSMs top laner Solo noted that the team not changing much roster-wise while also having an overhaul to their coaching staff were major factors in their preparation, and the results have become apparent quickly.
Its unclear how long these teams will remain at the top, but if this first week has been any indication, fans should expect the unexpected from the ten LCS teams for the remainder of the Spring Split.