League of Legends LCS: Breaking Down 2020 CLG

League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /

North American League of Legends is almost back on our screens! We take a look at CLG, a team looking to return to the top of the LCS is in 2020.

Counter Logic Gaming had mixed results during the 2019 LCS season. In the spring they went 7-11 and finished in 7th place missing the playoffs. Yet in the summer they turned it around and went 12-6 and finished in 3rd place after dropping a tiebreaker for second place to Cloud9.

CLG knocked OpTic Gaming out of the playoffs in the quarterfinals 3-0 before falling to Cloud9 in the semi-finals. CLG then won a best of five against Clutch Gaming to claim third place for the Summer playoffs.

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Following their playoff success, CLG received the second seed for the regional finals. They faced off against Clutch Gaming in round two. However, unlike during the playoffs Clutch defeated CLG 3-1 ending their season short of Worlds.

The 2019 Summer roster fielded by CLG was Kim “Ruin” Hyeong-min in the top lane, Raymond “Wiggily” Griffin in the jungle, Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage in the mid lane and a bottom lane duo of Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes and Vincent “Biofrost” Wang.

For 2020 CLG made two roster changes. They traded Biofrost to TSM for support player Andy “Smoothie” Ta and signed mid laner Lee “Crown”  Min-ho.

The sighing of Crown is a big upgrade. PoE is rated as the sixth-best mid laner in the LCS, while Crown was named the top rated mid laner. This should make the CLG roster instantly stronger.

Sadly the support swap is a downgrade for CLG. They lose the second-best rated support in the LCS, while gaining the sixth rated support.

Wiggly is a solid jungler that improved a lot in 2019. He was named on the third LCS All Pro team during the Summer Split and finished fourth in the MVP voting with 25 points. He enters 2020 rated as the number five jungler in the LCS, but it shouldn’t be a knock against him as a talented jungler. The return of Dardoch and Broxah coming into the league probably had an effect on Wiggly’s rating.

Stixxay should be a solid player for CLG as well. He is coming off a Summer Spilt where he earned second-team LCS all pro honors.  He is rated as the sixth-best ADC in the preseason rankings.

Ruin was also on the third LCS All Pro team during the Summer 2019 Split.  He enters 2020 as the seventh-best rated LCS top laner.  This lane won’t be easy for Ruin to win, thanks to a lot of talent being fielded at the position. Yet I don’t think it’s going to be that bad since the meta favors playing through bottom lane. If the meta switches though CLG could struggle a bit.

Expectations could be either high or low for this team. Like the don’t really stand out as a top-three contending team. Yet I don’t feel this is a team that won’t make the playoffs. I’m getting a sense of Deja vu in terms of what I think will happen to CLG in 2020.

During the 2019 Spring Split  they may have underperformed a bit. Then they improved by five wins during the Summer Split and were the most improved team by making the biggest jump in the standings by finishing four places higher.  I don’t think anyone expected that.

They were also considered the favorites in the regional finals as the two seed. Yet they couldn’t take out Clutch Gaming and ended the season in disappointing fashion.

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I could see this team being forgettable again like they were spring and miss the playoffs. Though I could also see Crown elevating this team like he did with Optic and sneaking them into the top three, or four. The LCS title might be just out of reach, but a Worlds spot isn’t far-fetched for this team.