Gamelevate’s LCS correspondent Jay Silver talks about his ballot for the LCS Summer Split Awards.
When you’re a reporter for the LCS, there is a special honor you get at the end of the year. This is where you get to cast your ballot for the LCS Summer Split Awards. I was honored to have been able to cast my ballot for the LCS and I want to share my choices with you today.
For context: these are the ballots each reporter gets to vote for at the end of the year.
- 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Team All-Pro: Honoring the top three players for each of the positions (Top, Jungle, Mid, AD Carry, and Support)
- Coaching Staff of the Year: Honoring the team behind the players including coaches, strategists, and others behind the scenes.
- Rookie of the Year: Honoring a player who made their player debut this year
- FTX Most Improved of the Year: Honoring a player who improved over the entire year
- Honda MVP of the Summer Split: Honoring the standout player of the year.
Those are a lot of awards to vote for. And there are a lot of players out there. I know I may not have voted for your favorite player or team but I took the vote very seriously. To be transparent, here is how I made my decisions.
- How has the player made a direct impact on their team?
- How has the player made an impact on the position?
- What has been the player’s trajectory over the year?
With these categories, this is my ballot for the 2021 LCS Summer Split Awards:
1st All-Pro Team
- Top Lane: Jeong “Impact” Eon-young – Evil Geniuses
- Jungle: Mingyi “Spica” Lu – TSM
- Mid Lane: Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage – TSM
- AD Carry: Victor “FBI” Huang – 100 Thieves
- Support: Choi “huhi” Jae-hyun – 100 Thieves
This was probably the easiest ballot for me to fill out. Both Spica and FBI are world-class in their role – each making a rather decisive showing in their roles. Spica put up a monstrous performance in his role with a 72% Kill Participation as well as putting some incredible performances on Xin Zhao. FBI knocked down the doors of the bot lane putting up incredible performances on Varus, Aphelios, and even a Lee Sin Bot Lane.
The other three may be a bit more controversial to some. First, let’s start with Impact – who may not be the most flashy player on this list but will always be consistent. Many games that Evil Geniuses won were on decisive playmaking from Impact and his ability to be that rock that EG needs. PowerOfEvil in a similar manner – always being a reliable factor for the team to fall back on. Finally, huhi has been all-star support this entire year. Being able to go on more untraditional supports such as the Sett, he sets his team up for success and will look to go far into the playoff brackets.
2nd All-Pro Team
- Top Lane: Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon – TSM
- Jungle: Can “Closer” Çelik – 100 Thieves
- Mid Lane: Felix “Abbedagge” Braun – 100 Thieves
- AD Carry: Edward “Tactical” Ra- Team Liquid
- Support: Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme – Cloud9
Moving on to 2nd Team All-Pro, a bit more diversity. In the top lane is the veteran of SKT and Fnatic, Huni. When Huni was announced last year, there was a lot of skepticism about the pickup. Huni proved this summer that he is deserving of the role by performing both as a tank and a carry for the seven-time champions.
Next comes the jungle/mid synergy of 100 Thieves in Closer and Abbedagge. Abbedagge came into NA swinging this year and he had the support of his former teammate in Turkey and current 100T jungler Closer behind him. Closer himself made a very impressive showing this year with Abbedagge behind him. But he also proved why he is one of the best junglers in NA.
Finally, we have the first showing of Team Liquid and Cloud9 – two teams that struggled this split. However, Tactical and Vulcan were both standouts in their respective roles and proved that they deserve these spots on the list.
3rd All-Pro Team
- Top Lane: Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami – Cloud9
- Jungle: Robert “Blaber” Huang – Cloud9
- Mid Lane: Daniele “Jizuke” di Mauro – Evil Geniuses
- AD Carry: Kyle “Danny” Sakamaki – Evil Geniuses
- Support: Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in – Team Liquid
Finally, we have a wide variety in the 3rd All-Pro. Starting with Fudge and Blaber. Cloud9 had some struggles with this split for sure. However, whenever Fudge and Blaber made plays across the map, so did Cloud9. Fudge in particular has become a respected top laner and been able to win games on his own.
Next up, we have a pair of laners from EG. Jizuke has once again returned to the peak performance that we once saw from him in 2018. He has become a formidable threat in the mid-lane and an asset to Evil Geniuses. On the opposite side of the map is Danny, but we’ll talk about him later on. Finally, it’s not an all-pro list of North America without CoreJJ. CoreJJ is still a monster of a support player and should not be ignored by any measures.
Coaching Staff of the Split
- 100 Thieves
- Evil Geniuses
Coaching Staff of the Split is probably the trickiest role to predict for sure. Most do not exactly know the decisions made behind the scenes, what happens in pick and bans and how the organization functions. However, the coaching staff can be measured by their team’s success and usually, the top team’s coach wins.
This time, I went with 100 Thieves. Specifically focusing on Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu. Reapered departed Cloud9 in 2021 and nobody knew where he’d end up. Then in 2021, it was announced he’d return to the LCS as the Head Coach for 100 Thieves and it seems like the cogs began to work again. For this reason, I have to give the Coaching Staff of the Split to 100 Thieves.
Rookie of the Year
- Kyle “Danny” Sakamaki – Evil Geniuses
- Nicholas Antonio “Ablazeolive” Abbott – Golden Guardians
- Toàn “Neo” Trần – Team Dignitas
If you had asked me earlier in the year about the Rookie of the Year candidates, I would have been torn. So many players across the rift made their debuts this year. From David “Insanity” Challe and Mohamed “Revenge” Kaddoura of Immortals to Jonathan “Chime” Pomponio of Golden Guardians, each had a significant role in their team’s environment. Even both Neo and Ablazeolive became the highlights of their team with the latter being highly considered as an offseason pickup for any teams in need of a new mid laner.
And then June 2021 happened. EG announced that they’d be bringing a 17-Year-Old soloqueue prodigy from their Amateur lineup to the starting lineup. Danny did not disappoint. He made himself a highlight montage, performed exceptionally well as a bot laner, and even worked with Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun to become one of the best bot lanes of the LCS. Danny did not disappoint and serves as a reminder to teams to invest in Rookie talent.
FTX Most Improved Player of the Year
- Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami – Cloud9
- Eric “Licorice” Ritchie – Golden Guardians
- Daniele “Jizuke” di Mauro – Evil Geniuses
This was a new one for me. I wasn’t exactly sure how to vote here either as the award was not exactly described to me when I received it. So I dove back in and looked at the trajectories of each of the players who participated and I made my criteria. I looked at players who struggled in Spring during the Lock-In Tournament, made growth in Spring, and ultimately exceeded all expectations in Summer.
There was one player who stood out to me – Fudge. Fudge came into fill the shoes of the runner up on this list in Licorice. And there was criticism right off the back of him struggling. From a Top-Lane Graves that left him useless in the finals to carrying a game off an impressive Viego performance in the Summer. Fudge learned, improved, and grew each year.
I also talked to Fudge throughout the trajectory of the split and each time I saw his confidence grow and blossom. For that reason, I had to put Fudge as the FTX Most Valuable Player for the LCS Summer Split Awards.
Honda MVP for Summer 2021
- Victor “FBI” Huang – 100 Thieves
- Mingyi “Spica” Lu – TSM
- Jeong “Impact” Eon-young – Evil Geniuses
I saved the best award for last. The LCS Summer Split Awards MVP. This was a tricky one for sure. I could give a long list as to why I went a certain way or not. On one hand, Spica and Impact were both incredible team players. Spica, in his first full year of jungling for TSM, made impressive showings on and off the rift. Impact, as I talked about earlier this year, served as a rock for EG – being able to be the carry and the playmaker.
But then I saw FBI play a game of Lee Sin AD Carry to allow his teammate in huhi to carry on the Senna. When a player can take an unconventional pick in the bot lane to allow his team to succeed, that’s what makes an MVP to me.
FBI showed up not only in Summer but in Spring making him one of the best AD Carries in all of NA. He showed off on the Aphelios, made plays on Varus, and even in the aforementioned Lee Sin game showed his prowess and depth. He is a monster on and off the rift and I had to give him these accolades and put him as my MVP.
With this comes the end of another split of the LCS. I had a lot of fun watching these players grow and it was a true honor to be able to cast my ballot in the 2021 Summer Split Awards.