Breaking down the 2018 NA LCS Summer Split MVP Candidates

The 2018 NA LCS Summer Split MVP Award has been a frequently debated accolade. In a split with full of parity, which individual player has truly provided the most value to his team?

There’s a multitude of criteria that the 2018 NA LCS Summer Split MVP can be based on – individual skill, 1v9 potential, team value – all play a part in selecting the 2018 NA LCS Summer Split MVP.

Let’s break down the potential candidates for the 2018 NA LCS Summer Split MVP Award.

Kim “Ssumday” Chan-Ho – 100Thieves – Top Lane

Ssumday has been the best Top Laner in the NA LCS for the entirety of 2018. Ssumday was integral in 100Thieves 3rd seed finish in the summer split, dazzling on tanks and carries alike.

A slow start to summer might have been the death knell for 100Thieves if not for Ssumday’s monstrous carry performances. In a meta ripe with teams stumbling to find their identity, Ssumday’s individual prowess shined through on the likes of Darius, Fiora and Jax.

Once the meta stabilized and 100Thieves found their footing, Ssumday continued to put up best in class performances amongst Top Laners in the NA LCS. While Cloud9 Top Laner Eric “Licorice” Ritchie displayed comparative strength in carry matchups, Ssumday’s tank play is a cut above the rest.

In an interview with InvenGlobal, 100Thieves Support and spring MVP Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black mentioned that the team was committed in trying to help Ssumday win the 2018 NA LCS Summer Split MVP award.  100Thieves ended up faltering in the last few weeks of the split, falling into a 4-way tie-breaker for 3rd place. While Ssumday may have not gotten all of the opportunities to impress, his candidacy for the 2018 NA LCS Summer Split MVP is nothing short of legitimate.

Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg – TSM – Mid Lane

Bjergsen is a perennial MVP candidate, but TSM’s lack of identity has limited his individual impact all year long. Despite a top 3 finish in the 2018 NA LCS Spring Split, TSM looked feeble against Clutch Gaming in the 2018 NA LCS Spring Quarterfinals. The 3-1 defeat was TSM’s earliest exit in NA LCS history.

TSM’s summer was marred by struggles, with Bjergsen playing primarily control mages and showcasing the same level of inaction that had plagued them the entire season. However, in games where Bjergsen was given a pro-active champion in the draft phase, the results were night and day.

Bjergsen is an accomplished control mage player, but if he is the winner of the 2018 NA LCS Summer Split MVP Award, it will be because of his bruisers and assassins.

[statistics courtesy of Games of Legends]

When Bjergsen is on a champion with individual potential to make things happen, TSM look like an entirely different team. In TSM’s 10 wins, Bjergsen was on a control mage in only three of them.  Allowing their star Mid Laner to put the team on his back has been everything TSM needed.

TSM’s star studded roster has only shown its true potential with Bjergsen as the go-button. He is the win condition and defining aspect of TSM’s playstyle. Until TSM can show a strength that doesn’t directly run through their Mid Laner, Bjergsen’s candidacy for the 2018 NA LCS Summer Split MVP is safe.

Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng – Team Liquid – Bot Lane

North America’s most decorated AD Carry has quietly put together one of the strongest seasons of his entire career. On Team Liquid, Doublelift has solidified his identity as the greatest League of Legends player North America has ever produced.

Doublelift is the heart of Team Liquid. Eugene “Pobelter” Park and Jeong “Impact” Eon-yeong focus on neutralizing their solo lane opponents to give TL’s Bot Lane the time to gain an advantage.  Jake “Xmithie” Puchero’s experience in the Jungle is instrumental in helping keep the team afloat through their weak early game, and Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung is often on peel duty for Doublelift on the likes of Tahm Kench or Braum.

Team Liquid’s success has come from an acute sense of identity. Team Liquid is well-aware of its strengths and weaknesses, and its the comfort and understanding of its identity that led them to a 1st place finish in the 2018 NA LCS Summer Split.  That identity? Protect the Doublelift.

Doublelift has come close to winning the award before, but with a 1st place regular season finish on NA’s best team and no standout nominee, this is his best chance yet.

Team Liquid has spent the majority of 2018 as the most dominant team in North America. Doublelift is fresh off of his first Mid-Season Inivtational and 3rd NA LCS championship on his 3rd team. If you include the “DiCaprio factor” from Doublelift’s arguable snub for MVP of the 2015 NA LCS Summer Split, the 2018 NA LCS Summer Split MVP award may be heading to Doublelift’s trophy case.

Nick Geracie is a freelance esports journalist currently located in Los Angeles.  You can follow him on Twitter here.