With the first week in the books, we look at what might be worth a watch, including the start of the LCS during the weekend. You can catch all these games on ESTNN TV, watch.lolesports.com or any of their respective Twitch channels.
Sunday, January 20th
6 AM ET RNG vs. Suning Gaming:
We start of the week with the LPL reigning champions showcasing their skills against Suning Gaming. Royal Never Give Up has sadly announced that star bot laner Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao will not be present in the team until after the Chinese New Year break. Regardless of Uzi's absence, this still is set-up to be an exciting match as Suning want to make their mark on the LPL. Will Maple and SwordArt be able to prove that they have made the right decision of leaving the FlashWolves? Will RNG continue to dominate their league or will we see them trail behind the current world champions? These questions will be answered as we wait to see RNG take the rift once again.
Wednesday, January 23rd
3 AM ET KT vs. KING-ZONE Dragon X:
The LCK has concluded its first week under the Riot Games broadcast, and it has delivered to be an exciting split so far. Before this week you might have thought that at least one of these two teams would be fighting for a top spot in the league, but at the time of writing these two teams are actually fighting for their first win of the season. It does seem that the new kids on the block (Griffin, Sandbox, and DAMWON) are the main contenders for the top spots. The only team from the "old guard" that has managed to pick up a win is SKT with their "Dream Team" showing some impressive victories. This game means a lot to both KT and King-Zone as whoever loses might be in trouble going forward.
4 AM ET Team WE vs. Suning Gaming:
Team World Elite is one of the oldest standing teams in LPL history and is one of the teams that is usually fighting for a spot to attend Worlds. If they can get their first win that would give the team a boost of confidence, starting off the season. They are going to be versus Suning Gaming, whom I feel, might be a big team to look at because of the addition of Maple and SwordArt bolstering their squad. Team WE had a lackluster 2018 and after a rough 0-2 start to their 2019, look to bounce back with a strong performance.
Thursday, January 24th
3 AM ET Sandbox Gaming vs. SKT
At the start of the week, I wasn’t expecting this to be one of the important matches to watch during week 2. Sandbox though has started with an impressive 2-0 over Gen. G showcasing that the old methodical way of playing is not the meta and they are here to make a stand for second place (Griffin is still the undisputed as the top team so far). SK Telecom, on the other hand, are the only of the old team to pick up a win and have a 2-0 record, so far, granted they have yet to play one of the young teams this split.
6 AM ET Gen G. vs. Afreeca:
See above: KT vs. King-Zone. Jokes aside neither of these two teams have been able to put a win on the board (at the time of writing) and will be looking to do so in this series. Gen G has made many changes coming into the new season hoping to fortify their team but have yet to prove to be a team in the top half of the league. Afreeca has just shown us one game so far against the SKT “Dream Team.” Even though Afreeca did suffer a demoralizing 0-2, they still show promise and will probably be the favorites in this match. With four teams looking like the clear favorites, it is up to the rest to either shake up that certainty or fight for the 5th seed overall.
Friday, January 25th
6 AM ET DAMWON vs. Griffin:
Griffin has been one of the best teams in the LCK since the end of the summer split, and with such a dominant display of the KeSPA cup, they might have earned that title. DAMWON gaming has also impressed having taken down KT and Gen G. already, but they definitely face their biggest challenge yet. In the KeSPA cup, Griffin completely dismantled DAMWON but with a new series and both teams having more time to prepare; there is a chance that we can see Griffin face their toughest opposition. Tarzan is one of the players to watch as he has collected a 24/0/25 scoreline in four games, including four MVPs.
Saturday, January 26th
5 PM ET Cloud9 vs. Team Liquid:
The LCS 2019 season starts with NA’s last hope taking on Steve’s Dream Machine. Cloud9 face-off against Team Liquid in a rematch from the summer finals. The biggest storyline from this game is Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen facing his old squad for the first time since his controversial move. Cloud9 was able to make North America proud as they made it all the way to the semi-finals in the world championship, even defeating a Korean team in a best-of-five for the first time in North American history. While Team Liquid dominated domestically, they did fail to make a splash internationally. With both teams having something to prove, be sure that this will be an explosive match from the very beginning.
6 PM ET TSM vs. 100 Thieves:
Following the slugfest from two of the best performing teams in North America, we will see Bae "Bang" Jun-sik take on the North American stage for the first time. Team SoloMid also look to take a better stand since missing the world's stage for the first time in franchise history. TSM has made multiple changes leaving Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg and Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen from last years squad. Even though they planned to keep Jonathan "Grig" Armao, they had to replace him as he suffered a wrist injury. TSM will want a strong showing against one of the best teams from last year to prove they are here to fix their wrongs.
Sunday, January 27th
3 AM ET DAMWON vs. SKT:
DAMWON had the chance to defeat SKT once already when both teams encountered each other in the KeSPA Cup. Since then, we have had a good look at SKT and how well the team has jelled together since then. At the same time, DAMWON gaming has shown some amazing games as well. With Kim "Clid" Tea-min and Park "Teddy" Jin-seong being some of the best players in the team, SKT looks to keep improving around them. This could be a prelude to a potential playoff match and will surely be entertaining.
6 PM ET TSM vs. Clutch Gaming:
In Clutch Gaming's first split they did the unthinkable and knocked out TSM in the very first round of playoffs. After bolstering their roster by adding Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon and Tanner "Damonte" Damonte from Echo Fox, Clutch look to build on the good form from their last year. TSM, on the other hand, look to do well in a tough opening weekend to show that they are back as one of the favorites to win another North American championship.
Image Via: Riot Games