Before the start of the 2022 LCS Spring Split, Riot Games play-by-play caster David "Phreak" Turley shared his bold predictions for the at-the-time young season. Phreak predicted Evil Geniuses to win the LCS this spring over Team Liquid, with 100 Thieves coming in 3rd.
Phreak didn't get the order right, but the three teams named by caster are indeed the teams who headed to Houston, TX to battle for the title of LCS champion this weekend. This tournament will feature a match between EG and TL on Saturday to see which team will meet the undefeated 100 in the finals.
Phreak found a window of time in Houston to speak to Inven Global about how he predicts the last two matches of LCS spring will play out and who will become the champions of North America.
You predicted that Evil Geniuses, Team Liquid, and 100 Thieves would be the top three teams by the end of spring, albeit in a different order than they currently sit. What are your thoughts on these teams' trajectories and how they ended up where they are compared to what you expected before the beginning of the Spring Split?
Evil Geniuses certainly did a lot worse than I expected for a very long time. They ended the Spring Split barely north of .500 and that's not the expectation. They were supposed to come out swinging even after losing to TL — without their full roster — in the finals of the Lock In, but they just kept being mediocre for a while.
When you look at the roster, it feels clear that this team should be smurfing the entire league, and they weren't. That was really a surprise. It seems like they've turned it on since then and it does seem like they're actually a good team now.
I have EG beating TL on Saturday. I think it will be close, but EG will get their revenge and win 3-2. It's exciting because you have a lot of players with a lot of talent that have already proven it, especially in the cases of Impact, Inspired, and Vulcan. I think jojopyun has kind of played to expectations. He's a rookie, he's very hyped, and he's very good, but he's not the best mid in the league yet.
It seems like jojopyun is going to become the next big all-star of the LCS. He's already the best mid laner in the LCS in terms of laning phase, by far. It is ultra not close. As a 17-year-old rookie, his mid-to-late game isn't as good and he's going to drop the ball in some cases. That has kind of been the case when he doesn't convert on his lane leads as much, but this is the beginning of a very long career and he's just going to keep going up.
I think EG is improving and are going to keep improving. I think they have a really good shot of making the final and maybe winning it. I'm really excited to watch this team, and specifically jojopyun, continue.
TL beat EG last time around, but it was a close 3-2. What do you think is the main factor that's going to result in EG beating TL on Saturday?
I think a lot of it is EG leveling up as a team. This is a team that barely won more games than they lost in the Spring Split. Their road through the Lock In was full of beating Academy teams and then they crumbled in the finals against the first real team they actually fought against. They were slow starters, but this entire team is full of incredible players. The team overall has leveled up and their trajectory keeps going upwards.
In terms of TL, specifically, it feels that the more we see them play, we see more and more of their weaknesses. Their loss to 100 Thieves was for sure off of some bad drafts, but overall, seeing TL lose and seeing what works and doesn't work for them makes me feel that EG is going to come into the series with more notes than TL. I think EG has improved a bit more as a team and I think they will show that in this series.
Maybe that's wrong — maybe TL comes out swinging with a 3-0 — but I just feel like, in very generic terms, EG will have improved more.
You said EG has a chance to win the final against 100 Thieves in this scenario. Who would you say is the favorite to win the LCS and what will the deciding factor be in the final?
The favorite right now is 100 Thieves, hands down. And the primary factor for that is that they won't have to win two best-of-fives this weekend. That's the reward for winning the upper bracket. I think the 100 Thieves that we saw in games 3-5 against Team Liquid looked a lot better than they have all year.
The curse of 100 Thieves this year is that they've had too many games where one of their players just seems mentally checked out. That's what we saw in the regular season, and that's what Abbedagge said in their post-match interview last weekend. Closer described the reverse sweep against TL as them starting to play the game. If they can keep that mentality in check, things are strongly in their favor.
100 Thieves have been playing better and better, and it did feel like that was kind of what was stopping them, so assuming that's solved, I think they're an incredibly strong team overall. Every single player on that roster is absolutely cracked. There's not anyone you can consider a weak point at any phase of the game and all five players are complete stars. If they can play close to their limit, they're the best team in the LCS.
So it sounds like — if you were placing your bets — you'd have EG beating TL, but then losing to 100 Thieves for the title?
Yeah, that's my expectation. I think EG will beat TL, but I think 100 Thieves wins no matter who they face. It would be cool to see EG keep rising. It would be a great story especially because I think jojopyun is going to become the biggest star in the LCS in 1-2 year's time.
That's my next bold prediction: jojopyun will be the next Bjergsen. I have EG as the second-best team after watching more of their play. But if they improve and win, I guess I can say I called it.