DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 25: The final play to end the game for Team Liquid that defeated Team Cloud9 to win their 4th straight championship during Day-2 of the 2019 LCS Summer Finals at Little Caesars Arena on August 25, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Team Liquid defeated Team Cloud9 3-2 in a best of 5 match play to win the North American 2019 League of Legends Championship. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

I watched less League last year than I probably should have. When, in the past, I would have watched an event live, I instead caught it on VODs. When I would normally have caught it on VODs, I instead watched the highlight packages. For whatever reason in 2019, I struggled with consuming professional League of Legends and now the LCS Lock In tournament has cured me of that.

Maybe I’ve grown tired of the rigmarole of long seasons, only to have my region fall dramatically short at Worlds. Maybe I’m not playing as much League as I used to. Whatever the reason, the Lock In tournament has gotten me over that. With all 10 teams competing, we got a good early look at the LCS, and I now have three major questions looming in my mind.

Can we compete at Worlds?

It would be the greatest of overreactions to watch two weeks of the LCS Lock In and declare that North America is ready to compete on a world stage. What I will say is that the teams this year look better than the ones I saw last year. Last spring was a hard-to-watch deluge of underperforming teams and then also Cloud9. This year, I can see 4 teams that have a genuine chance to win in North America and then go to Worlds.

I say that knowing full well that in 2019, I said the exact same thing. But I said it back then because I thought all of the teams were mediocre, except for Team Liquid. And sure enough, the standings were a chaotic mess for the whole season before North America was unceremoniously CRUSHED at the World stage.

Do I think one of these teams will win Worlds? Absolutely not. Could I see a quarter or even semi-finals appearance? Actually, yes. I think Cloud9 and Evil Geniuses both have a chance to make a run like that. Potentially, I could see Team Liquid also making it. These opinions will of course change as the season goes on, but it’s where we sit 4 games into 2021.

Hey wait, are 100 Thieves good?

One of the happy surprises of the 2021 LCS Lock In Tournament has been 100 Thieves. Well, happy surprise if you weren’t paying attention in the off-season. 100T did a solid job of revamping the roster in the off-season this year. In fact, the only player returning from last year’s squad is Ssumday in the top lane.

Acquisitions of Damonte, Closer, FBI, and Huhi have made 100 Thieves a force to be reckoned with in 2021. I don’t know if they’ll be good enough to compete with the likes of Cloud9, Evil Geniuses, and TSM, but we might get an inkling this weekend. 100 Thieves has a match with C9 this weekend that could be a statement win in the early goings of this season. Then again, a lot of teams look like they could be pretty good this year (Golden Guardians anyone?)

When can I watch more?

For the first time in a long time, I am chomping at the bit for more League action. I’m genuinely interested to see who emerges on top of the Lock-In tournament. Maybe tournaments are just a better format than the week over week action. Usually, I’m all about what other esports can learn for League, but maybe the LCS needs to take a queue from its contemporaries on this one.

Luckily, I don’t have long to wait. The LCS Lock-In tournament resumes this Friday at 6 PM EST with a best of 5 between 100 Thieves and Cloud9. You can tune in on Twitch and Youtube.

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Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images