Free agency has finished, the holidays are over, and the League of Legends community is ready for the 2023 Spring Split to finally begin. Leagues from around the world will be starting off the new year in the coming weeks, and in North America, the LCS will also be debuting its new Thursday and Friday schedule changes.
On Thursday, Jan. 26, all 10 teams will enter the newly-christened Riot Games Arena in Los Angeles as they welcome a new era in the league’s history. With a new broadcast time and a whole bunch of star players making their LCS debuts, there is plenty to be excited about in the NA competitive scene.
When the LCS begins, there will be many great matchups to look forward to. From up-and-coming young squads to veteran-filled superteams, supporters will get to watch all the fireworks go off from the stands in the studio and in the comfort of their own homes.
Here are the five best games to watch in the first week of the 2023 LCS Spring Split.
100 Thieves vs. Cloud9
The return of the North America’s GOAT is the perfect way to generate hype for the league, even though it might be playing at an unusual time for some. Doublelift is not only coming back from retirement, he’s doing it with the only other player that can be considered the NA GOAT—Bjergsen.
Paired with the LCS debuts of Tenacity and Busio, 100 Thieves should remain must-watch League for the rest of the split. It also helps that they’ll be facing off against one of the strongest rosters in Cloud9, who will be looking to build off of their 2022 success with practically the same lineup from last year.
Legends will collide, and the hype should rise to an incredible amount on opening day with this 2022 Summer Finals rematch.
FlyQuest vs. Team Liquid
For the first time since the team’s debut in 2017, FlyQuest is coming into the new season as a true contender for the throne in the LCS instead of a plucky underdog. The team has a ton of potential at its fingertips, with two of the most promising rising stars from the LCK starting a new journey in a new region.
The team’s AD carry Prince, for example, recently won the 2022 Summer co-Player of the Split award, while the org’s new mid laner VicLa was the LCK’s 2022 Rookie of the Year. They’ll also be joining Spica and Impact, who are two of the best players in the league, along with one of the best up-and-coming talents in the NA Academy scene, Eyla.
Liquid, on the other hand, will be opening the new year with a new cast of superstars. Former DRX jungler and World Champion Pyosik and former LCS MVP Summit have signed on as CoreJJ tries to lead this new group of stars to the promised land against a supercharged FlyQuest squad.
Evil Geniuses vs. Cloud9
Evil Geniuses might have lost one of the most exciting players in the region’s history with Danny stepping back from pro play, but don’t be too sad. The team still has some of the most talented stars in the LCS, and they aren’t going to shy away from the spotlight.
Jojopyun still has a firecracker of a personality, and he isn’t afraid to talk trash on stage or after the game. Inspired and Vulcan are still top-three in their respective roles, while Ssumday and FBI are coming in as veteran stars looking to write another memorable chapter in their illustrious careers.
Team Dignitas vs. Counter Logic Gaming
Although this matchup might not feature some of the hype squads of the LCS, Dignitas and CLG are still two of the more promising teams to watch this coming spring. Dignitas made some waves when the signed on back-to-back LEC champion Armut, on top of some big acquisitions with Jensen and Santorin. This Dignitas’ top side can tussle with almost any top side in the league, and should be exciting to watch moving forward.
CLG, meanwhile, chose to stick with its 2022 roster, investing heavily in the growth they saw last year with their young talent. With familiar names like Palafox and Contractz leading the way for their young prospects like Luger and Poome, their path to become one of the most underrated squads of 2023 is set before them.
The 2023 LCS Spring Split will begin on Thursday, Jan. 26 at 2pm CT.