It would be nice if the NA LCS teams could make up their damned minds and decide whether they’re good or bad. In contrast to Europe, where the picture at the top is becoming more clear, nearly every top NA LCS team stumbled last week, mostly in blowout losses.
And in the middle of the pack, TSM somehow clawed their way back into the playoff race with a clean 2-0 week. Yes, that same team that we bashed last week for poor macro play and an inability to shot call put on a clinic in an upset over Echo Fox.
To sort things out, our voters assigned points to each team from 1 (worst) to 10 (best). We start at the bottom where, for the first time all year, a new team has suffered the indignity of last place.
Guardians on a roll!
The Golden Guardians were expected to be the worst team in the LCS by a long shot, and for the first half of the split, they looked like it. But after putting together some wins, they have climbed out of the basement. How long they’ll keep their heads above water is anyone’s guess.
10) CLG (8 points, -1)
CLG are one of the most disappointing teams this year. Usually well-coached, the team still puts together some solid early games, but their late-game execution ranges from atrocious to unwatchable. They can blame getting Baron stolen by the Golden Guardians on bad luck, but good teams make their own luck.
9) Golden Guardians (10 points, +1)
The Golden Guardians won a game again—that’s thee straight weeks with a victory! Last week’s win over CLG was made possible by support Matt Elento’s clutch exhaust of CLG ADC Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes before Stixxay could rend Baron. The young players are doing their part but none have shown an ability to carry games.
8) OpTic Gaming (20 points, no change)
OpTic’s wins this season have come over CLG, Golden Guardians, and FlyQuest. Those teams are 10-27 on the year. This is not a good team.
Scrapping for the playoffs
It’s likely that only one of these two teams will make it to the playoffs. But judging by the way they’re playing, we’re not sure it will make any difference in their hopes to win a championship.
7) FlyQuest (22 points, -2)
For a week, it looked like getting mid laner Song “Fly” Yong-jun back was going to help. It hasn’t. Fly was known in Korea for off-meta counter picks—when will we see those out of him in NA? This team won’t win conventionally.
6) 100 Thieves (33 points, +1)
100 Thieves were on the brink of disaster when they picked up a surprise win over Cloud9 last week. Getting Yoo “Ryu” Sang-ook on Galio helped—somehow the Thieves were able to pick one of the strongest mid laner champs in the game in the second rotation on blue side. C9 will likely not make the same mistake again.
TSM are back!
The story of the week was TSM’s dominating victories over Echo Fox and OpTic. Of course, it’s just as likely that the story of next week will be TSM stumbling yet again. This team is a real roller coaster.
5) TSM (37 points, +1)
TSM won their obligatory blue-side game against Liquid last week, but then they won on red side against OpTic! One of TSM’s weaknesses is paralysis around losing lanes, but they were able to turn around the bot lane against OpTic and figured out that TP’ing behind to a deep ward is a way to thwart tower dives. Who knew!?
4) Clutch Gaming (40 points, no change)
Clutch won a tight contest against CLG then crapped the bed against C9. Top laner Colin “Solo” Earnest just got hammered and never recovered. Can Clutch win in the playoffs with a glaring weakness like that?
3) Team Liquid (46 points, no change)
Team Liquid keep getting opportunities to move back up the standings and keep coming up short. Last week, they were plain eviscerated by Echo Fox in one of the fastest games of the split. They were able to punish Fox top laner Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon’s Yasuo, but couldn’t keep up anywhere else.
Lots of work left to do
Echo Fox and Cloud9 are leading the league but as last week’s results showed, both have a lot of growing left to do. Cloud9’s draft phase has been extremely inconsistent this split and Echo Fox’s aggressive engages can’t work against everybody.
2) Cloud9 (55 points, no change,1 first-place vote)
Cloud9 mid laner Nicolaj Jensen does not like playing Galio. That’s a major reason they were eliminated from Worlds last year and why they lost to 100 Thieves last week. Everyone has something to work on.
1) Echo Fox (59 points, no change, 5 first-place votes)
Echo Fox’s ability to snowball the game against Liquid with a bold 20-minute Baron call is why this team has done so well in the regular season. But what happens in the playoffs when teams start to figure out their tricks? They’re completely untested in anything more than best-of-one. And the loss to TSM showed what can happen when they go all-in on the wrong call.