After two weeks of play in the NA LCS, we have identified several teams that could be real title contenders.
Unlike the clown fiesta that is the EU LCS, good NA teams are playing strong macro and displaying an ability to close. If you want to watch higher-level League, NA is the way to go.
Now that we’ve jinxed these teams thoroughly, let’s get into the rankings. Voters assigned point values from 1 (worst) to 10 (best), and we start at the bottom of the table.
Finally, some victories!
Three teams went into last Sunday’s game win-less. Two found wins, but it didn’t really help their situation in the rankings.
10) Golden Guardians (7 points, no change)
Before the season, Juan “Contractz” Garcia was expected to be the Guardians’ saving grace. Playing alongside a strong strategic mind like Hai Lam was supposed to sharpen his decision making. Instead, the opposite has happened. He’s throwing more games than he’s carrying, usually on senseless invades into the enemy jungle. Nothing about this team makes sense right now.
9) OpTic (14 points, no change)
OpTic were outplayed for the majority of the game vs. FlyQuest, but a throw by Andy “AnDa” Hoang led to a Baron that they used to seal the match. Ironically, their lane phase continues to be better than expected, but OpTic show no understanding of wave management in the late game.
8) CLG (21 points, -1)
CLG are just a mess, and it’s more than just issues integrating new jungler Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin. Mid laner Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun’s decision making has been bad no matter what pocket pick he’s being placed on. And ADC Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes has not looked good on meta champions like Ezreal.
Still muddling through
Two of these three teams are likely to make the playoffs. But unless things improve, that’s not going to mean anything because they’ll just get eliminated in the first round.
7) Clutch Gaming, 30 points, +1)
Clutch Gaming’s two victories have come against the Golden Guardians and CLG. Against better teams, they haven’t been clutch at all. Jungler Nam “LirA” Tae-yoo is not playing like the MVP candidate he was last year. Has he become overrated?
6) FlyQuest (37 points, no change)
FlyQuest’s loss to OpTic on Sunday had to hurt. Instead of putting them into contender territory, we have to question their objective control. AnDa looked like he was boosted last weekend. The only reason they didn’t lose to the Golden Guardians was because their opponents refused to go for drake or Baron when AnDa was dead.
5) TSM (38 points, no change)
After stabilizing a bit against OpTic, it was the same old TSM against Echo Fox. A draft with three AP carries put them on a clock, and at first, it looked like they were ahead of schedule after getting several picks in the early game. But one totally unnecessary teamfight throw allowed Echo Fox two come back despite multiple missing inhibitors.
On their own tier again
Once again, Cloud9 are in a special spot all by themselves, which is perfectly fine for a team with an eye on the playoffs.
4) Cloud9 (52 points, -2)
Cloud9 dropped a couple spots in the rankings, but they are doing some things really well. New jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen had his best game this season against 100 Thieves on Sunday, breaking the Thieves’ undefeated run. This team ran the show during the spring season last year before falling in the finals to TSM. They’ll gladly trade regular season success for a playoff title.
The real deal
Three teams received first-place votes this week. They are clearly the class of the LCS right now, but there’s a lot left to play.
3) 100 Thieves (60 points, +1, 2 first-place votes)
The loss to C9 was a real bummer for a team that looked to move higher in the rankings. William “Meteos” Hartman’s Zac was uncharacteristically bad. They have winnable games against Clutch and 100 Thieves coming up.
2) Team Liquid (61 points, -1, 2 first-place votes)
Like TSM, Liquid threw a draft by over-prioritizing Vladimir, giving them three AP champions and a deadline before they got outscaled. 100 Thieves patiently opened the map and put the Vladimir in an awkward position where he needed to match a split push Gnar. Still, the team won major objectives and had chances before they got out-scaled by Kog’Maw.
1) Echo Fox (65 points, +1, 3 first-place votes)
Echo Fox have looked really good this split. Their ceiling was always high, but the risk of failure was likely catastrophic. The game against TSM was especially encouraging—instead of tilting after falling behind, they patiently scaled and waited for TSM to throw. That’s SKT-level stuff. It looks like Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon’s year with the Korean champs has really paid off.