Fun with statistics, NA edition: a look at the overall win/loss ratio of North America's LCS teams
For this article, I decided to take a look at the success of North America's LCS teams measured by one of the simplest possible metrics: win/loss ratio. This gives a historical look at how these teams have performed over time, and relative to each other. For the purpose of this article, I've included all regular season LCS games (including tiebreakers) and LCS playoff games played in the six seasons of LCS so far. Promotion matches and the worlds qualifier from 2015 are not included in the totals, since those matches are not really part of LCS, per se.
1 - Cloud9: 71.1% (106/149)
C9 have the record of the highest win/loss ratio not only in NA, but in both LCS regions overall, though Fnatic is steadily creeping up to them. This is primarily due to C9's incredible first two seasons, which saw them finish 30/33 and 29/33 respectively. Despite their poor previous season, C9 are still on top as the only team with a win/loss above 70%, and have the second highest number of raw wins in NA (third including EU) despite not even playing in the first season of LCS.
2 - Team Solomid: 63.9% (129/202)
Like them or hate them, TSM have been a domestic powerhouse since the regional league started in 2013. Aside from being a clear number two in NA, they have the highest number of raw wins in the region, second overall behind Fnatic of EU. They've played in every season of LCS, and not only made the playoffs every season, but the playoff finals every season, half of which they won. Though they never had the incredible statistical run that C9 started their careers with, they've had a history of success in their region that should make it difficult for them to be overtaken, statistically speaking.
3 - LMQ/Team Impulse: 58.2% (57/98)
Interestingly, the team coming in behind C9 and TSM isn't one of NA's big four, but the oddball former Chinese team whose entry and success in North America likely sparked the creation of Riot's interregional movement policy. LMQ showed up in the fourth LCS, wiping out the fallen XDG, and did very well, placing third overall and making worlds during 2014. Funnily enough, NA being represented by a team consisting entirely of non-NA players is pretty apt for the region as a whole. Afterward, the team split up and rebuilt as the scrappy and wild Team Impulse, who finished a respectable fourth in both 2015 seasons, and likely could have made a run for worlds had they not lost a key player to the allure of shiny elo-boosting gold. It is these consistent solid placements that have gotten this team so high, however with the recent failure of the team to sell, and their not-so-promising rebuild, we should be seeing this team take a plunge at the season's end, especially since they've got relatively few games played overall when compared to a lot of NA.
4 - Counter Logic Gaming: 53.6% (97/181)
CLG has seen their share of ups and downs across their LCS campaign, and with it, their statistical win/loss ratio. Being one of the four NA teams to have played in every LCS season means that their rather large number of games played keeps them stabilized, with little movement in either direction. For CLG, they're at least stabilized near the middle of the statistical line, hovering at just above 50%. This is basically reflected in their LCS records, sometimes good, sometimes poor, usually middle of the pack, and always at least qualifying for playoffs.
5 - Gravity/Echo Fox: 53.3% (24/45)
Gravity have played relatively few games, having first entered LCS as Curse Academy via the expansion tournament prior to the fifth season. Having only played two seasons, both of which used the newer 18 game format rather than the old 28 game one, means that Gravity, who are now known as Echo Fox, are rather susceptible to dramatic shifts in their statistics. Despite having so few games, they've had a strong showing over the course of 2015, and have managed to hang in there with the bigger names, even keeping above 50%.
6 - Team Curse/Team Liquid: 51% (102/200)
One of the original NA big four, Liquid, originally known as Curse prior to 2015, have been in every LCS season so far and have played more games than anyone other than TSM. Funnily enough, they are actually beaten out in the standings by their former amateur squad, Gravity, who've only played a third as many seasons. Liquid still maintain a positive ratio however, and it is basically indicative of their history as a team: usually good, but never quite great.
7 - Vulcun/XDG: 47.4% (46/97)
Now that we've dropped below 50%, we run into our first team that no longer exists. Vulcun was a pretty strong team back in 2013, finishing 3rd the first two seasons and even going to worlds that year. Then, prior to 2014, they renamed to XDG and famously plummeted into nothingness due to some very poor roster decisions as well as a team of hungry Chinese competitors. Still, their solid first two seasons mean that this team maintains a decent standing even today, and is almost a benchmark of success considering their place near the 50% mark.
8 - Dignitas: 46.6% (82/176)
The only of the big four NA teams to have a negative win/loss ratio is the beleaguered Dignitas. They've always been able to maintain a presence in NA, only once were they nearly taken out of LCS, but have a tendency to fizzle out near the end of the season, regardless of how strong they've looked before. This results in the team rarely making it past quarterfinals, resulting in some knocks to their win/loss ratio as well as giving them the lowest game total of the big four NA teams. They still have a lot of games under their belt though, so they shouldn't end up moving around too much.
9 - Team 8/Immortals: 39.5% (15/38)
Like Gravity, T8 has only played during the most recent two seasons, both with significantly fewer games than the first four. Unlike Gravity though, T8 has performed generally worse, and never made playoffs. Now that they've been bought out by Immortals, it's likely that we'll see this team rise in win/loss due to their low game total, moving their way towards undoing the more mediocre results of the Team 8 lineup.
10 - Team Marn: 35.7% (10/28)
Marn is one of the most forgettable teams in NA history. The lineup, only really notable for preventing the original C9 from qualifying in the first LCS, played a mediocre season during the spring of 2013, finished seventh, got knocked out of LCS by Velocity, and broke up shortly afterward. They were pretty underwhelming, and their position in this list mainly goes to underscore the atrocity of the fact that there exist five other teams with worse records than Marn.
11 - Complexity: 33.9% (19/56)
Complexity qualified for the very first LCS, finished in last, and got knocked out by C9. They came back for the fourth LCS, where they took out Coast to qualify, finished last again, and were again knocked out, this time by T8. They built 2 teams to try and make it back in during expansion, but they both lost, and Complexity's been gone ever since.
12 - Good Game University/Team Coast/NRG Esports: 32.2% (38/118)
New owners NRG have a long way to go before they'll be able to undo the seasons of poor play by this team under the Coast org. Aside from the first season of LCS when the team, then known as GGU, made a miraculous run through the playoffs and came a game away from winning the whole thing, Coast has had a history of mediocre finishes and low win records. They played for the first three seasons, got knocked out (by Complexity, no less), and failed to initially qualify for the fifth season, only making it in via expansion. They then proceeded to have the worst single season of any LCS team ever, going 1:17 before being autorelegated. Now, after re-re-qualifying, they've finally been sold to some hopefully competent ownership looking to get NRG out of the shadow of teams like Marn and Complexity.
13 - Velocity Esports/Evil Geniuses/Winterfox: 30.4% (31/102)
One of the longest lasting, most poor performing teams in NA LCS, this team has never made a playoff and had been in every single promotion tournament prior to the most recent one following the sixth LCS. They started as Velocity, taking out Marn to qualify for the second LCS. They finished last, and did so poorly in the offseason that they were all dropped, with the lineup selling their branding rights to Evil Geniuses. As EG, they had a similarly bad 2014, finishing seventh both seasons. They rebranded as Winterfox prior to 2015 and finished eighth, this time actually getting taken out by Team Dragon Knights (with some help from Alex Ich, of course). As the team has continued to perform poorly even in challenger, it seems Velocity is going to maintain their record as one of the worst NA teams in history.
14 - Enemy: 22.2% (4/18)
One of NA's most recent teams is also one of its worst performing in terms of statistics. NME only played a single season of LCS, the most recent sixth season, and didn't make playoffs or have a tiebreaker, leaving them tied as having the fewest games played of any LCS team. They autoqualified into LCS in place of Coast due to winning the spring Challenger series, but bombed out, finished ninth, and coincidentally enough, were knocked out by Coast prior to them being sold to NRG. They've currently got a spot in Challenger, so they may be back some day, but for now, NME stand out as having one of the worst LCS records of all time, only being beaten out by two other teams, one of which is European. That leaves the final NA team...
15 - Team Dragon Knights: 16.7% (3/18)
TDK just barely finishes beneath NME, having the same number of games and only one fewer win. Like NME, TDK only played a single season of LCS and is tied for the fewest games played overall. TDK qualified for the most recent season by taking down Winterfox, thanks in large part due to Alex Ich subbing in for promotions. They put together an almost entirely Korean roster, with some legitimately solid players, but were famously hit with roster problems and were forced to use subs for half of the season. By the time they pulled their team together, they managed to scrape out a few wins before finishing in last and getting autorelegated. They're still in challenger, and have put together a fairly nice looking team, so they very well may return to LCS to try and right the wrongs they incurred during their fateful rookie season, and while it certainly isn't all their fault, TDK currently stand as having the worst overall win/loss ratio of any team in LCS history.