The LCS hit a rare period of clarity after last weekend. In contrast to the LEC, which is a complete mess, our power rankings voters were pretty much in agreement on where the North American League teams ranked.
That doesn’t mean the region is perfect. It’s very possible that we have more than one playoff team with a losing record, something that’s always an issue when 60 percent of the league makes playoffs. But we at least have a sense for which teams are the strongest as our voters ranked all of them from one point (worst) to 10 points (best).
As expected, Liquid, Cloud9, and TSM make up a triumverate at the top while everyone else scrambled below:
Here’s a breakdown what happened in week seven of the 2019 Spring Split that led to our conclusions.
Starting over: 100 Thieves, Clutch, Echo Fox, CLG
Most of these teams are officially in rebuilding mode as they sub in Academy players for notable veterans. For the 100 Thieves, it was good to see the entire team rally around substitute mid laner Max “Soligo” Soong, something the team couldn’t or wouldn’t do with old mid Chae “Huhi” Jae-hyun. It didn’t end up mattering as they found yet another way to lose in the late game, this time letting TSM smite away Baron despite holding three mountain drakes.
The team in this group that is playing the best is the one that didn’t make any roster moves: Clutch Gaming. Their victory over CLG—who are also in this tier—wasn’t amazing. But it’s good that top laner Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon has been playing better of late and that jungler Nam “LirA” Tae-yoo was being appropriately aggressive in the early game to get his lanes ahead. Clutch has issues still but their ability to win lane has been a breath of fresh air. While they’re not out of the playoffs yet, they have to play Liquid next, which is another probable loss on their record.
Showing up: Golden Guardians, FlyQuest, OpTic
After going through a midseason swoon, FlyQuest got back in the game via some games against bottom teams. They play Liquid this week to see how much of their improvement is for real.
Golden Guardians just played Liquid last week and they actually acquitted themselves quite well. Jungler Juan “Contractz” Garcia had a strong read on the early game before Liquid’s map pressure became too much for the team to handle.
OpTic keep hanging around, and although they’re in playoff position, we’re not sure they have enough firepower to win a series. We want to more consistency and safer play from last split’s rookie darling, top laner Niship “Dhokla” Doshi.
Playing for second: Cloud9, TSM
Last week, we had Liquid, Cloud9, and TSM lumped into one tier at the top of the league. We’ve suspected all year that Liquid is probably on a plane of their own, but given how bad the rest of the region has looked, it’s hard to tell.
But now, the evidence is clear. Liquid beat down Cloud9 yet again, making jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen look a bit silly. Cloud9 are still good, but they seem to have a mental block against winning an LCS championship.
TSM took advantage of Cloud9’s stumble to inch closer in the standings. It will be interesting to see if the TSM vs. Liquid match in the last day of the regular season will have any impact on second place and playoff byes.
Undeterred: Team Liquid
Liquid aren’t perfect, and Golden Guardians gave them a fight last week. It was good to see top laner Jeong “Impact” Eon-yeong on a split pusher again. He became a world champion split pushing on the likes of Jax, it will be interesting to see if Liquid try to unlock that form of Impact this season.