A few days ago, we wrote how the 2019 LCS season hasn’t been the most encouraging for fans of North American League of Legends. It’s been exciting, but the level of play hasn’t been that great.
But this article is all about extolling the virtues of the LCS. There are things to like: anyone can win any game, and with just a few weeks left in the split, nearly every team has a shot at the playoffs. Who cares if NA is lunch meat at Worlds—it’s being played on foreign soil anyway.
There was a lot of change in the middle of our power rankings based off the result of week seven. As always, the voters assigned points from one (worst) to 10 (best):
This is what happened that caused the big shuffle:
Last place: Echo Fox
This has just been a bad split for Echo Fox. After a surprising playoff appearance following the Spring Split, their on stage performances have fallen off a cliff. Even previous bright points, like top laner Colin “Solo” Earnest, haven’t been nearly as sharp lately.
Off the Rift, they’ve struggled through an ownership conflict that eventually resulted in an agreement to sell the team. It sucks for all of the LCS that Echo Fox founder Rick Fox won’t be directly involved with the league anymore. He was a great champion for esports and was the embodiment of the Echo Fox brand. Echo Fox lost a lot this split, but in the end, we all lost.
Still kicking: Golden Guardians, FlyQuest, Clutch
Both FlyQuest and Clutch are alive for the playoffs but have extremely tough roads going forward. FlyQuest were making some headway in the standings but a 0-2 week brought the back down to this level. Clutch won a game but it was against Echo Fox, so not very impressive.
The forward schedule is a bit better for Clutch—their hardest remaining opponent is CLG. FlyQuest have to play C9 and TSM, but they also get a game against Echo Fox. The last game of week eight pits these two teams against each other. The loser of that match might as well pack their bags for the offseason.
Golden Guardians didn’t quite fit into the tier with FlyQuest and Clutch, but their playoff road is tough as well. They have three games with teams ranked higher than them before finishing with Clutch. And after going 0-2 last week themselves, they’re not really carrying much momentum or growth heading into the final two weeks of the split.
They’re back: OpTic, TSM, 100 Thieves
They’re back! 100 Thieves are officially in playoff territory with their win last week over FlyQuest. By now everyone knows that they’ve gone 6-4 with Yoo “Ryu” Sang-wook and Aaron “FakeGod” Lee in the lineup. In fact, they’re hotter than both OpTic and TSM at this point, and we may see more rankings changes in the future.
TSM’s split gets more and more depressing every week. In their latest loss, to OpTic this time, they barely put up a fight as OpTic simply ran over the top side of the map. TSM’s record is most likely good enough for playoffs, but this is a far fall for a once-proud franchise.
New blood: TL, CLG, C9
Liquid aside, CLG are playing like the hottest team in the league. By not doing dumb things and playing to the late game, they have been able to exorcise themselves of many of the game-ending mistakes that LCS teams make on a regular basis. A lot of people have been sleeping on this team but the results speak for themselves. Their early game has steadily improved and even if they lose a lane or two, they generally know how to play around that and press their advantages on the stronger side of the map.
Their ability to recover when things go wrong is impressive. Last week, C9 got a solo kill in the top lane on CLG’s Jayce. Ben jungler Raymond “Wiggily” Griffin didn’t give up on that lane, transitioning from top side control into coordinates mid gank. He was able to have more impact on Skarner than the enemy Lee Sin, and that was basically the game.
After struggling for years, CLG are now the second team in the region. That’s been a perilous spot in recent splits—nobody has been able to hang onto it for long. CLG will be challenged to maintain grip on their spot long enough to secure a summer playoff bye.
All photos via Riot Games.