How the mighty have fallen. In contrast to our LEC power rankings, in which G2 Esports continue to dominate that league, Liquid have tumbled out of the top two in the LCS edition. Going 0-2 in week three with one of those losses to Golden Guardians in primetime will do that.
In fact, it’s more impressive now that they’re still third rather than much lower in our power rankings. A lot of that—OK, nearly all of it—is due to what happened last week to the teams below them in the rankings. After we saw a lot of stability in week two, multiple LCS teams apparently decided that week three was a fine time for a vacation.
To sort through this absolute mess of a region, our League experts ranked each team from one point (worst) to 10 points (best). Here’s how things shook out:
It looks like our staff responded to a week of confusing losses by mostly keeping teams where they were. But if certain squads continue to underperform, we’ll drop them like it’s hot.
Not disappointed: Evil Geniuses, CLG, Golden Guardians
These three teams can no longer disappoint us because we’ve come to expect so little. Over the past two weeks, most of their wins were over each other until the final game last Sunday. Suddenly, EG’s bot lane came alive. ADC Bae “Bang” Jun-sik and support Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidham pushed in their opponents and called the squad in for a dive. FlyQuest were badly positioned to the top side and didn’t realize the danger they were in.
Then the real shocker came on Monday night when Golden Guardians took down Liquid. Liquid bot laner Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng had no respect for his matchup or for Guardians support, Yuri “Keith” Jew, a converted ADC. In the past, we would’ve expected GGS to fold as Liquid regrouped but that didn’t happen. As a team, the Guardians worked much better around mid lane than Liquid, seemingly punishing every TL move with two of their own.
The coup de grace came when GGS took Baron uncontested since Liquid didn’t realize it was happening. Still, it didn’t seem like GGS could close out against the defending champs. But in a display uncommon for an LCS side, GGS aggressively pushed in the bot lane, going for picks deep in the Liquid base. They were rewarded with another kill on Doublelift and the game was over.
Given TL’s level this year, this isn’t as big of an upset as it would have seemed before the start of the split. And make no mistake—most people still have Golden Guardians last in our power rankings, though functionally and in the standings, they’re tied with CLG. We aren’t going to jinx that by raising expectations now.
Hard to trust: Immortals, 100 Thieves
Both of these teams continue to eke out wins and both of them are solid, well-schooled squads. 100T rolled over Liquid in yet another bad Senna game for Doublelift. Fans may have flamed Liquid’s substitute jungler Shern “Shernfire” Tai for getting picked a couple of times in that game, but 100T were able to move against him in the bot side river because TL had no control of the bot lane. Senna into most champs is bad early, but as a team, TL don’t seem able to play around it.
Immortals, though, had an even better week with consecutive victories over 100T and CLG. And they get a suddenly juicy matchup in week four against a TL side trying to incorporate jungler Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen, fresh off his arrival from Europe. It’s possible that they could be 6-2 with a playoff spot in reach before their week five match with C9, but we remain tempered with our expectations here. Xmithie will always have his charges in a good position, we’re just not sure it’s enough to win in the playoffs.
That was bad: Dignitas, FlyQuest
These teams carried a combined 6-2 record into week three and lost all four of their games. It wasn’t as ugly as it sounds: They both had matchups vs. C9 and Dignitas also had to play a solid TSM side. But if they want to crack the top three, they have to beat the top three teams in the league. That’s how it works.
A new order: C9, TSM, Liquid
The big news is Liquid’s drop to third. We still have faith in the talent, which is why they aren’t lower. And they’re getting Broxah this week, the jungler they expected to play all of 2020 with.
But Broxah isn’t going to come in and save the day right away. It’s not like Shernfire played like a scrub in those four losses. And Liquid’s problems with executing around a weak side of the map have existed long before this season—Broxah will help them find new playstyles, but it’s going to take some time.
TSM continue to have solid performances from key players like jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett and top laner Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik, who’s smurfing on the league in his second season. We still don’t love some of the team’s moves, like moving on from ADC Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen, who’s having a breakthrough split with C9. But this team has the potential to improve and it looks like they’ll be back in the Worlds mix.
As for C9, they continue to dominate even as the competition has gotten slightly harder. The most impressive part of their performances last week was how they took it to the supposed strengths of their competitors. Zven undressed FlyQuest ADC Jason “WildTurtle” Tran in that win before solo laners Eric “Licorice” Ritchie and Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer did the same to their counterparts on Dignitas. It’s not just that C9 are winning—they’re styling, and it’s good to see.
All photos via Riot Games.