The LCS is starting to look stable through four weeks, with many of the teams in the league settling into their spots in the standings ahead of the inevitable crunch time that is the playoff race.
Two teams in particular, TSM and 100 Thieves, have emerged as the summer’s top contenders and are trading blows at the top of the league. This comes after Cloud9 and Team Liquid dominated the top two spots in the LCS standings through the first half of the year. And although those two League of Legends squads appear to be getting back on track, there are still 15 games left on the schedule for each team. Nothing should be taken for granted just yet.
This upcoming weekend is being billed as rivalry week for the LCS, with several key matchups slated to be played—mostly between the top four teams in the league. Regardless of outcomes, though, this weekend is sure to present plenty of make-or-break scenarios for each of North America’s 10 squads. Considering we’re already two-thirds of the way through the season, the final countdown before the playoff chase truly begins is just on the horizon.
Here are our LCS power rankings after four weeks of play in the 2021 Summer Split.
Regression to the mean: CLG, Golden Guardians, FlyQuest
The Counter Logic jokes are writing themselves for one of NA’s most storied orgs. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but that 3-0 week remains an indication that they can turn it around. The wins were quality and the losses were to respectable teams. All of their losses this past week went over 30 minutes and saw them stick true to their winning formula of front-to-back teamfighting composition—and there’s something to be said for not overreacting to one bad result and switching it up. Three losses, however? It remains to be seen. CLG might make the playoffs regardless, given how the losses keep piling up for FlyQuest and how deep of a hole Golden Guardians have already dug themselves in two-thirds of the way through the year.
Golden Guardians are in not-10th for maybe the first time all year, but more so thanks to FlyQuest than their own play. It hasn’t been bad and, in fact, their macro has gone through the roof this split thanks to Solo’s veteran presence—they almost beat the defending champions off that alone. If the only reason they keep losing games is that their individual talent isn’t quite up to snuff, that’s a big golden dub for this organization. Also, buy Ablazeolive stonks.
FlyQuest have lost seven games in a row and the last win they notched was against Golden Guardians back in week two. GG beat them in a crushing 39-minute loss when FlyQuest fielded three Academy players. Do with that what you will. The underlying numbers look bad as well. As a team, they rank in the bottom three in kill/death ratio, gold percent rating (average amount of game’s total gold held, relative to 50 percent), early-game rating, mid/late rating—you get the idea. Mid laner Palafox had been putting up some torrid numbers but looked more respectable in two of his three games this past week. Licorice and Josedeodo are holding down the top side as best they can, but this is a team that looks like it’s going to miss the playoffs and maybe even finish in last.
Soon-to-be playoff locks: Evil Geniuses, Dignitas, Immortals
Remember when the community thought that Dignitas could throw some magic together and make a push toward the top half of the league? That was a fun 30 seconds.
As of late, Dignitas have been sliding further and further down the LCS standings and are quickly finding themselves lower on the playoff ladder. While they haven’t reached the bottom tier of the league just yet, the lack of coordination and generalized difference in skill between the team’s “dream team” and its proven, top-half caliber roster is practically night and day. Not to point fingers, but Akaadian hasn’t exactly come out of nowhere to save Dignitas’ jungle situation. After the organization’s general manager James “Bakery” Baker claimed that Akaadian was an “LCS level talent—no doubt about it,” Akaadian has posted a 2.0 KDA on the LCS stage across five games—four of which have been blowout losses.
To make matters worse for Dignitas, two teams that they had developed a cushion over earlier in the season—Evil Geniuses and Immortals—are about to cruise right past them in the LCS standings. While Dignitas are barely holding on to its 0.500 record, Immortals and Evil Geniuses are in prime position to slip right past them in the standings. Immortals, in particular, are having a quietly solid Summer Split. If the LCS still operated with its “fresh record” rule at the beginning of a new split, Immortals’ 7-5 mark this summer would be good enough for a share of third place.
Keeping pace: Team Liquid, Cloud9
Zven is back in the LCS. He’s no longer warming the bench with Cloud9 Academy—and he couldn’t have returned at a more crucial time for the team. With Zven back on the main roster, C9 walked out of week four with a 2-1 record, only losing against 100 Thieves in a match that, shockingly, was a lot more lopsided than many fans likely expected.
This was also the first weekend that K1ng didn’t start for the team. His performance was consistent throughout his first four weeks on the LCS stage, but C9 as a whole struggled to find synergy with their new ADC, therefore plucking the Spring Split champions from their coveted first-place position and providing them with a new home beneath the new LCS rulers.
While Zven coming back to the LCS was certainly what the team needed, the squad has yet to show the strength necessary to contend with TSM, 100T, and even Liquid. Once more, they remain in fourth place of our power rankings this week, this time much more definitively than before.
Liquid had a similar 2-1 weekend, bested only by the other top-seeded team, TSM. Once again, they played an Alphari-less squad, though Jenkins has been performing quite admirably under the circumstances that the team has endured throughout the last few weeks. Regardless, Jenkins coming up from Academy has helped the main roster stay afloat amid one of the most bizarre and competitive splits in LCS history.
But just as we were introduced to Liquid starter Jenkins, we may soon be saying goodbye—but not entirely. Alphari could return to the LCS this weekend, regaining the starter spot for Liquid in the top lane. But during Liquid’s LCS press conference, the org confirmed that Jenkins will be remaining on the main roster alongside Alphari for the near future.
It’s still unclear how these two top laners with very distinct playstyles will perform as they’re rotated on and off of the LCS playing field, but Liquid are in a definitive top-performing spot with no signs of slowing down. Therefore, like last week, Liquid remain in third place within our power rankings. Alphari’s return might just be what the team needs to move up, though.
Another shuffle at the top: 100 Thieves, TSM
It feels like there’s been a passing of the torch throughout the first half of the summer, with the heroes of the past few seasons moving aside for a moment. C9 and Liquid aren’t the dominant juggernauts that we’ve come to know them as—at least, for now—and thus, the top spot in the region has been taken over by North America’s beloved Thieves in red and black.
For 100 Thieves, the team has a well-oiled core consisting of Abbedagge, FBI, and Closer, three players who have been at their peak this split. The roster’s new mid laner, however, has been a delight to watch for fans, boasting a broad champion pool, the highest KDA, and some of the best early-game stats of any LCS mid laner this summer, according to Oracle’s Elixir.
His addition has been one of the best LCS roster moves of 2021 and could see the Thieves challenge for a trophy if they can continue to find consistency with their play—which looks likely. They’re second in the league for first blood rate, they have the most dominant early game in the league, and lead multiple categories in objective control.
TSM, however, are the only team that challenges their dominance by way of mid-to-late game supremacy. Their early game is pretty bad, with the third-lowest average gold difference at 15 minutes in the league, according to Oracle’s Elixir. But what they lack in early success, they overcome with great teamfighting and good decision-making.
Now, the big question is whether they can maintain this level of play. We’ve seen TSM find great form in the middle of a split before, only to stumble and fall by the end of the season. Consistency is the only hurdle left for a team that looks poised to make another run at the championship this year.
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