NA and EU LCS 2016 Spring Split Projected Rankings
Now that Riot has released the rosters for the spring split, I’m here to try to analyze each organization's roster and try to predict how they will rank against each other. My analysis and predictions will be very narrow and limited as we have yet to see how some of these new rosters will actually perform. I base all my analysis on known players who have competitive experience so rookies will bring my evaluation of a team’s level a bit lower. None the less I am here to make some bold predictions. I have read some articles of pre-season rankings and I disagree with some of them that’s why I made one myself. You are welcome to comment and disagree with my opinions.
Impulse tried to sell their spot but was unsuccessful. They have scrapped a mediocre roster based on the number of unknown and untested players they have acquired. Feng, Proxcin and Pirean are rookies and Gate subbed for previous starters. Mash was the previous Coast ADC. I ranked them last because I don’t believe the recognizable faces in the roster can carry the team.
Dignitas has retained Shiphtur and Kiwikid, then added Smittyj and Apollo for the departing koreans. Kirei is from G2 Esports. Although the ADC position is a slight upgrade I believe the roster did not improve much with these moves. The team could climb higher depending on how the 2 Europeans mesh into the team.
8 Echo Fox
Rick Fox’s newly acquired spot from Gravity has made some strong moves to acquire players. The roster might not look too impressive but still looks solid. Froggen is clearly the centerpiece but Keith as a clean up ADC is serviceable. KFO the new top laner but we don’t know much about him as a rookie other than he’s a solo-queue star from Korea. I ranked them at number 8 because I feel that as a new roster with rookies as well as a korean, it will be a difficult split for echo fox.
Top: RF Legendary
Mid: Alex Ich
Renegades didn’t look too strong in the promotion tournament but they certainly improved their roster with just one change. Freeze comes as a marked upgrade in his position to alleviate the carry load from Alex. I put RNG above the other 3 teams because they only made one change and could keep improving on their playstyle while the others look to create team coordination from scratch. The team is fresh from challenger scene but I feel that they are ready for the LCS now that they have 3 veterans in Alex, Crumbz and Freeze.
Jungle: IWDominate/ youngbin
Mid: Fenix/ Dardoch
ADC: Piglet/ fabbbyyy
Support: Smoothie/ Matt
Liquid are introducing a 10 man roster to encourage their players to maintain a high level of play and to compete for playing time. This system hasn't been consistently tried in the west and could bring mixed results. Looking at the starting roster they have brought in Lourlo for the retiring Quas and Smoothie for Xpecial. Although both positions might not be an upgrade they still have strong carries in Fenix and Piglet they just have to find an effective strategy to implement as a team. They also brought in Locodoco as head coach, Loco has a strong strategic mind and could act as a bridge to making the Koreans feel more comfortable in this team. I also feel now that communication between koreans and the management will be much more smoother with Loco at the helm.
NRG is going into the split with a lot of hype as they have acquired two veteran korean players in Impact and GBM. KonKwon was acquired to ease translation in game. Communication is the key weakness of the roster as both koreans still need to improve their english. Altec is a tested ADC in the LCS and makes this team a contender. Moon is a CS standout and could be the questionable piece of the roster. Nonetheless this team is strong in its solo lanes and serviceable at best at the bot lane. I put them in this position because I feel that communication and coordinated macro play probably is still being worked on by the team. But if they can improve these areas throughout the regular season they can go higher in the standings.
Support: Hai/ BunnyFufu
Cloud9 has gotten themselves a proper Jungler in Rush and moved Hai into support to keep his in game shot-calling. BunnyFufu was also added as a sub so he can transition into the starter role as Hai has plans to go back into retirement. The team had a rough summer split but was able to scrap to get a spot to worlds, where their weaknesses were exposed. I believe they made good moves but failed to address their declining top laner. They surely will improve from their summer split performance but not well enough to challenge for the title.
CLG has opted to sever ties with their star ADC Doublelift in an attempt to improve team environment. Stixxay might be a downgrade but their core in shot calling (Aphro) and carry (Darshan) are intact. I just don’t buy that Huhi is an upgrade from Pobelter. Xmithie is not world class and can also be inconsistent. The summer split champs is still high in my rankings, I still believe they are one of the strongest teams that can execute coordinated macro strategies. I actually believe it’s up to how Xmithie and Huhi performs whether CLG finish higher or lower than 3rd.
Immortals are high on my ranking even with a whole new roster because they have acquired strong stars and capable role players. Huni is clearly going to be the carry but Pobelter and Wildturtle can be considered experienced and can step into a secondary carry role. They can also rely on their strong top-jungle synergy back from Fnatic. They might have 2 koreans but both can speak english so communication is not a huge of a hurdle. Some people may consider this too high for a new roster but I feel that all of these names can be considered veterans or experienced in the LCS. They might stumble at the start of the split but I strongly believe that this team has a chance to compete for the title this spring.
In my opinion, Tsm has hit the off season jackpot. I feel that they got what they were looking for even if it wasn't exactly their first choice in players. Doublelift is still reliable, he just needs a better team environment and good management to rein him in. By taking an NA ADC allows them to take 2 imports in Svenskeren and Yellowstar. TSM explicitly expressed how much they wanted to take away shot-calling responsibilities from Bjergsen. Yellowstar is exactly what they need, a veteran presence who Doublelift can respect and a shot-caller that has a calm demeanor. TSM has gone through the “Korean Import” experiment and I respect that although it's a hard decision they would rather have an all english-speaking team. In my opinion, this is the best roster Bjergsen’s ever had so far in his career in TSM. Svenskeren has also played with Bjergsen in Copenhagen Wolves so I think synergy wise they already have something going. Other teams might have bigger stars or hype, but I think TSM is the only roster that tried to acquire players depending on their needs and weaknesses rather than just chasing star power.
Elements is in the same boat as Impulse in NA. They wanted to sell their spot but was unable to before the deadline Riot has given. Now they have scrapped for free agents and tried to assemble a team but unfortunately it is mediocre one. I don’t expect much from this roster and only look forward to seeing Eika and what he has to offer as the rookie in the team.
Gamers2 Esports are making some risky moves but could also be very rewarding if it works out. Moving Kikis out of the jungle to accommodate Trick is certainly understandable since the korean jungler is certainly an upgrade, but then implanting Kikis into the top lane is a huge risk. Emperor is also an upgrade but ultimately the other members outside of the Koreans might have questionable performances here and there. Another knock on this team is their obvious complicated in-game communication with their imports. They have strong upset potential but will ultimately struggle if they cannot coordinate effectively in-game.
Giants may have made the playoffs last summer but now other teams have made some drastic changes to their rosters. It’s harder to predict how other teams might place but I’m basing Giants’ position on their inability to land players that can be considered significant upgrades to the players that left the team. Xpeppi (previously Peppinero) is still the hard carry of the team and Giants would have ranked higher if they have acquired a better team around their star.
Support: NisbethSupport: NisbethThe new LCS team fresh from challenger has added Trashy as their Jungler. They didn't look great in the promotion tournament but eventually edged out Mousesports to gain automatic promotion to the LCS. In my opinion, I don’t see them going into playoffs but these all danish team might just have enough potential to stay up in the LCS.
The Unicorns have finally landed a legitimate jungler, unfortunately their star Mid laner has moved on to a better team. They also acquired Fox and Steelback although I’m not very confident that they can surpass the former players in that position. UOL can finish further into the playoffs if Diamond and Hylissang can develop strong synergy to facilitate for their carries, and their carries can play at a higher level previously seen from them in their former teams.
Support: Gosu Pepper
Roccat will be fielding a whole new roster after their players moved on to other teams. On paper these names are familiar and have been around in the LCS but most of them are in the decline skill wise. I still rank them high as experience in the scene is valuable and they would need it since they might stumble a few times throughout the split. I, on the other hand am very excited to see the rookie Jebus. Having an ADC meta into the new season there is no better time to raise your stock as an ADC than this split.
After buying the Gambit spot Splyce have retained Cabochard from that line-up and added a new roster. Shook and Nukeduck might not be the same players at their peak but are still serviceable. They have also added H2K’s previous Bot lane duo in Hjarnan and Kasing. Although I am all in for Kasing I feel that they could have tried to take a stronger ADC. Overall this team will try to play around Cabochard and Nukeduck.
Fnatic lost their Korean duo but was quick to replace them with new ones. They surely upgraded their jungle with the acquisition of Spirit. Gamsu is a downgrade from Huni and now they don’t look to be as smooth in the communication department as these are probably worse english speakers than the previous players. They also lost a veteran shot-caller in Yellowstar. I still have Fnatic finishing 3rd in the regular season, I have strong faith in their coach Deilor and are still retaining 2 strong carries in Febiven and Rekkles. They aren't exactly bringing in rookies but their ceiling is much lower compared to the previous iteration of the roster.
Some might be surprised that I have H2k above Fnatic but I feel H2K has better addressed their problems compared to Fnatic as well as they have considerably upgraded in 3 positions.At support, Vander might not be a considerable upgrade from Kasing but you have to take into consideration that Jankos and Vander has superior synergy in this utility roles compared to the palyers before. Jankos is also a massive upgrade skill wise from Loulex. Finally they have a strong upgrade in the ADC position. FORG1VENGRE is a massive upgrade from Hjarnan and will be forming a strong bot lane with Vander. I can easily say that on paper H2K has hit the lottery jackpot in the offseason (same with TSM). Thier solo laners might not be very exciting but can surely be reliable and consistent. Surely one of the teams I am very excited to watch.
It’s hard to bet against Origen. They have kept their roster intact and even got an upgrade at midlane with PowerofEvil. Whenever Xpeke feels he’s not prepared to take the rift due to growing responsibilities in running a team, he can easily opt to sit back. It’s easy to put them atop since Fnatic’s roster has been dismantled. It looks like they have a firm grip on top spot with much of the other teams not posing a significant threat.