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-10. Impulse- Coming in at the relegation spot is Impulse. With one of the worst off-seasons I’ve ever seen. A team centered around two players that have never had real success in a scene, and one of those players (Gate) is swapping to a new role. The other 3 players are practically no names pulled from solo q.
-9. Renegades- If this team was formed 2-3 years ago I would have it at the top of this list. However in today’s age this players just haven’t been able to get it done. Barely squeaking their way out of the challenger series against coast with the only upgrade being maplestreet to freeze (which was a great buy). This is the one prediction I hope I’m wrong about, as someone who’s been watching the scene for a while it brings back good memories to see these guys again. I just can’t picture them doing well against the titans of 2016.
-8. Dignitas- I like the changes that were made offseason, both the the player roster and coaching staff. I do believe they will be better than they were last year. However the league in general is going to be strong than last year, and these changes weren’t groundshifting enough to put them at the top. Kiwikid has been unable to hone his gamestyle over many splits, so I doubt he’s going to magically improve for this one. And the jungler and top laner are both from EU LCS and need more experience and practice time. They shouldn’t be relegated and I expect them to place higher in the summer split.
-7. Echo Fox- Can 2 people carry a team of 5? That’s going to be the question for this team this split. Kieth has been deserving of a starting role in the LCS for a while, it’s mostly been his own choosing to turn it down until now. Froggen is going to be a top 3 mid laner in NA this year. He’s consistent, can make plays, has experience. However I think the answer to the question is no, at least not well enough to make it to the top of NA.
-6. Counter Logic Gaming- Coming of one of the best seasons the organization has ever had I see this team crumbling down to #6. They lost their ADC, who was the main reason they went so far, and are now in a rebuilding stage. This is definetly not a bad thing. While doublelift was on the team they could not improve or branch out, they were stuck with his play style. Now this team has a year to grow and figure out who they are under aphromoo, I expect more in the summer than now from them.
-5. Team Liquid- Fenix and Piglet will continue to be world class players as they were last year. They are at #5 because dominate still struggles in the jungle and with Quas leaving their top lane has significantly fallen in skill. Combine this with the lingering possibility that Piglet is still hard to work with, as that was a huge problem last year, and I see the 4th place curse finally being broken.
-4. NRG Esports- One of the reasons the NA scene is going to improve this year is these guys. Buying out Coast’s LCS spot and then making a World’s contender from scratch is outstanding, and management deserves a lot of credit for what they pulled off in the offseason. With players like impact and altec combined with management coming from the NBA I see this team going far. Just not right off the bat. They did just come together, they need time to mesh. By the second half of the spring split they should be raking in the wins.
-3. Cloud 9- This team had a huge question at the end of last year, who is going to shot call in place of Hai. And as was evident for the month that Hai was not on the team and they fell to 7th place, no one on the current roster could do it. Picking up Bunnyfufu absolutely answered that question. He is much better mechanically than Hai currently is, and has the potential to be the shot caller the team needs. With Hai mentoring him the problem should not only disappear but improve dramatically. With shot calling taken care of they have Rush who I think will be the best jungle in NA this split, along with jensen(incarnation changed his name again), who has improves dramatically since joining the team, and sneaky who has proven to be a consistent carry. Watch out for these guys this split, they will definetly not be 7th again.
-2. Immortals- All the compliments I gave to NRG’s managers for their off season work, double it and you get this team. Buying out Team 8’s LCS spot immortals also started from scratch, and came out with one of the top 10 teams the NA LCS has ever seen. For those who weren’t paying attention over the off season expect to be blown away by this team’s immediate success. Comprised of 2 European powerhouses and 3 NA players that have everything to prove, and the skill to prove it, this team has worlds in it’s sights before they even get on stage.
-1. Team Solo Mid- You read my analysis for Immortals and you might say how are they only second then? Well that’s because TSM went and picked up the dream team that doublelift has been begging for. With the only member returning from last year’s roster being Bjerg, the rest of the team was hand picked to win. Bringing in a professional sports coach so the behind the scenes issues that have always plagued TSM don’t happen again, and the strategist from the 18-0 Fnatic, this team is going to be near unstoppable in NA. The org was embarrassed at worlds, and now they’re going to take it out on their opponents back home.