The NA LCS kicks off again this weekend, and we can’t wait for the clown fiesta that awaits us.
After all, NA LCS teams were trying Mordekaiser ADC before such things became the meta. And who can forget NA’s perfect mastery of the lane swap meta. Who knows what wonky strats we’ll see next from our favorite region. It may not be the highest expression of skill and execution, but you know it will be entertaining.
To sort through the mess, our voters assigned preseason ranks to each of the teams from 1 point (worst) to 10 points (Best). We’ll start with the bottom where one team looks clueless.
It was never going to work
We knew going into the year that three teams would struggle. We were right. These teams have a lot of stuff to figure out before they’re good again.
10) OpTic Gaming (9 points)
OpTic made big changes between splits, letting top laner Derek “Zig” Shao and Daerek “LemonNation” Hart go after spring. Apparently OpTic will cut y ou for having the wrong first name. Joking aside, both players underperformed, but it’s going to be hard for new top laner Niship “Dhokla” Doshi and veteran support Terry “Big” Chuong to do much better.
9) Golden Guardians (15 points)
The Guardians never expected to compete in their first split, but things were even tougher than they expected. But now they have a stronger mid laner and believe jungler Juan “Contractz” Garcia to be a MVP-level player. We’ll believe it when we see it.
8) FlyQuest (21 points)
Last split, FlyQuest was supposed to get better once mid laner Song “Fly” Yong-jun got past his visa problems and joined the team mid-split. But they looked just as bad with him as without. Now he’s back in Korea, and this team is rudderless.
The last seed
The last playoff seed last split came down to these three teams. Who will be the last one out this time?
7) CLG (30 points)
CLG Coach Tony “Zikz” Gray is complaining nonstop about the new meta. But we actually think it benefits CLG a lot. CLG top laner Darshan Upadhyaya will be right at home as a split pusher and the team has always been known for crazy scripted plays in the early game.
6) Clutch Gaming (34 points)
Clutch had a fantastic first split in the LCS and a playoff victory over TSM proved they belonged. Still, we have questions about their talent level, macro play, and affinity for the current meta.
5) TSM (46 points)
We kept waiting for TSM to turn on the jets last split. It never happened. Will it ever? They need more consistent pressure from jungle and stronger side lane control.
The unknown quantity
Nobody knows what Cloud9 is doing.
4) Cloud9 (48 points, 1 first-place vote)
One voter stuck with a first place vote. Several others bailed after Cloud9 announced the benching of three erstwhile starters. We have no idea how to think about it, so let’s just move on.
These teams proved their mettle in the playoffs last split.
3) 100 Thieves (54 points)
100 Thieves really picked things up near the end of last split. But they couldn’t overcome Liquid’s cross-map aggression in the final. Can we see more from the mid-jungle duo of Yoo “Ryu” Sang-wook and William “Meteos” Hartman?
2) Echo Fox (62 points, 1 first-place vote)
This meta fits Echo Fox perfectly. Top laner Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon and Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett should be able to run riot.
1) Team Liquid (67 points, 5 first-place votes)
Liquid’s still on top following their Spring Split championship, but we don’t feel great about it. The new meta might equalize talent in the bot lane, which was a Liquid strength. And we have questions over their chemistry following a pretty dismal performance at MSI. They get a big test right at the start as they kick off the summer split on June 16 at 4pm CT in a rematch vs. 100 Thieves.