Nearly everything we thought we knew about the NA LCS was thrown out the window in week five.
Sure, Echo Fox and Cloud9 are still good. But it’s an absolute mess below them. The Golden Guardians—yes those Golden Guardians—won another game, while teams like Liquid, TSM, and FlyQuest don’t know what hit them. We’re used to seeing clown fiestas like this in Europe, but NA is trying to take over the role as the most unpredictable region.
Our voters did the best they could with the rankings, giving each team a score between 1 (worst) and 10 (best). We’ll start with the bottom, but what really is the bottom these days?
Life at the bottom
After doing absolutely nothing to start the split, the teams at the bottom of the table have shown signs of life. Well, unless you’re CLG, they’re still receiving CPR in hopes of restarting their NA LCS dreams.
10) Golden Guardians (5 points, no change)
Okay, they’re not actually on a win streak because they still lost to fellow bottom feeders OpTic Gaming. But boy did the Guardians show up in their upset victory over Liquid. For a team that struggled to identify win conditions in the early weeks, they have come a long way. They still have to figure out how to play around any lane besides mid, however.
9) CLG (12 points, -1)
Another week, another way for CLG to throw after getting ahead. If it wasn’t for the names on the back of the jersey and the logo on the front, they could easily be last place. But pedigree and respect won’t carry them much longer.
8) OpTic Gaming (16 points, +1)
OpTic showed signs of life against the Guardians with Viktor mid lane and Draven ADC. But the Draven fell behind against FlyQuest and a carry performance from Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage couldn’t save them.
What have you done for me lately?
Each of these teams had spurts in the first half of the split where they looked like they had figured things out. Things promptly went south though, and they now go into the second half still searching for identities.
7) 100 Thieves (20 points, -1)
This team picked up a win last week, but it wasn’t pretty. They were behind for pretty much the whole game against CLG, only surviving because of clutch Bard ults from Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black. CLG’s mistakes were enough for 100 Thieves to steal some opportunistic Barons and end the game, but that doesn’t mean they played well at all.
6) TSM (24 points, -2)
Every week, every year, it’s the same thing for TSM. They are continually over-matched in macro and fail to adjust when things go differently than planned—the same problems analysts have harped on for years. Need proof? TSM are 3-1 on blue side and 1-5 on red side this split.
5) FlyQuest (28 points, no change)
FlyQuest looked like a team on the rise, but then a loss to Clutch Gaming and a dogfight against OpTic knocked them back down a peg. In both games, they threw in key moments in the late game—they need to fix their comms and stay together.
Are they for real?
These two teams are on opposite trajectories. One started out shaky before getting hot while the other can’t seem to right the ship after a stumble. Whichever one can build during the second half of the split could contend for the championship.
4) Clutch Gaming (37 points, +3)
Clutch put together a strong week, defeating FlyQuest and TSM with strong macro and good mid play from Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten. The removal of Tracker’s Knife in Patch 8.4 could be really good for jungler Nam “LirA” Tae-yoo, who loves to invade.
3) Team Liquid (38 points, no change)
Liquid fans want to scrub the loss to the Golden Guardians from their collective memories. This team still has coordination issues, and most of them involve support Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung. He was outplayed by the Guardians’ Matt Elento and is still not on the same page with Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng.
These two teams are clearly the best in the LCS right now. If things don’t change, we’ll see them in the finals in a rematch of a series Echo Fox now lead 2-0.
2) Cloud9 (47 points, -1, 2 first-place votes)
Our voters have such respect for Cloud9 that a couple gave them first place votes even after their loss to Echo Fox. The reasons aren’t far-fetched—Cloud9 play strong, fundamental League, and even though their top lane Lucian didn’t work out against Echo Fox’s Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon, it’s at least admirable that they had the guts to go for it.
1) Echo Fox (48 points, +1, 3 first-place votes)
Echo Fox’s extremely aggressively play has them back on top. They back down to nobody, and it’s tough to see anybody competing with their solo lanes when they’re playing well. And last week, the bot lane showed up big time as well. This team is looking more and more complete by the week.