Last spring, Cloud9 shot to the top of the NA LCS leaderboard after just one week.
They beat the pants off defending champions TSM and looked like they found a star in the jungle in rookie Juan “Contractz” Garcia. But as the split wore on and the League meta shifted, opponents started figuring them out. They finished limping and ran out of gas in the playoff finals vs. TSM.
This year, things are different. Contractz is gone, ironically in favor of former TSM jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen. And the team started out slow in the first few weeks before really turning on the jets in week four. But after a dominating victory over Team Liquid, they ascended to the top of our power rankings.
Can they avoid peaking to early and keep the good times rolling? For now, they were a near-unanimous choice for first place, as our writers assigned points from 1 (worst) to 10 (best) to all the NA LCS teams. We’ll save C9 for last at start from the bottom.
They got a win!
Despite a big upset win last week, there’s pretty strong agreement among the voter group which teams are the worst in the league. Each of these teams has major flaws that don’t look immediately fixable.
10) Golden Guardians (6 points, no change)
Hey, they picked up a win! Just like we called it last week on The Recall, our League of Legends podcast, the Guardians snowballed top laner Samson “Lourlo” Jackson ahead and found an unexpected victory over 100 Thieves. Lourlo finished with only a 1/1/5 scoreline on Illaoi, but 100 Thieves had no prayer of matching him in a side lane. It will take more than one win for this group to move up, however.
9) OpTic Gaming (14 points, no change)
OpTic picked up a win against CLG, but it wasn’t pretty. Their weakest member, top laner Derek “Zig” Shao was killed again and again, but CLG’s greed let OpTic back into things. Outside of that, their late game shot calling remains a catastrophe. Who even is the shot caller on this team?
8) CLG (19 points, -2)
After hitting a high last week, CLG are right down where they probably should be. The theme of last week was greed: overextending with a lead against OpTic, and then picking an overaggressive draft with Fiora mid against TSM. The Fiora was their only hope to survive late game and it wasn’t nearly enough. They sorely miss former support Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black’s voice.
Battle of the EU mids
North America loves importing European mid laners. Their track record has been good in the past, but the newest class is having some issues. Whichever one of these two mids can carry hardest will probably see the playoffs.
7) Clutch Gaming (26 points, +1)
Clutch Gaming are the luckiest squad in the region. First, ADC Apollo Price stole several key objectives against TSM—including a Baron with an Ezreal Q, of all things. Then, they saw OpTic completely decompose in a manner of seconds despite having huge lead. That’s not a sustainable way to win in the LCS—or is it?
6) 100 Thieves (31 points, -2)
This team only lost two spots in the rankings, but it feels like they’re in a bit of a free fall—and not just because they lost to the winless Guardians. Their two biggest question marks heading into the year were jungler William “Meteos” Hartman and mid laner Yoo “Ryu” Sang-ook, and both have been bad. Their late game objective control makes no sense. That’s kind of important in what has so far been a late-game meta.
The playoff teams
These two teams have played better of late and are looking like definite playoff teams who could cause some problems.
5) FlyQuest (35 points, +2)
We still have yet to see a few weeks out of FlyQuest mid laner Song “Fly” Yong-jun after he overcame early-season visa woes to join the team last week. But the early results are promising. In particular, they took it to C9 last week until late game paralysis took over.
4) TSM (40 points, +1)
TSM are beginning the slow march up the ladder. It’s reminiscent of Spring 2016, the last time they had to work in an entirely new bot lane. But the biggest issue for TSM continues to be jungler Mike Yeung. The much-hyped second-year player still needs to prove he’s more than a one-hit wonder.
Shuffle at the top
C9 are back on top while Liquid and Echo Fox both have things to work on.
3) Team Liquid (49 points, no change)
Liquid’s issues were laid bare in their losses to Cloud9 and Echo Fox. This team has a tendency to freeze. A team with jungler Jake “Xmithie” Puchero isn’t expected to be aggressive early. But at some point, they need to make things happen, especially when their opponents can keep up in the lane phase.
2) Echo Fox (54 points, -1, 1 first-place vote)
Echo Fox are the opposite of Liquid. They love making things happen. A lot of times, that works out, but when it doesn’t, things go south in a hurry. And against the best teams, they have to figure out how to prop up their bot lane, who can be solid if they get some help.
1) Cloud9 (59 points, +1, 5 first-place votes)
Cloud9 have improved week after week. They have weaknesses, but they also adapt really well, sometimes even in-game. That’s a hard combination in a region where teams generally have no idea how to close.