With two weeks left to go in the NA LCS Summer Split, the playoff field is still wide open. There are three teams at the top, but behind them are a whole series of ties.
It’s crazy that a team like Cloud9, sitting in 10th place and looking dead to rights a few weeks ago, is now in position to make playoffs. That also means any of the teams below them could sneak in as well.
It’s going to be an interesting finish to the season. To figure out who’s likely to make it, our League analysts ranked the teams from one point (worst) to 10 points (best). We’ll start with a team that is looking beyond the playoffs to the regional gauntlet.
They can still make it
10) Clutch Gaming (six points)
Clutch Gaming are not actually eliminated from the playoffs, but their recent moves have been focused on the regional gauntlet, where they can still nab a Worlds spot. That’s how crazy NA is—even the last-place team can make Worlds.
9) CLG (nine points)
CLG have no championship points from Spring Split, so unlike Clutch, they have to make playoffs to extend their season. That will be tough without longtime coach Tony “Zikz” Gray. The timing of Zikz’s replacement just doesn’t make sense to an outside eye.
8) Golden Guardians (16 points)
In a reversal of last split, Golden Guardians started hot but have failed to keep momentum. Jungler Juan “Contractz” Garcia has been pressing way too hard to make plays.
7) TSM (19 points)
We really don’t know what to think of TSM at this point. How do they keep losing to base races every week? The look on jungler Jonathan “Grig” Armao’s face after their most recent incomprehensible loss was one of total shock.
Not quite believers
These three teams have proven that they are in the playoff conversation. The question is how far they’ll go—if they make it, which is no guarantee. All three have surprised us in various ways.
6) FlyQuest (27 points)
FlyQuest stumbled last week, losing two winnable games against likely playoff opponents OpTic and Liquid. But that shouldn’t overshadow what they did in weeks 4-6, when they went 4-2 with wins over Liquid and 100 Thieves.
5) Cloud9 (31 points)
A few weeks ago, we thought Cloud9 were dead and buried. But the return of mid laner Nicolaj Jensen and ADC Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi has them back on the winning path. New jungler Robert “Blaber” Huang has also received a bunch of hype, but he’s still mistake-prone. Will he continue to improve as Cloud9 hunt for a playoff spot?
4) OpTic Gaming (32 points)
Last week was huge for OpTic. They came back against FlyQuest to extend their win streak to 5-0. But then an unexpected loss to Clutch to keep them tied for fourth had to be disappointing. Still, this team is playing without pressure to perform and could bounce back quickly.
Battle for the finish
These three teams have surged ahead in the last couple weeks. The finish to the split will be fun as they all try to improve even more heading into playoffs.
3) Echo Fox (41 points)
Fox support Andy “Smoothie” Ta is already having in impact on his new team. They are warding more and communicating better between lanes. The question is if their new bot lane holds up against playoff pressure.
2) 100 Thieves (44 points)
It shouldn’t be possible to lose a game like the 100 Thieves did against Liquid last week. Liquid basically didn’t have a jungler for the first 5 minutes of the game, but instead of pressing his advantage, Andy “AnDa” Hoang let his opponent get back into the game. Not using his lead to relieve pressure in the bot lane was a critical error.
1) Team Liquid (50 points)
Liquid are rounding into form again and getting good contributions across the board. Mid laner Eugene “Pobelter” Park is playing lights-out after a midsummer slump, and he has the team back near top form. But judging from Liquid’s performance at MSI, top form will have to be even better if they want to really compete at Worlds.