Last week, we saw some movement in the NA LCS standings. For weeks the region had been plagued by massive ties, but now teams are starting to separate themselves.
The problem is, some of the teams that have risen aren’t ones we’d expect. And NA LCS stalwarts like TSM, CLG, and C9 are sitting on the outside of the playoffs.
To try and figure out what will happen the rest of the split, we asked our League experts to rank each team from one point (worst) to 10 points (best). We’ll start at the bottom, which is getting crowded.
What are you doing?
Teams in this tier are still searching for the identities. They better find it fast because there are only four weeks left.
10) Clutch Gaming (six points)
Clutch Gaming made big waves by swapping out three-fifths of the roster before week six. The new team, built around ADC Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin, had some moments, but key mechanical mistakes doomed them. It will be interesting to see if the team sticks with the same lineup down the stretch.
9) CLG (18 points)
CLG just can’t figure out what they want to do. Two years ago, they went on a strong run at MSI by protecting ADC Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes, but new jungler Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin just doesn’t like to focus on the bot lane.
8) Cloud9 (20 points)
Cloud9 had the best week of the bunch with a 2-0 record, which included an emotional win over former support Andy “Smoothie” Ta. And it does seem like the team is improving, especially rookies Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam (support) and Robert “Blaber” Huang (jungle). As much as they seemed dead-to-rights earlier in the split, playoffs are still a possibility for them.
7) TSM (21 points)
New problems seem to arise for TSM on a weekly basis. It’s back to the days where the solo laners are off doing their own thing, completely cut off from the duo lane. It’s clear the team’s decision to replace the jungle and bot lane positions last offseason backfired.
Can it last?
Golden Guardians had a hot start to the split but tailed off. Now it’s OpTic’s chance to show that their improvement can continue.
6) Golden Guardians (31 points)
Last week was not a good one for Golden Guardians. They lost a game against Liquid in which they had a huge lead. Normally when a Zoe picks up First Blood and the bot lane gets a Triple Kill, all before four minutes, the game should be over. But jungler Juan “Contractz” Garcia just kept throwing the game away. They need to bounce back in week seven to rise above the slew of teams tied at 5-7.
5) OpTic Gaming (33 points)
OpTic continue to impress with their ability to stall and win in the late game. The key lately has been young top laner, Niship “Dhokla” Doshi, who’s playing well. He basically beat the Golden Guardians by split pushing to their Nexus.
Playing for keeps
With chaos reigning below them, these two teams are in good shape to make playoffs. More importantly, both have shown signs of lasting improvement, the type that may keep them in contention for the championship.
4) FlyQuest (39 points)
FlyQuest has marched up the standings the last few weeks and are finally getting some recognition in these power rankings. Sure, they pick up wonky wins by splitting teams apart and base racing, but their coordinated tempo is a sign of a squad that will continue to play well.
3) Echo Fox (48 points)
Echo Fox had an extremely impressive victory over FlyQuest to start last week. It was a slow kill affair in which the team took measured fights to win objectives. But then they faltered against C9 on Sunday to remain a tier below the league leaders.
Leaders of the pack
The top two teams are tied in the standings as it’s really a coin flip to see which is better. Good thing they play each other in the first game of this week at 4pm CT on Saturday.
2) Team Liquid (57 points, three first-place votes)
TL came back against Golden Guardians with strong macro and a deeper understanding of both team’s drafts. They don’t look as good as they did at the end of the Spring Split, but they have improved over the first few weeks of summer.
1) 100 Thieves (57 points, three first-place votes)
100 Thieves’ strong drafts phase helped them to two victories over Clutch and CLG. Top laner Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho is still their MVP, but ADC Cody Sun has been putting in work the last few weeks.