It’s a strange time in the NA LCS right now.
All the playoff spots have been spoken for, though seeding is still up in the air. But most playoff teams are concerned more with practicing for the playoffs instead of worrying about seeding. Teams at the bottom of the table still have hope to compete in the regional tournament, but for the most part, they are trying out new players and strategies.
Let’s see whose experiments are coming out ahead.
10) Phoenix1, no change (8 points)
It didn’t work. Allorim lost to CLG’s Darshan Upadhyaya and Zig was back in games two and three, both P1 victories. Those wins show that P1 has the talent to beat nearly anyone, but have a hell of a time putting it all together.
The crazy thing? Due to their championship points from spring, Phoenix1 still has a chance to make the regional gauntlet. They’ll have to keep winning for that chance to become reality.
9) Fly Quest, -1 (8 points)
There’s not much to say about FlyQuest at this point. The good news is that they are still communicating well and not hanging their heads. It’s always fun to hear mid laner Hai Lam’s playcalls, even if they can sometimes be erratic.
It’s encouraging that the team is still looking for early plays, and they pulled some off against better teams like C9. But a lack of objective focus has been an issue.
8) Team Liquid, +1 (18 points)
Liquid’s juggling of its subs and starters didn’t pay dividends last week. It looks like Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin has been the better jungler, as Josh “Dardoch” Hartnett has yet to pick up a victory for Liquid. Last week was definitely a step back in their quest to get out of the NA basement.
7) Echo Fox, no change (22 points)
Echo Fox beat P1 and took a game off Dignitas, but are out of the playoffs. It’s good that the team is trying out different players, and overall, owner Rick Fox has been good for the NA LCS. He’s helped give the league increased visibility due to his traditional sports background. And he’s invested a lot into this LCS teams. It appears like this team would be a good franchise partner, they just need to play like it.
6) Team EnVy, no change (25 points)
You can see flashes of greatness from EnVy, and they were in great position to beat TSM after racing out to a big game one lead. Jungler Nam “LirA” Tae-yoo surged on a killing streak, but the team couldn’t take enough objectives.
Then TSM tried an audacious Baron sneak, and despite losing a few in the pit, used the buff to turn the game around. EnVy snowballed the second game to completion and were ahead in the third, but then ADC Apollo Price got caught alone in the middle of the river.
It’s anyone’s guess why Apollo was there. He admitted in an interview with Slingshot that the team’s issues aren’t really fixable at this point. They just have to hope they can translate their scrim performances, warts and all, to the stage.
5) Cloud9, no change (30 points)
Cloud9 beat Liquid and FlyQuest last week, not enough to move them higher in the rankings. Their season-ending schedule is pretty weak, but they are too far behind the leaders to have a shot at a playoff bye.
4) CLG, -1 (37 points)
Another week, another series of perplexing performances from CLG. They beat EnVy then fell flat against Phoenix1, who are tied for last. Their loss to P1 is impossible to explain. Of chief concern is that ADC Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes is playing better in the current ADC meta.
Of course, his lackluster damage numbers also point to the team’s ineffectiveness in fights. CLG has long fought an identity crisis similar to the one H2K faces in Europe. They are best as a split pushing team, but still need answers when the games call for five-on-five fights. Balancing that core identity while learning new tricks continues to be a struggle for this team.
3) Team Dignitas, +1 (41 points)
Dignitas had the best week among top teams, but still have kinks to work out. Namely, their early game rating is third-worst in the region, ahead of only FlyQuest and Phoenix1. Only strong objective control and top laner Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho’s teamfight prowess keeps them winning.
That isn’t going to work in the playoffs. Potential first-round opponents like EnVy and Cloud9 are two of the best early game teams in the league. It will be an interesting clash of styles to see Dignitas play against them.
2) TSM, no change (45 points)
TSM continue to find ways to win series, going 2-0 last week with wins over FlyQuest and EnVy. But the wins weren’t particularly clean. In particular, TSM probably should have lost to EnVy but hung around long enough that their talent started to win.
None of this really matters. TSM is in position to get a first-round bye, and with it, they would be on the cusp of qualifying for Worlds with the championship points they earned from Spring. They’ll want to continue to improve, especially in the early game, but the next several weeks are all about Worlds prep for this team. A phenomenal run through the regular season and playoffs last year did nothing for them. Here’s hoping that the all-in focus on Worlds will pay off this time.
1) Immortals, no change (48 points)
Immortals hang on to their number one ranking despite losing a series to Dignitas. While the team’s ability to close was challenged, they were in control of most of the series. It should have been a clean 2-0 if not for a massive Gnar ult from Ssumday.
None of the top teams played very clean last week. It will be interesting to see if they’ll take week nine more seriously or continue to practice and experiment.