The NA LCS playoff picture is finally becoming clear. Just one spot is up for grabs heading into the last week of the regular season—and the two teams competing for it, TSM and OpTic, conveniently play each other.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t important games coming up, however. Several other top teams play each other, and each will be trying to gain an edge heading into the playoffs without revealing too much of their pocket strategies.
Most of the spots in these rankings our set, but our League writers still ranked each team from one point (worst) to 10 points (best). We start at the bottom where some teams are heading towards vacation.
These three teams are already looking beyond the playoffs. One of them still has work left this year but the other two will have to look to 2019 for competitive success.
10) Clutch Gaming (nine points)
Clutch are the lowest in the rankings, and they deserve to be. But they’re also the one team down here that has a shot at Worlds due to the Championship Points they picked up last split.
9) CLG (nine points)
CLG have looked worse and worse each week. This roster might be heading for a full-on teardown.
8) Golden Guardians (18 points)
Golden Guardians came into the split with a lot of hope and had a strong first half. But their inability to do anything with side lane pressure is disconcerting. It shouldn’t be possible to lose a game with a 7/0/1 Xayah, but Golden Guardians managed to do it last week.
Last one in
TSM and OpTic are in a mad dash for the final playoff seed. Who will surge ahead?
7) OpTic Gaming (26 points)
OpTic got into playoff position by playing a bunch of weak teams in the middle of the split. Last week they got their reckoning with two games against locked-in playoff foes, and they lost the first to Liquid before bouncing back against Echo Fox. This week they have TSM and 100 Thieves. The game against TSM is a must-win.
6) TSM (29 points)
TSM have been here before. In the 2016 Spring Split, they qualified for playoff in sixth place and made it all the way to the finals before falling to CLG. They have an important match with OpTic this week and then a grudge match vs. Team Liquid and former ADC Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, who had some not-so-nice things to say about his former team.
Each of these three teams has been a big surprise this split. Winning the playoffs would cap things off.
5) FlyQuest (37 points)
FlyQuest looked completely lost heading into the Summer Split, but they’ve re-oriented themselves by focusing on split pushing and skirmishing. This is a dangerous playoff foe.
4) Echo Fox (43 points)
After two seasons of disappointment, just making playoffs is great for this organization. But they didn’t sign this much talent just to make playoffs. They need to make a deep run to validate the decision to reorganize the roster a few weeks ago.
3) Cloud9 (45 points)
No team has surged up the standings like Cloud9 has these last few weeks. The moves they made to substitute Academy players into the lineup continue to befuddle—the subs even admitted last week that their scrims haven’t been very good at all. But they’re still here and we can’t ignore how they’ve been playing.
Never lose focus
These two teams have been the best in the league all year. When they focus, they’re hard to stop.
2) 100 Thieves (55 points, one first-place vote)
100 Thieves’ unexpected loss to TSM last week made clear one of their biggest issues this split: back line damage. ADC Cody Sun simply has to figure out how to position better, especially if he’s going to play DPS champions like Ashe.
Team Liquid (59 points, six first-place votes)
Liquid don’t have any huge weaknesses other than the fact that they have games where they don’t look like they’re communicating. That’s fine in the regular season, but in the group stages of Worlds—assuming they get there—they have to treat every game like it’s life or death.