For the first few weeks of the NA LCS 2018 Spring Split, the talk of the league has been the upstarts.
100 Thieves made a lot of noise by defeating CLG in the first week. Echo Fox, though not a new team, are new to their place at the top of the standings. And who could forget Team Liquid spanking TSM and sending their rivals into a weeks-long funk?
Well, that funk seems to be dissipating as TSM finally put together a clean week. Week three was about restoration of order, as the region’s three most successful teams, TSM, Cloud9, and CLG, all went undefeated.
So where does that put them in our power rankings? We asked our League experts to rate all the teams from 1 point (worst) to 10 points (best). At the bottom is an org that’s been thrown in total disarray.
Expectations for some of these teams were never really high. But one of them has found a way to go even lower.
10) Golden Guardians (7 points, no change)
Last week, this team played like one that had just fired their coach. Oh wait, they did. The biggest weakness has been mid lane shot caller Hai Lam. He’s losing lane, as usual, but he used to compensate with roams to the side lanes. Unable to do that, he’s pressing for crazy risky plays, ones that backfire more times than not. Could we be witnessing the end of Hai in the LCS?
9) OpTic Gaming (16 points, no change)
As teams figure out how to track OpTic jungler Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham, it’s going to be harder and harder for this team to do anything.
8) Clutch Gaming (23 points, -1)
Clutch are a clear step above Golden Guardians and OpTic, but that’s not really saying much. Nam “LirA” Tae-yoo is really struggling as his opponents have found they can just kill him on invades.
7) FlyQuest (24 points -1)
FlyQuest lost a spot in the rankings, but there’s hope! Starting mid laner Song “Fly” Yong-jun is finally in the gaming house after overcoming early-season visa issues. He may not solve their issues in the jungle or fix the bot lane, but all they need is some hope.
Moving up the food chain
6) CLG (38 points, +2)
CLG put together two strong performances to move out of the basement. They are a smart team that can make things happen as long as mechanical mistakes don’t doom them. Importantly, it looks like beating longtime friend Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon gave CLG jungler Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin his mojo back as he dominated the team’s second game last week.
5) TSM (41 points, no change)
The TSM early game showed up! In two straight games against the Golden Guardians and 100 Thieves, TSM made use of superior tempo to snowball. Notably, mid laner Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, who is the latest target of fan ire, solidly outplayed his matchups and supported his side lane. That’s the MVP-level stuff we’ve come to expect from Bjergsen.
4) 100 Thieves (48 points, -1)
This team is 4-2, well-coached, and seems to be having fun. But the Thieves just don’t seem like a top team—yet. They were gifted a win last week when Clutch drafted top lane Jayce. Note to all players not named Kim “Khan” Dong-ha: don’t pick Jayce. Then they lost to TSM after a crazy ambitious draft of their own. They can’t get complacent or the teams below them will be on the march upwards.
A dogfight brewing
Last week did not see many high-quality matches between top teams. That changes this week, as Liquid play both Cloud9 and Echo Fox. It’s a prove-it week for all the teams at the top.
3) Team Liquid (60 points, -1, two first-place votes)
Liquid dropped in the rankings not because of poor performance, but because of voters’ enthusiasm for C9. You bet they’ll have designs to take C9 down in one of the early matches on Saturday. This will be a test of whose jungle-support combo can roam and set up plays the best. It will also be a chance to see Cloud9’s standout Eric “Licorice” Ritchie go up against Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong, the man he replaced. Bust out the popcorn, there could be some fireworks in this one.
2) Cloud9 (62 points, +2, two first-place votes)
Cloud9’s rise came as they got strong games from the duo lane and jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen invaded intelligently. Support Andy “Smoothie” Ta is the best support in the region, and it’s not even close.
1) Echo Fox (66 points, no change, three first-place votes)
Echo Fox’s loss to CLG last week illuminated some issues the team has had even while they were winning. Their bot lane feels invisible at times, but that’s also a result of the team not really knowing how to play around bot. That’s not usually an issue when top and mid are snowballing, but CLG put their Kalista in position to control objectives much faster than Echo Fox could respond.