North American LCS power rankings: March 16

As the split winds down, the playoff race only gets tighter.

TSM is back in first place of the North American League Championship Series. Like it or not, you have to admit that it just feels right. Cloud9 hit another roadblock in Counter Logic gaming, while FlyQuest continued to plummet, possibly out of a playoff spot.

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We’ve run these power rankings on GAMURS for nine months. Now that we’ve merged with Dot Esports, we’re keeping them going. And they’re just as volatile as ever.

The points for these power rankings are calculated based on rankings submitted by Dot Esports staff members. The staff were asked to rank the 10 teams in order from best to worst as the teams currently stand. These rankings are not predictions for the end of the split. Points will be awarded to mirror a team’s ranking; for example, the first place team will receive 10 points, while the 10th place team will receive one point.

After each week of action, we’ll release another power rankings article, so don’t forget to check back here each week.

Here are the March 16 power rankings for the 2017 NA LCS spring split, starting from No. 10.

10) Team EnVyUs (6 total points): No change

  • Top – Shin “Seraph” Woo-yeong
  • Jungle – Nam “LirA” Tae-yoo
  • Mid – Noh “Ninja” Geon-woo
  • ADC – Apollo Price
  • Support – Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent
  • Head Coach – Dylan Falco

Results: 1-2 TSM, 1-2 Team Liquid

EnVyUs may have taken a game off of TSM, but the rest of the series wasn’t close. TSM had a slow game one, and that’s all you need to know. Against Team Liquid, EnVyUs fell hard in game one, dominated game two, and just couldn’t put it together in game three. Another mediocre week from EnVyUs leaves them as the consensus last-place pick in our rankings.

This squad is still on the backfoot, and its journey doesn’t get easier this week against Team Dignitas and Cloud9. Dignitas is likely the easier opponent, but they are on an upward trend and fighting to make the playoffs, so they’ll be playing at full force and should be able to easily take EnVyUs down. Cloud9 had another off series last week and is in unpredictable form, but one thing is certain: They won’t be losing to EnVyUs.

9) Echo Fox (19 total points): -3

  • Top – Jang “Looper” Hyeong-seok
  • Jungle – Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham
  • Mid – Henrik “Froggen” Hansen
  • ADC – Yuri “KEITH” Jew
  • Support – Austin “Gate” Yu
  • Head Coach – Simon “heavenTime” Jeon

Results: 0-2 Phoenix1, 1-2 Team Dignitas

Depending on the week, Echo Fox can look like the best team in the league—or the worst.

Last week was somewhere in the middle, and the team’s current form is definitely on the downside. Echo Fox only had one decent game in the series against Phoenix1, though they never came close to winning it. The majority of Phoenix1’s troubles could be attributed to the re-integration of Rami “Inori” Charagh and the growing pains associated with that. Taking one game off Dignitas is not all that impressive, especially considering Echo Fox had the lead for the majority of the game and took 56 minutes to close it out.

This week, Echo Fox takes on TSM and CLG. Picking a winner between CLG and Echo Fox is practically like flipping a coin. Echo Fox holds wins over Dignitas, FlyQuest, and TSM, all taken when their opponents were in their prime, but they also have losses to Immortals and EnVyUs at some of their lowest points. CLG is well known for playing to the level of its opponents, shocking analysts by managing to beat TSM after losing to Dignitas last weekend. This series is as unpredictable as the two teams playing in it, but it’s a safe assumption that Echo Fox will lose to TSM.

8) Team Liquid (20 total points): -1

  • Top – Samson “Lourlo” Jackson
  • Jungle – Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin
  • Mid – Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin
  • ADC – Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng
  • Support – Matthew “Matt” Elento and Adrian Ma
  • Head Coach – David Lim

Results: 0-2 Cloud9, 2-1 Team EnVyUs

If you want NA LCS drama, look no further than Team Liquid. By now, the majority of NA LCS fans have seen “Breaking Point,” the documentary telling the story of Liquid’s dramatic 2016. Another edition could be on the way. Piglet is in the mid lane, Doublelift has ended his hiatus early, and Adrian joins the squad after disagreements with Inori back at Phoenix1. All of this happened within the past two weeks. This star-studded roster may have been put together a little too late, as the Promotion Tournament still calls Liquid’s name.

Team Dignitas and Phoenix1 will not go down easily, but Liquid has a legitimate chance to beat both of these teams. Dignitas is obviously the easier target, as the team has been inconsistent and weaker all around. While Phoenix1 looks good, it’s impossible to count Liquid out. Phoenix1 will likely still be deciding whether to continue playing with sub William “Meteos” Hartman or once-starter Inori, and their bottom lane may be vulnerable with a new support. Adrian and his old team will clash just weeks after his departure, and Adrian just may come out on top.

7) Team Dignitas (26 total points): +1

  • Top – Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho
  • Jungle – Lee “Chaser” Sang-hyun
  • Mid – Jang “Keane” Lae-young
  • ADC – Benjamin “LOD” deMunck
  • Support – Alex “Xpecial” Chu and Johnny “Swifte” Ngo
  • Head Coach – David “Cop” Roberson

Results: 2-0 CLG, 2-1 Echo Fox

Finally back on an upward trend, Dignitas is looking halfway decent and may be able to snag a spot in the playoffs if they play their cards right. Last week was a good start, taking wins over CLG and Echo Fox, two teams right next to them in the race for the final playoff spots. Consistency has been a problem for this team, but the best way to win this league is to get hot at the right time.

Dignitas is in the thick of the playoff race, and they get a little help this week from their weak schedule. Liquid has pulled out all their tricks, even starting Adrian Ma at support alongside superstars Doublelift and Piglet. But it may be too little too late. If Dignitas can capitalize on a Liquid squad that is likely lacking in chemistry, a win is easily within this team’s grasp. While EnVyUs has seemingly been improving little by little (and I emphasize little), the NA LCS’ resident last-place team should not pose much of a threat to Dignitas’ quest for the playoffs.

6) FlyQuest (27 total points): -2

  • Top – An “BalIs” Van Le
  • Jungle – Galen “Moon” Holgate
  • Mid – Hai Du Lam
  • ADC – Johnny “Altec” Ru
  • Support – Daerek “LemonNation” Hart
  • Head Coach – Thomas “Thinkcard” Slotkin

Results: 0-2 Phoenix1, 0-2 Immortals

FlyQuest’s time near the top of the standings was destined to end, but the team’s fall from grace was a little bit harder than we expected. While they’re technically still in the playoff hunt, FlyQuest’s current form (1-5 record in the past three works) suggests that the team may not be making it to the postseason. With their oddball picks (see Balls’ Swain top, Hai’s Jarvan IV mid, Moon’s Shaco jungle, Altec’s Mordekaiser ADC, and LemonNation’s Blitzcrank support), it almost seems like these players know they aren’t good enough and are instead relying on cheesy, off-meta picks to try and win games. I concede, these picks do sometimes work, but FlyQuest victories are becoming rarer and rarer.

TSM and CLG will not make FlyQuest’s lives any easier this week. CLG, alongside pretty much half of the league, is in a fight with FlyQuest to secure a spot in a tight playoff race. CLG will not go down without a fight, and Hai and company may not have much fight left in them. TSM is looking to cement its place on top of the NA LCS, and FlyQuest is merely a bump on the road.

5) Immortals (29 total points): +4

  • Top – Lee “Flame” Ho-jong
  • Jungle – Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett
  • Mid – Eugene “Pobelter” Park
  • ADC – Cody Sun
  • Support – Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung
  • Head Coach – Robert Yip

Results: 2-0 FlyQuest, 1-2 TSM

Two weeks ago, Immortals lost to likely the two worst teams in the league at the time. Expectations for the squad plummeted, but they came back with a vengeance last week. FlyQuest never stood a chance, and Immortals took league-leading TSM to a game three, almost stealing the series. If this form of Immortals is here to stay, the rest of the league needs to pay attention.

Unfortunately for the up-and-comers, Immortals has a tough week coming against Cloud9 and Phoenix1. Fighting every day for their spot in the playoffs, Immortals will need to pull out at least one win this week to feel comfortable. Cloud9 and Phoenix1 are two of the top three teams in the league, but Immortals are surging. If this squad can take advantage of Cloud9’s early game, or Phoenix1’s rotating jungle and new support, Immortals may walk away from this week with a series win.

4) Counter Logic Gaming (42 total points): -1

  • Top – Darshan Upadhyaya
  • Jungle – Jake “Xmithie” Puchero
  • Mid – Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun
  • ADC – Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes
  • Support – Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black
  • Head Coach – Tony “Zikzlol” Gray

Results: 0-2 Team Dignitas, 2-1 Cloud9

CLG continues to, you guessed it, counter logic. After getting swept by Dignitas, this squad should have been steamrolled by Cloud9. That didn’t happen. CLG showed off their ability to play to the level of its opponent, beating Cloud9 and creating chaos in the playoff race. This squad continues to be the most confusing team in the league.

If any team knows how to get hot at the right time, it’s CLG, and this week is a great time to get started. Echo Fox is just as inconsistent as CLG, but the foxes are in such bad form right now that a victory would be a huge surprise. FlyQuest’s form is just as bad as Echo Fox’s, so CLG should be set for a 2-0 week as long as they show up to play.

3) Phoenix1 (47 total points): +2

  • Top – Derek “zig” Shao
  • Jungle – Rami “Inori” Charagh and William “Meteos” Hartman
  • Mid – Yoo “Ryu” Sang-ook
  • ADC – Noh “Arrow” Dong-hyeon
  • Support – William “Stunt” Chen
  • Head Coach – Kim “Fly” Sang-chul

Results: 2-0 FlyQuest, 2-0 Echo Fox

We were worried about synergy and skill with Inori returning to the lineup and Stunt joining the squad last week. Those worries were put to rest, and Phoenix1 looks good. A lot could still depend on whether Metoes or Inori will have the starting job in the jungle, or if the team will go with a six-man roster. Stunt had a good week, but he’s still a question mark due to inexperience and synergy issues.

This week should be a relatively easy one for Phoenix1, but Team Liquid and Immortals will not go down lightly. Liquid’s roster of stars is doing its best to avoid the Promotion Tournament, and the players could kick it up a notch now that they are running out of games. Immortals is fighting for its playoff spot, and the squad is in fantastic form going into this week’s matches. If Phoenix1 isn’t careful, an 0-2 week is possible.

2) Cloud9 (55 total points – One first place vote): No change

  • Top – Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong and Jeon “Ray” Ji-won
  • Jungle – Juan “Contractz” Arturo Garcia
  • Mid – Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen
  • ADC – Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi
  • Support – Andy “Smoothie” Ta
  • Head Coach – Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu

Results: 2-0 Team Liquid, 1-2 CLG

Cloud9 is still having some issues in the early game, but that’s not why they lost to CLG. At the heart of the issue? CLG was simply the better team. If Cloud9 wants to win the NA LCS, they cannot lose series like this. The win over Liquid was expected, so that’s nothing to write home about. Cloud9 needs to kick it in gear before the split ends if they want to challenge TSM for the throne.

This week gives Cloud9 the opportunity to get back on their feet and pour some concrete to secure their hold. Immortals may put up a fight, but Cloud9 could use a win over a strong opponent right now to get morale back up and remind themselves who they are.

Cloud9’s chance to steamroll comes against EnVyUs to close out the week.

1) TSM (59 total points – Five first place votes): No change

  • Top – Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell
  • Jungle – Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen
  • Mid – Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg
  • ADC – Jason “WildTurtle” Tran
  • Support – Vincent “Biofrost” Wang
  • Head Coach – Parth Naidu

Results: 2-1 Team EnVyUs, 2-1 Immortals

TSM is in sole possession of first place, but it hasn’t been a smooth ride getting there.

Even last week, against EnVyUs and Immortals, TSM had obvious struggles. The squad was outplayed by EnVyUs in one of their games. The No. 1 team should not be getting swept aside by the worst team in the league, even if it is just one game. Dardoch ran wild and destroyed TSM in game one of the Immortals series, and pretty much did the same thing in game two. Baron throws, over-aggression, and great play from Biofrost saved TSM. Dardoch couldn’t provide the same pressure in game three, TSM’s lanes thrived, and Bjergsen led his squad to victory. Make no mistake, though, this team’s issues are still worrying and they can be beaten.

This week, however, will probably not be TSM’s downfall. Echo Fox and FlyQuest don’t exactly present that much of a threat. Echo Fox did sweep TSM earlier in the split, but the two teams have gone in very different directions since then. If the FlyQuest of old shows up, we could be in for a treat, but based on current form and the meta, TSM should have a 2-0 week.

All photos via Riot Games

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