23 March 2017 - 19:28

North American LCS power rankings: March 23

A new challenger with a familiar face is rising to take on TSM and Cloud9.
League of Legends esports analyst
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Photo via Riot Games

Cloud9’s time in the sun appears to be coming to an end. And in their place, Phoenix1 is rising. The playoff race is tight as four teams fight for the final three spots. CLG, Team Dignitas, Immortals, and FlyQuest are putting it all on the line as the split comes to a close.

Though the North American LCS standings are still wildly unstable heading into the final week of the regular season, our power rankings have only seen a few minor changes since last week's edition.

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 23 power rankings for the 2017 NA LCS spring split, starting from No. 10.

10) Team EnVyUs (10 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 Team Dignitas, 1-2 Cloud9

While EnVyUs has been improving every week, they’re still not that great. Are they still last-place material? Personally, I don’t think so, but that’s the beauty of the staff vote. This squad put together two very good series and almost took down Cloud9. The slow progression may be enough to stave off the Promotion Tournament, but that’s the best EnVyUs can hope for.

In the final week of play, as the EnVyUs players fight for their North American LCS lives, things actually appear somewhat hopeful. Echo Fox has looked pitiful recently, and EnVyUs’ improvements may just be enough to take the win. CLG has a tendency to play to the level of their opponents, so EnVyUs’ rising form may yet again be enough to pull out a win.

The squad will need a 2-0 week and Echo Fox to lose to FlyQuest if they want to escape the Promotion Tournament. It wouldn’t be the craziest thing in the world if it happened.

9) Team Liquid (12 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 Team Dignitas, 0-2 Phoenix1

If this roster was together from week one, they could be competing for the crown. Instead, the star-studded Liquid is flopping around like a fish out of water. The team looks bad, the players look bad, and the Promotion Tournament is on its way.

Escaping the relegation zone would be nothing short of a miracle for Liquid, who take on TSM and FlyQuest this week. Unless Doublelift somehow knows all of TSM’s strategies and knows how to counter them, Liquid is going to be swept. FlyQuest gives the team a little more hope, but their slight resurgence last week could be a problem.

If Liquid wants to avoid the Promotion Tournament, the series against FlyQuest is a must-win. It’s hard to bet on Liquid beating anyone right now, but anything can happen. Maybe the stars managed to put it all together, maybe they’ve gained a full season’s worth of synergy within the past week.

8) Echo Fox (18 total points): +1

  • 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 CLG, 0-2 TSM

Echo Fox began this split as the most consistently inconsistent team in the league. Every odd week, the team looked abysmal. Every even week, they looked like they could beat anyone. In the past four weeks, Echo Fox has only won a single series. It was just a 2-1 win, and only against Team Liquid. Four of their five losses have been 2-0 sweeps. It’s safe to say this team is on a downward spiral, only moving up in our rankings because Liquid is just that bad.

The schedule gods have smiled on Echo Fox, though, because the team gets to take on FlyQuest and EnVyUs in the final week. If they lose both series, they may be on the way to the Promotion Tournament. One win, barring a miraculous week from Liquid, is all it will take for Echo Fox to make sure they survive the split.

7) FlyQuest (22 total points): -1

  • 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: 1-2 TSM, 0-2 CLG

It may have been a fluke, or the return may be too slow, but something happened last week. This team dominated TSM in game one, played it close in game two, and got demolished in game three.

Both games against CLG were extremely close, especially the second one, in which FlyQuest had the lead for the first 33 minutes. A botched fight, bad positioning and equally bad rotations led to CLG taking a Baron. Relentless with their buff, CLG ended the game just four minutes later, with the help of some minions.

FlyQuest can still make the playoffs, and the strength of their remaining two opponents should help them out. Echo Fox and Liquid are the two worst teams in the league right now. Our power rankings say EnVyUs is the worst team, but I disagree. These are the two worst teams. Unless Echo Fox returns to form or Liquid’s stars finally jell, FlyQuest should have a 2-0 week. That alone won’t guarantee them a spot in the playoffs, but it sure will help.

6) Team Dignitas (32 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 Team Liquid, 2-1 Team EnVyUs

Dignitas has won seven of its last nine series, and the two losses were to TSM and Phoenix1, the two best teams in the league. Granted, the wins haven’t exactly been against the cream of the crop, but wins are wins. This team is in hot form, and eager to qualify for the playoffs. Keane and Xpecial barely missed out on the playoffs last split as members of Apex Gaming, and it’s safe to assume that they want to make it in this time.

It won’t be an easy road, however, as Dignitas has to take on Cloud9 and Immortals. Cloud9 may be on a downward trend, but this is still a star-studded roster and one of the best teams in the league. Cloud9 will be fighting to get back into form before the playoffs and keep their first round bye, so a win for Dignitas will not come easily.

Immortals is right next to Dignitas in the thick of the race for the playoffs, and beating Dignitas could secure Immortals’ spot. This team will be playing at 150 percent, so Dignitas will need to be ready.

5) Immortals (35 total points): No change

  • 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: 2-1 Cloud9, 0-2 Phoenix1

Though they are only 2-2 in the last two weeks, Immortals are one of the hottest teams in the league. A sweeping victory over FlyQuest, narrow defeat to TSM, solid win over Cloud9, and valiant loss to Phoenix1 are all things to be proud of. This team is coming into form a little late, and facing tough opposition along the way. Immortals still holds the key to its own destiny, but the road will not be easy.

CLG and Dignitas are undoubtedly two of the best teams in the league right now, and Immortals could use a win against both of them. Technically, beating CLG is not required, but it would help their playoff chances quite a bit and put them in better form as they enter the postseason. The series against Dignitas is a must-win, and it will not be easy. CLG and Immortals are hot, but Dignitas is the hottest team in the league not named Phoenix1. Immortals will need to pull out all the stops to go 2-0 this week.

4) CLG (41 total points): No change

  • 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: 2-0 Echo Fox, 2-0 FlyQuest

Though their recent results have been wins, the performances were less than convincing. In spite of that, we all know CLG’s potential, so they stay a top-four team in our rankings. While this team has not technically secured a spot in the playoffs yet, it would be a huge surprise if they managed to fall out.

Immortals presents an interesting challenge, but CLG is favored to take the series by most analysts. Immortals’ scrappy style and failure in teamfights may not be able to take down CLG’s coordination. This series should be a close one, however, and either team has the chance to come out on top.

As long as CLG doesn’t get too overwhelmed by EnVyUs’ early game, the boys in blue should fall and give CLG a confirmed playoff spot, regardless of their series against Immortals.

3) Cloud9 (47 total points): -1

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

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

For the first time all season, Cloud9 is outside of the top-two spots in our rankings. This squad’s recent form is inexcusable for a team looking to win the league. In the past two weeks, Cloud9 has lost to CLG, Immortals, and almost EnVyUs. This is not the championship caliber team that we saw at the beginning of the split.

To get back in form, Cloud9 has a tough task ahead of them. Dignitas is currently on a tear, and their strong early game could spell trouble for a Cloud9 squad that still has synergy issues with their jungler. Phoenix1 is the hottest team in the league, and they are gunning for Cloud9’s first round bye in the playoffs. This team’s ability to split the enemy will hinder Cloud9, and their superior macro play could lead to another Cloud9 loss.

2) Phoenix1 (53 total points): +1

  • 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 Team Liquid, 2-0 Immortals

The team that has everyone talking, Phoenix1 looks extremely dangerous right now. If Arrow and Stunt have any major synergy issues, they aren’t showing. If Stunt has any rookie jitters, they aren’t showing. If Meteos is having issues with competitive play, they aren’t showing. Phoenix1 looks nearly unstoppable in the NA LCS.

They will quickly be put to the test this week, though, taking on Cloud9 and TSM. Cloud9 was in first place for the majority of the split, only falling recently due to a drop in form. This presents an opportunity for Phoenix1, who may be able to steal a first round bye in the playoffs with a 2-0 week. TSM has been dominant since the fall of Cloud9, but Phoenix1 style of play and current form may be enough to take the titans down.

1) TSM (60 total points - Six 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 FlyQuest, 2-0 Echo Fox

Our resident Cloud9 lover finally had to give his first place vote to TSM after his squad lost again, so we have a consensus in the final rankings of the regular season.

Still, this squad has some issues that cannot be overlooked. FlyQuest destroyed TSM in game one of their series, swiftly and methodically shutting the league-leaders down. TSM dominated the next two games, and the two games against Echo Fox, but having at least one terrible performance every week is pretty worrisome if you want to win the league. That will be punished in the playoffs.

Liquid should be a free win this week for TSM as long as Bjergsen and company remember how to play League of Legends when they walk on stage. Phoenix1, however, presents quite a daunting task. If TSM starts slow against Phoenix1, they will be punished. If TSM does not fix their vision problems in the mid game, they will be punished. Phoenix1 has all the tools to beat TSM, so this could be one of the most interesting series we’ve seen all split.

All photos via Riot Games

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