North American LCS Power Rankings Through Jan. 26
Week one of the North American League Championship series has come to a close, and it was an unforgettable first week of play. Cloud9 rose to the occasion, Team SoloMid started slow, Team Dignitas and FlyQuest proved doubters wrong, and everything else was just pretty confusing. An updated version of GAMURS’s NA LCS power rankings is here, and the list looks a little different than it did last week.
The points for these power rankings will be calculated based on the rankings submitted by any of the GAMURS staff members. These staff members were asked to rank the 10 teams in order from best to worst as the teams currently stand. Of course, No. 1 is the best and No. 10 is the worst. 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 every week of action, we will be releasing another power rankings article where the teams will either move up or down based on how they perform in their matches, so don’t forget to check back here each week for the latest power rankings.
Without further ado, here are the Jan. 26 power rankings for the 2017 NA LCS spring split, starting from No. 10.
NA LCS Power Rankings - Jan. 26 (Spring Split 2017)
10. Team EnVyUs (11 total points): No change
- Top - Shin "Seraph" Woo-yeong
- Jungle - Nam "LirA" Tae-yoo
- Mid - Noh "Ninja" Geon-woo
- ADC - Apollo "Apollo" Price
- Support - Nickolas "Hakuho" Surgent
- Coach - Dylan Falco
Results: 0-2 FlyQuest, 0-2 Counter Logic Gaming
No one expected EnVyUs to be good, and LirA’s visa issues certainly did not help. The jungler had to sit out for week one, while Ninja moved to the jungle and Alexey "Alex Ich" Ichetovkin took over in the mid lane. Alex and Ninja did moderately serviceable jobs, but it was nowhere near enough. Everyone already had low expectations for this team, and the sub situation made it impossible for them to win. FlyQuest and CLG both rolled over this squad.
This week, EnVyUs will have LirA back in the jungle, but pretty much everyone still expects this team to be the worst in the league. Phoenix1 and Immortals did not look amazing in week one, but do not be surprised if both of those teams can sweep EnVyUs.
In the preseason rankings, the player to watch for EnVyUs was LirA. Well, we didn’t get to watch him. We’ll see what kind of impact he can make this week, but no one is holding their breath.
9. Echo Fox (13 total points): No change
- Top - Jang "Looper" Hyeong-seok
- Jungle - Matthew "Akaadian" Higginbotham
- Mid - Henrik "Froggen" Hansen
- ADC - Yuri "KEITH" Jew
- Support - Austin "Gate" Yu
- Coach - Simon "heavenTime" Jeon
Results: 0-2 Phoenix1, 1-2 Immortals
Akaadian seems to be the only player on this team that remembers how to effectively play League of Legends, but his backpack is full. Looper and Froggen don’t look particularly bad, and even Keith and Gate have had a couple good moments, but this team is being hauled around by the rookie. In Echo Fox’s one game victory over Immortals, Akaadian had a 12/1/4 performance on Graves against Dardoch’s Kha’Zix. That was pretty much the story of week one. Many people watching the NA LCS will say that Akaadian was the best player of the weekend, and they might be right. His team put up a pitiful performance, however, and gave him almost no support.
This week, Echo Fox has to take on Team Dignitas and FlyQuest, two of the stronger teams in week one. If Echo Fox and Akaadian can’t beat Phoenix1 or Immortals, they probably won’t be beating Dignitas or FlyQuest. Expect this team to start off 0-4, and struggle to improve.
Akaadian was the player to watch in our preseason rankings, and he did not disappoint. As stated above, the rookie jungler carried his team and looked like an all-star doing it. Sadly for him and for Echo Fox, it was not enough, and likely still will not be enough throughout the split.
8. Immortals (35 total points): -4
- Top - Lee "Flame" Ho-jong
- Jungle - Joshua "Dardoch" Hartnett
- Mid - Eugene "Pobelter" Park
- ADC - Cody "Cody Sun" Sun
- Support - Kim "Olleh" Joo-sung
- Coaches - Robert Yip and David “Hermes” Tu
Results: 2-1 Echo Fox, 1-2 Team SoloMid
Dardoch played a big role in Immortals’s first week, but this team has a lot of work to do. In the series win over Echo Fox, Immortals got destroyed by Akaadian in the game one loss. Game two was a tense, albeit ugly, affair. In game three, Dardoch took control and won the game 1v9. Despite the win, Immortals looked bad. They had the chance to redeem themselves against a weakened Team SoloMid, but failed at the final hurdle. Tempers flared, Dardoch flashed in place, looking tilted, and Immortals crumbled.
This week, the team takes on Cloud9 and EnVyUs. They will not improve enough to give Cloud9 any problems, and will likely be swept in that series. Against EnVyUs, however, Immortals may be able to find their footing and start getting ahold of things. Every player on this team needs to step it up if they want to contend for a playoff spot. If Immortals somehow lose to EnVyUs, there is no telling how broken this team could be. A start that bad could spell disaster for the entire season. This team, however, is new, and has a lot of potential with a strong lineup of individual players. If given time to mesh and understand the new meta, the Immortals have potential.
Cody Sun was the player to watch in our preseason rankings, and he actually was not terrible. He certainly was not great, but not terrible either. A mediocre, inconsistent string of performances saw Cody Sun go 7/1/7 and 0/4/2 in the same series, the latter game being the final loss to TSM. The rookie will certainly need to improve, but this is not the worst start imaginable.
7. Counter Logic Gaming (37 total points): -4
- Top - Darshan "Darshan" Upadhyaya
- Jungle - Jake "Xmithie" Puchero
- Mid - Choi "Huhi" Jae-hyun
- ADC - Trevor "Stixxay" Hayes
- Support - Zaqueri "Aphromoo" Black
- Coach - Tony “Zikzlol” Gray
Results: 0-2 Team Liquid, 2-0 Team EnVyUs
Most people expected this veteran squad, after keeping its roster together, to look strong early on. After all, this is the team that proved to us that League of Legends is a game won through synergy and macro play, not individual skill. In the opening week of play, however, CLG’s players looked lost. They put on a great series against Team Liquid, but still lost 2-0 to the newly formed roster. CLG may have beaten Team EnVyUs 2-0, but no one is impressed by that and the players did not look very good doing it. The games were far too close, and far too long.
FlyQuest and Cloud9, the only two undefeated teams coming out of week one, await CLG in the second week of play. Beating Cloud9 is almost out of the question, though it is still possible. Highly unlikely, but possible. Beating FlyQuest, on the other hand, is not very farfetched. FlyQuest won in week one by doing what CLG does best and playing better than the sum of their parts. The thing is, CLG can be a better macro team than FlyQuest, and have the better individual players. If CLG can get it together and return to their old ways, beating FlyQuest and getting back on track should not be a problem.
The player to watch going into this split for CLG was Darshan, and he does not look great so far. In the series against Liquid, Darshan was manhandled by Lourlo and company, though he did look halfway decent against Team EnVyUs. Darshan is not in the form that he needs to be in right now, and he is part of the reason that this team is off to a slow start.
6. Phoenix1 (42 total points): +1
- Top - Derek "zig" Shao
- Jungle - Rami "Inori" Charagh
- Mid - Yoo "Ryu" Sang-ook
- ADC - Noh "Arrow" Dong-hyeon
- Support - Adrian "Adrian" Ma
- Coach - Kim “Fly” Sang-chul
Results: 2-0 Echo Fox, 1-2 Team Dignitas
Phoenix1 hit expectations right on the nose in week one, beating a weak Echo Fox and putting up somewhat of a fight against a strong Team Dignitas. Week one was a pretty easy prediction, and the fight against Dignitas was impressive, but we need to see more from this team. Echo Fox is a bottom dweller, and Dignitas has proven to be a top team for now, so we need to see Phoenix1 against a middle of the pack squad to really judge how good this team is. Week two provides that opportunity.
The mixed roster of domestic and imported talent has a good chance to look good this week, taking on Team EnVyUs and Team Liquid. EnVyUs is another bottom dweller like Echo Fox, but thoroughly beating them will still make Phoenix1 look good. Team Liquid presents a more interesting matchup, as both squads look to have top tier potential, but could not win their toughest matchups in week one. These two teams are both near the top tier, and a win could boost either of them up to that level.
In the preseason rankings, the player to watch on Phoenix1 was Arrow, and he looked good. Arrow crushed Echo Fox, going a combined 7/5/21 in two games on Varus. The series against Dignitas was a bit tougher, going a combined 9/7/14 in three games. To be fair, Dignitas is a much stronger opponent and has a much stronger duo lane than Echo Fox. Regardless, the performance was admirable, and Arrow is on pace to be a top tier AD carry in the NA LCS this split.
5. Team Liquid (50 points total): No change
- Top - Samson "Lourlo" Jackson
- Jungle - Kim "Reignover" Yeu-jin
- Mid - Greyson "Goldenglue" Gilmer and Austin "Link" Shin
- ADC - Chae "Piglet" Gwang-jin
- Support - Matthew "Matt" Elento
- Coach - David Lim
Results: 2-0 Counter Logic Gaming, 1-2 FlyQuest
Like Phoenix1, Team Liquid pretty much met expectations during week one, once you factor in FlyQuest being better than most people predicted. In a hot series, Liquid took CLG down 2-0, but CLG looked weak the next day, so it is a little unclear just how big that win was. In another hot series, Liquid fell 2-1 to FlyQuest, the upset story of week one. With a less than convincing win, and a close loss to a solid team, Liquid is still a bit of a mystery. Adding on to the mystery, Link has not had his time on the rift yet. He could be the team’s missing link, or he may just not be good enough, but we won’t know until we see him play.
In week two, Liquid gets to take on Team SoloMid and Phoenix1. I phrase it like that, because both of these teams will be very good gauges for Liquid. Win or lose, Liquid will be able to better ascertain its own skill level as a team and learn its problem areas in order to fix them. Both series will be difficult, and Liquid could lose both of them, but winning both of them is also a possibility. This week is wide open for Liquid; the players just need to seize the opportunity.
The player to watch last week for Team Liquid was Lourlo, and he looked great. With an average KDA of 15.33, Lourlo leads the league. Obviously, KDA is not the only thing that matters and stats do not tell the whole story, but they are a pretty good indicator in this case. Against Darshan and Balls, two LCS veterans (though maybe on a downward slope right now), Lourlo controlled the rift. If he can keep this up next week against Hauntzer and zig, and further against the flood of top lane talent in the league, Liquid is in a strong position for the rest of this split.
4. FlyQuest (50 total points): +4
- Top - An "BalIs" Van Le
- Jungle - Galen "Moon" Holgate
- Mid - Hai "Hai" Du Lam
- ADC - Johnny "Altec" Ru
- Support - Daerek "LemonNation" Hart
- Coach - Thomas “Thinkcard” Slotkin
Results: 2-0 Team EnVyUs, 2-1 Team Liquid
FlyQuest has the same amount of points in our rankings as Liquid, but they are ranked higher because they won the head-to-head meeting last week. That said, FlyQuest looked very surprisingly strong last week against EnVyUs and Liquid. Winning was not all that surprising, though beating Liquid was a bit unexpected. The surprising part was how good FlyQuest looked while doing it. This team is a classic example of macro being more important than micro, which is not surprising when you look at Hai and LemonNation.
This team could easily exit this week 4-0, taking on Counter Logic Gaming and Echo Fox. CLG is not a guaranteed win, especially since they are another team that favors strong macro play over strong micro play, but FlyQuest should be able to handle them in their current form. Echo Fox should not put up much of a fight, as the team is uncoordinated and, frankly, not very impressive individually.
Moon was our player to watch, and he did his job. He was not amazing, but he did what he needed to do. As an individual, he looked strong enough, beating Ninja and Reignover in his jungle matchups. Moon did not make any seriously stupid mistakes, played like a serviceable LCS jungler, and helped his team to a 2-0 week. Having an unselfish jungler with good macro play is perfect for this squad’s style.
3. Team SoloMid (56 total points - One first place vote): -2
- Top - Kevin "Hauntzer" Yarnell
- Jungle - Dennis "Svenskeren" Johnsen
- Mid - Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg
- ADC - Jason "WildTurtle" Tran
- Support - Vincent "Biofrost" Wang
- Coach - Parth “Parth” Naidu
Results: 0-2 Cloud9, 2-1 Immortals
Unfortunately for the diehard Team SoloMid fans (including the one on staff who still has this team in first place), this squad does not look as good as last split’s. TSM opened this split by getting demolished by a strong Cloud9, and barely pulling out a win over a currently lackluster Immortals. Bjergsen had a weak series against Cloud9, but came back strong against Immortals. WildTurtle and Biofrost are not meshing, and Svenskeren has been the only consistently good player for TSM so far. So why did someone rank TSM No. 1? “Week one was misleading. The Cloud9 series was one of the worst series that I have ever seen Bjergsen play. I have a hard time thinking that TSM won’t be getting it together.” Crazy? Probably even crazier than Mr. Binkowski was last week. Regardless, his opinion stands.
Moving into this week, TSM has to take on Dignitas and Team Liquid. After last week, Dignitas appears to be one of the best teams in the league, second only to Cloud9, who destroyed TSM week one. Beating Dignitas is not out of the question if this roster returns to its form from last split, but it is a tall order. Team Liquid, on the other hand, presents TSM with the opportunity to get back on the right track. Liquid is a strong team, but one that TSM can beat. A win against this squad would help TSM get some team morale, and put them on the right track for the rest of the split. A loss, coupled with a loss to Dignitas, and TSM fans will go insane.
Hauntzer was the player to watch for TSM in our preseason rankings, and he did not let us down. With solid enough performances in every game, Hauntzer is pulling his weight for the most part. The Cloud9 series was a little rough, but Hauntzer was in both of those games until the end, putting up a fight and never backing down. If the duo lane continues to struggle, however, and Bjergsen has a few more inconsistent series, Hauntzer will need to step into a carry role for this team in the future.
2. Team Dignitas (67 total points): +3
- Top - Kim "Ssumday" Chan-ho
- Jungle - Lee "Chaser" Sang-hyun
- Mid - Jang "Keane" Lae-young
- ADC - Benjamin "LOD" deMunck
- Support - Alex "Xpecial" Chu
- Coach - Kim Jeong-soo and Park Jae-seo
Results: 2-1 Phoenix1, 1-2 Cloud9
We expected Dignitas to be good, just not this good. Ssumday and crew looked strong in a close series win over Phoenix1, but the series loss against Cloud9 was really the impressive one. That series will go down as an early favorite to be the best series of the year for the NA LCS. From the pick/ban phase of game one until the last nexus exploded in game three, Cloud9 and Dignitas showed how extremely knowledgeable and strong they are. Despite the loss, Dignitas is clearly a cut above the rest of the NA LCS, only behind Cloud9.
This week, Dignitas takes on Team SoloMid and Echo Fox. Team SoloMid may put up a fight, if the players have improved quite a bit since last week, and the series could be a very good one to watch. Dignitas, however, should be able to walk away with the win. Against Echo Fox, there should be no contest. If Dignitas does not sweep Echo Fox in quick fashion, it would be a surprising result.
Our player to watch for Dignitas last week was Keane, and he proved to be a key member of the team. In the series win over Phoenix1, Keane had an overall KDA of 20/3/19. He only died once a game. Even in the loss, Keane went 9/1/2. In the series loss to Cloud9, however, it was a different story. In the two games losses, Keane’s total KDA was 4/5/7. In the game win, he went 5/2/3. While his performance is not the only thing that this team relies on, Keane’s team loses when he does bad. Obviously, that is not just his fault and other factors are in play, but he makes an impact.
1. Cloud9 (79 total points - Seven first place votes): +1
- 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
- Coach - Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu
Results: 2-0 Team SoloMid, 2-1 Team Dignitas
Cloud9 dominated week one, destroying Team SoloMid and then beating Team Dignitas in one of the best series that has even taken place in the NA LCS. In a surprising move, Ray started games one and two against Team Dignitas after Impact started in the series win over TSM. Why? It seems to be the same plan that Cloud9 had last split in the support position, alternating the role and giving both players experience. A consistent starter will likely be chosen eventually, but right now, the two players seem to be alternating series. Impact was brought in for game three against Dignitas, but let’s face it, he’s Impact and this was an important game. He was needed.
This week, Cloud9 is set to take on Immortals and Counter Logic Gaming. These two series should be two easy wins, but betting against CLG or Dardoch is a tough thing to do. Based on week one, however, Cloud9 should be able to steamroll both of these teams. Ray may even get to play a whole series, since Impact may not be needed to beat these squads. On that subject, Impact is undeniably the better top laner. If this is a competition, he will win. If this is something different, however, and Cloud9 is just preparing for a possible Impact exit, that is certainly something to keep an eye on. Regardless, this week should be a breeze for Cloud9.
Contractz was our player to watch for Cloud9 last week, and the rookie jungler showed up to win. He may not have been the best player on the team over the weekend, but Contractz was an integral part of Cloud9’s victories. When Contractz locked in Lee Sin in the second game against TSM, Cloud9 fans around the country had horrid flashbacks of William "Meteos" Hartman’s performance on the champion at the latest Worlds. Contractz made Cloud9 fans love the champion again, demolishing TSM in the process. This kid is an early frontrunner for rookie of the split, and he fits into this team perfectly.
What do you think about our power rankings for this week? Are there any teams that you would rank higher or lower? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @GAMURScom.