LCS Power Ranking
The League of Legends World Championship is over. We have finished the Relegation matches, and the expansion tournament has been played. The teams for the LCS have been locked in and roster swaps are coming to a close, finally. It is time to talk about who is looking the best right now.
Are TSM and Alliance (now Elements), the former number one seeds, still on top? How have the roster changes affected each team? Will the new comers make an impact against the higher teams? Only time will tell where each team lies, and rankings are sure to change throughout the season, but let’s look at what we can expect from each team.
1. Cloud 9
Even if they didn’t clinch first place in the most recent NA LCS playoffs, Cloud 9 has been the best western team for the last two splits. I expect that to continue into the season 5 spring split. They beat out the other contender, Elements (Alliance), both at worlds and IEM San Jose with superior decision making and shot calling. Meteos is the best western jungler, Sneaky is the best western ADC, and Balls is a contender for best top laner in the west. Expect Cloud 9 to have a better record than last split (18-10) but worse than their debut in the summer of 2013 (25-3).
Over the break Alliance rebranded to Elements, but their name was not the only thing they changed. The number one seed for Europe also picked up Rekkles, Europe’s best ADC. While they were not weak at ADC with veteran player Tabzz, Rekkles is certainly an upgrade. He also seems to fit more cohesively into the team’s environment and play style. Look for Elements to challenge Cloud 9 for the honor of best western team as they get more experience playing together.
3. Team Liquid
With the acquisition of former world champion Piglet, the team formerly known as Curse is poised to vie for the 90 championship points awarded to the winner of the spring split. In addition to signing Piglet, everything seems to be falling in line for the team that, in past splits, always ended fourth. Quas is looking strong in the top lane. IWillDominate is one of the top junglers in North America. Fenix is filling the spot that Voyboy left, and Xpecial has proven himself to be one of the best western supports of all time.
4. SK Gaming
SK Gaming is looking stronger than ever. At the end of last season they were looking like the second best team in Europe, until Svenskeren was banned from their first three games of the world championship group stage for some poor decision making. The two weak links on the team have been replaced by Forg1ven, the best laning ADC in Europe, and Fox, a player who is a bit of a gamble. Fox has been very good in the challenger scene, but he and Forg1ven both have a bit of a reputation for being hot headed. Hopefully they work everything out.
Yes, Roccat lost to CLG who lost to Gambit Gaming. However, losing one best of three does not make you worse than the victor. Also, Roccat has added Nukeduck to their lineup since their time at IEM Cologne. With this new starting five, I expect Roccat to be a strong third in the European LCS. They have an almost guaranteed first blood from Europe’s best jungler, Jankos. Nukeduck dominated in his season with Lemondogs, and is respected by many as one of the best mid laners in a region known for its mid laners.
6. Gambit Gaming
Gambit is finally looking up after struggling for the last few splits. P1noy seems to be a definite upgrade from Genja’s recent play, and the team seems to be in the best spirits they have been since the departure of mid laner Alex Ich. The kings of IEM won their most recent visit to Cologne, and Diamond was showing some of his former glory. At one point in time, Diamondprox was the best jungler in the world. I don’t expect him to get that title back, but if he can return to a level close to where he was and P1noy lives up to the hype, Gambit could easily be top three this split.
7. Team SoloMid
If this were the TSM of last split, I would have them somewhere between third and fifth place. TSM has the best mid laner in NA right now. They also have Dyrus. I don’t need to say anything about Dyrus because if you are reading this article, you already know him for the rock he is in the top lane. Their bot lane is also top four. Santorin showed some promise at IEM, but he still isn’t Amazing. That said, if Santorin is on the team at the end of the split, I fully expect him to be either around Amazing’s level or better than Amazing. Locodoco has proven himself to be the best coach in North America, and I look forward to what he can do with the new jungler and TSM as a unit.
8. Team Impulse
Team impulse is LMQ 2.0. They still have XiaoWeiXiao, who is the only mid laner in NA that I would consider Bjergsen’s equal. The difference is that their weaknesses and strengths have switched places. Adrian and Impact look to push for a high ranking in their position for NA. Team Impulse may end up top three. They may end up lower half. Either way, expect them to do what LMQ did last year: raise the level of play of North America as an entire region.
9. Unicorns of Love
Unicorns of Love looked really good against TSM at IEM San Jose. The thing to remember here is it was only one series. One series does not make them the better team. That said, they are looking to be a strong squad and one of the most fun teams to watch. With their strange picks and neglect of the current meta, many reliable sources (Twitch chat and Reddit) are calling them the new Moscow Five. Ironically, the best player on a team named Unicorns of Love goes by PowerOfEvil. Very few mid laners can say that they have gone against Bjergsen and Alex Ich and made them both look bad. Look for him to rise to the top and make a name for himself against the best Europe has to offer.
10. Counter Logic Gaming
In the same way that Curse (Team Liquid) will no longer be associated with fourth place, CLG will no longer be associated with potential. Their roster is the worst it has been in quite a while. Yes, Rush Hour still looks to be a premier bot lane, but after that none of their players is top four in their position for NA. Zion Spartan could be top four, but neither Dyrus, Balls, Impact, nor Quas are going give up their spot. Link is going to continue where he left off last season with moments of brilliance, but he will most likely choke in clutch moments as he has in the past. Xmithie is the X-factor here. If he can get back to the level he once was, CLG could push for top three or four. If not, they could be much lower.
11. Meet Your Makers
I had a lot of hope for the team formerly known as Supa Hot Crew at the end of last split. They had brought back LS as coach, and were cutting their weakest players to upgrade their squad. However, with the new LCS rules, LS was dropped as he is unable to be present for the games (and participate in picks and bans). In addition, H0R0 and Nisbeth, thought improvements, have yet to convince us that they will bring a true, positive change to the team. Even so, Mimer is a solid top laner, Selfie is extremely talented, and Mr. RalleZ has his name mentioned very frequently in the discussion of the best ADC in Europe.
Altec. Altec is the best new talent in NA. By the end of the time Worlds 2015 rolls around, I expect him to be undoubtedly one of the top three ADCs playing in NA. He still has a lot to learn, but his talent is undeniable. Pobelter is surprisingly still young (he has been around the scene forever), and he keeps getting better and more consistent. Rumor has it that Helios’s brother Avalon is not a great pick up currently, and I have never been super impressed with Gleeb.
Fnatic has undergone a nearly complete overhaul to their roster with YellOwStaR being the only player remaining from Europe’s number two seed. It is hard to place this team fairly as we have seen so little of these players and this team. Expect YellOwStaR’s great shot calling and amazing support play to keep them from falling too far from their former glory. We have a lot of questions about this team, but we should get answers soon enough.
Gravity boasts about having some of the best chemistry in NA. Saint Vicious and Cop are tried and true veterans. Bunny FuFuu is one of the best talents to come out of the challenger scene as of late, and he will re-enter the league as a top five NA support. Keane and Hauntzer show promise, and they have the exact resources and experience around them to realize that potential. I expect this team to end better than it starts the season, but they will end middle of the pack either way.
H2k looked good in the challenger series and in the playoffs. They fell to Supa Hot Crew, but made it in via the expansion tournament with an impressive 8-0 record, including a 3-0 sweep of Giants Gaming. Fans may recognize Voidle, the support on Gambit who wasn’t Edward, and Ryu, the mid laner who many think is terrible because he got posterized by Faker in the most famous outplay of all time.
16. Team Dignitas
Team Dignitas is looking really rough. Their bot lane was mediocre, and they lost the better half of it. Shiphtur could be the best mid laner in NA if a switch flips in his mind, but that is not necessarily an easy thing to accomplish. Crumbzz was the second best jungler in NA (after Meteos), but he has struggled recently. Their new recruits don’t seem to be improvements on Zion and QT, which they proved at IEM Cologne by dropping a game to Aces High and getting swept 2-0 by Gambit. Dignitas needs to make some changes, or they will have to be thinking more about relegations than a spot at worlds.
17. Team Coast
Coast has been a revolving door ever since they got relegated and Dignitas picked up their solo laners Shiphtur and ZionSpartan. Critics will tell you they have five players who nobody wanted. Fans will tell you that they have five players with great LCS experience. Either way, this team could finish the split anywhere from dead last to fifth.
18. Team 8
Team 8 is an exciting and fun team to watch. Their star player, Calitrlolz was able to delay his schooling for a year so that we could watch him play video games. He is one of the only top laner shot callers. He is not afraid to pick off meta champs, and he has promised to make top lane the most interesting lane in the NA LCS. Maplestreet has proven that he is a highly skilled mechanical player, and we can expect him to dominate the weaker AD carries in the league. Team 8’s mid laner, Slooshi8 has shown his talent against teams of lower LCS caliber. Now we just have to see what he can do against the best in the west. Also, Alex Ich has joined the team as a sub, and I would not be surprised to see the legend play in at least a few games this season.
19. Copenhagen Wolves
The Copenhagen Wolves finished last split in last place, and they have since lost their best player. I would love to see them improve as a unit and as individual players and grab some championship points this split, but I’m not holding my breath. I can’t imagine them going for very long without making some serious changes to their roster.
20. Giants Gaming
Giants Gaming had a decent run through the EU Expansion Tournament before losing 3-0 to H2k. This including handing Millenium a 2-1 defeat. It is very hard to say who will be better between Giants and The Copenhagen Wolves, but both of them are going to need to see or make big changes in order to be truly competitive in the scene.