NA LCS Week 4 Power Ranking

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We are now only one game away from the halfway point of the split, and it is as exciting as ever. It feels like there’s become a gap between the top three teams, and the rest of the league. It looks like six teams will fight for the remaining three play-off spots, with all capable of falling outside the top six. Cloud 9, Echo Fox and Team Liquid all look like contenders for the season so far, and despite TL losing to both C9 and EF this week, they will still be contending at the top. Here is the link to last weeks rankings for those that are interested.

Header explanation:

Ranking. (change since last week) Team Name, Score (Week Score)

 

C91. (+1) Cloud 9, 7-1 (2-0)

W vs Team Liquid

W vs FlyQuest

Cloud 9 dominates Team Liquid in their first match of the week, and cement themselves as the best team in the league currently. Svenskeren looked a lot better this week compared to his performances this far, and will hope that this is a sign of what to come. Their laners looked as dominant as ever, and the win was all in all very convincing.

Their second match of the week was against a FlyQuest that fielded their main roster for the first time this season, and that looked a lot stronger than they had done in the beginning. Cloud 9 looked to struggle in the beginning of the game, with FQ moving better around the map. It was evident that C9 had a lot stronger laners though, as they didn’t fall to far behind in gold due to good cs’ing. Cloud 9 got the win in the end, due to scaling and good team fighting.

The only team C9 has yet to face this split is TSM, they will be expected to beat them as TSM struggles in closing games, something C9 has done very well. If C9 is able to be 8-1 halfway through the split, that would be way above pre-season expectations. Their other match next week will be the rematch of their only loss so far this season, against Echo Fox. It will not be an easy week for C9, but if they want to continue to show that they are the best team in the league, they will be expecting to get at least one win.

 

EF2. (+1) Echo Fox, 7-1 (2-0)

W vs Golden Guardians

W vs Team Liquid

Echo Fox is 7-1 just as C9, but doesn’t look nearly as clean. They won the game against Golden Guardians not by playing a lot better, but simply by having stronger individual players. This is the feeling I’m currently sitting with regarding Echo Fox, they might have the best average individual skill level in the league, but their macro and cleanliness isn’t at the level of TL and C9. It’s important to not underestimate the importance of having strong individual players though, especially in a Bo1 scenario.

Their second game of the week, vs Team Liquid was quite close. But with all five players performing better than their TL counterparts, they ended up grabbing the win. The amount of carry potential this team has continues to impress me. Combining that with having a lot of lane synergies and the team mostly being on the same page, they are able to overcome their slight disadvantage on macro decisions.

They will be finishing up the first half of the split against 100 Thieves, which currently is on a bad run of games, losing three in a row. Their second game of the week will be against Cloud 9, in what promises to be a great spectacle. I’m really excited to follow the midlane matchup especially, as FeniX is continuing to look hot this split. Echo Fox will look at next week as a great opportunity to take sole position of first place.

 

TL3. (-2) Team Liquid, 5-3 (0-2)

L vs Cloud 9

L vs Echo Fox

Team Liquid has bounced between first and third on my power rankings all split so far. I said that this week was going to be the real test for them, and they didn’t really show up. The entire team struggled this week, with all players looking bad at different times during the matches. The C9 game wasn’t really ever close, Cloud 9 was in control for the entirety of the game.

The match against Echo Fox was a lot closer, but with Pobleter and Doublelift struggling a lot in teamfights, they didn’t ever look in control. Combining this with uncharacteristically weak macro decisions and wave control, they had a very weak set of games.

They will be finishing off the first half of the split against what looks like a very weak CLG. I don’t really see any world where TL loses this game, unless they get heavily outplayed in draft. If they are able to secure themselves a late game insurance, they should win this game safely. Their second game will be up against Golden Guardians, and despite them picking up their first win, that should be an easy match for TL. I expect Team Liquid to go 2-0 next week.

 

TSM4. (+2) TeamSoloMid, 4-4 (1-1)

L vs Clutch Gaming

W vs CLG

There is currently a bigger difference between third and fourth, than there are between fourth and ninth. Despite losing to Clutch Gaming, I put TSM ahead of them. This is probably the two teams I struggled the most separating, as I feel like if they played 10 matches, they would go 5-5 currently. I place TSM higher because I feel they are on more of an upswing compared to Clutch. TSM played the earlygame a lot better than Clutch, but Clutch played the team fights a lot better. Most people will point to Apollo’s steals of baron and infernal, and will i agree that those were very important, I’m not 100 % sure TSM would have been able to close the game out with those objectives.

TSM vs CLG was a fun one as always. TSM did look like the better team, but I will attribute most of the win to a very well-played game from MikeYeung, and a more cohesive draft. Zven continue to look solid but unspectacular, he has a good KDA and low death share, but is only middle of the pack in kill participation and damage percentage.

TSM will have a tough week five, as they face the very dominant C9, and get their chance at revenge against Clutch. I will be very excited to follow both matches, as TSM currently look like the team most likely to break away from the six teams currently fighting for the remaining play-off spots.

 

CG5. (0) Clutch Gaming, 4-4 (2-0)

W vs TSM

W vs OpTic

Clutch proved a lot of people wrong this week, and showed that their game score was heavily influenced by having had a though schedule. They were able to grab the win in a very close match against TSM, where Apollo stole most of the headlines. It was hard to put Clutch behind TSM in the rankings after that game as they look very close in skill currently.

Clutch didn’t look too dominant in their win vs OpTic, but a very good game from Febiven on Cassiopeia gave them the victory. It is very encouraging to see that both Apollo and Febiven is able to carry, as most top teams want to have multiple threats. A very interesting stat regarding Clutch is that Solo is in fact fifth in the league in terms of damage percentage out of all players, with Febiven and Apollo both being last in their roles. Their DPM is acceptable though, and it is probably mostly due to Solo playing lots of Gangplank. It could be an interesting stat to follow for the rest of the split though.

Clutch’s last game of the first half will be against FlyQuest, which did look good with their intended roster. It’s going to be an interesting match to follow, but I do expect Clutch to pick up the win. There is actually quite a large chance of Clutch being in sole possession of fourth halfway through the split, with even a small chance of being tied for third if TL loses to CLG. Their second match of the week will be the rematch of the TSM game, I’m very interested in that one, as it will show if any of these two teams has the potential to challenge the top three teams.

 

FQ6. (+3) FlyQuest, 3-5 (1-1)

W vs 100 Thieves

L vs Cloud 9

FlyQuest finally have their intended roster finalized. They looked very good in their game vs 100 Thieves with their new midlaner, Fly. He didn’t look like a lane dominant player, but was able to move very well around the map, and got a lot going for the rest of the team. Stunt played a very good Rakan game as well, teaming up nicely with Fly.

Their second game was actually quite good as well, but you could see the difference in player skill very clearly. All lanes looked weaker, with maybe the exception of the toplane. They moved nicely around the map though, showing promise for their coming weeks.

FlyQuest will be facing Clutch and OpTic next week, two teams close to them in the standings. They will be hoping that another week of practice with this new roster, will make them look even better. It’s also going to be interesting to see whether they go with Stunt or JayJ in the support position, as they played one game each this week. I expect Flame, AnDa, Fly, Wildturtle, and Stunt to be their main roster, but Keane, JayJ and even Shrimp have seen stage time so far this season, so It’s hard to be 100 % sure.

 

100T7. (-3) 100 Thieves, 4-4 (0-2)

L vs FlyQuest

L vs Golden Guardians

100 Thieves does not look in good form. They have only been able to pick up one win in their last 5 games. They lost the first game of the week in a game that wasn’t really that close. Ssumday does not look like a top three toplaner at the moment, and the team doesn’t really seem to gel that well. They really only look like a two threat team at the moment, with Meteos only playing tanks, and Ssumday being the worst laner in the league in terms of gold difference @10.

They are also the first team in the league to lose against Golden Guardians, and I find it hard to see whether that was due to GGS playing well, and continuing to improve, or the fact that 100 Thieves is just bad currently. I will be genuinely surprised if 100T doesn’t end up in the play-offs, and I expect them to bounce back, but they do not look good currently.

The only team 100 Thieves has yet to face is Echo Fox. That is going to be a rough match, and I don’t expect them to get much out of that game. Their second game of the week should be more of a possibility though, they will be going up against a CLG that seems to struggle a lot this season. I expect Cody and Aphro to exploit the weak CLG bottom lane, and grab the win off that.

 

OpT8. (0) OpTic Gaming, 2-6 (1-1)

W vs CLG

L vs Clutch Gaming

I’ve been sitting here saying that I think OpTic can be a good team the entire split so far, but they have yet to show much. They were able to grab a strong victory over CLG though, but I feel that is mostly CLG not being a very good team this split. All players actually did well in that game, and they showed nice wave management.

They had a good early game vs Clutch, but Febiven simply looked too good in team fights that game. Akaadian does not look good on tanks, he looks like he doesn’t understand when to engage, as I often see him going in after his damage dealers are dead. I’m not willing to completely write off OpTic yet, as they continued to show small signs of hope this week, but they will have to start picking up more wins soon.

Next week could very well be that week that they start picking up those wins. They finish off the first half of the split against Golden Guardians, before going up against FlyQuest. Both those teams have looked on an upwards trajectory, but both teams still look very beatable. OpTic will have to at least grab one win for me to keep faith in them,

 

CLG9. (-2) Counter Logic Gaming, 3-5 (0-2)

L vs OpTic

L vs TSM

I seemed to have been a bit to quick in giving out a clean bill of health to CLG, and their botlane. This week was back to old habits for Stixxay and co. The entire team looked lost in their game against OpTic, which is one of the weakest teams in the league currently. I’m not really sure if this team’s struggles is only team synergy anymore. Cause Huhi and Reignover played well around Darshan this game, but the botlane and midlane fell far behind, and Darshan wasn’t able to do anything at all with his lead. I think that this team would need a big upgrade in the botlane to be able to contest at the top of the league. Cause Darshan doesn’t look like he is able to carry the team at the moment.

I think the game against TSM was generally of low quality. But it showed that despite CLG not looking good currently, it is not far up to the fourth placed team in TSM. I think that a questionable draft, and a very strong performance from MikeYeung was the ain reasons for TSM winning this one, and I’m not sure TSM would win if the game was played again.

CLG will have a very tough match against Team Liquid to end the first half of the split. I wouldn’t expect to much from that, but their second match, vs 100 Thieves, could be a lot closer. There is the worry of a mismatch in the botlane, but the opposite could be said for the toplane. Will be an interesting one to watch.

 

GGS10. (0) Golden Guardians, 1-7 (1-1)

L vs Echo Fox

W vs 100 Thieves

Golden Guardians was finally able to grab a win! They started the week off with a loss to Echo Fox in a game where they simply looked like the weaker team, with the weaker players. Echo Fox didn’t play exceptionally well, but they didn’t have to.

The highlight of the week, or even season, was the match against 100 Thieves though. Lourlo was able to counter pick Illaoi into Ornn, and showed, alongside Contractz, a very strong performance. I know it is risky to say, but this could be a potential winning strategy for GGS. Getting Lourlo, which is their best performing player, on a counter pick, while having Contractz stabilizing the rest of the map. I continue to worry about Hai though, as he doesn’t look completely focused all the time. Gonna be very exciting to see what this team does moving forward, both on and off the rift.

They could actually be able to grab another win before we are halfway through the split, as they face OpTic Gaming, another team that hasn’t been able to pick up a lot of victories. If they are able to get a win there, they would actually tie them in game score, moving them away from sole possession of last place. Their second game will be a lot tougher though, as they face Team Liquid, which despite going 0-2 this week, look very good against lower tier teams. So no team is completely lost this season.

NA LCS Week 3 Power Ranking

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My power rankings will be less in depth this week due to excessive amounts of school-work, I still hope you guys enjoy them. If you want to know more reasoning on why I placed a team where i did, hit me up on Twitter or Reddit.

We have now entered a stage of the split where we should be able to take strength of schedule so far into consideration while comparing teams. This will probably be the best power ranking to determine team’s strength so far. A lot of teams went either 2-0, or 0-2 this weekend, and the standings were shook up. A lot of the teams that people expected to struggle before the season are still at the bottom parts of the standings, while the bigger teams that had a slow start are starting to pick up some wins. That doesn’t mean they get highly ranked on my power ranking though, as I will focus a lot on which teams has played who so far. Here is the link for last weeks power rankings for you to compare.

Header explanation:

Ranking. (change since last week) Team Name, Score (Week Score)

 

TL1. (+2) Team Liquid, 5-1 (2-0)

W vs FlyQuest

W vs Golden Guardians

I struggled a lot to decide which team to place first this week. Arguments could be made for all the top four teams, but in the end I decided on Team Liquid. TL have had the easiest schedule out of all the top teams so far. They have yet to play Echo Fox, Cloud 9 and CLG, which can be considered some of the strongest opposition in the league. Despite all this, I ended up placing them first due to how dominant they have been in their wins. They have four out of the four fastest wins this split, and an average game time of only 32.1 minute, 5.5 minutes faster than the second best team in Clutch. They have gotten first tower in all their games so far, and has the highest gold difference at 15 on average. It is therefore very hard to go against this team.

Week four will be the biggest test for Team Liquid so far, they will be facing both Cloud 9 and Echo Fox. I expect them to match up better against Echo Fox due to TL having what most people consider to be the stronger botlane, which is where TL plays through. Using that strength against C9 will be a lot more difficult though, as Sneaky and Smoothie have looked amazing so far this split, it’s going to be very exciting to follow that botlane matchup.

 

C92. (0) Cloud 9, 5-1 (2-0)

W vs OpTic Gaming

W vs Clutch Gaming

Cloud 9 have still only lost to Echo Fox this season, and continues to look strong. All their laners are looking incredibly strong, and it is hard to not see them as a top top team in the league right now. The only thing holding me back from declaring them as the number one team is that Svenskeren hasn’t shown amazing synergy with the laners yet, and a lot of their plays have come from their botlane.

They could be up against a tough week four, as TL looks very strong, and FlyQuest doesn’t look like pushovers despite being low in the standings. They will be expecting to go out of the second week with at least one win, but maybe even two.

 

EF3. (-2) Echo Fox, 5-1 (1-1)

L vs CLG

W vs OpTic Gaming

Echo Fox got handed their first loss of the season up against CLG, and they didn’t look overly convincing against OpTic. Due to this they fall down from first to third on my power rankings this week, but they remain very close with Team Liquid and Cloud 9.

They will be starting week 4 with a game against Golden Guardians, a game they should be able to win quite easily. Their laners just seem to strong for this game to be close. Their second game will be a lot more exciting, they will be going up against what many consider to be the strongest team in the league right now, Team Liquid. FeniX and Dardoch will be facing their old team, and I expected Echo Fox to be highly motivated for this game. One of the most exciting games of the week.

 

100T4. (0) 100 Thieves, 4-2 (1-1)

W vs Clutch Gaming

L vs TSM

It is really hard to figure out how strong 100 Thieves really are. They have beaten TL, but they have also lost to TSM and C9. I think their highs are equal to TL, Echo Fox and C9, but they are showing less consistency compared to the other top teams. It has to be taken into consideration that have had maybe the hardest schedule so far, and that the only top team they have left to face in the first half is Echo Fox.

They will have to go 2-0 next week to remain a top four team, but I definitively expect them to. They will be playing against FlyQuest and Golden Guardians which are probably the weakest teams in the league right now.

 

CG5. (0) Clutch Gaming, 2-4 (0-2)

L vs 100 Thieves

L vs Cloud 9

Clutch Gaming is the team that decides whether a team belongs in the top, or the bottom of the standings. They have lost to all four teams ranked above them, and beaten all the teams they have played below them. So despite being 2-4, they are probably in a way the most consistent team in the league. Many may be surprised that I have them at fifth place, but the fact that they have faced all the top teams in the league with three games remaining of the first half of the split, results in me giving them the benefit f the doubt.

Their first game of the week is going to be very exciting to watch. They will be facing TSM which looks to be on the rise. The question will be whether they can pass “the Gatekeepers” in Clutch. Their second match should be winnable, when the two European midlane imports for the split, in Febiven and PowerOfEvil, will be squaring up.

 

TSM6. (+2) TeamSoloMid, 3-3 (2-0)

W vs Golden Guardians

W vs 100 Thieves

I had a bold statement regarding TSM’s week three, saying that they had to win both games to show that they still can be a top team. And they answered. They roar up the standings with their 2-0 week, and picked up a very important win against 100 Thieves. This will give them a lot of confidence moving forward, and they will be hoping to show that their slow start was only that.

Both their games this week is going to be very interesting to follow. They will start the week against “the Gatekeepers”, in Clutch, hoping that they can show that they are a top team. Their second game will be against another team trying to climb the standings, CLG. Few would have expected that this would be a match between two 0.5 teams at this point in the season.

 

CLG7. (+2) Counter Logic Gaming, 3-3 (2-0)

W vs Echo Fox

W vs FlyQuest

I’m very confused regarding CLG, I both considered keeping them in the bottom three, and to put them in the top five. They had a very good win against a super-strong Echo Fox team, and picked up another one against FlyQuest. Their early games have been good the entire split, but this week they were able to keep that going into the mid- and lategame.

The first game of the fourth week will be a good indicator on if I did right in placing them above OpTic. They will be going up against each other, and I don’t expect a close game. The only problem is that I don’t know which team will be the dominant one. Their second game of the week will be up against their big rival in TSM, and people will be very excited for that one. I personally think CLG will struggle, but I could be very wrong on that one.

 

OpT8. (-2) OpTic Gaming, 1-5 (0-2)

L vs Cloud 9

L vs Echo Fox

OpTic is 1-5, but I still have this feeling that they aren’t that bad. On paper I think they look like a bottom two team, but from watching their games they always seem to have the potential to go on a three game winning streak. That winning streak did not come this week, as they lost to two of the strongest teams in the league, Cloud 9 and Echo Fox.

They will be going up against CLG and Clutch in week four, two tough, but beatable opponents. CLG is an enigma at the moment, and despite the fact that Clutch have beaten teams below them so far, they could get beaten by OpTic.

 

FQ9. (-2) FlyQuest, 2-4 (0-2)

L vs Team Liquid

L vs CLG

FlyQuest doesn’t look to good in my eyes. If you look away from their TSM win, they have never really looked like challenging. They spent the last week trying to change up their staring lineup a bit, but without any success. AnDa and Keane have both looked okay so far, but I expected a lot more from Flame and WildTurtle.

Next week is going to be very though for them as they go up against 100 Thieves and Cloud 9. I heavily expect both those games to end in a loss. And considering the last remaining team they have to face are Clutch, I don’t see them having a good couple of weeks going forward.

 

GGS10. (0) Golden Guardians, 0-6 (0-2)

L vs TSM

L vs Team Liquid

Golden Guardians sacked their coach “Locodoco” just before going into the weekend, and the one thing I hade going for them, their growth, totally disappeared. I’m not gonna say anything on the decision as a whole, but if you only consider it from a competitive standpoint, I think it is the worst decision they could make. I think Loco is one of the better coaches in the league, and despite some of his problems, I think he is one of the few people that might have been able to do anything with this roster. Taking this, and the quality of their opposition this week, into consideration, it was no surprise that they went 0-2.

Where I used to see a lot of hope for Golden Guardians, I don’t anymore. They will be playing Echo Fox and 100 Thieves next week, and I expect them to lose both those games heavily. It is going to be interesting to hear from Locodoco when he says something on the matter, cause I think that Golden Guardians would have to have had a really go reason to justify this decision.

NA LCS Week 2 Power Ranking

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After a week where most teams went 1-1, it’s a lot of discussion around which teams got better and worse since last week. This week two power ranking will state my opinion on which teams are on the rise, and which teams are looking weak after four games. I will be giving a short summary of how a team did this week, as well as focusing on a key player and looking forward to next week. Here is the link to last weeks power ranking if you are interested in reading that.

Header explanation:

Ranking. (change since last week) Team Name, Score (Week Score)

EF1. (+2) Echo Fox, 4-0 (2-0)

W vs Cloud 9

W vs TSM

I said in last weeks power rankings that this week was gonna be a defining week for Echo Fox. They played what was the two NA representatives at the 2017 Worlds Championship, and although TSM doesn’t look too strong right now, it’s still impressive to beat them. Another impressive part of Echo Fox’s games this week was that they were able to win from behind. In their game against C9, they were 3k behind in gold at 15. But a great 36 minute teamfight gave them back control of the game, and they were able to win when they had gotten ahead.

The game vs TSM was even more extreme. TSM had a gold lead of 11k at 39 minutes, and was unable to close the game despite getting multiple barons and an elder dragon. What made Echo Fox win though, was the fact that every player on that team looks like they can carry a fight. It was very impressive to see how well all five players did in the late game fights.

People are always gonna talk about Huni, FeniX and Dardoch with this team, but Altec played late game fights incredibly well. I would recommend any aspiring ADC player out there to go and watch his positioning in these fights. He succeeded playing both Ezreal into a teamfighting ADC, and playing a teamfighting ADC into Ezreal.

Echo Fox goes into week three with a very manageable schedule. They will be facing a struggling CLG, and an OpTic team that has yet to find a lot of wins. Echo Fox will be facing a new challenge though. People are now mostly considering them the best team in the league, and they won’t be underdogs anymore. It will be interesting to look how the team cope with that pressure moving forward.

 

C92. (0) Cloud 9, 3-1 (1-1)

L vs Echo Fox

W vs 100 Thieves

Cloud 9 got handed their first loss of the season vs the hot Echo Fox. But even though they lost the game, they showed a lot of good plays. They were able got get themselves over a 3k gold lead, but with Jayce and Tank Jax vs Gnar and Sejuani, they ended up getting outscaled, and losing the game mostly off that. Perhaps the best news C9 can take away from that game are that Licorice was able to stand up against Huni in the toplane.

Their second game of the week was not the same story. This game was all about moving Sneaky and Smoothie around the map to take down the outer turrets. Cloud 9 used some time to close out the game, but their gold lead never looked threatened. It’s very nice for this team that all their lanes are able to carry. And even though Svenskeren has the most deaths out of all players in the league, the team are able to look dominant.

Their player to look at this week is Svenskeren, the death leader in the league. It was talked about how he wasn’t able to use his aggressive playstyle while playing for TSM, and that this would improve when he moved to C9. That is definitively the case. He takes a lot more risks than he did on TSM, and even though that leads to more deaths, he is also able to create a lot of pressure. One thing that could be of worry with Svenskeren is his lackluster teamfighting compared to Dardoch vs Echo Fox. It is highly possible that this was due to his pick getting outscaled, but it’s still something to keep an eye out for next week.

Cloud 9 will be hoping to get a 2-0 in that next week. They will be facing an OpTic team that looks like they are very close to figuring out a winning recipe, and Clutch Gaming which will be hoping to get their first win against one of the top performing teams. With all their laners looking very good so far, C9 will have to have proved a lot of people wrong about the off-season.

 

TL3. (-2) Team Liquid, 3-1 (1-1)

L vs 100 Thieves

W vs Clutch Gaming

Coming of a very strong week one, most people saw Team Liquid as the strongest team in the league. In their first match of the week they showed that they also have weaknesses. They struggled a lot when the botlane fell behind early, and was unable to utilize the gold lead Impact got in toplane. Their midgame is filled with individual mistakes, and the sidelane control that was so good in week one was a big problem this game.

TL bounces back in their second game of the week vs Clutch Gaming. They are able to play around their botside more, and get a gold lead with a better scaling comp. This game looked a lot more like their week one performance, and they will be hoping to keep that form going.

Impact showed his good and his bad side this week. His performance on Vladimir vs 100T was lackluster to say the least. He got a sizable gold lead in the earlygame, but was unable to do anything with it. He ended up getting solokilled, and falling massively behind by lategame. Against Clutch he showed why he often is referred to as “a rock” in the toplane. He gets little to no attention from his jungler in what is a very tough matchup (Gangplank vs Gnar), but is able to only fall slightly behind while helping the team with his ultimate.

Looking forward to next week, Team Liquid will be facing FlyQuest and Golden Guardians. They will expect to get to dominant wins, and move to a 5-1 record. Neither of those teams have amazing botlanes, and it’s hard to see any of them being able to give TL a huge challenge.

 

100T4. (0) 100 Thieves, 3-1 (1-1)

W vs Team Liquid

L vs Cloud 9

At first glance it might look weird that 100 Thieves is placed below Team Liquid despite beating them this week. But I believe a lot of that match was compositional. Combining that with lackluster performances from Xmithie and Impact, and great play from Ryu, that makes me think that it was a one-off. They still have to be given credit though, so they are still placed in the top four.

Their match vs Cloud 9 is what you usually see when it is considerable difference in the skill level between two teams. 100T never really got anything going for themselves, and C9 just steadily increased their gold lead into a win.

Yet again I want to acknowledge Cody Sun’s performances. He has an insane 41.1% of his team’s damage, and a damage per minute of 815. He is number one in the league in both those stats, and is a huge part of why 100T is 3-1 so far this split.

100 Thieves will be playing against Clutch Gaming and TSM next week, and that will show if they deserve to be in the discussion with Echo Fox, Team Liquid and Cloud 9 as the best teams in the LCS currently. The game vs Clutch will be my match of the week. I currently have those teams in the same tier, the one just behind the top teams. If either of them can show a dominant performance that could be what pushes them in to that top-tier. It’s hard to predict their match against TSM as no one really know if TSM is really as bad as they currently are showing. But for now I will have to say 100T are favorites, especially until TSM show some signs of improvement.

 

CG5. (+2) Clutch Gaming, 2-2 (1-1)

W vs CLG

L vs Team Liquid

Clutch is currently looking like the definition of a middle of the pack team. They are 2-2, have beaten two teams below them, and lost to two teams above them. Their game against CLG was a pretty dominant one. They had the weaker earlygame comp, but was able to stay even for 20 minutes, before taking over the game and finishing just after 30 minutes. This game also had the first penta of the split, with Febiven picking up what was also his first penta of his career.

Their second game of the week was the exact opposite, with Team Liquid absolutely dominating them. They never looked like they were able to contest anything, and got rolled over in 27 minutes. Having two games in one week that are so different makes it hard to predict just how good of a team this is. The LCS is such a close league that it’s weird to beat everyone below you, and lose to everyone above you.

I want to take a look at Apollo this week. Apollo is a player that is known, alongside Hakuho, to be one of the strongest laners in the league. He was number one out of all ADC’s in gold difference at 10 last split by far, and although he didn’t have the best stats in terms of damage per minute or kill participation, he was considered a great laner. This split has not been the same so far, he is currently second to last in GD@10, and his DPM is still incredibly low. He actually only deals 45% of what the number one ADC does, in Cody Sun. Apollo needs to step up in Clutch wants to be a challenging the top teams.

Next week is going to be very interesting for Clutch. They will be playing in my match of the week against 100 Thieves, and against Cloud 9 later in the weekend. It is a high probability that Clutch is going to struggle in both those matches, and that they end the week at 2-4. That would definitively create a gap between the top four teams, and the rest of the league. If they are able to pick up a win or two though, they will really cement themselves as play-off contenders.

 

OpT6. (+2) OpTic Gaming, 1-3 (1-1)

L vs TSM

W vs FlyQuest

OpTic could easily have picked up a win against TSM. I actually believe that if TSM didn’t have the free extra scaling of Ornn, OpTic might actually have won that game. There is not much doubt, that game was not of high quality, and is furthering my point of there being a clear top and bottom five in the league currently. OpTic, FlyQuest and TSM are in my eyes pretty close at this point but none of them are really close to looking as good as Clutch or 100T, so until they prove me otherwise, I will be keeping that mid-table divide.

OpTic got their first win of the season against FlyQuest, and they finally looked like they were beginning to crack the code. Having Arrow on a mechanical teamfighter, and Akaadian on an aggressive jungler looks like it works for them. They were able to explode a lead after getting a 25 minute baron, and for once close a game out in reasonable time.

For this team I’m going to be looking at their toplaner, zig. Looking at the stats from so far this season, there is not much doubt that zig is one of the weaker toplaners in the league, but OpTic look like they found the solution against FlyQuest. With zig playing Maokai, he was allowed to fall behind in cs, but still remain useful in teamfights. And although we don’t see that much full tanks in the toplane now, it could work for OpTic.

Even though OpTic looks like they are on the rise at the moment, it is not much expectation on them for next week. They will be facing up against two of the strongest teams in the league in Cloud 9 and Echo Fox. If they are able to get anything from those matches, that would be a huge upset, and people would really consider OpTic as a team that could contest for one of the bottom play-off spots.

 

FQ7. (-2) FlyQuest, 2-2 (1-1)

W vs Golden Guardians

L vs OpTic Gaming

FlyQuest is one of the teams that came the worst out of this week, despite going 1-1. The fact that TSM continue to struggle makes FlyQuest’s win against them less impressive. Also taking into consideration the fact that they barely scraped together a win against what currently is the weakest looking team in the league, in Golden Guardians, it doesn’t look to good for FlyQuest. Some people might comment on the fact that they are playing with their academy midlaner, but Keane is in fact one of the best performing players on that team. He is actually first in the league in kill participation.

Their second game of the week was a loss to an OpTic team that look like they are just bout to find their groove in the LCS. It was even for most of the earlygame, but the game exploded into a huge lead for OpTic after a baron. This game was actually one of FlyQuest’s best earlygames. They are by far worst in the league, averaging a 2k gold deficit at 15.

I’m gonna be looking at AnDa for this exact reason. It is a lot on the jungler to create enough pressure early, and he hasn’t done that. The team is the only team not to have gotten a first blood so far this split, so AnDa needs to get ganks of earlier. AnDa has been showing glimpses of great performances in the late game though, and could be considered one of the biggest reasons why FlyQuest have been able to pick up wins despite having terrible earlygames.

FlyQuest will be going into week three hoping to go 1-1 for the third week in a row. They will be facing Team Liquid and CLG, and even though TL is going to be very though, they will be hoping to exploit what looks to be an all time weak CLG. AnDa will really be tested in that matchup though, facing up against Reignover, which despite CLG’s miserable start to the season, has shown some of his old earlygame pathing. It’s going to be a really interesting match to watch.

 

TSM8. (+1) TeamSoloMid, 1-3 (1-1)

W vs OpTic

L vs Echo Fox

A lot of people may say that TSM deserves to be ahead of OpTic due to them beating them, but that is the least convincing win of the season so far. They had map control, and a 9k gold lead at 33 min, but was unable to do anything for another 30 minutes. Taking into consideration that their teamcomp was far superior in the lategame makes this win even less impressive. But they were still able to secure their first win of the split, and that will at least relive some of the huge pressure currently on that team.

Their game against Echo Fox was somewhat of the same story, but this time Echo Fox was the one with the scaling advantage, so TSM actually got punished for their lack of proactivity. They were able to get an advantage early though, and their players still show that they are good players by themselves by getting their own leads in lane. So perhaps in a faster meta, this team’s weaknesses might not have been as clear. But considering that we are in a very slow meta, TSM looks like one of the weakest teams. Their lack of decisiveness is really punishing them.

It’s hard to not look at the one player that lack experience playing on a top team, in MikeYeung. He looks nervous in-game, and when most of the engage is on the jungler, he needs to overcome what seems to be stage jitters. The fact that TSM doesn’t help him out by picking engage toplane, or in the support role surprises me a bit. It is clear from watching their games that this is a major issue, and helping him adapting to his new team by having experienced players helping him out in game should be something they should be doing. MikeYeung is having good earlygames, and are able to get TSM some leads, so if they are able to help him out in the late game, I believe TSM can start climbing the standings.

TSM is going to be an interesting team to follow next week. They have the opportunity to show that this bad start was only a fluke by winning both their games against Golden Guardians and what has to be the weakest of the 3-1 teams in 100 Thieves. But they also have the possibility to completely crash and burn. If they lose their first game, against Golden Guardians, They are going to get absolutely slammed in the media. And if they only lose to 100 Thieves, people will probably settle on the thought that TSM isn’t going to be a top team this regular season, something TSM would not find acceptable at all.

 

CLG9. (-3) Counter Logic Gaming, 1-3 (1-1)

L vs Clutch Gaming

W vs Golden Guardians

Ding, ding, ding! I think we might have found the team that actually lost the off-season! It’s not a lot of ways to put it, this team looks really bad at the beginning of this season. Their botlane lost lane to Deftly and Matt, who have been looking very bleak so far. Reignover have been throwing himself into the enemy team constantly in the midgame, and Darshan haven’t been able to do anything with the leads he have been getting. In their first game of the week they lost against Clutch Gaming, and gave away the first penta of the split. And giving away is exactly what they did, Febiven even said that he had never gotten that many free kills in his life. Stixxay actually ended that game 0/5/0, despite his team having 6 kills.

They were even losing the game against Golden Guardians, before the Guardians decided to engage on them with 20% hp, giving them a free 10k gold swing. This game was actually very worrying, and I even considered putting Golden Guardians ahead of CLG, but looking at some of Golden Guardians decision-making from ahead, made me put CLG slightly ahead.

It is hard to not look at any of the three players I looked at last week, in Biofrost, Stixxay and Reignover. All of those players looked just as weak as last week. Reignover still has pretty good early pathing, but that is mostly it. Stixxay and Biofrost is two players that both lost their leaders from last year, and look terribly lost without them. It’s hard to see CLG suddenly improving. The only possibility I can see currently is putting the botlane on utility on an island, while snowballing Darshan on a hard carry, but it’s hard to not lose too much on the botside.

Next week doesn’t look to good for CLG either. They will be starting up against the undefeated Echo Fox, before finishing the weekend against a FlyQuest that looks average, but stable. CLG will be hoping that a good week of scrims can lead to them improving enough to pick up a win against FlyQuest, because if they end their week three 1-5, with the only win being an unconvincing one against Golden Guardians, it is hard to know what is going to happen.

 

GGS10. (0) Golden Guardians, 0-4 (0-2)

L vs FlyQuest

L vs CLG

Golden Guardians is one of the teams that improved the most between week one and week two. The only problem is how much worse they were compared to the other teams in week one. They were only one good fight away from winning against FlyQuest, but an amazing play from AnDa led to them losing their 6k gold lead, and eventually losing the game. Just like OpTic, Golden Guardians decided to put their toplaner on a tank, and their jungler on a carry. The main difference though is that Lourlo is known to deliver solid performances whenever he is put on Maokai, it isn’t a coincidence that he has a LourMao emote on Twitch.

Their second game of the week, vs CLG, was also very winnable in the midgame, but one stupid decision around baron threw away their entire lead. They showed that they were still able to find an amazing teamfight at the end of the game, but they were simply to far behind for that to matter at that point.

Last week I said that Lourlo needed to step up for Golden Guardians to stand any chance in LCS, and this week, up against Flame and Darshan, he actually played pretty well. Despite being on the only 0-4 team in the league, he is actually second in KDA out of all toplaners. Most of his laning and damage stats are around fourth to sixth. As Golden Guardians look to continue improving, I expect Lourlo to move even further up those charts, trying to cement himself as a top four or five toplaner.

Golden Guardians will have a very tough week three, facing up against TSM and Team Liquid. They aren’t expected to get anything out of the TL game, but the match against TSM can actually become very interesting. GGS have exactly what TSM lack, decisiveness. If they are able to get through laning phase without falling to far behind, one good engage can be enough to win this game. And if they are able to pick up that win, they would probably put TSM and CLG as the two weakest teams in LCS, who would have though that was a possibility coming into this season?

NA LCS Week 1 Power Ranking

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This is the first of my NA LCS Power Rankings this season. I will be basing a teams rating on their performances up until this point in the season, taking into consideration the quality of opposition they have played against. As I progress through the season I will put more weight on recent performances, rather than what they did earlier in the split. I will be explaining what happened in this week, I will focus extra on one or two players, and I will look forward to their next weeks matches. The “change since last week” will refer to my pre-season power rankings this first week.

Header explanation:

Ranking. (change since last week) Team Name, Score (Week Score)

TL1. (+1) Team Liquid, 2-0 (2-0)

W vs TSM

W vs OpTic

Team Liquid came into week one expected to be one of the top teams, and they delivered what was expected of them. Playing against Doublelift’s former team in TSM seemed to spark a lot of motivation in the team, as TL totally outclassed the three-time consecutive NALCS winners. What made this win even more impressive for a new roster, was that they didn’t win through snowballing lanes, but by playing a controlled macro game from start to finish.

Their second game of the week was against a considerably weaker team in OpTic Gaming. TL played an early-game comp into a late scaling one, but still managed to fall behind early. But they showed great control of vision and sidelanes yet again, and got the win through a couple of well set up fights in the mid-game.

Team Liquids most notable players this week was Impact and Doublelift. Both players ended the week deathless with a score line of 5/0/13 and 9/0/14 respectively. With these two also being considered the biggest shotcallers on their team, that bodes very well for the upcoming season.

Even though Team Liquid looked like the strongest team in week one, there can be some worries in that they didn’t smash any lanes this week. Having a good macro game is a huge part of being a good team, but it’s hard to stay at the top if you can’t beat weaker opponents such as OpTic in lane. TL will be hoping to continue their winning streak against 100 Thieves and Clutch Gaming in week two.

C92. (+1) Cloud 9, 2-0 (2-0)

W vs CLG

W vs Golden Guardians

Cloud 9’s first match of the split was against rivals CLG. This was expected to be a close match between two teams that come into this season hoping to challenge at the top, and the game surely delivered. C9 fell behind against an early game comp. Svenskeren struggled a lot vs Reignover’s Rengar, something that resulted in the rookie toplaner, Licorice, playing 1v3 for most of this early game. The way he did actually impressed a lot. Playing Gangplank vs Ornn, Rengar and Malzahar isn’t easy, but he managed not to fall too far behind. C9 came back into the game and grabbed the win by controlling the neutral objectives well in the later stages, and by good performances from their carries, Sneaky and Jensen.

Their next match was against considerably worse opponents in Golden Guardians, and it was shown in how the game went. They gave away some sloppy kills, and spent a long time before getting a sizable lead, but still always looked in control. They showed great sidelane control the whole game. They finished quite quickly as soon as they were able to secure baron.

The big question mark on whether C9 would succeed this split was placed on their rookie toplaner, and this week I believe that he performed very well. He showed that he can have an impact both while playing from behind and ahead. He had an impressive 7/0/6 scoreline on Kled vs Golden Guardians.

Cloud 9 will be going into a tough week two, playing against two other undefeated teams in Echo Fox and 100 Thieves. Licorice will be tested against what might be the two best toplaners in the league, in Huni and Ssumday. These games will say a lot about how good of a team the “loser of the off-season”, according to the community, really can be this split.

EF3. (+3) Echo Fox, 2-0 (2-0)

W vs FlyQuest

W vs Clutch Gaming

The cryptocurrency of the LCS. Some of the strongest mechanical players in the league, but also some of the biggest egos. This week we only saw the strong mechanical side of the players though. With an average KDA of 14.5 and the lowest average game time at 31 minutes, they absolutely smashed their games this week. Their game vs FlyQuest was dominated by the infamous Huni-Lucian, getting the turret solo before 10 minutes. After that, they moved nicely around the map, and snowballed into a controlled 29-minute win.

In their game vs Clutch Gaming we got to see FeniX show why his Azir always should be banned. He absolutely demolished the EULCS All-pro midlaner Febiven. Huni also abused the less experienced toplaner Solo. What was very impressive in this game was that even when they only were 2 kills ahead, they were still up 8.5k gold. They also showed the vision control of a top team.

All five players impressed very much, but especially their solo-laners. Huni hard won both his laning phases, and FeniX was one of only five players in the league that remained deathless. Dardoch really got to play his aggressive jungle style with this kind of priority from both his solo lanes.

Week two might be a defining week for this team, with them going against Cloud 9 and TSM. If they go 2-0 this week, it’s hard to see them not finishing top four, but if they lose both games, they could implode and struggle to reach their week one performance again. But for now, this is one of the teams to really fear.

100T4. (+1) 100 Thieves, 2-0 (2-0)

W vs OpTic

W vs CLG

100 Thieves was the only new team to go 2-0 this week, and although they went undefeated, I would have to say they looked the weakest out of the top four teams. Their game against OpTic showed us two teams that didn’t have the macro to close a game. OpTic won the early game, but 100T was in the lead from 30 minutes and out. They still wasn’t able to get their first inhibitor until 1 hour into the game.

In their second game, vs CLG, their botlane showed great laning prowess. They won lane despite playing much weaker early-game champions. They controlled the first 20 minutes, before the game started to stall out a bit. One teamfight win at 30 min snowballed the game into a 35-minute win.

The player that stood out the most for 100T this week was probably, to a lot of people’s surprise, Cody Sun. He led the team in damage in both games, and showed mastery on Ezreal vs CLG. Aphromoo is an honorable mention as he enabled Cody Sun’s performances.

Looking forward to next week, 100 Thieves will be facing the number one and number two teams on this power ranking in Team Liquid and Cloud 9. I don’t think anyone expects them to win those matches, so they can go into this week with nothing to lose. If they can get a result next week, they can prove to people why they should be considered a play-off team.

FQ5. (+4) FlyQuest, 1-1 (1-1)

L vs Echo Fox

W vs TSM

FlyQuest had to play their first week with academy midlaner Keane instead of their original starter Fly due to visa issues, but he was actually one of the team’s best performers. They started their week with a though loss against Echo Fox. The only players that really did okay that game was Keane and rookie jungler AnDa. Flame even got Flame-horizoned by Huni.

Their second game of the week is what earns them the 5th place on the power ranking this week, they were able to quite confidently beat the huge favorites in TSM. Again, Keane performed above expectations, now in a counter-matchup vs what is one of the two best midlaners in the league. They actually looked comfortable for most of the game, and impressed a lot.

FlyQuest can be one of highest placed teams after week two. The reason for that is that they face what most people consider to be the two weakest teams in the league in Golden Guardians and OpTic Gaming. It’s unsure whether Fly will be ready for those games, but I’m sure Keane will be ready to perform again if called upon.

CLG6. (-2) Counter Logic Gaming, 0-2 (0-2)

L vs Cloud 9

L vs 100 Thieves

CLG did not get the results they wanted this week, but even if they are unhappy about that, there were some positives to build on. In their game vs Cloud 9 they showed a very good early game. Reignover constantly pressured Svenskeren out of his jungle and stole his camps. Huhi had nice priority mid, and that resulted in kills top. But they showed what seemed to be a weakness in communication. As the game progressed Reignover often went in without his teammates following, and no one covered for Stixxay in teamfights. They slowly lost their lead, and in the end lost the game.

In their second game of the week, vs 100 Thieves, their botlane struggled immensely. They had picked a very strong duo of Caitlyn/Janna into Ezreal/Taric, but still managed to lose lane. This was also partly reasoned by Meteos having far more control over the bot side compared to Reignover.

There are quite a few players to look at for CLG, with Reignover, Stixxay and Biofrost being the main ones. I think Biofrost needs to step up a lot. He was supposed to be a mechanical upgrade compared to Aphromoo, but they lost lane against him and Cody Sun. Biofrost was also close to the bottom of the league in both KDA and Kill Participation this week, something that needs to improve.

Next week can be a good week for CLG to recover. They will be facing Clutch Gaming and Golden Guardians, both games must be considered very manageable games. If their botlane steps up, and they get work done on their communication and late game shotcalling, I still think CLG will be a contender at the top this season.

CG7. (0) Clutch Gaming, 1-1 (1-1)

W vs Golden Guardians

L vs Echo Fox

In terms of results, Clutch Gaming probably did what was expected by most people. In their first game you got a small teaser of what their mid/jungle can do during the season. They took a long time to close out their win against Golden Guardians, but it was safe and steady.

Clutch vs Echo Fox was one of the matches I was most excited to watch, as people couldn’t seem to agree on which of these teams were the strongest going into the season. But it was a stomp, Clutch never looked like they had any chance in this game, they consistently lost lane and they got out-rotated the entire game. Seeing Febiven losing lane to FeniX that hard is a worry for someone that’s wants to be contesting for best midlaner in the league.

Their player to watch has to be the earlier mentioned Febiven. He has a lot of hype going into this season, and is supposed to be the carry for this team. He did well against Golden Guardians, but really struggled against Echo Fox. Clutch Gaming-fans will be hoping that it was a one-time thing, and that he just gets better from here. Cause if he doesn’t perform, this team won’t either.

Where FlyQuest has the potential to really move up the standings next week, Clutch might risk falling down to 1-3. They are facing CLG and Team Liquid. CLG will hope to bounce back after a tough 0-2 week, while TL will try to continue their dominance by rolling over Clutch. Lira will have to do a lot of work to cover up what is probably weaker sidelanes in both matches, and Febiven will have to win his lane. We want to see at least a good performance next week if Clutch is going to be considered a play-off caliber team at the beginning of this season.

OpT8. (+2) OpTic Gaming, 0-2 (0-2)

L vs 100 Thieves

L vs Team Liquid

OpTic was expected to go 0-2, and they went 0-2. But they had moments where they did better than expected. They lost a long game against 100 Thieves that could have gone their way. The game was dead even at 55 minutes, but it was heard winning teamfights with Rengar against a Kog’Maw with lost of peel. They should perhaps have been able to snowball the lead after getting a 2.5k lead at around 15 minutes, but a Baron sneak by 100T made them lose control of the game.

In their game against Team Liquid they were able to get themselves a good scaling comp, and a small early lead. But it was clear that they were up against a more coordinated and experienced team, as they never had control of vision or the sidelanes. This resulted in TL picking them off in the jungle towards the later stages of the game, and eventually getting the win.

OpTic is a team with lots of players that can carry a game, and it’s hard to see them not picking up a few wins through a player such as PowerOfEvil. He got to play his signature Orianna against TL, but wasn’t able to stamp his authority on that game. He will try to prove NA that he is a great midlaner, and he should be able to secure a few wins for his team.

OpTic’s next week is going to be interesting. They start by playing against the TSM team that hugely disappointed this week, and there is a possibility for OpTic to exploit some clear weaknesses in that team and pick up a win. Their second game is against FlyQuest, that preformed above expectation this week, and might be 3-1 after two weeks if they beat OpTic. So OpTic will be one of the teams that can really define the standings in the early parts of the season.

TSM9. (-8) TeamSoloMid, 0-2 (0-2)

L vs Team Liquid

L vs FlyQuest

TSM was a huge disappointment this week, there is no other way to put it. They were expected to have a close game in the opener against Team Liquid, but got totally outclassed in that game. Their strong laners never really got any advantages, and the shotcalling they said these roster changes were going to fix were nowhere to be seen. TL simply out-macroed them.

Their second game was a lot closer, the only problem was that it shouldn’t have been close. They were playing against FlyQuest, with Bjergsen getting a counterpick against their substitute midlaner. Putting this game on Bjergsen wouldn’t be fair, as he played okay. Their three new players didn’t though. MikeYeung, Zven and Mithy ended the week with an average KDA of 1, and an average Kill Participation of only 57%. That is really low for what should be top players.

A player that should be able to step up is Hauntzer in the toplane, yes, he didn’t play the best champion to carry on vs FlyQuest in Cho’Gath, but he still didn’t play well. And vs TL he didn’t look good. Putting him on a stronger laner, and the botlane and jungle on more utility based champions will probably be the safest choice if they want to start picking up wins.

TSM will not be guaranteed a 2-0 week two either, they should match well up against OpTic, as their best player is going up against Bjergsen, but it’s not an easy match. And in their second match they will be facing the hot Echo Fox, which at times looked unstoppable this week. TSM’s best should be enough to win both those games, but it’s highly possible that they will end week to on a score of 1-3, and then people will start getting worried.

GGS10. (-2) Golden Guardians, 0-2 (0-2)

L vs Clutch Gaming

L vs Cloud 9

Golden Guardians was expected by a lot of people to be the weakest team coming into this split, and after one week they look like they might struggle to defy those expectations. Both solo-laners did okay, and Contractz has some good plays, but their bot lane struggled a lot. There was always going to be struggles for a botlane consisting of a rookie and a support that only has played with world class ADC’s such as Piglet and Doublelift. In their game vs Clutch Gaming they were able to stay close or even for the first 15 minutes of the game, but as soon as Clutch got the first tower, they just slowly lost the game.

In their game vs C9 the first 12 minutes was a lot of the same story as against Clutch, there was a low amount of kills, and the game was relatively even. They fell behind a bit after that, but a good performance by Hai stabilized the game for another 10 to 15 minutes, before they just couldn’t win fights anymore, and lost the game.

A player that needs to take step in order for this team to succeed is Lourlo in the toplane. He has been in the league for two years now and should be able to outperform toplaners such as Licorice, Zig and Solo if Golden Guardians is going to pick up wins. Especially in this meta where carries are playable toplane.

Going into the next week, Golden Guardians will be playing against FlyQuest and CLG. I think CLG is going to look better next week, and that beating them is going to be a struggle, but FlyQuest is one of the teams they might be able upset. If Hai and Contractz are able to team up and get things going, you never know what they can achieve.

Why FeniX will be a top three midlaner

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The 2018 spring split will have, arguably, the strongest pool of midlaners NA LCS has ever seen, with four new players coming in to replace players that weren’t considered good enough by any of the ten teams. The players entering the LCS are Fly, PowerOfEvil, Febiven, and FeniX. The players they replaced were Keane, Goldenglue, Nisqy, and Froggen. All these players could be considered upgrades, the only thing that is surprising some people is that Froggen was replaced, as he was producing great stats every year. Having these four players joining the other six strong mids, in Huhi, Hai, Pobelter, Bjergsen, Jensen, and Ryu, makes this one of the most stacked roles in the league. Which will result in a great debate in who will be the best preforming midlaner.

My “dark horse” for a midlaner that might have a great season is FeniX, which is playing for Echo Fox. FeniX, formerly of Gold Coin United and Team Liquid, is a player that is know for having great laning stats, and being a consistent team fighter, while struggling at being proactive in the mid game, and providing vision control. In his three splits in LCS (Not including his rookie split) He was consistently top two in CSD@10, twice coming behind Bjergsen, and once having the best stat in the entire league. This was despite TL not being a top team. He also was top three in Damage per minute in those three splits. This shows that he has some huge upsides, and that he has the potential to being one of the best midlaners in the league.

But despite these upsides, there are some weaknesses in his game that can’t be ignored. He has been in the bottom two for wards per minute out of midlaners all three splits. There sometimes can be logical reasons for a player having low warding stats, such as switching to red trinket early in a game, or always playing from ahead as a team, which again would result in more wards cleared. But the thing is that FeniX have been the worst at wards cleared per minute every single split he has played in the LCS. This could be a worrying trend, and might be one of the reasons he didn’t play in the LCS last year.

What makes me think that he still will be a top three midlaner this year, is that he has players that might naturally cover up his weaknesses. Huni in the toplane is one of the most aggressive players in the entire world, and will require a lot of attention from the opposing jungler, which will result in FeniX not being punished as much for his lack of vision. At the same time, their support Adrian, is known for providing thorough vision control for his entire team, something that is a great compensation for FeniX’s weakness. He will be competing against great players such as Huhi, Febiven, Pobelter, and PowerOfEvil for being the third best midlaner in the league, but I believe that FeniX’s great laning and team fighting will make him a better player than the ones I mentioned, and that he will be the best midlaner except Bjergsen and Jensen.

TL; DR: FeniX is good at killing minions and champions, but not wards. Junglers normally kill FeniX, but they will be too busy killing Huni. And Adrian will kill and place wards so that FeniX won’t have to.

Champions to watch in LCS – patch 8.1

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Top – Gangplank

gangplank

Gangplank rose a lot in popularity after the introduction of Runes Reforged. The addition of Kleptomancy boosted his win rate a lot. And thanges to Sterak’s Gage gave him a good option to his classic lethality and crit second items if he is in need of more durability. With the rise of tanks in the toplane, Gangplank will once again be able to survive his laning phase, and use his natural armor penetration to have priority over the tanks in a side lane later. This is one of the few picks that some pros are willing to take into Ornn in the toplane, so watch out for teams wanting to trade Ornn first pick for two of the other strong champs.

Jungle – Evelynn

evelynn

Evelynn strikes fear in every carry’s heart on the Rift. After her rework last season, she has rose from being a niche pick into becoming one of the most popular junglers. And as marksmen have started building lots of sustain, Evelynn will try to punish that by killing them before they get to heal anything. Her camouflage is a great counter to all the extra wards that has come from Zombie Ward, and as a jungler she earned a lot from the changes from Thunderlord’s to Electrocute. Combining this with the new Frostfang build that has popped up, she has all the tool necessary to succeed in this meta.

Mid – Azir

azir

Azir has been one of the most hype champions to watch since his entrance into pro play. The Shurima Shuffle is one of the most iconic combos in the game, and a good Azir player is amazing to watch. And there is a lot of great Azir’s in the LCS. Bjergsen is known for having a very good Azir, and everyone remembers FeniX’s 1v4 Quadra vs CLG for TL. Azir is another champion that went through a few changes towards the end of last season, decreasing his range, but increasing his damage. These changes have given him the option to drop building Nashor’s Tooth, and go straight for Morrellonomicon, which in some situations may be great.

Bot – Vayne

vayneThe champion almost every world class ADC has made his name on is back in the meta. With the new Korean Fleet Footwork + Relic Shield build, she has enough sustain to get through laning phase, and take over the game in a side lane in the mid game. Vayne have been around 65% pick/ban in solo queue for the last patches, and that will definitively transfer over to pro play. Will we see Doublelift smashing his old team in a stylish fashion in week one?

Support – Shen

shen

The support pool allows for almost every type of support to be played, so this is going to be one of the most exciting roles to watch this split. The addition of Aftershock as a keystone has given life to Shen as a support. His ability to block basic attacks with his W, and having an AoE taunt, gives him a lot of 2v2 duelling potential in the lane. Also taking into consideration that he is a very good toplaner, increases his value in proplay even more by being a flex pick. Out of all the five champions, this is the one I expect is the safest to say that we will see.

5 Esport personalities to watch in NA in 2018

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Locodoco

@Locodoco

Locodoco is probably the person that has suffered the most from the controversial documentary, Breaking Point, that was released by Team Liquid after season 6. Since then Locodoco have been coaching the Challenger team, Gold Coin United. Both splits he managed to qualify for the promotion tournament, but was unable to beat the LCS teams. This year he is back in the LCS, coaching the new team Golden Guardians, working with his former players Lourlo and Matt.

Although the community put a lot of the responsibility of TL not making finals or worlds on Locodoco, it can’t be argued with the fact that they failed way worse after the replaced him. It is correct that they replaced Dardoch and FeniX too, but neither of them found great success after leaving the team either. This season Loco have a team mixed with young hungry players, and a veteran like Hai. His team is one of the teams with the least expectations, and this gives a lot of room for him to work with this team in peace in the spring split, and make them a real contender for summer. I wouldn’t be surprised if Locodoco will be a contender for coach of the split in summer.

 

Travis Gafford

@TravisGafford

Travis Gafford have been around the League-scene for a long time, probably most known for his exclusivity rights regarding Doublelift-interviews, and running Yahoo Esports. In June 2017 Yahoo decided to shut down their esports branch, and Travis was without a job for the first time in years. Most people expected him to find a job at another big media company, or join Riot in some way. After a short time working independently, he decided to continue working for himself, creating content on his YouTube channel, and on Twitch.

Throughout this off-season Travis have created tons of interviews, and shows. At the time of writing Travis have 112k subscribers on YouTube, and his latest Doublelift exclusive had 400k views. He is also the person that has brought most of the information about the newly franchised LCS to the community, and he has been responsible for more hype around the LCS than Riot themselves. If Travis Gafford continues producing high quality content like this in the future, I am most certain that he will be the number 1 independent esport content creator and reporter.

 

Stunt

@Stuntopolis

Stunt is a player that have been in and around the LCS and Challenger scene for some time now, he has played a few LCS games, but haven’t found his breakthrough yet. Last season he was constantly at the top of the ladder with multiple accounts, playing as his main role, support. In pro-play he has shown performances on lots of different supports, performing on whatever was meta at the time.

One of the reasons I expect this to be the year that Stunt breaks through, and becomes a top NA support, is that he has gathered a lot of experience by playing with world-class ADC’s in Piglet and Arrow, which although both great, have very different playstyles. Piglet is known for playing aggressive in lane, while Arrow is more of a teamfight specialist. This year Stunt will be laning with another experienced ADC in WildTurtle at FlyQuest, and I expect them to have the potential to be a top calibre botlane this season.

Ovilee May

@OvileeMay

Ovilee May seems to have sprung into the esports scene out of nowhere. The Communication Studies and Broadcast Journalism student was introduced to the community through the Yahoo Esports channel only this February, and before the year was over, she was traveling with Riot as an interviewer to the 2017 All-Stars event. Ovilee have entered the hearts of western esports viewers through enormous amounts of enthusiasm spiced with a lot of sarcasm.

She worked with Yahoo Esports and Travis Gafford until that was shut down in June, and was expected to continue to work with Travis for the foreseeable future, but was quickly given an amazing opportunity at Riot. Ovilee will be hoping to continue growing her name in the industry in 2018, and might also open the NA esports scene up to more females, as it is currently dominated by males.

Bjergsen

@Bjergsen

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Bjergsen have been considered one of the better midlaners in the world for a long time, and have been the cornerstone of TSM through all their success in the last few years. This year the Dane have had major changes around him, with the team changing three out of the other four players, and the coach. And I believe this will benefit him. The addition of one of the most well-known shotcallers in the west, in Mithy, will allow Bjergsen to take a step back from being a main shotcaller, to focusing more on his laning, where he haven’t been as dominant as earlier. He will hope to remove any doubt on whether he is the best midlane Dane in the world.

 

References

http://www.travisgafford.com/

https://ovilee.com/

https://lol.gamepedia.com