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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.
Ranking. (change since last week) Team Name, Score (Week Score)
1. (+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.
2. (+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.
3. (+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.
4. (+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.
5. (+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.
6. (-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.
7. (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.
8. (+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.
9. (-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.
10. (-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.