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Not a lot of movements in the standings this week, but the tiers have been more defined. The race for play-offs look really exciting, as all the teams have a realistic possibility of reaching it with a good run of games. Clutch, Echo Fox, and Golden Guardians are the teams of the week, with Team Liquid and CLG really struggling. Here is the link to last week’s rankings for those that are interested.
Ranking. (change since last week) Team Name, Score (Week Score)
1. (+1) Echo Fox, 9-1 (2-0)
W vs 100 Thieves
W vs Cloud 9
Echo Fox is now the undisputed best team in the NA LCS. Grabbing another 2-0 week and taking sole possession of first place. Their win against 100 Thieves didn’t look as dominant as they may have hoped, but it still looked like they were in control for most of it. The big highlight of their week was the victory over Cloud 9, which was on the same score as them moving into the game. They were able to win that match in a dominant fashion. You have to give credit to the whole team on this one, but especially Dardoch that played very well to his weak side of the map.
Week 6 is going to be another chance for Echo Fox to show that they are the best team without doubt. Their opponents are pretty tough as they are going up against TSM and Team Liquid. Both teams are around mid-tier, and they both have clear weaknesses Echo Fox should be able to exploit. Drafting a well-balanced early/late game teamcomp is going to be essential vs TSM, as they have shown good early games, but weak late games. Vs Team Liquid it’s going to be all about shutting down the botlane while exploiting the difference in individual skill on the toplaners. Both games should be very manageable for Echo Fox next week.
2. (-1) Cloud 9, 8-2 (1-1)
W vs TSM
L vs Echo Fox
A tough week for Cloud 9 ended okay. They looked the better, and more complete, team vs TSM. They fell behind early, but were able to swing the gold back in their favor, and secure a fairly controlled victory. A lot of credit has to go towards Svenskeren vs his former team, he had a very important save on Licorice toplane that started the gold swing, and he looked good for the rest of the game as well. Their game against Echo Fox was rough, their teamcomp did not make a lot of sense in my eyes. They have some skirmishing, some poke, and some hard engage. I’m happy to see that Licorice had the confidence to pick Lucian into Huni’s Gangplank, it didn’t work out this time, but that does not mean he shouldn’t have done it.
Cloud 9 will be going into next week in kind of the same way as Echo Fox. They will be facing mid-tier teams(though arguably slightly weaker) as well, and expect tough games. They would be disappointed if they didn’t go 2-0 though. They will be up against 100 Thieves and Clutch Gaming. These three teams were all thought to be in the 4th to 7th spots in the league in most pre-season power rankings, but Cloud 9 have performed well above expectations. I’m going to be interested to see how big of a difference there really is between these teams, and whether peoples thoughts behind saying they were going to be close had any truth to them.
3. (0) Team Liquid, 6-4 (1-1)
W vs CLG
L vs Golden Guardians
Team Liquid have not been in a very good period lately. Their only win in their last four matches have been against the struggling CLG, and that didn’t even look super convincing. I’m actually really sad that TL vs Clutch isn’t before week 8, as I find it hard to assess how close those teams are to each other currently. The game against CLG was very uncharacteristic compared to TL’s other wins this split. They lacked any real proactivity, and was super slow. It actually had the latest first blood this split at 26:41. They never looked like losing, but it still wasn’t very convincing. Their game vs Golden Guardians was way more worrying, they actually looked like the worse team in that game. They didn’t seem to know what to do when Braum blocked their Sion engages, contrast this to some very good Gnar engages on the GGS’ side, and they showed real struggles. A fully deserved win for Golden Guardians, and somewhat scary for Team Liquid fans.
A potential to bounce back in week 6 for Team Liquid. They will start their week against a FlyQuest that seems very “up and down”, a game they should smash, especially if FlyQuest goes with JayJ in support, instead of Stunt, which I see as a much worse laner. I see TL and FlyQuest as quite similar teams in that they both have low-econ midlaners, and strong botlane carries. I just feel like Team Liquid is the stronger team all around, and should win the game just by having stronger players. Their second game is going to be the real test though, as they will be facing the 9-1 Echo Fox. It’s a game where Team Liquid has the opportunity to make the league have three clearly stronger teams, but they can also fall outside the dominant top completely. An exciting one to watch.
4. (+1) Clutch Gaming, 6-4 (2-0)
W vs FlyQuest
W vs TSM
A lot of people didn’t want to give Clutch credit after their last week as they didn’t look too dominant in their wins. Now it is hard to argue. They have only dropped games to EF, C9, TL, and 100T, making them the most consistent team in the league. They are 2-0 over TSM as well, and have an impressive 6-4 record, the same as TL. Their game against FlyQuest is one where it felt like they simply were a stronger team all around, and that is what gave them the victory. Their win vs TSM was very dominant this week, and wasn’t to far off being a perfect game(TSM got one turret, one kill and one drake). A very strong week from Clutch Gaming.
According to how things are going for Clutch, next week should be a pretty clear 1-1. They will be starting up against CLG which haven’t looked good at all this split, and they should be able to grab that win quite dominantly. Their second game will be very rough though, as they will be facing Cloud 9. A win here would really be good for them, but I don’t expect it. They have the potential to move up in the standings though, they could get third, or even second if everything goes their way.
5. (-1) TeamSoloMid, 4-6 (0-2)
L vs Cloud 9
L vs Clutch Gaming
TSM have not fixed their problems yet. They keep having strong early games, showing that their players clearly are good, but they can’t seem to get anything going for them in the latter parts of the game. They do not have amazing control around basic macro parts of the game such as: wave management, vision control, and objective control. They also struggle to play around a specific win condition, and their team fighting is not good enough. These are easy problems to discover, but hard ones to fix. I would expect them to be able to fix them with time, but not in one or two weeks. I do believe, and hope, that they will look better come play-offs, as it’s sad to see such good players struggle. All the players on the team could learn a lot from this experience though, as they are not used to losing more than the win.
For now they are some way behind the teams above them in the standings, but they also doesn’t look as bad as the teams towards the bottom such as: 100T, OpT, CLG and GGS. In that regard they had a very tough week vs Cloud 9 and Clutch, and will be hoping to improve towards next week.
It’s rough to say this, but they actually really need to win at least one game next week. They will start against Echo Fox, a really tough game, but their second game will be against OpTic, one of the team they have beaten so far. Winning this would be very important for them to not risk missing play-offs. Not only because of the fact that they are close in the standings, but also because a win would put them ahead in “Head to head”, which is used to place teams that have the same match score.
6. (0) FlyQuest, 4-6 (1-1)
L vs Clutch
W vs OpTic Gaming
I hopped aboard the FlyQuest hype train last week as so many did, but I’m carefully considering going off at the next stop. They looked a lot weaker than Clutch, and their win vs OpTic wasn’t dominant at all, with they barely being able to defend their nexus. That last game could easily have gone the other way, and if I had to give the win based on which team deserved it more, I would probably have given it to OpTic. I still have them above 100 Thieves and OpTic though, but they are all very close.
They will have an opportunity to prove me right next week, as they will be facing 100 Thieves in their second game. The first game will be against Echo Fox, and I don’t expect them go get anything at all from that match. I’m actually really excited to see how FlyQuest and 100 Thieves match up, as their playstyles feel very different. It’s going to be a lot on AnDa vs Meteos.
7. (0) 100 Thieves, 5-5 (1-1)
L vs Echo Fox
W vs CLG
100 Thieves finally picked up a win after their four game loss streak. The win was kind of awkward. 100 Thieves’ team comp didn’t have any clear win condition, so they just hovered around mid trying to get a pick. CLG had a more reliable win condition with a 1-3-1, but didn’t play to it. So it ended up being 50 minutes of hovering around the midlane. 100 Thieves did end up with the win in the end though, and that will be very important for them in multiple ways. It will of course be a nice for their mentality to end their loss streak, and getting a victory over a team that is chasing you in the standings is also very important to keep their play-off hopes alive. They did lose vs Echo Fox in their first game of the week, but didn’t look completely out-classed.
100 Thieves will have another important game to finish their 6th week, when they go up against FlyQuest. I expect a close game, and I’m excited to see if 100T is a middle of the pack team, or if they just had a rough patch of form. They will also be playing Cloud 9 next week, but I expect them to struggle in that match.
8. (0) OpTic Gaming, 3-7 (1-1)
W vs Golden Guardians
L vs FlyQuest
This team’s last week is a good indicator of how difficult it is to separate the teams between 6th and 10th at the moment. Both their games looked quite close, and I would attribute most of their win against Golden Guardians to their unique picks. They had good performances on Viktor and Draven in that game, but both teams looked quite strong in that game, they did not look like the two worst teams in the league. Their game against FlyQuest was a coin toss and OpTic, arguably, played better.
Week 6 is on the easier side for OpTic. They will be facing Golden Guardians in a rematch, before a TSM that struggle to close out games. I see both those games as both winnable and loseable. I’m especially excited for the game vs GGS, as I want to see if they really are as close as I feel they are. I think that they could grab a win vs TSM as well if they do well in the draft. Potential huge week for OpTic.
9. (0) Counter Logic Gaming, 3-7 (0-2)
L vs Team Liquid
L vs 100 Thieves
Oh boy, CLG now has three 0-2 weeks after only having played five. That is worst in the league alongside Golden Guardians. They really doesn’t look like winning games based on their own play at the moment. They are just hoping that their opponents throw their games their way. They didn’t do anything at all vs Team Liquid. And they didn’t play to their win condition vs 100 Thieves. You could argue that they had a scary draft vs Team Liquid, but I feel like they had the better team comp vs 100 Thieves, they should have had pressure in a 1-3-1 in late game.
CLG will have to keep pressing forward. They will be going up against Clutch and Golden Guardians in week 6. I think they are going to struggle against Clutch, as they have looked very consistent vs lower tier teams so far. But they should be able to beat Golden Guardians, although they are on an upwards trend currently. A lot of that game will be on Darshan, as Golden Guardians are relying on Lourlo to get a pressure advantage in-game. CLG have side selection, so I expect them to get a counter pick for Darshan.
10. (0) Golden Guardians, 2-8 (1-1)
L vs OpTic Gaming
W vs Team Liquid
Golden Guardians is looking stronger than ever by having grabbed a win two weeks in a row. I think they now have become such a decent team that we could say that they should be disappointed having lost to OpTic. They did get “cheated” in the draft that game, with OpTic succeeding on Viktor and Draven, two picks we haven’t seen much of so far this split. The big highlight of the week was the win against Team Liquid though. Matt and Lourlo were both big performers against their former team, and will be absolutely delighted with that win. And they should be, because that was actually a very good performance. I was extremely close to moving Golden Guardians up in my rankings this week, but I want to see one more week of positive performances before I do that.
They will be trying to show those positive performances vs OpTic and CLG next week, the two teams above them in the standings. This week is going to be so hype, and I am super excited to watch both those games. Lourlo have looked like Golden Guardians best player so far, and will need to keep that up if they are going to grab wins. They rest of the team also need to continue their improvement. I love how the league currently have no team that is way better or way worse, good job by Golden Guardians to catch up with the rest of the teams.