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This article will introduce all ten of the teams accepted into the newly franchised LCS, as well as giving a short analysis and personal ranking for each team.
Team SoloMid – 1st
Starter for TSM in season 7. 1st in CS difference @10, CS per minute, and DMG per minute for toplaners in summer.
2nd NA LCS All-Pro Toplaner.
Starter for Phoenix1 in season 7. 2nd in Kill participation, and 3rd in First Blood participation and DMG % for junglers in summer.
NA LCS Rookie of the Split
Starter for TSM in season 7. 2nd in KDA, Kill participation, and CS per minute for midlaners in summer.
NA LCS MVP summer. 2nd NA LCS All-Pro Midlaner.
Starter for G2 Esports in season 7. 1st in DPM, and 2nd in CS per minute for ADC’s in EU LCS in summer.
2nd EU LCS All-Pro ADC.
Starter for G2 Esports in season 7. 2nd in KDA for supports in EU LCS in summer.
1st EU LCS All-Pro Support.
Coach for Immortals in season 7. NA LCS Coach of the Split.
Team SoloMid is the only team to qualify for all seven World Championships and all ten NA LCS Finals. They have won six out of those ten finals, and no matter where in the world they play, their fans can be heard chanting for them. Team founder, owner, and CEO, Andy “Reginald” Dinh, have been very clear about the fact that TSM are going to remain the top team in NA, and will focus on improving at the world stage. But even though TSM has found great success domestically, they have struggled at international competitions, not getting out of groups at Worlds since season 4.
With that in mind Reginald went into this off-season with a plan to make the roster into a team that has more potential at Worlds. He has said in interviews that a big problem for the team was the lack of communication from the support/jungle duo, that is so important in pro-play. He then went on to sign one of the most respected shotcallers and supports in the western region, in Mithy, joining alongside his botlane partner Zven, from G2 Esports. The fact that both those players require an import slot, meant that he had to replace Svenskeren in the jungle with a NA resident. He then went for what was rumoured to be the most sought-after players this off-season, Rookie of the Split, MikeYeung.
Except for their relatively fresh jungler, this team is filled with experience from the highest competitions, Zven and Mithy was dubbed “The Best in the West” when playing in Europe, and they are expected to compete with former TSM ADC Doublelift and his support, Olleh, for that title over the coming splits. Adding the fact that they have one of the best NA toplaners in Hauntzer, and what is generally agreed to be the most valuable player in NA, in Bjergsen, this team look destined for another year of domestic success. Their new coach SSong will hope he can bring them even one step further, by taking them through groups at Worlds.
I expect Team SoloMid to place 1st, with a potential between 1st and 2nd.
Team Liquid – 2nd
Starter for Cloud 9 in season 7. Lowest % of post 15 min minions, but 2nd highest DMG per minute for toplaners in summer.
Season 3 World Champion
Starter for Immortals in season 7. 1st in First Blood %, and 3rd in KDA for junglers in summer.
1st NA LCS All-Pro Jungler. 3rd place NA LCS MVP summer.
Starter for Immortals in season 7. 3rd in KDA for midlaners in summer.
Starter for TSM in season 7. 1st in DMG per minute, and XP difference @10 for ADC’s in summer
1st NA LCS All-Pro ADC
Starter for Immortals in season 7. 1st in Kills, DMG per minute, and DMG % for supports in summer.
1st NA LCS All-Pro Support
Coach for Team Liquid in season 7.
Team Liquid, formerly known as Curse Gaming, have been around since season 1, but have never won NA LCS playoffs. Only once, in season 5 summer, have they won the regular season. They are still considered one of the four big teams currently in the LCS, alongside C9, TSM, and CLG. They are known for having had most NA players gone through their organisation. Currently 16 out of the 32 resident players starting in the league, have been under the Team Liquid or Curse Gaming banner. Their owner, Steve Arhancet, have been very outspoken about how he is giving everything he got to make this into one of the top NA teams. Something that has shown in the amount of money that have been spent by TL this off-season.
Looking at the individual talent that have been acquired by TL this season, it seems that money was spent well. All five players went to Worlds last season, and three players was on the 1st NA LCS All-Pro Team last split. All five players have tons of experience, and have fought at the top for a long time. There has been some criticism around Impact’s performance last split, but I actually think he might be one of the most valuable players in the league. Taking into account both that he is able to perform without much jungler presence, and that he will become a NA resident next year, I think he might be one of the best signings this off-season. One worrying thought though, is that coach Cain has yet to find any success as a head coach. But having three fifths of last year’s Immortals line up, and adding what many consider to be the best western ADC of all time in Doublelift, and the former world champion Impact, sounds like a great recipe for success.
I expect Team Liquid to place 2nd, with a potential between 1st and 3rd.
Cloud 9 – 3rd
Starter for eUnited in season 7. 1st in Kills, KDA, and CS per minute for toplaners in NA Challenger summer.
Starter for TSM in season 7. 2nd in DMG per minute and Wards per minute for junglers in summer.
Starter for Cloud 9 in season 7. 1st in Kills, KDA, Kill participation, Gold & XP & CS difference @10, and CS per minute for all players in summer.
1st NA LCS All-Pro Midlaner. 2nd in NA LCS MVP summer
Starter for Cloud 9 in season 7. 3rd in KDA and Kill participation for ADC’s in summer.
3rd NA LCS All-Pro ADC.
Starter for Cloud 9 in season 7. 1st in KDA and Kill participation for Supports in summer.
2nd NA LCS All-Pro Support.
Coach for Cloud 9 in season 7. NA LCS Coach of the Spring Split.
As one of the three teams that has won the LCS, and participant in 2 out of the three latest finals, there is no surprise that the team owned and run by Jack Etienne are still in the LCS after the franchising process. Cloud 9 competes in multiple other games such as Hearthstone, Super Smash, CS GO, and Overwatch too. C9 is the only NA team except TSM that have competed in every World Championship since the teams’ inception. They have also made it out of groups four out of five times, and has always been the NA team to make it the furthest into the tournament.
They have already shown a dedication towards young talent this year, in trading up for multiple spots in the NA Scouting Grounds draft, where they got their new toplaner for C9 Academy, League. Also taking into consideration that their toplaner on the main roster is a rookie, and that they had a rookie in the jungle last spring split, there is no doubt that C9 are focusing on the future.
Cloud 9 will be hoping to continue their tradition of success this year, with the addition of rookie toplaner Licorice, and former TSM jungler, Svenskeren. People have been questioning whether this might be a downgrade compared to Impact and Contractz which they had in the respective roles last season. But the fact that they have kept what might be the strongest core in the league, in Jensen, Sneaky and Smoothie, have kept fans’ hopes up. Jensen is, alongside Bjergsen, considered one of the best players in the league, with an impressive 8.7 KDA last split, compared to the second best which was 6.8. The biggest question regarding this roster remains their rookie toplaner. Toplane is a strong import heavy role in the league right now, and you might expect him to struggle against the very top teams in the league.
I expect Cloud 9 to place 3rd, with a potential between 2nd and 5th.
Counter Logic Gaming – 4th
Starter for CLG in season 7. 1st in kills, KDA, and First Blood % of toplaners in summer.
Starter for Team Liquid in season 7. 1st in Gold difference @10, and Wards per minute for junglers in summer.
Starter for CLG in season 7. 3rd in DMG per minute, 2nd in DMG %, and 1st in Wards per minute for midlaners in summer.
3rd NA LCS All-Pro Midlaner
Starter for CLG in season 7. 1st in KDA and 2nd in kills for ADC’s in summer.
Starter for TSM in season 7. 2nd in KDA for supports in summer.
NA LCS Summer 2016 Rookie of the Split
Coach for CLG in season 7. 3rd in NA LCS Coach of the Split.
Counter Logic Gaming is the oldest of all the organizations in the LCS, HotshotGG founded the team as far back as April 16th, 2010. CLG have won two splits in the LCS, and famously finished second in the season 6 Mid-Season Invitational. Even though CLG are one of the oldest and most merited organizations in the league, it seemed, for a long time, like a possibility that they wouldn’t be accepted into the new franchised LCS due to lack of outside funding. But at the end of July, The Madison Square Garden Company, acquired a controlling stake in the organization, and later they hired Nick Allen as Chief Operating Officer for CLG.
Due to how long CLG have been in the league, and the fact that they always have been competing at the top, they are part of what is currently seen as the biggest rivalry of the NA LCS. There is a lot of competition between them and TSM, which are the two longest standing organizations in the LCS. HotshotGG and Reginald, founder, owner and CEO of TSM, have been seen on opposite sides of bets before the two teams face off multiple times.
There have been asked a lot of questions around CLG’s roster this off-season. People have mainly been questioning the loss of their main shotcaller and team captain Aphromoo, that left the team in favour of 100 Thieves. What made people question this decision even more is the fact that they have failed to replace him with any new shotcaller. Biofrost was replaced at TSM for not having the shotcalling they needed from the support role, and even though Reignover is known as a great early game jungler, he has never been the main shotcaller, something that was evident in his terrible season with Team Liquid last year. Therefore, a lot of pressure is on veterans Darshan and Stixxay, they have a lot of experience that they can possibly use to lead the team, but it is well-known that Top and ADC are the two most difficult roles to shotcall from. But there are also possible upsides to this team, one of Reignover’s weaknesses last year was that he was banned out of his best champs, but when he is on a team with Huhi, that always demands an Aurelion Sol ban, that will definitely help him out a lot. If Reignover quickly can develop synergy with his two, great, solo laners, they can be contenders for a deep play-off run this split.
I expect Counter Logic Gaming to place 4th, with a potential between 2nd and 5th.
100 Thieves – 5th
Starter for Dignitas in season 7. Top 3 in KDA, and first in kill participation for toplaners in summer.
1st NA LCS All-Pro Toplaner
Sub Jungler for Phoenix1 in season 7. 64% win rate in 22 games throughout the season 7 regular season.
Starter for Phoenix1 in season 7. Finished 3rd in spring regular season.
Starter for Immortals in season 7. 2nd in KDA and Damage per Minute for ADC’s in summer.
2nd NA LCS All-Pro ADC
Starter for CLG in season 7. 2nd highest First Blood % of supports in summer.
3rd NA LCS All-Pro Support
Coach for H2K in season 7. Coach of the split in EU LCS summer.
100 Thieves is one of the four new organisations that are joining the LCS in 2018, and is owned and run by YouTube creator, and former Call of Duty pro, Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag. Nadeshot used to be a player under OpTic Gaming, but left and started his own esport organisation, 100 Thieves. This can possibly create one of LCS’ most exciting rivalries in the years to come, as Nadeshot definitively is one of the more prominent team owners. 100T is affiliated with NBA team Cleveland Cavaliers.
100T is one of the teams in the LCS that seems to have had a solid plan going into the off-season. As soon as the team joined the league, Pr0lly was announced as head coach of the team, and it has been very evident from interviews with both him and Nadeshot, that Pr0lly had a huge part to play in acquiring the roster. They quickly got their topside of the map with Ssumday, Meteos and Ryu. Getting Aphromoo took a bit longer than they had hoped, but he seemed to be their top priority, and in the end, they got their man. Aphro has said on stream that he played a huge part in choosing his botlane partner, and they ended up getting Cody Sun. They also got one of the more popular players in the academy league, Levi, known for his appearance for Gigabyte Marines in Worlds 2017.
This team is, for most people, seen as the best team out of the four new ones that joined the LCS this year. A lot of people have tipped them as high as 3rd, but also as low as 6th or 7th. The team clearly has a lot of talent in their roster, Ssumday could be argued to be one of the best toplaners in the league, Ryu got to the semi-finals of worlds as late as season 6, Aphromoo and Meteos has been top players in the league for a long time, and Cody Sun was a part of one of the best botlanes in the league last season, playing with Olleh. But at the same time there can be asked a lot of questions around the motivation of the players, both Ryu and Meteos showed signs of giving up last season when they played for Phoenix1, and Ssumday and Aphroomo have been around for a long time.
What I expect will make this into a play-off team is their coach Pr0lly, which I think might be one of the better coaches in the league this coming season. He was the coach of the H2K team that Ryu got to the worlds semis in season 6, and he was the one that got to build this whole roster.
I expect 100 Thieves to place 5th, with a potential between 3rd and 6th.
Echo Fox – 6th
Starter for SKT T1 in season 7. 1st in DMG %, and 3rd in DMG per minute for toplaners in LCK in summer.
Worlds finalist season 7.
Starter for CLG in season 7. 3rd in DMG per minute, and 2nd in DMG % for junglers in summer.
Sub Midlaner for Gold Coin United in season 7. 1st in Kills, CS & gold & XP difference @ 10, and DMG per minute for all players in NA Challenger spring.
Starter for Dignitas in season 7. 2nd in Kill participation, Gold difference @10, and XP difference @10 for ADC’s in summer.
Starter for Dignitas in season 7. 1st in Kill participation, and Wards per minute for supports in summer.
Coach for Echo Fox in season 7.
Echo Fox is one of the six former LCS teams, that was granted a place in the new franchised league. Echo Fox is owned and run by former NBA athlete Rick Fox, which has become quite popular within the League of Legends scene, being one of the front-runners in connecting esports with traditional sports. Rick Fox is seen by many as the catalyst that sparked the huge amount of interest several NBA teams have shown in the LCS, shown by the number of investors currently in the league coming from basketball. Although Echo Fox is one of the teams that has LCS experience, they have only been around since spring season 6, and have yet to qualify for the play-offs. Even though they still haven’t shown success on the rift, they have shown a willingness to work towards the future, as they have been the only team to effectively use a ten-man roster. They were well-known for only scrimming within that roster, but have announced that they won’t continue that this year, as they don’t think the depth of NA talent is good enough that they can do that successfully.
Echo Fox did not announce to many changes to their backroom staff or infrastructure coming into this season, Inero remains their head coach, and Peter Zhang (Former head coach of Team Liquid) is their assistant coach. One thing they did change though, was their roster. Only one out of the ten players they had last split, Damonte, remains under the Echo Fox banner. And he has been moved to the academy roster.
Their new roster has been met by a lot of scepticism from the community. Although there is no doubt about the huge amount of individual skill on this team, there are multiple players that have had their mentality and teamwork questioned. Former Team Liquid duo Dardoch and FeniX was stars in the infamous Breaking Point video, Echo Fox is Adrian’s sixth team in the LCS, and their toplaner, Huni, is known to tilt if things don’t go his way. But if this roster can avoid any teamwork or tilt related issues, it is impossible to see how far they can go. Huni played in the worlds final for SKT T1 last year, and Dardoch was for a long time considered one of the most valuable players in the NA LCS due to him being resident. FeniX might not have competed in the LCS in season 7, but he consistently put up top three midlaner numbers when he played for Team Liquid. And Altec and Adrian is one out of only four botlane duos that have prior experience together in the LCS. So, if this team can avoid some of their very evident risks, they will be a force to be reckoned with.
I expect Echo Fox to place 6th, with a potential between 3rd and 8th.
Clutch Gaming – 7th
Starter for Gold Coin United in season 7. 1st in DMG %, DMG per minute, and Kill participation of toplaners in NA Challenger summer.
Starter for Team EnVyUs in season 7. 1st in Kills, XP difference @10, and lowest death share of junglers in summer.
3rd NA LCS All-Pro Jungler
Starter for H2K in season 7. 1st in KDA, First Blood %, and CS difference @10 of midlaners in EU LCS summer.
1st EU LCS All-Pro Midlaner
Starter for Team EnVyUs in season 7. 1st in CS difference @10, and CS per minute for ADC’s in summer.
Starter for Team EnVyUs in season 7. Lowest death %, 2nd in Wards per minute, and 1st in Wards cleared per minute for supports in summer.
Coach for Team Liquid in season 7.
Clutch Gaming is a team new to the LCS in 2018, they are owned and run by the NBA team Huston Rockets. They have been building their knowledge in the League of Legends scene for about a year before joining the LCS, and has already gotten one of the best scouting systems in the league. Their Director of Esports Development, Sebastian Park, has been very outspoken about, although they have been studying the scene over the last year, there is still so much they don’t know about LCS and esports in general.
Clutch’s roster has been dubbed by some as a better version of Team EnVyUs, having acquired the core of their team in jungler Lira, and botlane Apollo and Hakuho. They have also added NA toplaner Solo, and European midlaner Febiven.
This is a team that should be competing for a play-off spot, their jungler, Lira, is considered one of the best, maybe even the best jungler in the league, their botlane is said by many to be one of the most underrated duos last year, and could become even better now. Febiven have shown great consistent performances in EU over the last few years, and could become another great European import midlaner in the NA LCS. Where the biggest question marks surrounding this team currently are, is around Their toplaner, Solo, and their coach, DLim. David Lim was the coach of the Team Liquid team that didn’t perform at all during the 2017 season, and even though it’s hard to say how much responsibility he had in that awful year, he still doesn’t have any success to show to in the LCS. Their toplaner Solo, has only played five total games in the LCS (excluding promotion/relegation), and he lost all five. He has also failed to qualify for the LCS through the promotion tournament the last three splits.
If Lira and Febiven quickly develops a good mid/jungle synergy, and Solo can hold himself against all the incredibly strong toplaners currently in the league, Clutch Gaming could definitively get into the play-offs. But there is the possibility that they might have some problems in drafts, which Team Liquid sometimes had under DLim last season, and that their team won’t gel early in the season.
I expect Clutch Gaming to place 7th, with a potential between 5rd and 8th.
Golden Guardians – 8th
Starter for Team Liquid in season 7. 2nd highest First Blood % and 3rd lowest Death % for toplaners in summer.
Starter for Cloud 9 in season 7. 1st in KDA and DMG per minute for junglers in summer.
NA LCS Spring Rookie of the Split & 2nd NA LCS All-Pro Jungler
Starter for FlyQuest in season 7. 3rd in DMG %, Wards per minute, and wards cleared per minute for midlaners in summer.
Starter for eUnited in season 7. 1st in DMG per minute, CS difference @10, and CS per minute for ADC’s in NA Challenger summer.
Starter for Team Liquid in season 7. 1st in First Blood %, and 2nd in Kill participation for supports in summer.
Coach for Gold Coin United in season 7.
The new team, Golden Guardians, is owned and operated by NBA team Golden State Warriors. They are the only team that is fielding an all NA roster in the NA LCS this coming season, and have stated that they have a big focus on player development, and that they hope they can use their current roster to evolve one of the strongest NA cores in the league in coming years. Their Head of Esports, Hunter Leigh, have experience working at Riot, with the NA LCS. He has revealed in interviews that they didn’t go into the process of acquiring players with an all NA roster in mind, but decided that it was the best option they had.
There is a huge amount of game knowledge in this team when you add together the brains of midlaner Hai, and coach Locodoco. Hai is known as one of the greatest North American players, and has played three roles professionally. Locodoco have a ton of experience as both a coach and a player, he has been the coach of TSM, Team Liquid, and Gold Coin United over the last years, and is one of the few coaches that is fluent in both English and Korean. It’s clear that those two will be leading the team since the four other players on the team, have limited experience compared to Hai and Loco. Matt and Lourlo both joined Team Liquid in spring season 6, while Contractz joined C9 a year after. Deftly is completely new to the LCS, and will be hoping he can compete with great NA ADC’s such as Sneaky and Doublelift.
There is a lot of split opinions regarding this team. Some people have expressed their joy over seeing a team working to build a team based on NA talent, while others have said that it is impossible to find success in the LCS without using imports. This team will have to defy odds if they want to reach the play-offs, but all their non-rookie players have shown glimpses of top-level NA performances throughout their career. Matt was during his rookie split touted as the nest great support, and has shown a few amazing games on champions such as Bard and Thresh. Contractz was awarded Rookie of the split in spring 2017, and while this year might not have been “the year of Lourlo”, he claims on Twitter that this year will be.
I expect Golden Guardians to place 8th, with a potential between 7rd and 10th.
FlyQuest – 9th
Starter for Immortals in season 7. 1st in Gold difference @10, 2nd in KDA and CS difference @10 for toplaners in summer.
3rd NA LCS All-Pro Toplaner
Sub Jungler for Immortals in season 7.
Starter for Gold Coin United in season 7. 1st in KDA for midlaners in NA Challenger summer.
Starter for FlyQuest in season 7. 4th in CS per minute and DMG per minute for ADC’s in summer.
Sub Support for Immortals in season 7. 83% win rate in 12 games in spring season 7.
Coach for Immortals in season 7.
FlyQuest is considered by many to be the biggest surprise of the teams that were expected to be accepted into the new franchised LCS. FlyQuest were originally Cloud9 Challenger, and got into the LCS and re-branded for spring 2017. They are probably the team that has shown the least in terms of content or interviews so far, but was said to be focusing on becoming one of the most fan-centric teams in the LCS, in Riot’s announcement article. One of the things they have done so far, is that they had their fans decide on their jersey for next split, through a voting process on Twitter. With the backing of the Milwaukee Bucks, FlyQuest will hope to show that they deserve to be a part of the franchised LCS.
Their roster is one that might lack some experience, AnDa is a rookie, while Stunt only have played a total of 13 games in the LCS. Fly is also new to the LCS, but has played for teams such as KT Rolster and Longzhu Gaming. He finished 2nd in LCK season 6 summer playoffs, but since then we haven’t seen a lot of good performances from him. He played last split for Gold Coin United in Challenger, but failed to qualify for the LCS. Where the team will find their experience is in their two veterans, Flame and WildTurtle. Flame surprised a lot of people with his great performances last split, and made 3rd NA LCS All-Pro Toplaner. WildTurtle is one of the players that have been around for a long time, he has spent the last few seasons playing for Immortals and TSM, before transferring to FlyQuest for last summer split.
There is a lot of if’s that has to work out if this team is to succeed this split, AnDa needs to have a Rookie of the Split performance, Fly needs to find back to his KT Rolster performances, and WildTurtle needs to take Stunt under his wing, and finally make him the LCS starting calibre support that people have touted him to be. One thing that has to be said, is that their coach, Robert Yip, has worked with Flame, AnDa, and Stunt at Immortals.
I expect FlyQuest to place 9th, with a potential between 8th and 10th.
OpTic Gaming – 10th
Starter for Phoenix1 in season 7. 1st in Wards per minute, and 4th in Damage per minute for toplaners in summer.
Starter for Echo Fox in season 7. 2nd in Gold Difference @10 for junglers in summer.
Starter for Misfits in season 7. 1st in Kills and Kill % in EU LCS for midlaners in summer.
Starter for Phoenix1 in season 7. 1st in Kill participation, and 3rd in DMG % for ADC’s in summer.
NA LCS Spring Split MVP
Starter for FlyQuest in season 7. 2nd in Damage per minute for supports in summer.
Rookie Coach for this season.
OpTic Gaming may be new to the LCS, but definitively not new to esports. They bring one of the best known fanbases in esports, The Green Wall, into the LCS this year. They have teams in Call of Duty, Counter Strike, Overwatch and more. And although OpTic might not have much experience in the League scene, their new LoL General Manager, Romain Bigeard, formerly of Unicorns of Love, brings that over from Europe. Many will probably remember him dancing on the stage dressed up in pink every week of the EU LCS. Romain has said in interviews that he got a lot of freedom and responsibility when creating this roster and coaching staff.
Most followers of professional League of Legends will be very familiar with the names on this roster, LemonNation is even one of the oldest players in the entire scene, at 28 years old. But one person that doesn’t have this experience is their coach, Zaboutine, which until this season, was a shoutcaster and analyst in French web-TV. Romain said in an interview that he had a lot of confidence in Zaboutine, even though he hadn’t done any coaching before leading Team Ocean Drake to victory in the 2017 NA Scouting Grounds.
Although there is a lot of experience, and coach Zaboutine have won every tournament he has coached so far in NA people does not seem to have too much fate in OpTic this coming split. People fear that their sidelanes might really struggle in lane phase. Arrow is known as a great teamfighting ADC, but have shown that he often struggles in lane, and pairing him up with LemonNation, which had the lowest First Blood % of supports last split, they might struggle a lot. Although Zig have shown that he can hold himself against good toplaners, there is an even greater pool of toplaners in the LCS this year, and questions about his champ pool is floating around. But if Akaadian can carry this team beyond lane phase, their carries both have great teamfighting capabilities. In spring Arrow had an incredible 589 Damage per minute, and PowerOfEvil’s Nashor’s Orianna is well-known to deal tons of damage.
OpTic will definitively be hoping to get into play-offs, and as long as the season is best of ones, they have a shot, but I think it will be a struggle for them. They lack that one player that can take the team on their back and carry them to victories.
I expect OpTic Gaming to place 10th, with a potential between 7th and 10th.