Introducing and Ranking the 2020 NA LCS Teams

This article marks my comeback as an esports writer, I’m sorry for those of you that missed my content, and I will do my best to continue writing pieces that you guys enjoy! I will also focus on more general content creation, there will be a YouTube channel launched shortly, and I’ve already streamed on Twitch for about a month now.

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After a disappointing worlds for NA, there have been mass changes in the LCS. 33 new starters are confirmed, including an all new team in Evil Geniuses which replaces former team Echo Fox. A couple of  re-brandings happened as well; Clutch became Dignitas, and Optic became Immortals. Both well known organizations for long time LCS fans.

With all those changes in mind, this article will introduce you to all the new rosters, and give a short analysis and personal ranking for each team.

Team Liquid– 1st

TL

  • Top: Impact

Starter for Team Liquid in season 9. 1st in KDA, Gold difference @10 and DMG per minute for toplaners in summer.
1st LCS All-Pro Toplaner & MSI Finalist season 9

  • Jungle: Broxah (NEW)

Starter for the EU team Fnatic in season 9. 2nd in First blood participation and Gold difference @10 for LEC junglers in summer.
3rd LEC All-Pro Jungler

  • Mid: Jensen

Starter for Team Liquid in season 9. 2nd in KDA, 4th in XP and CS difference @10 for midlaners in summer.
1st LCS All-Pro Midlaner & MSI Finalist season 9

  • Bot: Doublelift

Starter for Team Liquid in season 9. 1st in KDA, First blood% and Gold difference @10 for ADCs in summer.
1st LCS All-Pro ADC, 3rd place LCS MVP summer & MSI Finalist season 9

  • Support: CoreJJ

Starter for Team Liquid in season 9. 1st in KDA, First Blood% and 2nd in Kill participation for supports in summer.
1st LCS All-Pro Support, 2nd place LCS MVP summer & MSI Finalist season 9

  • Coach: Cain

Head Coach for Team Liquid in summer.

LCS Coach of the Split & MSI Finalist season 9

Team Liquid has won every single split since the start of franchising, four times in a row is more than any other team has ever done in LCS history. Last season ended with a bitter taste for TL fans with their exit at the group stage of the World Championship, but looking back at the season as a whole, they still had amazing success. They won both splits regionally, and tied NA’s best performance at the Mid-Season Invitational by getting to the final. A few players have changed throughout TL’s four splits of dominance, but one thing has always been true; they are a bot focused team playing around arguably the best NA botlaner of all time, Doublelift.

This split one change has been made to the main LCS roster. The consistent jungler Xmithie have been replaced by Broxah, formerly of EU team Fnatic. Broxah is definitively no rookie himself, having played the last six splits for Fnatic, and picking up 2 LEC(EU LCS) All pro team awards, and 2 LEC titles along the way. He also played in the World Championship final of season 8. This now means that four out of TL’s five members have been to at least a worlds semi-final: Impact S3 champion, Broxah S7 finalist, Jensen S7 semi-finalist, and CoreJJ S7 champion.

This points to what every person following LCS knows, this Team Liquid roster is built for international success, a World Championship, winning NA has become to them only an expectation, the journey, not the goal.

I expect Team Liquid to place 1st, with a potential between 1st and 2nd.

Cloud 9 – 2nd

C9

  • Top: Licorice

Starter for C9 in season 9. 2nd in KDA and 4th lowest death % of toplaners in summer.
2nd LCS All-Pro Toplaner

  • Jungle: Blaber (Promoted)

Academy starter for C9 in season 9. 1st in KDA, Damage per minute, Kill participation and CS per minute for academy junglers in summer.

  • Mid: Nisqy

Starter for C9 in season 9. 1st in KDA and Gold difference @10 for midlaners in summer.
2nd LCS All-Pro Midlaner

  • Bot: Zven (NEW)

Starter for TSM in season 9. 1st in Kill participation and Damage per minute for ADCs in summer.

  • Support: Vulcan (NEW)

Starter for Clutch in season 9. 3rd in wards placed, and cleared, per minute for supports in summer.

  • Coach: Reapered

Head Coach for C9 in season 9.

Cloud9 is the only NA team to reach a World Championship semi-final(excluding the season 1 championship), but there is not much left from that season 8 roster. Licorice is the only member that played a majority of the games that still remains. Newly promoted Blaber played only one game that tournament as a sub.

After a year of “almosts” they decided to change up their roster. MVP jungler Svenskeren left in favor of Evil Geniuses, and botlaners Sneaky and Zeyzal were replaced by Zven and Vulcan. Zven is a very experienced ADC coming from TSM, he has many years behind him on teams like G2 and Origen in EU. Vulcan on the other hand is much newer to the scene, debuting in summer season 8 for Clutch Gaming.

A botlane with these two players create a few questions regarding how they will work together. On one hand you have someone known for being a very good safe ranged DPS, having most of his success on champions such as Ezreal. On the other hand you have a super aggressive support which got his LCS debut by impressing Piglet, arguably the most aggressive botlaner in recent LCS history.

Where their botside of the map has questions asked of them, its hard to not be confident of their topside. They have probably the two best solo laners in the LCS, and a mechanically gifted, though sometimes overly aggressive, jungler. It’s not really a question on whether or not they will be a top team, but if they finally can overtake TL and win a championship. It’s gonna be very difficult, but achievable if their botlane perform above expectation.

I expect Cloud9 to place 2nd, with a potential between 1st and 3rd.

Team Solo Mid – 3rd

TSM

  • Top: BrokenBlade

Starter for TSM in season 9. 1st in wards placed, and 4th in KDA for toplaners in summer.

  • Jungle: Dardoch (NEW)

Academy starter for Optic in season 9. 1st in % of his teams DMG, CS difference @10 and wards cleared per minute for academy junglers in summer.

  • Mid: Bjergsen

Starter for TSM in season 9. 2nd Lowest % of his teams deaths, 4th in KDA and DMG per minute for midlaners in summer.
3rd LCS All-Pro Midlaner

  • Bot: Kobbe (NEW)

Starter for the EU team Splyce in season 9. 1st in First blood% and CS per minute,  2nd Lowest % of his teams deaths for LEC ADCs in summer.

  • Support: Biofrost (NEW)

Starter for CLG in season 9. 1st in wards cleared and XP difference @10, 2nd Lowest % of his teams deaths for supports in summer.
2nd LCS All-Pro Support

  • Coach: Peter Zhang (Promoted)

Assistant Coach for TSM in season 9.

TSM. It’s hard to argue with the fact that they were the biggest losers in franchising. They went from being the indisputably best team in NA, to reaching only one out of four finals, and competing to only making it into play-offs. Two years without a worlds appearance is too long for such a great organization, and they will continue to do everything in their power to get there.

This year shows mass changes for TSM, with Bjergsen and BrokenBlade being the only returning members from last split. The controversial jungler Dardoch, the EU ADC Kobbe, and returning support Biofrost have joined the roster. Peter Zhang have also been promoted into a Head Coaching position. It has been quite clear to those that follow the LCS closely what TSM has been lacking recently. A spark plug, something to get them going, someone that can start a play, see the 60/40ies that you need to take if you are going to win in the modern game.

All TSM fans hope this is gonna come from their new jungler Dardoch, the “Bad Boy” that has been at almost every team in the LCS at this point. There has never been any doubt that his mechanics are incredibly good, but he has struggled to work in team environments. Especially alongside other big personalities such as Locodoco and Piglet which he played with on his first team, Team Liquid. So the question becomes how can Bjergsen and Dardoch work together. Bjergsen is known to command his junglers into playing his style, which is more passive, and Dardoch hasn’t had great success when told what to do. There is no doubt that the potential is there for this team, it has all the ingredients on paper, the questions is all surrounding how those pieces will work together.

I expect TSM to place 3rd, with a potential between 1st and 6th.

Counter Logic Gaming– 4th

CLG

  • Top: Ruin

Starter for CLG in season 9. 3rd in Gold difference @10 and 4th in CS per minute for toplaners in summer.
3rd LCS All-Pro Toplaner

  • Jungle: Wiggly

Starter for CLG in season 9. 3rd in KDA and wards cleared per minute, and 2nd in wards placed per minute for junglers in summer.
3rd LCS All-Pro Jungler

  • Mid: Crown (NEW)

Starter for Optic in season 9. 2nd in Damage per minute. First Blood% and XP difference @10 for midlaners in summer.

  • Bot: Stixxay

Starter for CLG in season 9. 3rd in CS per minute and 2nd in wards placed per minute for ADCs in summer.
2nd LCS All-Pro ADC

  • Support: Smoothie (NEW)

Starter for TSM in season 9. 5th in Gold difference @10, Kill participation and KDA for supports in summer.

  • Coach: Ssong (NEW)

Head Coach for Echo Fox in season 9.

There was a lot of praise given to Team Liquid for getting to the Mid-Season Invitational final this year, but it’s also important to remember what NA team did it first. CLG is the only other NA team to reach a final in one of the two major international tournaments. Even though this was back in season 6, and CLG really struggled for the first three splits post franchising, there are signs of a CLG coming back strong. A third place finish in season 9 summer has given hope back to the fans, and as they say; The faithful shall be rewarded.

A couple of changes has been made to the starting roster this year, and Ssong joins as Head Coach. New midlaner Crown showed good performances on a sometimes struggling OpTic last year, and could be a very good player for the team. Most people would say that Smoothie is a downgrade on Biofrost, but we have seen Smoothie perform as one of the best supports in the league before.

Stixxay is going to be as reliable as always, but what is really exciting about this roster is their top/jungle duo. With Ruin only joining the team last summer, and Wiggly still being one of the less experienced junglers in the league, they can still improve a ton as a duo. And considering they were both voted 3rd all LCS last split, this pair could give the fans a lot to cheer for looking forward.

I expect CLG to place 4th, with a potential between 2nd and 5th.

Evil Geniuses– 5th

EG

  • Top: Kumo (NEW)

Sub for C9 and C9 academy in season 9. 1st in First Blood % and Damage per minute for toplaners in his 4 games in summer.

  • Jungle: Svenskeren (NEW)

Starter for C9 in season 9. 1st in Damage per minute and XP difference @10, 2nd in KDA and First Blood% for junglers in summer.
LCS MVP Summer & 1st LCS All-Pro Jungler

  • Mid: Jiizuke (NEW)

Starter for the EU team Vitality in season 9. 1st in % of his teams DMG, and 4th in XP, CS, and gold difference @10 for LEC midlaners in summer.

  • Bot: Bang (NEW)

Starter for 100T in season 9. Lowest % of his teams deaths, and 1st in in % of his teams DMG, and wards placed for ADCs in summer.

  • Support: Zeyzal (NEW)

Starter for C9 in summer. 1st in DMG per minute, and 2nd in KDA for supports in summer.
3rd LCS All-Pro Support

  • Coach: Irean (NEW)

Strategic Coach for CLG in season 9.

Evil Geniuses is the first new organization to join the LCS since franchising. They have been quick to create their image as “the bad guys” of the LCS. Their CEO Nicole LaPointe Jameson have already featured in their announcement video and interviews, in her interview with Travis Gafford she showed a lot of ambition. 

Their roster is certainly not lacking said ambition! With last splits MVP in Svenskeren, a former world champion in Bang, and the “Italian Stallion” joining from EU as their core, this makes one of the stronger rosters on paper. Zeyzal is probably also a top three support in NA, so most people will look to young toplaner Kumo, and coach Irean to keep up with their superstars. Kumo did perform well in his four games for C9 last split, but the sample size is very small.

On paper this roster is a lot better than fifth, maybe even contesting C9 for the second strongest roster in the league, but there is more to a team than their individual parts. Jiizuke is playing his first split in NA, and have zero experience playing with any of his teammates. Bang is also going into his first split without Aphromoo as his support in NA, and that could create som challenges early on. The saving grace though is that they have a core of old C9 members in Kumo, Svenskeren and Zeyzal, and maybe that can help the team find their synergy quicker than expected.

I expect Evil Geniuses to place 5th, with a potential between 2nd and 6th.

100 Thieves – 6th

100T

  • Top: Ssumday (Promoted)

Academy starter for 100T in season 9. 1st in KDA, CS difference @10 and DMG per minute for academy toplaners in summer.

  • Jungle: Meteos (NEW)

Starter for Optic in season 9. 3rd in KDA and 1st  in wards cleared per minute for junglers in summer.

  • Mid: Ry0ma (NEW)

Starter for the Oceanic team Bombers in season 9. 3rd in KDA for OPL midlaners in summer.

  • Bot: Cody Sun (NEW)

Starter for Clutch in season 9. 1st in CS per minute and CS difference @10 and 2nd in KDA  for ADCs in summer.3rd LCS All-Pro ADC

  • Support: Stunt (Promoted)

Academy starter for 100T in season 9. 4th in XP difference @10 and wards cleared per minute for academy supports in summer.

  • Coach: Zikz (NEW)

Head Coach for TSM in season 9.

100 Thieves have surprised in a lot of ways since entering the LCS in season 8. They surprised everyone by finishing second in their first split, and by following that up with a fairly strong fourth placed finish in summer, and going to worlds in their first year. But then they surprised again by finishing eight and tenth in last years spring and summer respectively. A lot of roster shuffles have happened during the last year for 100T, Ssumday have been in and out of the roster constantly despite being probably their best player when playing. Ryu was moving between coaching and playing, and they’ve already been through five junglers(Meteos, Levi, AnDa, Fragas & Amazing). And this split they’ve changed up their roster once again.

Ssumday have been moved back into the main roster, and Meteos returns from OpTic to be their jungler once again. Oceanic midlaner Ry0ma joins the team from OPL team Bombers, and Stunt have been promoted to starting support from their academy team. Cody Sun is also back for a second time, which means the roster now have three of their original five players from their first LCS split, none who was a starter for them last split.

A big question mark is the teams decision to bring Stunt into the main roster, a player that has been in and around the LCS for almost five years without ever being a big success. I featured Stunt in an article i wrote two years ago, saying that his breakthrough could finally happen that year. It didn’t though, and two years later it still hasn’t, in my opinion this has to be one of his last chances.

The team should be solid though, and I expect them to fight for a play-off spot. They probably won’t contest for a deep run in the play-offs as the team feels like they have visible skill roof. their Head Coach Zikz do have some redeeming to do after getting booted from TSM though, and the team has some of the most dedicated fans in the scene, so hope is always there for another surprising run.

I expect 100 Thieves to place 6th, with a potential between 4th and 8th.

Dignitas – 7th

DIG

  • Top: Huni

Starter for Dignitas(Clutch) in season 9. 1st in % of his teams DMG, 2nd in Kill participation and Gold and XP difference @10 for toplaners in summer.

  • Jungle: Grig (NEW)

Sub for TSM in season 9. 2nd best KDA and CS difference @10 for junglers in his 4 games in summer.

  • Mid: Froggen (NEW)

Starter for Golden Guardians in summer. 1st in Kill participation, DMG per minute and XP difference @10 for midlaners in summer.

  • Bot: Johnsun (Rookie)

Sub for TSM academy in season 9.

  • Support: Aphromoo (NEW)

Starter for 100T in season 9. 3rd in Kill participation and XP difference @10 for supports in summer.

  • Coach: Thinkcard

Head Coach for Dignitas(Clutch) in season 9.

This is probably one of the most exciting and volatile teams in the LCS this split, they have two amazing solo laners which both are top three or four in their role, and one of the most experienced players in the league as their support. They also have a totally  unproven rookie as their botlaner, a jungler that suffers from wrist injuries, and players that haven’t won anything in a long time. Dignitas is one of two teams that recently re-branded. They were formerly known as Clutch, but officially became Dignitas this year. They seem to have their economy in place, as Huni is rumored to be the player with the highest salary in the LCS, and Froggen and Aphromoo are players on big contracts as well.

I have on purpose not mentioned any academy rosters in this article, but not doing so for Dignitas would be an insult. An academy roster of Lourlo, Akaadian, Damonte, FeniX & Olleh, means that this team always has the option to swap in star players if players on their main roster underperform. You could even argue that this academy roster could have competed for a play-off spot in the LCS.

The meta is something that might affect this team more than most others. Huni is great when playing strong side, but have never been an amazing weak side player. Grig and Froggen have shown multiple playstyles, but it’s quite clear that they are best on tanks and control mages respectively. If the meta becomes too bot focused they could struggle to compete for play-offs, but if it becomes about playing around solo lanes, they have the potential for a very deep run.

I expect Dignitas to place 7th, with a potential between 2nd and 9th.

FlyQuest – 8th

FQ

  • Top: V1per

Starter for FlyQuest in season 9. 1st in Kill participation and First Blood % for toplaners in summer.

  • Jungle: Santorin

Starter for FlyQuest in season 9. Lowest % of his teams deaths, 1st in Kill participation, First Blood %, CS and Gold difference @10 for junglers in summer.

  • Mid: PowerOfEvil (NEW)

Starter for CLG in season 9. Lowest % of his teams deaths, 3rd in KDA and Wards placed and cleared for midlaners in summer.

  • Bot: WildTurtle

Starter for FlyQuest in season 9. 2nd in CS per minute and 3rd in First Blood % for ADCs in summer.

  • Support: IgNar (NEW)

Starter for the EU team Schalke 04 in season 9. 1st in KDA, Kill participation, XP difference, and wards placed per minute for LEC supports in summer.
3rd LEC All-Pro Support

  • Coach: Curry (Promoted)

Assistant Coach for FlyQuest in season 9.

FlyQuest is a team that has always done average in the LCS, they are 30 – 42 all time, and have made the play-offs two out of four splits. They have struggled to find that one carry that is one of the best in their role in the region. A lot of their players have been known for being good, or even great, secondary carries for their former teams. Players like Santorin, Pobelter and WildTurtle have all been good players on top teams at some point, but they were never the main carry.

The team is hoping to solve the problem this year by bringing in PowerOfEvil as their midlaner, and IgNar from the LEC as their support. People that have been following league for a few years might remember IgNar from the amazing performances for Misfits at season 7 Worlds, where they miraculously qualified from into quarters, and were one game away from beating tournament favorites SKT. Some might even say that this is what inspired the rise of EU internationally. The other player that joined their roster, PowerOfEvil, is a popular player known for his sometimes innovative builds, he has played for five teams in the last five years, but have performed on most of them. Last split was the first time he reached the NA play-offs though, despite being here for two years.

A lot of the same questions will be asked about this roster which was asked about the previous ones. Do they have the carry potential? Can Santorin become the top tier jungler he shows signs of? Can they get Vipers Riven in champ select?

I expect FlyQuest to place 8th, with a potential between 6th and 9th.

 

Immortals – 9th

IMT

  • Top: sOAZ (NEW)

Starter for the EU team Misfits in season 9. 1st in Kill participation and 3rd in % of his teams DMG for LEC toplaners in summer.

  • Jungle: Xmithie (NEW)

Starter for Team Liquid in season 9. 1st in KDA and 2nd Lowest % of his teams deaths for junglers in summer.
2nd LCS All-Pro Jungler & MSI Finalist season 9

  • Mid: Eika (Rookie)

Starter for the French regional team Team-LDLC in season 9.

  • Bot: Altec (NEW)

Free Agent in Season 9. Last team was Echo Fox in season 8.

  • Support: Hakuho (NEW)

Starter for Echo Fox in season 9. Lowest % of his teams deaths and 2nd in DMG per minute for supports in summer.

  • Coach: Zaboutine

Head Coach for Immortals(Optic) in season 9.

When franchising happened there was one thing that disappointed a lot of fans, and that was the departure of Immortals as a team, but now they are back. They are also reunited with their former jungler Xmithie, which is the star player of this Immortals roster. Coach Zaboutine has been very clear about how this team has been built around one idea on how the game should be played, and that all five players align on this playstyle. He has also spoken about how players such as sOAZ and Altec are super hungry to show that they are not on the decline of their careers, and still have a lot to give.

Even though Zaboutine shows a lot of confidence in this roster, it’s easy to place question marks around it. They are clearly lacking hard carries, and being built around two veteran players which have had most of their recent success on utility based champions isn’t exactly helping on that front. Altec has also been absent from the scene the last year, and Eika has very little experience from the highest level of competition.

For this roster to succeed, a lot of things have to go right. They have to find synergy incredibly quick, Altec and sOAZ have to get back to form quickly, and Eika needs to be able to compete in a league with an incredibly stacked midlane. Eika needs to show that he deserves to play in the LCS more than players such as Damonte, Yusui ,Soligo & Pobelter.

I expect Immortals to place 9th, with a potential between 7th and 10th.

Golden Guardians – 10th

GGS

  • Top: Hauntzer

Starter for Golden Guardians in season 9. Lowest % of his teams deaths, 2nd in CS per minute and 3rd in CS difference @10.

  • Jungle: Closer (NEW)

Starter for the Turkish team Royal Youth in season 9. 1st in KDA for TCL junglers in summer.

  • Mid: Goldenglue (NEW)

Academy starter for C9 in summer. 2nd in KDA, and 3rd in DMG per minute for academy midlaners in summer.

  • Bot: FBI

Starter for Golden Guardians in season 9. 2nd in Kill participation and First Blood%, and 3rd in DMG per minute for ADCs in summer.

  • Support: Keith (Promoted)

Academy ADC starter for Golden Guardians and C9 in summer. 1st in KDA and 2nd in wards placed for academy ADCs in summer.

  • Coach: Inero (Promoted)

Consultant for Golden Guardians in season 9.

90% of power ranking place Golden Guardians last, and to be honest, it isn’t very surprising. The team have finished tenth twice, fifth and seventh in their four splits after franchising, and most people would think this years roster is a downgrade. The good news is that Hauntzer stayed with the team, and Goldenglue finally got out of academy. Hauntzer is clearly a very good toplaner in the league still, and does carry an enormous responsibility in this team. Inero is also a coach I consider one of the better ones in the league, he has shown good drafts, and is clearly a very good face outwards for the organization.

The biggest question though is undoubtedly Keith, a player that has been around the scene for ages as a botlaner, but never found any real success. Not only is a player that isn’t LCS caliber starting, he is even starting in a role he has never played professionally before, he decided to role swap only a couple of months ago. Adding to that is the fact that he plays alongside a botlaner that still isn’t very experienced, especially not in NA.

If this team is to perform, their mid/jungle would have to over-perform immensely. They would probably have to be top three in their roles for this team to even reach play-offs. This means that the team can only surprise positively though, and that is at least something.

I expect Golden Guardians to place 10th, with a potential between 9th and 10th.

 

 

References

https://lol.gamepedia.com

https://oracleselixir.com

http://www.lolesports.com

NA LCS Week 5 Power Ranking

I am really happy to announce that the blog passed 10.000 views since my last post. Considering that I started writing only one and a half month ago I am thrilled with that! I will be continuing to try and create better content for everyone that reads my articles out there, and I will not stay content. Thank you for your support so far, and I hope you enjoy this one as well. Follow me on Twitter for updates on posts!

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.

Header explanation:

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

EF1. (+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.

C92. (-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.

 

TL3. (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.

 

CG4. (+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.

 

TSM5. (-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.

 

FQ6. (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.

 

100T7. (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.

 

OpT8. (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.

 

CLG9. (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.

 

GGS10. (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.

Introducing and Ranking the NA LCS Teams

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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

TSM

  • Top: Hauntzer

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.

  • Jungle: MikeYeung

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

  • Mid: Bjergsen

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.

  • Bot: Zven

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.

  • Support: Mithy

Starter for G2 Esports in season 7. 2nd in KDA for supports in EU LCS in summer.

1st EU LCS All-Pro Support.

  • Coach: SSong

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

TL

  • Top: Impact

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

  • Jungle: Xmithie

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.

  • Mid: Pobelter

Starter for Immortals in season 7.  3rd in KDA for midlaners in summer.

  • Bot: Doublelift

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

  • Support: Olleh

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: Cain

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

C9

  • Top: Licorice

Starter for eUnited in season 7. 1st in Kills, KDA, and CS per minute for toplaners in NA Challenger summer.

  • Jungle: Svenskeren

Starter for TSM in season 7. 2nd in DMG per minute and Wards per minute for junglers in summer.

  • Mid: Jensen

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

  • Bot: Sneaky

Starter for Cloud 9 in season 7. 3rd in KDA and Kill participation for ADC’s in summer.

3rd NA LCS All-Pro ADC.

  • Support: Smoothie

Starter for Cloud 9 in season 7. 1st in KDA and Kill participation for Supports in summer.

2nd NA LCS All-Pro Support.

  • Coach: Reapered

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

CLG

  • Top: Darshan

Starter for CLG in season 7. 1st in kills, KDA, and First Blood % of toplaners in summer.

  • Jungle: Reignover

Starter for Team Liquid in season 7. 1st in Gold difference @10, and Wards per minute for junglers in summer.

  • Mid: Huhi

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

  • Bot: Stixxay

Starter for CLG in season 7. 1st in KDA and 2nd in kills for ADC’s in summer.

  • Support: Biofrost

Starter for TSM in season 7. 2nd in KDA for supports in summer.

NA LCS Summer 2016 Rookie of the Split

  • Coach: Zikz

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

100T

  • Top: Ssumday

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

  • Jungle: Meteos

Sub Jungler for Phoenix1 in season 7. 64% win rate in 22 games throughout the season 7 regular season.

  • Mid: Ryu

Starter for Phoenix1 in season 7. Finished 3rd in spring regular season.

  • Bot: Cody Sun

Starter for Immortals in season 7. 2nd in KDA and Damage per Minute for ADC’s in summer.

2nd NA LCS All-Pro ADC

  • Support: Aphromoo

Starter for CLG in season 7. 2nd highest First Blood % of supports in summer.

3rd NA LCS All-Pro Support

  • Coach: Pr0lly

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

FOX

  • Top: Huni

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.

  • Jungle: Dardoch

Starter for CLG in season 7. 3rd in DMG per minute, and 2nd in DMG % for junglers in summer.

  • Mid: FeniX

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.

  • Bot: Altec

Starter for Dignitas in season 7. 2nd in Kill participation, Gold difference @10, and XP difference @10 for ADC’s in summer.

  • Support: Adrian

Starter for Dignitas in season 7. 1st in Kill participation, and Wards per minute for supports in summer.

  • Coach: Inero

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

CG

  • Top: Solo

Starter for Gold Coin United in season 7. 1st in DMG %, DMG per minute, and Kill participation of toplaners in NA Challenger summer.

  • Jungle: Lira

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

  • Mid: Febiven

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

  • Bot: Apollo

Starter for Team EnVyUs in season 7. 1st in CS difference @10, and CS per minute for ADC’s in summer.

  • Support: Hakuho

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: David Lim

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

GGS

  • Top: Lourlo

Starter for Team Liquid in season 7. 2nd highest First Blood % and 3rd lowest Death % for toplaners in summer.

  • Jungle: Contractz

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

  • Mid: Hai

Starter for FlyQuest in season 7. 3rd in DMG %, Wards per minute, and wards cleared per minute for midlaners in summer.

  • Add carry: Deftly

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.

  • Support: Matt

Starter for Team Liquid in season 7. 1st in First Blood %, and 2nd in Kill participation for supports in summer.

  • Coach: Locodoco

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

FLY

  • Top: Flame

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

  • Jungle: AnDa

Sub Jungler for Immortals in season 7.

  • Mid: Fly

Starter for Gold Coin United in season 7. 1st in KDA for midlaners in NA Challenger summer.

  • Bot: WildTurtle

Starter for FlyQuest in season 7. 4th in CS per minute and DMG per minute for ADC’s in summer.

  • Support: Stunt

Sub Support for Immortals in season 7. 83% win rate in 12 games in spring season 7.

  • Coach: Robert Yip

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

OPT

  • Top: Zig

Starter for Phoenix1 in season 7. 1st in Wards per minute, and 4th in Damage per minute for toplaners in summer.

  • Jungle: Akaadian

Starter for Echo Fox in season 7. 2nd in Gold Difference @10 for junglers in summer.

  • Mid: PowerOfEvil

Starter for Misfits in season 7. 1st in Kills and Kill % in EU LCS for midlaners in summer.

  • Bot: Arrow

Starter for Phoenix1 in season 7. 1st in Kill participation, and 3rd in DMG % for ADC’s in summer.

NA LCS Spring Split MVP

  • Support: LemonNation

Starter for FlyQuest in season 7. 2nd in Damage per minute for supports in summer.

  • Coach: Zaboutine

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.

 

References

https://lol.gamepedia.com

https://oracleselixir.com

http://www.lolesports.com

Pictures

http://www.lolesports.com/en_US/teams

https://y4j7y8s9.ssl.hwcdn.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/NA-LCS.jpg