After 6 weeks, the LCS has proven to be a league of teams of completely different strength levels. There are two clear top teams, TL and Cloud 9, a team with the potential to be the best, TSM, and seven other teams that can prove to be better than the other on any given day. With the teams so close together in the standings, we hope to bring some clarity in how each team stands and some context on how they got to be where they are.
As always, we hope you enjoy this piece, and if you have any comments or suggestions, please let us know!
Fun Fact, as of now, Red Side and Blue Side have an equal 50% win rate.
- 1 1: Team Liquid (11-1)
- 2 2: Cloud 9 (10-2)
- 3 3: TSM (7-5)
- 4 4: Golden Guardians (5-7)
- 5 5: FlyQuest (5-7)
- 6 6: Optic Gaming (5-7)
- 7 7: Counter Logic Gaming (5-7)
- 8 Bottom of the League
- 9 8: Clutch Gaming (4-8)
- 10 9: Echo Fox (4-8)
- 11 10: 100 Thieves (4-8)
- 12 Mid Split MVP: CoreJJ
- 13 Predictions for Week 7
- 13.1 Saturday, March 9th
- 13.2 Sunday, March 10th
1: Team Liquid (11-1)
In 2018, Team Liquid won both the Spring and Summer Splits with relative ease: They dropped few games in the regular season and only a single game across both playoffs. The team had hoped to match their regional success with similar showings internationally, but had faltered, failing to make it out of groups at MSI and Worlds. With these international failures, TL’s management decided it was time to make changes.
Coming into Spring 2019, Team Liquid has made strict upgrades to the two positions in which they received the most criticism. Pobelter, who was strong domestically but fell short internationally, was swapped out for Cloud 9’s Jensen, a player who seems to perform, domestically or internationally.
Their other notable change was to replace Olleh, another player who seemed to peak domestically. His replacement, however, is star ex-Dignitas ADC, CoreJJ. Since his first time in North America, CoreJJ has found immense success in the support role, even winning a World Championship on SSG. Last year, his team failed to perform at Worlds, and so he returned to NA to try to rekindle his past successes. With these changes, nearly all analysts and viewers considered TL to be the strongest team coming into Spring, with some noting that Cloud 9 might be stronger.
So far this split, TL has looked nearly unstoppable. Some people have levied criticism at them being one-dimensional, but they’ve made it clear this isn’t the case. Jensen was able to put up carry performances against C9 and Optic, while Impact has shifted off of tanks and into carries, as he showed on his Kennen against Optic and Jayce against CLG. This split, Impact has made it clear he doesn’t need to be stuck on Sion.
A more reasonable criticism would be TL’s slow early game. TL has given up first blood in 75% of their games, in mostly unnecessary scenarios. In some games this leads to gold deficits where there should be none. Against GGS, for example, this led to gold deficit of about 2k at 15 minutes.
By the time mid game hits, Team Liquid seem to always find themselves even or ahead in gold, and when they find their footing, they place the enemy in a stranglehold until the game is won. The only major outlier was in the TSM game, where an early game deficit spiraled out of control, and through BrokenBlade’s Jax, TL was handed their first and only loss so far. In fact, TSM is the only team to have taken a Baron or Inner Turret from TL this split.
Most recently, against Optic, TL was able to accrue a 1k gold lead by 6 minutes, despite being even in kills and having given up first blood. By 15 minutes, the kills were only 4-1 in favor of TL, but they had a 4k gold lead. By this time, Optic were unable to secure anymore winning fights, and couldn’t push for any major objective, resulting in their eventual loss.
For Team Liquid, anything less than 1st place is a failure. They’re clearly stronger than last year and it seems that once again they’re leagues above 70% of the LCS. Next week, they play Cloud 9, who are only 1 game behind them in the standings. A win here would solidify their placement as they get closer to MSI, where they aim to bring glory back to North America.
Frankly, with the skill level and current performance of this roster, plus the amount of time and money invested in these players, TL needs to put up an international performance to be proud of.
2: Cloud 9 (10-2)
After losing their star mid laner to Team Liquid, many fans worried that this team had also lost their key to success. However, the world semifinalists have been proving that their team’s strength is around their team play. Nisqy has integrated with the team so well that I’m not sure if C9 fans even miss having Jensen on the team. After 6 weeks in the LCS, Cloud 9 have put on strong performances every week, and don’t appear like they want to stop anytime soon.
Despite a 2-0 weekend, this last week’s showing was far from stellar from Cloud 9.
In their game against Golden Guardians, they had a fairly standard draft with the exception of the Ornn pick. With this top lane pick, they ceded almost all of the top lane pressure, and fell behind early in the game. As the game went on, Cloud 9 managed to stay relevant by trading objectives and avoiding 5 on 5 team fights. Once they secured a lead, Cloud 9 managed to position themselves comfortably as they took the win, despite losing a teamfight along the way.
Their game against TSM went worse far before it got better. Cloud 9 had lost all 3 lanes and fell 3 thousand gold behind by 15 minutes. With no lane priority or advantage on the map, Cloud 9 were slowly run over, losing most of their structures completely run over, losing most of their structures by 35 minutes. Around this time, they had made a play to trade Baron for an Elder Dragon, but lost the dragon as well. By this time, the game looked lost, but Svenskeren and Licorice found a crucial pick onto Bjergsen which led into a game-winning teamfight.
This past week showed that Cloud 9 definitely have weaknesses, but their ability to remain relevant in any game is unmatched. Their willingness to trade objectives rather than take fights allows them to not fall too far behind in gold, and their decisiveness when they do find openings lets them run away with games.
In the next week, Cloud 9 face Team Liquid and 100T—The best and worst team in the league. Against 100T, we hope to see a one-sided game out of Cloud 9 in which they display a clear difference in strength between the two teams.
Their game against Liquid will be far tougher, and depending on who wins this game and how they win, we could be finding ourselves with a new best team in the league.
3: TSM (7-5)
The TSM of the last few years was a team that wanted to play a “perfect game,” taking few risks and winning through superior macro and properly set up team fights. For years this strategy worked. When Riot shifted the game into a more early focused, skirmish-heavy game, TSM fell short for the first time ever. After this failure, TSM came into this split making some of the biggest changes the organization has ever seen. They replaced their beloved top laner with a hyped up rookie from Turkey, set in Akaadian as their starting jungler, and broke up the former best bot lane in the west. With roster moves such as these, and new coaching staff, TSM and their fans hoped that the team would come in with a new identity—and they did.
In the past 6 weeks of the LCS, TSM has shown they are a team reborn. With Akaadian and Brokenblade’s clear willingness to take fights, TSM have become one of the most proactive team’s in the league and are 2nd in gold differential at 15 as a team (+609) right behind Team Liquid. It appears this team not only shines as individuals, but also as a unit. They have been looking far more decisive in their LCS games, which was enough to be the only team to take down Team Liquid.
This past week, we saw the new TSM at their best and worst. In their game against Echo Fox, they fell behind around 4k gold in the early game. This deficit remained until Echo Fox attempted to take Baron, which Akaadian stole away. Once it became apparent that TSM could not win 5 vs. 5 fights, they began to play for objectives. Despite a second Baron buff and Elder Dragon, it took them a whole ten minutes to find their opening into the base of Echo Fox, where they quickly stole away the nexus.
Their game against Cloud 9 was a heartbreaker for TSM. They drafted a hard poke composition with perfect disengage options in Gragas and Tahm Kench. In theory, the composition was strong, and in execution, it appeared to be as well. From the start of lane phase, TSM looked to be in control, and as the game moved on, they found themselves winning most engages against Cloud 9. After securing themselves a Baron and Elder buff, TSM went on to seemingly finish the game cleanly, but Bjergsen made a critical error, and got himself caught out. Instead of fully disengaging, TSM followed suit with Bjergsen’s “get caught and die” strategy, and trickled into the fight until they were wiped out and the game was lost.
Although TSM’s new style hasn’t been fully perfected, this TSM roster has been refreshing for fans of the organization and if they do manage to refine their play, TSM may once again find themselves at the top of North America.
4: Golden Guardians (5-7)
It’s a blessing in disguise that we waited until week 6 to start NA power rankings, because this team was barely placeable until now.
Most viewers are aware that Golden Guardians have a bad reputation. They came into the LCS with franchising, and promised to harness all NA talent. That…didn’t work out so well. Golden Guardians first year of the LCS resulted in a 9-27 record, and two consecutive 10th place finishes, even after adding Mickey, a Korean player, to their roster. However, coming into 2019, things were looking up.
Golden Guardians scrapped most of their roster, keeping only Contractz and Deftly—players far from the worst on the market. You could definitely levy some criticism for not approaching Dardoch or Meteos, though it’s possible they tried. There isn’t much to say about acquiring Hauntzer and Olleh: Both had been replaced by their teams, but have some wonderful performances in their portfolios, including two worlds appearances each. The big risk, however, was signing Froggen, a player who hasn’t played competitively in two years, and didn’t have much success in the year before that.
Despite a decidedly whelming off-season, many fans, and even the LCS Analyst Desk had high hopes for GGS, ranking them in the top half of LCS teams. And then the split began.
Golden Guardians came into the Spring Split with the unbridled fury of a small and helpless animal. They lost every game in the first two weeks, and everyone’s hopes and dreams were crushed. However, they came back strong, besting both TSM and Optic in week three, and have performed well since then.
The best thing to be said about GGS is that they live and die by their own sword. While many NA teams are pussyfooting around and playing to not lose, GGS are clearly playing to win, even when it comes back to “Hauntz” them (Sorry about that one). They’re even leaning heavily into the enigma that is Froggen, picking almost explicitly champions released 4+ years ago. This split, the trio of Zoe, Lissandra, and Syndra have been picked 40% of the time, while Froggen has played only 2 of his 12 matches on any of those three champions.
A staggering 40% of mid lane picks (48 games total) this split can be attributed to just Zoe, Lissandra, and Syndra. Froggen has played only 2 of his 12 matches on any of those three champions.
The fast and loose playstyle that GGS is running with right now is often considered a fiesta—which may be true—but it’s commendable that they refuse to roll over and die like some other teams (We’re looking at you CLG & Echo Fox). In most Golden Guardians games, somebody has a lead by 15 minutes. You’ll struggle to find a game that’s dead even at that point, though some of them may amount to small gold leads of 1.5k.
In both their losses to Clutch and C9, GGS fell behind early off of their own mistakes, and stayed in the dirt despite attempts to claw themselves back out. Their win against 100T in week 6 looked just the opposite, with GGS taking an early lead and never letting go until they won. The game against Echo Fox is a notable outlier, where GGS hit the 20-minute mark down 2k, and by the end of the match had accrued an 8k lead and victory.
It’s hard to say what we expect from GGS. For a lot of teams, you should be shooting for the stars, hoping to win the split or at least give the winner a run for their money. For GGS though, just making playoffs is a major success. In the coming weeks, I hope Golden Guardians remains true to themselves, playing their unique style and leaning into Froggen as they have been. A playoffs appearance seems likely, and I don’t know anyone that would call that a failure compared to placing 10th for the third time in a row.
5: FlyQuest (5-7)
FlyQuest certainly didn’t have a bad 2018. In the Summer Split, they snuck into playoffs ahead of Optic, and, despite losing in the first round, showed promise. During the offseason, they made some decisions that I can respect. After losing a strong player in Flame, they bet on an up and coming talent, V1per (FlyQuest can you please reach out to us and let us know if we can just call him “Viper?” Thanks.). It’s hard to call this an upgrade, but this is one of the only options that I wouldn’t call a strict downgrade. In the mid lane, a struggling Keane was replaced with Pobelter, a player who remains as the strongest native mid laner. Despite his troubles in international events he can absolutely bring the domestic success that FlyQuest have yet to find.
If you’d asked me two weeks ago, I might’ve placed FlyQuest 4th, or even 3rd. If I said that now, I’d have to go to my local parish and confess my dishonesty. I actually spent a frightening period of time combing through their games to see what could’ve led to such a drastic drop in strength. After a lot of soul searching, and a spirit walk with my local Cherokee Chieftain, I have found the answer I so desperately sought.
Most teams thrive on a desire to crush their opponents and be the best. FlyQuest though? They’ve seen the truth. They know that constructing the proper moral high ground through kindness and inclusivity leads to unparalleled success. There is literally no other explanation for gift wrapping and delivering wins to their opponents these last few weeks. I can’t be convinced otherwise.
“Our brand isn’t arrogant…it’s being wholesome, kind, and inclusive” – FlyQuest, People’s Champion
In all seriousness, FlyQuest has been losing games that they have no excuse to lose. Against C9, they boasted a 3k gold lead at 20 minutes, and still lost. Against TSM they had 2k at 15 minutes, and still lost. Against Optic, a weaker team, they were ahead by a little over 1k at just 8 minutes, and still even going into the 20-minute mark, but they still lost.
The only game they didn’t throw a lead in was their match versus CLG, and I’m not even sure that’s something to be proud of. FlyQuest spent less than 60 seconds of that match with a gold lead of any amount, and never once had a gold lead of more than 100. In fact, they couldn’t pick up a kill at all, and avoided a perfect defeat by securing just a single outer tower.
If you’re a FlyQuest fan, the best you can hope for right now is steadying your sinking ship. Two of their recent losses come from teams we consider strong, but the other two are reason enough to be worried. I still expect this roster to make playoffs, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see them fall to the bottom of the standings either.
6: Optic Gaming (5-7)
Coming into the split, most people expected Optic Gaming to be the clear worst team in the league. From an outside view, this opinion was fair, as it seemed Optic had spent their entire recruitment budget on Crown, and lucked out on having two strong junglers on their roster. This team has defied expectations, showing every week that they should never be counted out.
One notable weak point on the team is Dhokla. He is by no means a bad player, but I definitely get the feeling he got his degree from the Darshan School of One-Dimensional Players. If he isn’t being used in a 1-3-1, it’s not likely he’ll impress you.
That being said, some of Optic’s criticisms can be chalked up to their early season roster troubles. Arrow was unable to play in week one or two of the LCS, or even practice with the team. As a result, Optic’s management decided to start the entire academy roster plus Crown, citing synergy and meaningful practice as their justification. Since then, Optic has continued to switch players in and out, specifically Meteos and Dardoch. It seems they can’t quite find the fit they’re looking for, though they haven’t seemed to slow them down too heavily.
For the first few weeks of the LCS, Optic were the clear best early game team in the league. For context, Optic Gaming has secured first blood in 8 of their 12 games, including both their games against Liquid and their game against Cloud 9. Admittingly, the main issue with this team is their failure to act in the mid game after establishing their leads.
In the last week, Optic lost a fairly one-sided game against Liquid, and had a far more even game into FlyQuest. Neither team held too great of a lead, and they had been fairly even in kills and objectives as the game reached the late game. By this time in the game, Optic’s team composition was truly activated. Arrow’s Tristana was sitting on 6 completed items and they had a Zilean who could essentially make any teamfight imbalanced. With this, Optic took a fight around Elder Dragon, which they won just before taking FlyQuest’s nexus.
There isn’t much to say about Optic so far. A lot of things should be holding them back, yet they’re still fairing quite alright. It’s clear this team has potential—far more than was expected of them. Over the next few weeks, if Optic can decide on how they want to play post-lanephase and if they can effectively utilize their two starting junglers, Optic may end the split as a dark horse come playoff time.
7: Counter Logic Gaming (5-7)
CLG is one of the few teams currently utilizing a 7-man roster, though I’m not sure I agree with having both your subs for the same role. It only gets worse when you realize that they’re not even starting the best player. Maybe they’re just experimenting, but any analyst will tell you between FallenBandit and Darshan, you should be starting ZionSpartan.
In all seriousness, it is clear that CLG has lost their prestige as one of the old guards and now remain in the league as a team we’re stuck with due to franchising. Besides their acquisition of Powerofevil, almost every roster move (or lack thereof) CLG has made as of late has been questionable at best. And even the POE move hasn’t worked out as well as you would think. Aside from him, in only two years, CLG has let go of their team captain, Aphromoo, one of their only consistent players, Huhi, and let their renowned Head Coach, Zikz, who went on to join their biggest rival in TSM.
Without their power of friendship, CLG have looked like a team of adequate players taking their turns stepping up or disappointing. When writing this piece, it was even difficult to remember who the team’s jungler actually is, as Wiggily has been as impressive as the Death Note movie: If you know little about League of Legends, he may look alright, but to anyone else, he’s just a letdown.
In their last week, CLG fought to prove they weren’t just Darshan and 4 background singers playing in La Casa de Fiesta. They nearly perfect-gamed Flyquest in one of their most one-sided victories of recent history, and in their game against Team Liquid, they were fairly competitive as they paid the Liquid tax, a feat in its own right.
As of now, CLG sit at a modest 7th place in our standings, but it’s tough to see this team accomplishing anything noteworthy anytime soon. Next split, I hope to see this team making some major changes, and if they don’t, it’ll be clear that this team has no intention at being the best in NA once again.
Bottom of the League
Before we talk about these teams, I’d like to make it clear that at any moment, one of these teams could be just as bad as the other, or could, in moments, look like solid playoff contenders. These teams have found themselves at the bottom of our rankings (and the standings) as they have been the least consistent among the LCS.
8: Clutch Gaming (4-8)
If the “Congratulations you actually showed some level of competence as a new org but it doesn’t seem to be working out so I’m sorry and wish you the best” (CYASSLOCAANOBIDSTBWOSISAWYTB for short) award was real, I’d be giving it to Clutch this split.
Their performance last year was lackluster, but showed real promise at times. During the offseason, Clutch did a respectable job of making bold moves to craft a roster with solid potential. They managed to pick up both of Echo Fox’s solo laners, Huni and Damonte. These players both had high highs and low lows last year, and could certainly be used as a team’s backbone. These solo lanes could flourish even further with a renewed Lira, who returned to the roster from last year.
Piglet and Vulcan, the bot lane from Clutch Academy, was brought up to the main roster as well. Piglet is obviously an accomplished player, but as of late has struggled to find his old magic. Clutch gambled in signing him as a potential main carry for this team. Vulcan, on the other hand, is unproven but talented support who could become great under the tutelage of veterans like Huni and Piglet.
This roster might not be the strongest in the world, or even in NA, but there was a clear and calculated decision, albeit uncertain, that could serve as a solid foundation for a new org. Unfortunately, Clutch’s results show why risks aren’t always such a good idea. Early game goes well for Clutch quite often, with them staying even or taking some objectives. Their midgame, however, leaves a lot to be desired. Most of the time they fall further and further behind and struggle to make plays, though not for lack of trying.
Against CLG, Clutch managed to take Ocean and Earth Dragon, Rift Herald, and a tower by 17 minutes, but the gold still remained relatively even, with a map advantage in the favor of clutch. From this point, CLG took nearly every objective and gave little, while clutch seemed helpless in fighting back.
Both of Clutch’s matches against 100 Thieves (whom we consider weaker than them) have been disappointing. In their first matchup, 100T took a solid lead by minute 7 which only grew over the next 20 minutes as 100T ran away with the game.
In their most recent game, Clutch gave the Thieves a taste of their own medicine, growing an early lead further and further. By minute 30, Clutch had an 8k gold lead when 100T moved toward Baron. Clutch went on to fight 100T, losing the fight, the Baron, and any sense of a lead. From there, the team had been completely thrown off, and one fight more was enough for them to lose the game.
This roster has major issues with consistency. It seems like there is always at least one player struggling (Usually Piglet or Huni) while the others range from mediocre to very impressive. I think Clutch has playoff potential, and could easily go on a win streak for the remaining weeks of the LCS, but I don’t think it’s going to happen.
9: Echo Fox (4-8)
For some teams to win the offseason, others have to lose it, and this year, Echo Fox lost—badly. They retained zero of their five starting players who were all arguably strong players minus their ad carry. When rosters explode, teams generally look to make big moves in the offseason to make up for their losses or they pick up a strong core for a team that allows them to build upon future rosters. In this offseason, Echo Fox did neither. They picked up a decent bot lane, an unimpressive top laner, and an unproven jungler whose sole purpose is to make sure this team has any fans left. Compared to last year’s roster, Echo Fox downgraded in four out of five positions, and it shows.
Many fans of the LCS were excited to see Rush come back to NA and despite being on a trash roster, expected him to be able to carry games—and he did exactly that—for the enemy team. Over his ten games played, Rush has an average of 3.5 deaths per game, the most of any jungler, and sports the second-worst kda of any starting jungler at 2.1. What’s clear is that Rush is not the player of old, and he’s not the x-factor Echo Fox needs to win games. Without any clear carry players or decisive leader on the team, Echo Fox’s games tend to go one of two ways: They either get ahead early and do nothing until they lose, or they fall behind and they lose.
Just last week, Echo Fox showed us this exact situation. Against TSM, they got an early lead through good movements from Panda, and were up nearly four thousand gold by 15 minutes.
Despite having a sizeable gold lead and a better team fighting composition, Echo Fox never managed to grow their lead and the game evened out. At 35 minutes, TSM went to take Baron, and Echo Fox, rather than taking a simple trade, played like a team straight out of dynamic queue: Half of the team stood around the dragon pit while Panda went to take raptors, and Apollo went to farm mid lane. By the time Echo Fox realized that TSM took Baron, their fear of being backdoor resulted in them recalling needlessly, and TSM took Elder as well.
Against Clutch they went with their second strategy and fell behind early, leaving them the only play they seem to have: Do nothing while the other team wins the game. In the 30 minute game, Fox got 1 kill, took 1 dragon, and secured 1 turret.
It should be obvious that Echo Fox did not come into this split looking to compete, but rather chose to slot in a serviceable roster that could perform slightly better than the average diamond flex team.
Who knew that picking up a downgraded version of the previous 9th place team wouldn’t go so well? Come on, Rick.
10: 100 Thieves (4-8)
On one hand, 2019 100 Thieves poor performance is unexpected. On the other hand, the writing might have been on the wall this entire time.
During the offseason, 100T made two roster moves. They acquired Bang, a strict upgrade to Rikara (where is this guy?) and their stay-at-home wife, Cody Sun. The acquisition of Huhi may not have been that exciting, but compared to Ryu (-_-), he is by no means a strict downgrade. With these moves, this team looked to be one of the league’s best on paper. Ssumday was considered the best top laner last Summer, Aphromoo won MVP in Spring 2018, Bang has won two world championships, Huhi has won two LCS championships and Anda has had standout performances of his own.
Being good on paper doesn’t matter when you can’t win any games, though. Once this roster enters the rift, they look nothing like their accolades suggest. Even their strongest players aren’t playing anywhere near their expected level. Ssumday was solo killed by Brokenblade’s Sion (how do you die to this champion 1v1? As a pro player? What?) in Week 1, Aphro has looked like Riot’s ranked system may have placed him in too high of an elo, and Bang (former SKT Bang) has been caught out in the most bizarre places. It just seems that this team is never on the same page, which is such a crucial aspect of the game at this high of a level.
100T’s wins come largely in disappointing fashion, and their losses are hard to call close. It might be unfair to focus on their games against much stronger opponents, so let’s look at how they fared against teams with similar records.
Against GGS in week 6, the Thieves won the top side hard, pushing Ssumday into a strong position on Riven. They proceeded to do absolutely nothing with this lead, while GGS pushed small advantages on the lower half of the map into objective gains, and won with relative ease.
The game against Optic was embarrassing, to say the least. At 23 minutes, 100T had a solid 4k gold lead. In the next ten minutes, they would go on to take one tower and one Ocean Dragon. During this time, Optic acquired Infernal Dragon and two towers completely uncontested. They then killed three members of 100T while still down in gold, then took Baron and two more towers. It’s just baffling how slow to act 100T is. They had a solid advantage and managed to lose the entirety of it without fighting back for more than a moment.
Even in their win against Clutch, calling it a fluke wouldn’t bring you much backlash. Clutch dominated the early and mid game, entering the 30-minute mark with an 8k gold lead. Clutch made some INTeresting plays, and 100T managed to capitalize, winning two teamfights in a row and taking the game. They played on the back foot for thirty minutes, and, had Clutch not misstepped so severely, would not have won.
This level of play is frankly astonishing from such a powerful roster, and you have to wonder if any blame should fall onto the coaching staff and management. 100T as an organization received heavy flack late last year for the way they managed the team and communicated with their fans, and perhaps things are worse than they seemed then.
Whatever the case may be, I don’t see this team making playoffs in their current state. Maybe the roster will change or a miracle magically grant this team cohesion when there is none, but things look bleak. 100T: Get it together.
Mid Split MVP: CoreJJ
Over the past 7 weeks, many players have thrown their name into contention for Split MVP. One player, however, seems to stand noticeably above the competition—CoreJJ. Core came into this split following a disappointing worlds showing, but quickly proved that he is worthy of the title ‘World Champion’. Amongst supports, he currently boasts highest KDA, highest vision score per minute, the 2nd lowest deaths per game, and is tied for highest assists per game.
CoreJJ has also put up carry performances this split, rather than simply enabling his teammates to carry themselves. On Alistar, he led Liquid to victory over GGS after a rough early game. On Tahm Kench, he’s shown a propensity to save allies with the tiniest slivers of HP, and turn sidelane 1v1’s into 3v1’s at the drop of a hat. He’s capable of winning his team the game without ever putting them in danger of losing it, and that is a remarkable feat.
The competition may be close enough to steal the MVP from him by the time Spring Split comes to a close, but as of now, CoreJJ is the clear best player in the league.
Predictions for Week 7
Saturday, March 9th
Match 1: Golden Guardians vs. CLG
Predicted Winner: Golden Guardians
Golden Guardians have been on an upswing lately, while CLG have been on a downswing. With these two opposing trends meeting each other, it’s difficult to not pick Golden Guardians as the winner for this game. If CLG manage to
Match 2: Cloud 9 vs. Team Liquid
Predicted Winner: Team Liquid
Last week, Cloud 9 had the least convincing 2-0 weekend I’ve ever seen, winning two games that they should have lost. Team Liquid, on the other hand, has been the definition of consistency. They never fall too far behind, and with talented players in all 5 positions, seem to always have someone stepping up and carrying the game. Despite Cloud 9’s record, these two teams are on different levels, and Liquid should be able to take the game.
Match 3: TSM vs. 100 Thieves
Predicted Winner: TSM
Both these teams have looked like completely different teams than last year. TSM started playing proactively and 100 Thieves stopped playing the game entirely. Unless Ssumday has the game of his life, it’s hard to imagine the other four players on 100T doing enough to win the game against TSM.
Match 4: Clutch vs. FlyQuest
Predicted Winner: FlyQuest
Clutch winning this game would be very reasonable, and they’ve shown they can crush games given the circumstances. The main reason we believe FlyQuest will win this game is partially in believing they’ll be able to pull it together after having an extra week to play on the patch.
Match 5: Echo Fox vs. Optic
Predicted Winner: Optic
Optic is a team with many issues, mainly revolving around closing out games. Echo Fox is a team with far more issues, mostly revolving around the ability to play league of legends. Games like these tend to be exciting, as when a stoppable force meets a movable object, anything can happen.
Sunday, March 10th
Match 1: Team Liquid vs. Golden Guardians
Predicted Winner: Team Liquid
To win this game, Golden Guardians are going to need to outpace Liquid to create an early lead. With the early lead, if they can beat Liquid in the vision game, they may be able to create openings which allow them to secure major objectives, and later, the game. Despite their recent upswing, seeing GGS pull this off would be great to see, but is unlikely, as it’s tough to imagine any other team not named Cloud 9 or TSM take a game off of Liquid.
Match 2: FlyQuest vs. Echo Fox
Predicted Winner: FlyQuest
If FlyQuest can’t find their win against Clutch, they shouldn’t have trouble finding it here. They are having trouble closing out games, but Echo Fox is having trouble playing the game at all. FlyQuest will almost certainly be the decider of this game one way or another.
Match 3: Optic vs. TSM
Predicted Winner: TSM
Despite TSM faltering against Cloud 9, they’ve managed to look a cut above the majority of the LCS. Optic will probably need to have made some serious progress in their practice this week to come out on top. I think starting Dardoch is a step in the right direction against a team like TSM.
Match 4: 100 Thieves vs. Cloud 9
Predicted Winner: Cloud 9
These teams are on completely different levels. You should expect a quick victory here for Cloud 9. If 100 Thieves manages a win, expect a long and grueling match to be the reason.
Match 5: CLG vs. Clutch
Predicted Winner: Clutch
Clutch is a team of talented players with high variance in their play. CLG is a team that does very little even in their wins. This kind of matchup heavily favors Clutch, because even the stupidly risky plays aren’t likely to be punished too heavily. It’s a close matchup, but Clutch takes the edge.
We hope you enjoyed our first installment of LCS power-rankings. If you have any comments, questions, or complaints, please feel free to ask them in the Comments section below.