NA LCS Power Rankings
As a fun exercise, I’m going to try to predict the placings for the newly franchised teams for the spring split of the NA LCS. The ratings will only be for the regular season, since we won’t see any games until January 20th it’s too hard to predict how teams will perform in playoffs. Especially with the change from Best of Three to Best of One, this season could be a lot more volatile in the standings before playoffs, so the rankings will mostly be based off of how strong I feel the roster looks.
You can find a list of the teams participating and their starting rosters on the lolesports wiki.
If you just want the ratings, you can scroll to the bottom for a tl:dr
1. Team Solomid
While this isn’t a bold claim, TSM retained two of the strongest solo laners in NA, and made one of the few upgrades they could have secured for bot lane. Doublelift and Biofrost’s departure means some other teams will benefit from their talent, but the addition of Zven and mithy should round out TSM’s roster very well. mithy’s ability to navigate the mid-late game should take some weight off of Bjergsen’s shoulders, giving him more space to focus on laning and mechanics over micromanaging (macro-managing?) the team. The biggest unknown is MikeYeung, but if mithy and the coaching staff can direct his talents in the right direction, TSM will be a roster to fear (at least in NA). These may not be the most original opinions, but I think we can expect another deep playoff run from this roster – likely another finals appearance – and I’m looking forward to seeing how they perform internationally if they can live up to their potential.
2. Team Liquid
LoLesports fans are expecting a lot from this roster, and rightfully so. TL aquired 3/5 of the Immortals roster since the franchising shakeup, who finished second in both the regular seasons and playoffs. The new roster has some of the strongest players in the region in each position, and should retain some synergy from their IMT days. If the communication on TL is adequate, this will be a roster of very talented players with a diverse skill set and a high ceiling. This TL roster should be able to perform very well in NA, though they will be stronger in a tank-oriented meta with engage champions given the history of Impact, Xmithie and Olleh’s preference for those champions in pro play.
C9 and CLG’s rosters changed the least between what I would expect from the “top four,” the only player I’m not sure what to expect from is their new top laner, Licorice. Svenskeren replacing Contractz should maintain around the same level or performance, with Sven seeming more comfortable as a role-player who can fit the needs of the team. Sneaky and Smoothie should remain one of the most solid bot lanes with mostly upside, and Jensen probably remains NA’s strongest mechanical mid laner. If this new-old C9 is compatible in game and can allocate their resources effectively, they’ll be a force to be reckoned with.
4. Counter Logic Gaming
While it’s sad to see aphromoo depart from CLG after three years, I agree with most analysts that Biofrost is a mechanical upgrade, and the team should prosper if Reignover or another player can pick up the shotcalling mantle. Speaking of Reignover, CLG seemed to have the worse end of the Dardoch-Xmithie trade to Immortals last summer, which they’ve now upgraded to from OmarGod. If Reignover can return to his form from Fnatic/Immortals, CLG’s teamplay may once again elevate them to the top of the standings. I would expect the returning members to maintain their level of performance, which should lead to another strong finish from CLG this split.
*After what I would consider the “top four” of NA, I’m not as sure where I would place the remaining teams. I would consider there to be two mid-tier teams and another four wrestling with each other for playoff slots. For the teams below, I’m either not sure how the roster will synergize with a mix of domestic and foreign talent, or I’m not confident in the performance of some of the players new to LCS.
5. Echo Fox
I’m still conflicted over who I feel will end in the 5th-6th slots between EF and 100T. I feel that both their rosters have a high skill ceiling, but some of the individual members have been under-performing as of late. I places EF and 100T here since there bot lanes should be more consistent than what I expect from the 7th-10th teams on my list. What I’m less sure of is whether or not EF can finally reign in Dardoch, and if Fenix is back at the level of an LCS mid laner. Huni had some shaky games with SKT, but EF should give him a bit more freedom in what champions to play, and if the team can play around him he should return to terrorizing the other NA top lane talent.
6. 100 Thieves
I think 100T did a good job at signing what players they could from the non-franchised teams, and aphromoo to round out the roster. As I said before, the bot lane here should be solid between Cody Sun and aphromoo, and how far this team goes will depend on the strength of their communication. Ssumday has the most potential here, since when we’ve recently seen Ryu and Meteos they were not performing at their peak. Meteos should be able to fill in what the team needs, but he may not gank enough to get Ssumday ahead or keep Ryu and his bot lane afloat against some of the stronger teams in NA. For these reasons I expect EF and 100T, and maybe the next team on my list to round out the top six for playoffs this spring.
7. Clutch Gaming
The main reason I have Clutch Gaming at 7th, and a possible playoff team is once again due to a solid bot lane. With Apollo, Hakuho and LirA coming from Team EnVyUs there should already be some synergy to build around from their old roster. I’m less sure of the new top lane, Solo, and Febiven didn’t impress me when he returned to H2K. He looked strongest on Fnatic with Huni and Reignover, but that was when the pressure was drawn away from his midlane. If Apollo and Hakuho can stay even with other bot lanes, there’s still room for LirA to steal some games from teams higher in the standings if the lanes he gets ahead can stay ahead.
8. Golden Guardians
The main problem I have with this roster is the strongest mechanical player seems to be the jungler, Contractz, which doesn’t bode well for the team’s overall performance. There’s always potential for Hai to come in clutch and seize an opportunity for GG to take over a teamfight or outmaneuver on the map, but with enough strong teams elsewhere in the league those opportunities may be few and far between. The top and support coming from TL doesn’t give me much confidence in this roster, though I never had a problem with them on Liquid this team doesn’t seem to have a star player to carry them. I don’t know enough about Deftly from the challenger scene, which doesn’t bode well for my placing of this roster.
While I’m a fan of Fly from his time on kt Rolster, I’m not very optimistic about the team FlyQuest put together. The only winning lane I can see here is Flame, but with a rookie jungler I’m not sure how much support the lanes will get here. It seems like the bot lane can go even at best; this team may be strong mechanically but I don’t see who can take the reigns and lead them to victory. I would be surprised if this new FlyQuest roster makes playoffs.
10. OpTic Gaming
The problem I have with OpTic’s roster is similar to FlyQuest’s, where I only see one star player in PowerOfEvil. Arrow had a good start in NA after Pheonix1’s surprise 3rd place finish in spring playoffs and split MVP, but failed to impress in summer. Combined with the middle-of-the-pack talent in Zig, Akaadian and LemonNation, I think this roster will struggle against most other teams in the league. Once again, I don’t expect a playoff appearance from FlyQuest or OpTic.
I do see a strong disparity between the teams I expect to see at the top and bottom of the standings. Expect the returning NA LCS squads that retained their slots and their rosters (except Liquid regarding roster) to display their dominance and make playoffs. The teams in the middle of the pack should be able to comfortably make playoffs over the bottom teams, though their could be some upsets that shake up the placings for playoff slots. Of the bottom tier teams though, I have very low expectations and don’t expect them to make playoffs.
Top Tier (A): Expected to finish high in regular season and make a deep playoff run
- Counter Logic Gaming
- Team Liquid
- Team Solomid
Mid Tier (B): Likely to make playoffs
- 100 Thieves
- Echo Fox
Mid Tier (C): Will possibly make playoffs
- Clutch City
- Golden Guardians
Low Tier (D): Unlikely to make playoffs
- OpTic Gaming
- Team Solomid
- Team Liquid
- Echo Fox
- 100 Thieves
- Clutch Gaming
- Golden Guardians