2018 NA LCS Spring Split Mid-Season Power Rankings
Alright, so the season hasn’t shaped up the way most people thought it would. TSM is tied for 6th with Flyquest, CLG is tied for 8th with OpTic Gaming, Clutch Gaming is tied for 3rd with Team Liquid, and Echo Fox tops the standings at 9–1. Since we’ve now passed the mid-split point, I’ll be doing a power rankings article this week, instead of the usual Run It Down piece; and no, I won’t be ranking the teams purely by their standings, because that would be an awfully lame ranking.
1. Echo Fox [FOX] (9 - 1)
In what may actually be the biggest surprise of them all, Echo Fox tops the standings at 9 - 1 with their only loss at the hands of CLG (because honestly, who else would it be?) The team has never finished higher than 7th in any NA LCS split since they joined the league, and now they find themselves handily defeating the likes of Cloud 9, TSM, and Team Liquid. This turnaround has led to a revitalization of the brand and brought excitement into a league that has been dominated by three teams since it’s inception. I look forward to seeing this team in a best-of situation in playoffs.
2. Cloud 9 [C9] (8 - 2)
If it weren’t for Echo Fox, Cloud 9 would be undefeated right now. Although they’ve had some close calls against the likes of Golden Guardians and Flyquest, Cloud 9 have been able to pull through to 2nd place. The last hope for North America has some post-season competition, however, in the form of Echo Fox– against whom they’ve already lost both regular season games. Their chance for redemption will be in playoffs, where they’ve historically shined in best-of-five play. The only question that remains is if Cloud 9 can finally claim another banner at the top of the LCS stage for the first time since Season 4.
3. Team Liquid [TL] (6 - 4)
Team Liquid are on a bit of a decline after their 5 - 1 start, but don’t let the record fool you– even if it does include a loss to Golden Guardians. Don’t forget who comprises this lineup; it’s full of seasoned players– World Championship veterans– and they’re all itching to start strong in their first split together. The loss to GGS hit hard, especially after Liquid steamrolled them in their first meeting, to the tune of a 26:24 victory. The back half of the split will show whether or not this squad can bring it together in time for a powerful playoff presentation.
4. Clutch Gaming [CG] (6 - 4)
Another unlikely team near the top, Clutch Gaming find themselves tied with the on-paper-powerhouse of Team Liquid. If you watched Riot’s most recent “Eyes On” episode, you would’ve seen the analytics and infrastructure that comes with the backing of an NBA franchise, and the results show. Clutch is having a mid-season surge similar to that of Team EnVyUs, and it’s brought them their second 2 - 0 week in a row. The question mark for Clutch is the same question mark for all of these new squads: can they perform in a best-of scenario?
5. Team SoloMid [TSM] (4 - 6)
TSM is the first team I’ve ranked higher than their record, and the reason is because of their experience. TSM’s history of success– and Zven/Mithy’s record on G2– will lead this team to greater heights than they’ve shown thus far. Despite his performance in the earlier weeks, MikeYeung has shown significant improvement recently. The biggest obstacle to this team, frankly, is whether or not they make it to playoffs. Though that may sound like a bold statement, keep in mind that this is TSM’s first time in the bottom half of the standings after week 5 since Summer Split of Season 4. They did end up winning that split, but that was a different time, with teams like compLexity and Evil Geniuses littered in. However, if TSM makes the cut into top 6, look for their experience to carry them through playoffs.
6. Flyquest [FLY] (4 - 6)
I really wish I could put Flyquest higher on this list, but I can’t. To be fair, the team looks significantly better with Fly, AnDa, and Stunt, but they’ve been actively rotating the roster too much to let everyone synergize. JayJ is, unfortunately, not an LCS-caliber support yet. I don’t know enough about their in-game communication to say for certain, but Stunt is– almost without a doubt– more vocal than his counterpart. If the management will allow Flyquest to play with the same lineup consistently, the team may find more success.
7. 100 Thieves  (5 - 5)
100 Thieves is the unfortunate sacrifical lamb of these rankings. A promising 4 - 1 start has dwindled into a .500 record after week 5. They were the first team to take a loss to Golden Guardians, and it must’ve taken a toll on their confidence. If this team continues to play the way they have been, playoffs may be out of their reach. With a game against Flyquest next week, 100 will absolutely have to pull out a win, otherwise they will be down 0 - 2 in the head-to-head; since Flyquest is in direct contention with them, that could be an early– but final– nail in the coffin.
8. Counter Logic Gaming [CLG] (3 - 7)
Counter Logic Gaming is probably the most disappointing team of the split thus far. As with most people, I had placed CLG in the top 3 of my pre-season power rankings. The team is tied with OpTic for 8th place and are only 1 game up on Golden Guardians. For longtime CLG fans, this is reminiscent of when the team faced relegations. This is BioStix’s first split without their respective veteran lane partners, and they’ve yet to prove themselves. CLG’s solo-laners are doing their best to carry the team, but without clarity and focus in-game, this team will never reach its full potential.
9. OpTic Gaming [OPT] (3 - 7)
Okay the excuses are gone; OpTic’s record is not simply due to a difficult schedule. PowerOfEvil and Arrow are the clear pillars of the team, but that is not enough when the rest of the team is unable to keep up. The only teams OpTic has bested are CLG, GGS, and FLY. They’re tied with CLG, GGS is likely out of playoff contention, and FLY has shown far more promise than they have. OpTic have the makings of a middle-of-the-pack team, but they need some work to get there.
10. Golden Guardians [GGS] (2 - 8)
Alas, Hai and Friends sit at the bottom of the standings with 2 wins. The Golden State-backed team has yet to see the success of their NBA counterparts, but they’ve now got two 1 - 1 weeks in a row. Will that trend continue? Probably not, but it’s nice to see that Hai won’t be on the worst team in LCS history; that honor remains with the members of 2015 Spring Split Team Coast.