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NA LCS 2018 Spring Split Pre-Season Power Rankings

NA LCS 2018 Spring Split Pre-Season Power Rankings

With only a few rosters yet to be confirmed, the teams participating in the first post-franchising NA LCS split are shaping up. As a reminder, six organizations have remained from last year: Team SoloMid, Counter Logic Gaming, Cloud9, Team Liquid, Flyquest, and Echo Fox; the remaining four teams are newcomers: Optic Gaming, Golden Guardians, Clutch Gaming, and 100Thieves. Plenty of player contracts ended on November 20, 2017, which has led to many a roster swap, including The Dropping of TSM Doublelift and The Return of Meteos. In general, every team will have to work on synergy with their new players. That being said, a few of these rosters have exciting potential, while the rest leave a lot to be desired. A link to a Google spreadsheet with the starting rosters for every team is listed below.

1. Team Liquid (TL)

  • Top Impact
  • JG — Xmithie
  • MID — Pobelter
  • AD — Doublelift
  • SUP Olleh

It’s hard to deny the on-paper power of Team Liquid’s roster: the Season 3 World Championship top-laner, three out of five players from the Season 7 World Championship Immortals team (including the best jungle/support duo in North America) and Doublelift, a player whose story and legacy precede him. Team Liquid has had a steady decline in the last three NA LCS splits, but “Paid by Steve” might have finally paid off. With LCS returning to best-of-one competition, this stacked team should have what it takes to bring Liquid back to the surface of the standings and leave “Forever 4th” in the depths.

2. Team SoloMid (TSM)

  • Top —Hauntzer
  • JG —MikeYeung
  • MID —Bjergsen
  • ADZven
  • SUPMithy

When Doublelift was dropped from CLG and picked up by TSM, it was the biggest news of the year in League of Legends, even more so than SKT winning the World Championships. Now, he’s been dropped again — along with support Biofrost and jungler Sven — and replacing them are the best bottom-lane from Europe, former G2 Zven and Mithy, and the 2017 NA LCS Summer Split Rookie of the Split MikeYeung (whoo that’s a mouthful). Although the team’s talent should place them 1st in these rankings, the NA LCS is returning to best-of-one competition; TSM has had a history of losing the first game in best-of-three scenarios. G2, however, has not, so perhaps Mithy’s in-game leadership will lead TSM to the top of the standings.

3. Counter Logic Gaming (CLG)

  • Top —Darshan
  • JG Reignover
  • MIDHuhi
  • AD —Stixxay
  • SUP —Biofrost

The loss of shotcaller Aphromoo hit hard, but wasn’t unexpected. His personal performance this year hasn’t been stellar, but CLG as a team has managed to execute decently, despite mid-season roster changes. Former TSM support Biofrost has replaced him, and OmarGod has been moved back to the Academy team; former TL Reignover has joined as the new jungler. While every team will have to work on new-player-synergy throughout the season, CLG will have an easier time integrating Reignover due to his brief stint with them during their bootcamp for the 2015 World Championships. So long as they can work out the in-game shotcalling, this revamped CLG roster should come back in full force for Season 8.

4. Cloud 9 (C9)

  • Top —Licorice
  • JG Sven
  • MIDJensen
  • AD —Sneaky
  • SUP —Smoothie

With the loss of Impact in the top lane, Cloud 9 has a shakier roster. Jensen, Sneaky, and Smoothie all remain, and former TSM jungler Sven has replaced Contractz. Although Sven has had a weak year, the new runes are much more enabling for aggressive junglers; it’s possible that he’ll return to his pre-NA form and playstyle in C9 where Contractz played champions like Graves and Kha’zix, even when Sejuani and Gragas reigned supreme. C9’s biggest question mark is in Licorice, the former top-laner on C9’s Challenger squad and, most recently, eUnited in the Challenger Series. Fortunately for C9, every single team has a new top/jungle duo, so if they can find their footing faster than the rest, C9 will be their regular selves: a contender at playoffs.

5. 100 Thieves (100)

  • TopSsumday
  • JG —Meteos
  • MIDRyu
  • AD —Cody Sun
  • SUP —Aphromoo

The highest-rated team from the four new additions to the NA LCS, 100 Thieves has put together a roster that has the potential to be a semi-finalist. Former DIG Ssumday and former P1 Ryu make up the imports while former P1 Meteos, former CLG Aphromoo, and former IMT Cody Sun round out the rest of the team. Every player is a seasoned veteran, save for Cody Sun, and Coach pr0lly led H2K to the semifinals of the Season 6 World Championships. Although it could be argued that much of this roster is on their career decline, Meteos has shown he can still compete, Aphromoo’s in-game leadership is rivaled only by Hai, and Ryu’s reuniting with pr0lly could lead to newfound motivation. The only thing this team is missing is cohesion; if these five players mesh well, don’t be surprised when they start taking games off the Big Four.

6. Echo Fox (FOX)

  • TopHuni
  • JG —Dardoch
  • MIDFeniX
  • AD —Altec
  • SUP —Adrian

Dardoch and FeniX are back together again, this time with former DIG bot-lane Altec and Adrian and former SKT Huni. The problem child of NA LCS had a solid first half of the 2017 Summer Split on CLG, where his attitude problems seemed to have dissipated. Unfortunately, Dardoch struck again, and was traded back to Team Liquid. I’ve placed Echo Fox on the bottom-half of the standings purely from a communications and leadership point of view. Upon first glance, I can only assume Dardoch and Adrian will be the primary shotcallers. With Adrian’s notoriously passive play and Dardoch’s tendency for aggression, I simply don’t see Echo Fox doing very well. They’ll have to scrape by on the individual talent of the players.

7. Flyquest (FLY)

  • TopFlame
  • JG —AnDa
  • MIDFly
  • AD —WildTurtle
  • SUP —Stunt

Flyquest has started (almost) entirely fresh, keeping only Wildturtle from its Season 7 roster. Former IMT Flame and AnDa have been added, as well as former Gold Coin United Fly and former P1 Stunt. Stunt was part of P1’s temporary reign of supremacy back in 2017’s Spring Split, so with a little work, I expect WildStunt (StuntTurtle?) to be a decent bottom-lane duo. The bigger questions lie in the jungle and mid-lane. AnDa is coming in as a rookie after being IMT’s jungle substitute, and although Fly played admirably on KT, his Longzhu and GCU performances were underwhelming. Flyquest is likely a bottom-half team, but if their potential is realized, expect them in the playoffs.

8. Clutch Gaming (CG)

  • Top —Solo
  • JG LirA
  • MIDFebiven
  • AD —Apollo
  • SUP —Hakuho

Comprised of the best three players of the Team EnVyUs roster plus Challenger top-laner Solo and former H2K Febiven, Clutch Gaming look to capitalize on existing synergy. Team EnVyUs had a late-split surge in Summer, led largely by LirA and Hakuho. Repeating this success will be necessary for CG to break out of the bottom three teams. In a league with top-laners like Ssumday, Impact, and Hauntzer, Solo is the weakest link; he’ll have to step up in a big way to keep CG from getting beat down.

9. OpTic Gaming (OPT)

  • Top —Zig
  • JG —Akaadian
  • MIDPowerOfEvil
  • ADArrow
  • SUP —Lemonnation

Former P1 Zig and Arrow reunite on OpTic Gaming, and they are joined by former FOX Akaadian, MSF PowerOfEvil, and FLY Lemonnation. I expect most of the priority here to be in the mid-lane; Akaadian played a large part in Echo Fox having the 3rd-highest first-blood percentage in the entire league last split, (58%) so look for early ganks in the mid-lane to try and snowball PowerOfEvil. Lemonnation is a couple years removed from his peak performance on Cloud 9, and Zig and Arrow’s summer split simply wasn’t stunning. I have them above Golden Guardians simply because of the theoretically-higher individual player talents, but I don’t expect great things from this roster.

10. Golden Guardians (GGS)

  • Top —Lourlo
  • JG —Contractz
  • MID —Hai
  • AD —Deftly
  • SUP —Matt

Out of every roster, Golden Guardians looks to be the most hodgepodge of them all. Former FLY Hai is the obvious rock for the team, and former TL Lourlo and Matt reprise their roles together. Former C9 Contractz is likely to do well individually and play carry champions as he almost always has, but Matt and former eUnited AD Deftly are probably the worst bottom-lane in the league. The only thing GGS has going for it is Hai’s decisive shotcalling; hopefully it’ll be enough.

Run It Down - 2018 NA LCS Spring Split - Week 1

Run It Down - 2018 NA LCS Spring Split - Week 1

Top Free Agents for the 2018 NA LCS Spring Split

Top Free Agents for the 2018 NA LCS Spring Split