10) Golden Guardians (-1)
Given the fact that Deftly was given two early kills in a level 1 fight before the minions had even spawned, it's not surprising to know that he did well on the leaderboards in GGS's second game of the week vs. Clutch Gaming.
What is surprising to know is that even though he went 7-0 by the end of the game, the Guardians still lost.
There's nothing positive I can find about this team's performance this weekend beyond "Deftly has a nice KDA."
Lourlo in the top lane wasn't really offensive by any means, but it wasn't good either. Matt looked okay in the support role, but he was paired with an ADC that was spoon fed an easy early game.
Mickey was being handled by Febiven for the entire match, and Contractz was the worst offender for the team as he managed to stay quiet for the majority of the laning phase and even somehow messed up a nocturne ult, almost resulting in his death, which pretty much sums up GGS performance this weekend.
I'd comment on their game against C9, but I'd rather not rub salt into the wound.
9) Clutch Gaming (+1)
CG managed to bump themselves on my list this week simply because they looked better than GGS in a vacuum. That's certainly more a knock on GGS than it is a compliment to CG, though.
There was still their first game against an on-fire FlyQuest that left a lot to be desired. Solo performed well enough as Gangplank, and Hakuho was as solid as he usually is, but in the end FlyQuest's team fighting composition proved too much for CG to handle, and they were slowly macro'd into submission.
8) Counter Logic Gaming (-2)
I was convinced that CLG were having a slump that they were soon to show an upswing from. We now however have to adapt our thinking. It's a tough one, but it involves accepting that Counter Logic Gaming is a bad team.
They find themselves tied in last place with Golden Guardians and it would have been very easy for me to switch CLG and CG around in their ratings. As it happens, I think week 8 was difficult for CLG as they faced off against both TSM and FlyQuest. One team who is always a threat no matter what form they're in, and another team who's on fire.
That being said, you don't end up in last place by just having one bad weekend, this has been a trend for CLG for a while now, and while I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt that the tides would turn in their favor, it's becoming clearer and clearer that they just aren't going to perform.
At least they aren't as bad as CG or GGS...
7) OpTic Gaming (+0)
I thought that OpTic Gaming were going to end the weekend having switched spots with CLG. As it happens, they performed just well enough to gain my trust as a team that can build from the seventh position in a positive fashion.
Their loss against Team Liquid saw an embarrassing 1 to 11 kill stomp where they were outclassed by every opponent at every stage of the game.
But on the other side of the coin, they managed a scrappy win against the favorited Echo Fox which showcased brilliant split pushing play from top laner Dhokla that rattled Echo Fox to looking as shakey as they did early this split.
It's this play that got them that got them the narrow win in the end.
Whether or not this team will make it into playoffs (They're tied for 6th with TSM) will heavily rely on whether they can finish on a really high note. Their last two games of the split are against TSM and 100 Thieves, two opponents that are both hungry to pad their position on the ladder and have the talent to back that hunger up.
I wouldn't put my money on OpTic pulling the rabbit out of the hat.
6) Team SoloMid (-1)
Team SoloMid have made a habit out of setting the bar so low at the beginning of the season that when they play relatively well at the end of it, we're actually impressed. And to be fair, their double victory this weekend was impressive. But I know that begs the question "Why have been moved down a peg?"
To be completely honest, they're only down because so many teams above them have surprised me that I had to make room on the higher end of the list, and that meant that TSM had to scoot.
Hauntzer himself has stated that he thinks the TSM roster is the strongest in North America, and I'm actually inclined to believe him. I think that when the team is on, they're one of (if not THE) best team in NA.
The problem lies in the fact that they are not always on. In fact, they seem to almost never be on these days.
As Riot moves towards normalizing the meta once more, it can be expected that TSM will return to their better known form, as it was clear even when the meta was the jankiest it's ever been that SoloMid wanted to hold on to what they knew and keep it classic.
Crit ADC's and solid team fighting compositions, TSM are still looking to play for the late game as they always have, and it looks like with every new patch that said strategy becomes more and more viable.
Haunzter is liking the split push Gnar, and Zven has fallen in love with crit Varus. It's this fun, organized play that I love about TSM, and its the reason that I think they're not falling below 6th.
Rising above it is another story, but we'll get to that later.
5) FlyQuest (+3)
I severely miscalculated this team's ability to compete last week, and week 8 made me pay for it.
After a double win weekend with massive kill differences in each game (12-3 / 21-9) it's clear that Fly has more potential than I gave them for. Their ability to snowball games into heavy victories is a testament to their tempo on the rift.
The argument that FlyQuest is having success (like this weekend against CG and CLG) against easy opponents doesn't add up, either. Yes, they've done well recently against weaker foes, but to be in the spot they're in now, they had to pull victories away from the top brass earlier in the season.
These results tell me they make a good mid-tiered team. And week 9, i predict, will showcase that when they beat Golden Guardians and lose to Cloud9 (Assuming Reapered doesn't flip the roster around too dramatically).
4) Echo Fox (-2)
It pains me to admit, but watching my beloved Foxes throw a game against OpTic Gaming last week has made me realize that the supposed messiah of our issues, Smoothie, isn't everything we need to get to the top.
It doesn't matter how flashy Huni is, how solid Demonte is, or how great a prospect Lost is, if we don't have the Macro mindset to make smart plays, we're going to throw in the mid/late game every chance we get.
Hopefully the team slowly learns to have a wiser demeanor on the rift to avoid outcomes like they experienced vs. OpTic, but until I see evidence for that progress, I don't think this Echo Fox roster will outclass the top three on any consistent basis.
Essentially, TSM's road to rising heavily depends on what mood Echo Fox are in for week 9. If it wasn't for their shaky shot calling, I'd say they were a solid 4th that won't budge for anyone and that's about it.
Unfortunately, that's not the case.
3) Cloud 9 (+1)
As annoying as it is to keep hearing about Reapered's 4D chess playing, it is satisfying to see that a coach can make use of his roster without relying on purely on the status quo as a template.
Reapered took risks with his team and his job by benching his best players, and in the end it seems it gave the secondary players enough experience to play at least a niche role in the team for specific strategies.
This isn't relevant to Cloud 9's ranking, but I have to give props to the manager for setting a precedent for all the managers and coaches following him that allows for experimentation within squads. If Reapered didn't come out on top this split, he would have probably closed the door for such strategies for a long time as that would be the blamed reason for his failure.
In terms of the team itself, you have to say that its fairly scary to see a North American team who not only has an incredible starting squad, but also has proven to has meaningful depth which I can only predict will serve them very well in the competitions to come.
This was exemplified in their match against first place Team Liquid when veteran Jensen was subbed out for Goldenglue who went on to finish the match with a 4-0 KDA and is credited with helping gain Svenskeren's 4-0 advantage as well.
Sneaky did his thing while Licorice held his own in the top lane, and Doublelift was without a team for the entire match. It was an inspiring victory, and if I was any less cautious, i'd probably consider a first or second place position for C9, but for now i'm going to refrain from jumping the gun and keep them here.
2) 100 Thieves (+1)
Losing out to a 6th place TSM, but beating a tied for 3rd Echo Fox.
Some might say that its a sign that they belong lower on the ladder, but since they are sitting uncontested at second place, it seems reasonable to me to assume that the dynamic duo of Aphromoo, Cody Sun, and potential MVP of the split Ssumday will hold their line despite some shaky showings.
The team very obviously has its weaknesses against strong opponents, but their best strength lies in the fact that they have the macro prowess to take any sort of lead they can get and drive it home without fail.
It's enough for me to give them number 2.
They might even be able to steal another first place finish. Get it?
1) Team Liquid (+0)
It would be easy for me to knock Team Liquid down a peg or two after their loss against C9. After all, that defeat was very hard to watch as a TL fan and very fun to watch for everyone else. It was just so inspiring to see the kings kneel after their run of terror across North America.
That being said, it's not about how badly you lose, it's about how often. And if I had to put money on Team Liquid losing next week, I wouldn't risk it. I still think they're the most dangerous team in the league.
It's a battle of the big boys this weekend for Team Liquid, Day 1 they face off against a not-so-confident Echo Fox while day 2 will feature the matchup of TL vs. TSM.
Should one player decide to have an off-weekend against even one of these teams, it's entirely possible that TL can surrender their spot at number one, so they'll have to finish strong when the pressure is on, something that we've seen them do on the playoff stage before.
Either way, it will be an amazingly entertaining finish to the Summer Split.
Let us know what you think of our NA LCS Power Rankings for week 8 in the comments below!