NA LCS Power Rankings: Week 7

TSM looks worse than they are, Echo Fox is starting to stabilize, and Team Liquid might be the new kings of the western rift. It’s the NA LCS week 7 power rankings.

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(Image Credit: Wojtek Zając)

10) Clutch Gaming

No surprises here. CG have just come off a 1-1 weekend that just allowed them to come into equal sitting with CLG and Golden Guardians

This is no fluke, as 7 weeks into the split, it’s apparent that the team, who placed in sixth last season, has some issues to sort out before next year. The best performing player on the squad is Apollo, but he is sitting at just 15th on the KDA list in the entire league… as an ADC… to his credit, it’s hard to get on the board in any role if your team is under-performing, but that number 15 should be all you need to know when it comes to this squad. 

And just to rub salt into the wound, you should be aware that the next CG player on the list is mid laner Febiven at rank 34. Not good enough.

9) Golden Guardians 

Not entirely sure what this team will hope for in the future. This is the second split in a row where-in they’ve proven to be one of the worst teams (consistently, mind you) in the LCS. Obviously every team in their position wants to pull an OpTic Gaming and become mediocre, but that’s hardly a goal for fans to get excited about. 

In fact, with the way this team plays, being mediocre looks more like a dream than anything. 

With the Golden State Warrior championship image backing them, this team has been a sore disappointment so far. We can only hope it gets better for them, though star player Stephen Curry investing in FlyQuest is not the best of signs.

Speaking of…

8) FlyQuest

Like OpTic Gaming, but worse. 

It’s been clear since the beginning of the year that FlyQuest were aiming to build a team around their valued AD carry WildTurtle after gutting their previous team before in the spring split. 

At a KDA rank of 24th in the league, it’s fair to say he hasn’t been the linchpin they were hoping for. At least not this summer. 

As the carries of each team start to top off the KDA list, the discrepancy between his rank and everyone else’s starts to seem that much bigger. That is to say, he isn’t just 24th on the list, he’s 24th on the list while also playing a position that should give him a huge advantage in padding that score. 

That being said, he’s also the highest up for FlyQuest, which is pretty telling of their performance this year. But Let’s be completely honest, even if the Turtle was doing exceptional, FlyQuest would be found out at this point in the split, and their bot lane would just get focuses down. One man armies don’t last entire wars, just ask Huni.

I think you could definitely build a team around the guy with the right kind of ‘protect the carry’ player mentality, but it’s clear FlyQuest do not have the pieces for it yet. Expect an Echo Fox-like gutting of their roster should things go south, as I think they will.

7) OpTic Gaming

I know I said earlier that this team was ‘mediocre’ and that putting them at seventh doesn’t seem to fit that narrative, especially with them being tied for fourth at the moment,  but I don’t think that the “solid-but-meh” shifts OpTic has been putting in will last.

In a game of weird meta’s and uncertain foundations, OpTic have done well, and I think the progress they’ve made from last season will continue to grow until they find themselves competing in the mid-tiered brawls that the likes of CLG and TSM seem to be so fond of these days. 

But as for now, I believe they are on an upswing of wins, and the downswing is on its way. (They lost to CG this week, did you know that?)

6) Counter Logic Gaming

It’s easy to down-talk CLG given their awful six game losing streak, and you know what? It’s easy to down-talk CLG even when they’re doing well, but it’s clear that the team is in a rut, and there’s no easy way out of it. 

With faces like Darshan, Reignover, and Huhi, you’d expect more from this team. And It’s pretty obvious that they themselves expect more, too. 

I can’t say whether the team will flourish back into a top tier version of itself, but I can give the benefit of the doubt that this streak of losses will be met with an upswing of wins, putting them right back into the center of the table with no harsh complaints, but no compliments either. 

5) Team SoloMid

When I said they look worse than they really are, all I meant was that they weren’t 7th place material. 5th place is more their fit right now. 

Like Cloud9, TSM have had a host of roster issues that I think have really hindered their ability to perform as well as they should be. Rookie jungler Mike Yeung was swept out of his role in favor of Grig, who, to his credit, is playing phenomenally. 

The bot lane issues this team had were also a factor, but it seemed to be more of an issue that was out of their control for a time, while Cloud9 seemed to doom themselves just because of some internal issues. 

So why rank them fifth if they are so good? 

I never said they were good, I said grig was. The rest of the team is playing like they usually do: Decent to great laning with a side of poor macro which you can see perfectly fine in this game against Echo Fox they played recently.

Don’t get me wrong, the players are all good. But if you make NA plays on a macro scale, you’re going to get punished, and that’s just a fact. 

Under a more settled meta, I’d be putting this team much higher, but that isn’t the world we live in.

4) Cloud9

They’ve finally sorted out their roster issues, and the experiment that was ‘Let’s bench all of our good players’ is over. That being said, the cost of said experiment was Smoothie, one of the best supports in the league, being traded over to Echo Fox. 

The upside for C9 is that are improving their performance as of late, and its clear that the core of the team that made them so good last split is still intact. 

Cloud9 have impressed fans with a 100% winrate over the last two weeks, with two of the four games played against Echo Fox and TSM. Is fourth acceptable for long-time C9 fans? No. Is it what they have to deal with right now? Yes. 

Until they prove that they can outclass the better teams on a consistent basis, I’m not putting too much stock into this team, but i’m not taking anything away from them, either. 

Fourth it is.

3) 100Thieves 

Home to the 3rd best KDA in the league Ssumday, and (in my opinion) North America’s best support Aphromoo. I thought that they might have a hard time keeping up with such success on their first time around, but they’ve dealt with the pressure much better than I thought they would have. 

For those ‘under a rock’ folk, 100Thieves came in first place in their first split ever in spring of 2018 and quite honestly it wasn’t clear whether they’d be able to sustain life as a top tiered team, but so far they’ve done just that. 

Out of all the teams in NA, I’d say this one has been the most consistent so far, and if teams continue to shuffle into new tiers this season, I can expect 100Thieves to replace a TSM or Cloud9 should they fail to make their return. 

2) Echo Fox

Last season, I looked upon my beloved Echo Fox as a stick of dynamite: Threatening, but something had to light it. And towards the end of the spring split, people figured that out and just stop lighting them. 

With the addition of the new support Smoothie and promotion of the two academy players Lost and Demonte to the first team, Echo Fox stopped relying on others to give them win opportunities and have started creating them on their own. 

Smoothie and Lost have yet to disappoint as a duo, and I only expect that dynamic to strengthen as Lost comes into his own in the NA LCS. 

Demonte, surprisingly, has actually become a solid wall for the team to rely on in play making. I don’t ever see him int, and whenever the time comes for a critical decision to be made, Demonte is ready for the call and consistently executes when it matters. 

In short, Echo Fox have shored up their weaknesses and are starting to play to their strengths. We’ll see how far they grow in the future, but this week they’re the number two team in the NA LCS

1) Team Liquid

Great performances domestically and incredibly poor showings internationally. Oh Team Liquid.

At first place, I think Team Liquid will make a fine replacement for Team SoloMid. They’ve got the star power, they’ve got the flashy plays, and most importantly, they’ve got the wins. 

I don’t think I would have put any money on this team at the start of the season given how jumbled the meta is, but as it happens they’ve really made it their own and are running with it, all the way to worlds where we’ll be fed another helping of “Oh god please let it end.” 

As long as Pobelter and Doublelift continue to outclass their opponents, I have to imagine that the likes of the underrated Xmithie, Impact, and Olleh won’t Faulter to any stellar degree. Basically, I don’t see any way this team can be outplayed at the moment.

At least not by a North American team.

That being said, it can’t go unnoticed that Team Liquid are experiencing this success in a league plagued with poor roster management, transfers, and plenty of internal conflicts within their opponent’s locker rooms. Maybe that’s just how the league is, and maybe TL aren’t without their own issues. But it’s possible that next season we’ll get the chance to see a more stable region for them to conquer.

But that’s far from now. At the moment, it’s just week 7, and It’s Team Liquid outshining competition.

Let us know what you think of my NA LCS Power Rankings, and who you think is the strongest heading into week 8 of the 2018 Summer Split in the comments below!

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