Disclaimer – There are a lot of questionable placements in this week’s edition of the RealSport NA LCS Power Rankings that may upset some people.
1 – Team Solomid
First up, TSM. With the dream of the perfect split over, at the hands of none other than Phoenix 1, TSM’s spot at the top isn’t as secure as it was last week, but in my opinion they are still the best team in NA. They showed this as they bounced back in a decisive 2-0 series over Envy on Sunday, with newfound grit and determination.
I think in the long run, the loss to Phoenix 1 will be good for TSM. The lesson to be learned here will be to underestimate no-one, and respect all opponents equally. Their loss to Phoenix 1 was in part due to what looked like under-preparation, and part to uncharacteristically sloppy play in-game. TSM face the Immortals on Friday, a match which will potentially decide who will claim first place in the NA LCS, and guarantee their spot at the 2016 World Championship.
2 – Immortals
Immortals made mincemeat of Week 8, demolishing both NRG and Apex in quick two game series’. Reignover was the star player this week, as he often is, with three Gragas games and one on Nidalee. What impresses me most about Reignover is the fact that he is such a diverse player, who is equally comfortable playing tank roles, or carry roles. His proficiency on carries is sometimes forgotten, due to Huni’s preference towards his own carries in the toplane he is often relegated to the playing former. However, he used Nidalee to near perfection in game one against NRG, exerting pressure all over the map, and making Santorin look like he was chasing a cat around a jungle, trying to keep up.
They face TSM this weekend, which will determine who truly is the number one team in North America.
3 – Cloud 9
After a few questionable weeks, Cloud 9 look to be back on top form. They faced P1 and Envy, and made relatively quick work of both. Game one against Phoenix 1, it looked like P1 had control, and it was looking like another potential upset, however C9 were able to edge out a victory. In game two, however, Cloud 9 brought the pain. Sneaky and Jensen went off this game, showing that they are one of the best carry duos in the game, Sneaky claiming his second Pentakill of the split, and Jensen firing back with a Quadrakill of his own moments later.
With only one week to go, C9 will look to solidify their third place spot with games against Echo Fox and TL still to play.
4 – Team Liquid
The middle of the LCS pack (C9, TL and CLG) is very close, so expect a lot of movement in this area in the coming week, but right now, I think Team Liquid are deserving of fourth place in this list, despite falling to fifth place CLG this week.
Dardoch has been shying away from Graves lately, instead playing aggressive bruiser champions, such as Hecarim and Rek Sai. This makes no difference in terms of impact, however, as he was still able to dominate Santorin in Tl’s series versus NRG on the Pony, going 12/5/15 over two games.
TL have shown major strengths in this split, and will be put to the test when they play Cloud 9 and Apex to close out the split. Will they make the push for third place? Or will they find themselves where the organization have so many times in the past, in fourth?
5 – Counter Logic Gaming
We all knew it was coming. After a poor start to the split, CLG have made a late surge, and are looking more and more like a playoffs team. Aphromoo and Stixxay are looking more and more like the botlane who beat SKT not so long ago, and Xsmithie is exerting pressure left, right and center on his best champion, Gragas.
The team still have weaknesses, but they look to be one of the fastest improving teams in NA, and when it comes to playoffs, you can never count CLG out.
6 – Envy
Envy had a tough time this week. They were totally rolled over by both C9 and TSM, without putting up much of a fight. Envy’s problem as ever, is that they try to do too many things, and seem unable to settle on a style. Seraph and Ninja both have huge champion pools, but in my opinion, the team would have much more success if they were just to stick to one.
With a spot in the playoffs still up for grabs, and only Phoenix 1 and Echo Fox standing in their way, it would seem that Envy have an easy ride, but the squad’s unpredictability goes two ways, so who knows?
7 – Phoenix 1
And from the ashes, the phoenix shall rise! They were a meme. They were a joke. Some called them the worst team the NA LCS had ever had. But this week they accomplished something that no other LCS team has this split; defeating TSM. The perfect split was within their reach, but in what can only be described as a spectacular upset, Phoenix 1 took it from them.
Since joining the squad, Inori has been a huge boon for the team. He is a young, driven player, and likes to play proactively. In game two against TSM, he picked Rengar, a champion that is a meme in itself in NA, and went totally crazy on the champion. TSM didn’t have an answer for Inori’s relentless aggression, and his eventual backdoor, and the P1 jungler ended the game 12/2/7. If P1 weren’t mathematically out of the playoffs already, I would have put serious money on them making playoffs.
P1 still have Envy and Immortals to play, so there’s still plenty of chances left for them to upset the rankings once again.
8 – Apex
Apex fall into the same category as Envy in my books. They have exceptionally talented players, yet to stick to a style. If they fail at executing one style, they will simply try another one. Keane is both their best and worst player in this regard. Individually, he is Apex’s best player, however his vast champion pool is both a hindrance and an asset to the team. It allows them flexibility in champion select however, more champions means more styles to learn as a team. Apex have a solid roster, and if they beat Liquid and CLG, they still have a chance of making playoffs, but they are definitely one of the league’s weaker teams.
9 – NRG
NRG have parts of a good roster. It’s there, somewhere. Under the leadership of Santorin, they do try to be proactive, however individual misplays are far too common, and despite Ohq stepping up of late, GBM is having an out of character bad split. If NRG are to succeed in the next split, I think one or two roster changes have to be made.
10 – Echo Fox
Echo Fox, what happened? Since beating P1 back in week one, Rick Fox’s LCS squad have failed to pick up a single win. The squad of rookies made a surprise late surge last split, and many (myself included) had them pegged as a dark horse for the summer split. Now that Fox are facing a long off season, it’s up to Rick Fox and the rest of his management team to re-evaluate the squad, and turn up next year with a solid roster. Froggen has performed week in, week out, but the squad of relative rookies surrounding him have a long road ahead if they want to make it work. That said, I look forward to seeing how they fair in challenger, and hope to see them back in the LCS before long.