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As we reach the end of another thrilling NA LCS season, we finally have the six squads that will battle it out for glory these coming playoffs. A few teams who we thought would be leading the pack have faltered a bit, while teams we thought wouldn’t even make the playoffs are now looking stronger than ever. Is there an upset being churned up in the Riot Games script? Or will we be treated to a grudge match for the ages? We will have to find out when the playoffs begin this upcoming Friday, but first, let us look at the power rankings heading into the festivities.
Biggest jump: Team Solo Mid [⬆ 3]
Biggest drop: OpTic Gaming, FlyQuest [⬇ 2]
1. Cloud9 (11-7) [↔️]
— LoL Esports (@lolesports) August 19, 2018
Cloud9 is heading into the summer playoffs on an eight-game win streak. They’re just playing out of their minds right now, with a perfect combination of great mechanical skill and good team play. Also, the fact that Cloud9 can now use seven players in the playoffs will only strengthen them in the upcoming best-ofs that they will battle in. Their current support, Zeyzal, seems to be much more vocal and confident in his abilities as a shotcaller and player.
Additionally, the whole team seems to trust each other implicitly during each game, which shows in their team fighting and late game decision-making. The boys in blue have also taken down three playoff teams in the last two weeks, including Team Liquid, 100 Thieves, and FlyQuest. They are undoubtedly the hottest team in the NA LCS and are the rightful kings of our power rankings. Cloud9 is back and better than ever.
2. Team Liquid (12-6) [↔️]
"Is there any team in playoffs that is a threat to you guys?"
"Ummmm, not really" says @TLDoublelift pic.twitter.com/sIa6yA1Wqd
— Team Liquid LoL (@TeamLiquidLoL) August 19, 2018
It was the Doublelift vs. Bjergsen show last weekend, and Team Liquid were on the receiving end of an Akali beatdown. These upcoming playoffs aren’t going to be a walk in the park for the team many were hailing as best in North America. Their superstar ADC Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng has been playing out of his mind lately. However, the rest of the team really need to step up when facing against the top teams of the league.
With mid lane carries coming back into meta, Pobelter will need to find his form, or else he may be rolled on by top-tier mid laners like Bjergsen or Jensen. Additionally, Impact and Xmithie also need to step it up, as it seems they have been underperforming as of late. Don’t get it twisted; Team Liquid is still a top-two team in the league, but the NA power rankings crown is officially off their heads, for now.
3. 100 Thieves (10-8) [↔️]
A 2-0 victory in our tiebreak matches today to conclude the Summer 2018 #NALCS Regular Season.
— 100 Thieves (@100Thieves) August 21, 2018
The 100 Thieves had a pretty lackluster week, losing against Cloud9 and OpTic Gaming. However, since they were able to win both of their tiebreaker matches, they will remain in third place for our power rankings. I do think that the Thieves have lost a lot of steam heading into the playoffs. Nevertheless, they are still a powerful team that playoff match-ups must not underestimate. Ssumday is still a big favorite for the Most Valuable Player award at the end of the split.
Aphromoo’s legendary shotcalling was key in their victories against Echo Fox and FlyQuest. Cody Sun was also performing a bit better than usual, even picking up a pentakill during the Echo Fox tiebreaker. They do need to lock up some macro problems, and they also need to play with a little more confidence together. It feels like they still don’t have the best synergy as a top team in the NA LCS. Ssumday can’t be the only player that is willing to take risks. Even still, the 100 Thieves are a tentative top-three team right now in the league.
4. Team Solo Mid (10-8) [⬆ 3]
— TSM FTX (@TSM) August 20, 2018
TSM is on a pretty good hot streak right now. They’ve won five of the last six games they’ve played, with wins against Team Liquid, FlyQuest, and OpTic Gaming. They have been making great strides towards improvement, especially with their tendencies as a team. They are playing at a more proactive rate, with Bjergsen playing aggressive assassin champs like LeBlanc and Fizz. He has even made Akali a respect ban against him, with a brilliant carry performance against Liquid.
Although TSM has made a big jump up the power rankings, this doesn’t mean they are without fault. Grig is still playing very passively, even with giant leads. He simply cannot get ahead without one of the lanes gaining a lead themselves. Their bottom lane of Zven and Mithy have been quite underwhelming lately, and have been a liability for the team. If they can find their form before their match against Echo Fox, whom they have not beaten yet, I can see them moving on to the next round.
5. Echo Fox (10-8) [⬆ 1]
I wouldn’t say that Echo Fox is slumping right now, but they are definitely not running at full speed. They have only won two of the last six games, including the tiebreaker matches. However, they are facing Team Solo Mid in the upcoming quarterfinals, a team they have a perfect record against. Dardoch is still a top-tier jungler in the NA LCS, and he has outclassed Grig in every match-up they’ve had. A great example of this was their tiebreaker match against TSM last Monday.
Grig was pretty much a nonfactor, and their bottom lane of Lost and Smoothie were also able to take down TSM’s duo quite convincingly. They need to keep the pressure up on Team Solo Mid and force them to slow the game down. Lost is still new, but his potential as an NA LCS ADC player looks great. Maybe Zven and Mithy are in a bad slump, but we cannot knock the fact that this bottom lane duo was created almost halfway through the season. We will see if they can continue their dominance against TSM in the playoffs.
6. OpTic Gaming (9-9) [⬇ 2]
— OpTicLoL (@OpTicLoL) August 20, 2018
It’s weird to put OpTic Gaming above another playoff-bound team, but they were just one game away from making the NA LCS playoffs. Also, they were looking relatively strong going into the last week of the season, before taking a loss from the rising Team Solo Mid. Before week nine, OpTic had actually won against a few top teams, like Echo Fox, 100 Thieves, and FlyQuest. They would have been an underdog for sure, but I could still see them taking some games from some of the teams that are higher in our power rankings. In fact, OpTic Gaming is the first team to have a 9-9 record and not make the playoffs.
Additionally, the team was making some great improvements over the second half of the split. Their rookie top laner Dhokla was looking great up to this point of the summer, and for them to not make playoffs by such a small margin seems very unlucky. However, I do hope that this upward trend for OpTic continues into this year’s offseason, as well as the next split. Don’t worry OpTic fans; I’m sure the Green Wall will rise next spring.
7. FlyQuest (10-8) [⬇ 2]
After losing to @TSM we end the regular season in 6th place. Now we're headed back to practice with lots of things to review – we'll be back stronger this weekend! #GGWP #FLYFIGHTING pic.twitter.com/VleBGJEIEH
— FlyQuest (@FlyQuest) August 21, 2018
For a playoff team, FlyQuest is looking very weak at the moment. The last time that they beat a top-tier team was back in week five, against 100 Thieves. For the next four weeks, they would only take down teams that were lower than them in the NA LCS standings. FlyQuest would win against the Golden Guardians, but they would lose pretty convincingly against Cloud9. Also, they would lose both tiebreakers against 100 Thieves and TSM and would look bad while doing it. 100 Thieves have all the momentum compared to FlyQuest, who haven’t been able to get the wheels off the ground. They are truly the underdogs of the postseason, and it will take a superhuman effort to beat most of these teams. We will have to see if they can have a reversal of fortune heading into the quarterfinals.
8. Counter Logic Gaming (7-11) [⬆ 2]
— CLG (@clgaming) August 19, 2018
Too little, too late for Counter Logic Gaming. They do jump up a couple spots in our power rankings because of their 2-0, but it is all for naught. They just weren’t able to get anything going in the second half of the split and were looking outclassed by many of the teams in the league. The NA LCS was very close at the beginning of the season, and so CLG would be up at the top for the first few weeks. I still remember saying that CLG fans were smart not to get too excited in our week four NA LCS power rankings.
It now goes to show that CLG giveth and taketh away. I wonder who will be the first few sacrifices for Counter Logic Gaming’s future. Expect current jungler Reignover to either return to Korea, or join an EU LCS team. I also would not be surprised if long-time member Darshan leaves the team. The faith is wavering, but I am sure that this failure is the wake-up call this organization needs.
9. Clutch Gaming (6-12) [⬇ 1]
Sigh. 😔 pic.twitter.com/dd0qPFzI4e
— Dignitas League of Legends (@DignitasLoL) August 19, 2018
“Sigh” is right. Clutch Gaming is another team looking for a slight hit on the reset button. There are plenty of problems to address in the offseason. The jungle is one of the biggest liabilities for the team, with LirA simply not performing the way they need him to. Maybe if they can find a way to bring Moon up from the NA LCS Academy without having import slot trouble, then Clutch could have some better results. It would either be that or pick up a new jungler during the offseason, like Meteos or some other free agent. Febiven is still a huge catalyst for this team’s success, and someone needs to help alleviate the pressure that is on his shoulders. We will see how the management decides to deal with this problem in the weeks to come.
10. Golden Guardians (5-13) [⬇ 1]
— Golden Guardians (@GoldenGuardians) August 19, 2018
After hovering around the top of the power rankings in the beginning of summer, the Golden Guardians fell flat through the second half of the split. I do think that their early success was more brought on by people not knowing how to play the meta. Many subpar teams were able to sneak in a few wins here and there because of this. However, once players were able to adapt to the changes in play style, the Golden Guardians’s weaknesses would be exposed.
Their lack of talent in the midlane is evident, as Mickey has been taken advantage of the whole split. I also believe their bot lane could do with some changes; Matt and Deftly just aren’t a great pair. With Lourlo in the top lane, I feel like I have been putting a lot of hope into him for a few splits now. I’m sure he could be a good supporting top laner, but the organization simply does not have the talent yet. Hopefully, they can make some meaningful changes this coming offseason.
What do you think of our NA LCS power rankings for week nine? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! If you missed last week’s power rankings, check them out here! If you want more League of Legends content, check us out here!