- Cloud 9 +1 (2-0)
If anyone would have told me that Cloud 9 would clobber TSM 2-0 in the opening matchup I would have called them crazy. TSM is a largely intact roster, and the defending champions. That being said Contractz out-jungled Sven the entirety of the series, and Impact showed why he is significantly better than Hauntzer and why the All-LCS voting is always extremely skewed. Hauntzer has never been a top tier top laner, and people shouldn’t be surprised when he gets bodied time and time again.
I thought Cloud 9 at the beginning of the season would be a team that lacked the macro level skills needed to win games, and the overall lack of teamwork that is needed to stomp lane phase. However, Cloud 9 showed great individual and team skill in the first week beating TSM handily and a Dignitas team that looked significantly better than I expected them to be.
I think as long as the meta stays in this spot Cloud 9 will hold an advantage over most teams. We know that Impact is one of the most famed tank top players in the history of the game. His Shen is world renowned as well as some of his other favored tanks. This has allowed Contractz to play strong champions that he can be aggressive with. Kha’zix seems to be his favorite and Cloud 9 has made it their strategy to get it for him when they can.
That being said watch as Cloud 9 switches up many of their top and jungle picks this week. Contractz showed some pathing flaws with Kha’zix that were exploited by Chaser. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Contractz fall back to something like Hecarim or Rek’sai, champs he can still be aggressive on, but also champs that allow Impact and Ray to pick into favorable matchups against the tanks. I feel like there is a high likelihood of Impact pulling out the AD Kennen in week 2.
- Dignitas +6 (2-0)
The biggest mover this week and deservedly so. The pairing of Chaser and Ssumday looks potent. Between that and their great communication thus far makes me think that this team is likely going to be a titan in the NA LCS. I think their bot lane will be a liability as the year goes on, but they have an S tier top laner and jungler who will make them successful.
Chaser is on track to be the best jungler in North America and I think he will only get better as the team continues to build synergy. His Lee Sin play looked near flawless outside of one missed q on a Malzahar suppressed target. His kill on Jensen in game one was a thing of beauty.
- Flyquest +1 (2-0)
Hai’s shot calling, and moon’s play were good signs for Flyquest. However when facing Liquid, they had to focus bans pretty heavily on Lourlo in order to protect Balls. If you have to protect Balls from Lourlo, I don’t want to know how he will do against Impact, Flame, Ssumday, or even Ray. Individual skill will be a problem for Flyquest as the year goes on, but as one of two undefeated teams, they deserve a decent amount of respect. They are a team that will win a fair amount of games by staying close in terms of gold and then they will make the plays needed to set up a comeback. That was one of the staples of the C9 teams Hai was on especially in those later years.
- TSM -3 (1-1)
A team with a lot of talent, and after getting routed by C9 they bounced back well. I think TSM needs to take a hard look at how they should be doing pick/ban phase. I think forcing Wildturtle onto Kalista in game 2 against C9 was an inexcusable mistake. There are clearly 3 S tier adc’s and they had the opportunity to grab either Jhin or Varus after C9 picked Ashe, instead they didn’t pick their adc and C9 banned both champs leaving Wildturtle on Kalista which got exploited in my opinion. What might be even more confusing is why pick Kalista when you could still play Ziggs, or Caitlyn?
- Immortals +2 (1-1)
Unfortunately I was away all weekend and unable to watch as much LCS as I would like and I didn’t get to watch Flame this weekend to see how he did against opposing top laners. Taking a game off TSM is impressive and leaves them in the 5th spot for now.
- Phoenix 1 +3 (1-1)
There were a lot of references to Starboy and Phoenix 1 on Reddit following their stomp of Echo Fox. Losing to team Dignitas in 3 games is nothing to scoff at, but with their win coming against the pitiful Echo Fox team that I had so much faith in, results with them ending week 1 in the 6th position.
One thing should definitely be noted, Inori looked hopeless against Akaadian in game one of the Echo Fox series and he got Rengar, by far the strongest jungler, through pick/ban tom foolery by P1 by leaving both Leblanc and Rengar up so they would trade 1 for 1. Ultimately I think it showed that Inori isn’t as great as some people thought he was and it shows just how talented Akaadian is, as he slowly creeps up my favorite players list in the NA LCS.
- Liquid -1 (1-1)
In the words of one of the casters this weekend “Moon out-jungled Reignover all three games.” Reignover is a world class player and that phrase should never be muttered. Liquid needs to figure things out. The team is as bad as I predicted it would be.
- CLG -5 (1-1)
Losing to Liquid in their current state is an embarrassment. With their only wins coming against Envy, they rank dead last among the 1-1 teams. The early meta in the NA LCS has showed that playing carry top lane champions is a good way to win games yet CLG isn’t using this as well as they should. I didn’t get to see all of their results from this past weekend but I believe I remember seeing Darshan on exclusively tank top laners, that’s a bit counterproductive.
- Echo Fox -4 (0-2)
Forget Keith being good, forget Keith even being average. A solo queue savant with what must be stage fright. There are all of these memes of Akaadian versus the world. I knew he was good, but Akaadian has looked amazing thus far.
Poor Envy, they look like they will have a hard time winning this year. Most likely they will get relegated.
Global top 10
T1) +1 KT Rolster (2-0)
I couldn’t decide between KT and SKT this week. I watched KT play several times this past week and they look really good not dropping a single game thus far. The roster changes seem to have them looking really strong. I think they are a matchup nightmare for SKT T1. Too bad we will have to wait until March to see KT vs. SKT.
T1) No Change SKT T1 (2-0)
Finding themselves at the top of the chart again this week SKT had a flawless week, not dropping a single game. However, they are not alone at the top of this power ranking. KT joins them as joint #1 in the power rankings. I think SKT will be undefeated when they meet up with KT in March though I doubt KT will still be undefeated. We will see when the time comes.
3) +3 Cloud 9 (2-0)
If we think of this as a tier list, KT and SKT are both S tier, there are no A tier teams, and Cloud 9 is the best B tier team currently. So yes they are at #3 but they aren’t anywhere near dethroning either of the top 2 teams. No team in the world has as much potential for growth as Cloud 9 does. With Impact confirming to the world that he is the best top laner in North America by playing great against Hauntzer, the first team all NA-LCS top laner from last year, and Ssumday, the Korean top lane legend. Contractz showed more than a few flashes of outright greatness against TSM, watch his development into a top 5 jungler in the world propel Cloud 9 to a second place finish at the Mid-Season invitational. That being said I think they could beat KT in a 5 game series, but I doubt they could beat SKT in a 5 game series. Barring a loss this upcoming week, I could see Cloud 9 going undefeated in the regular season. I would say Cloud 9 will be a favorite to win Katowice when that comes around mid-split.
Given the uneven play of the mid-tier of Korean teams I think Cloud 9 being placed at 3rd is prudent.
4) +2 Afreeca (1-1)
Any team in 4-6 could have found themselves in any of the three positions. I think all 3 teams are about even in terms of skill and potential. Afreeca gets the not here at 4 because they beat Samsung and Samsung beat Longzhu.
5) -2 Samsung Galaxy (1-1)
Still a strong team and we will get a good idea how good they are when they play KT or SKT. I’m honestly not a huge fan of SSG and think that over time people will learn how to play against Crown and Cuvee and that team will fall apart.
6) -2 Longzhu (1-1)
Pray and Gorilla look as good as ever. I watched their series against Samsung and the bot lane looked as strong as ever. With bot lane currently being in this tumultuous spot look for Longzhu to be able to make things happen creatively as we go forward. Remember they were the team that brought out the Miss Fortune support during worlds last year.
7) +3 Dignitas (1-1)
Dignitas may have come the closest as any North American team will be to beating Cloud 9 this year.
8) +2 Flash Wolves (1-0)
The new best team in Taiwan.
9) EDG +2 (2-0)
Currently the best team in China, EDG looks poised for a good season, with rotating top laners both currently playing well. It will be interesting to see how things go. EDG has a reputation for having good teams and they look quite good right now.
- +1 J Team
The 10th best team in the world right now. The LMS summer split champions who still managed to not make Worlds. The team has several of Taiwan’s best players, given AHQ’s loss I think J team is a sensible #10 right now.