- Cloud 9 +0 (4-0)
Cloud 9 is in a very weird spot right now. They clearly aren’t as clean as the number one team should be, but their potential is so unbelievably high that it’s impossible to put them anywhere else than number one and in my opinion they have already played an incredibly tough schedule.
Right now, at this moment Jensen is the best mid laner in North America, I’m not saying that he is a better player than Bjergsen, but currently he is outperforming Bjergsen. Jensen is playing out of his mind. Ever since he changed his name from Incarnati0n to Jensen his play has been on a whole new level and it continues to grow. Impact too, is just consistently playing the bad side of matchups and is finding himself winning them. He continues to play Naut and Shen into Maokai and comes out even or ahead, very few top laners in the entire world could say that. This might be a tad over the top but it seems like Cloud 9 have the best top laner and the best mid laner in the league.
That brings us to Contractz. I’ve been watching Contractz since he was in Challenger, even before he was with Cloud 9 Challenger. I knew he would be good, I never knew he would be this good. His decision making on Kha’zix is amazing, he has been hopping around, annihilating teams left and right. It’s very clear that this year, Reapered wants to get Contractz something he can dominate on, and that strategy is paying off. The only problem is, we don’t know just how good Contractz is because the other junglers in North America seem very poor thus far this year. Reignover, Dardoch, and Sven all seem to have taken a step back in some ways and Contractz, though he is playing great, I’m not sure if he is at the old IMT Reignover level or even the TL Dardoch level.
During the offseason Cloud 9 hired a coach to work specifically with the bottom lane and it seems to have made a big difference. Smoothie seems to be a much better player than he was last year. I have always liked Smoothie, but his mechanical play this year is on another level. Sneaky has more or less always played at a certain level, and he rarely goes above or below that level, but their laning as a whole seems quite strong.
On one hand I look at Cloud 9 and see a team that has more potential than the old Huni-Reignover iteration of Fnatic, and a team that can be significantly better than last year’s Doublelift iteration of TSM. But for me right now they aren’t clean enough to be placed on that same level. Still the best Western team for right now, but look for the team to grow into the best Western team of all time.
- TSM +2 (3-1)
TSM has only lost to Cloud 9 this year. The team is playing well with Wildturtle as the ADC, but clearly the team is going through some growing pains as a result of the transition. Part of me thinks they are better off with Turtle in the long run, but we will see how things go, and if they decide to bring Doublelift back for the summer split.
- Flyquest +0 (3-1)
Their pick/ban strategy against Echo Fox was a disaster, albeit one that no one could have predicted. For those of you that don’t know, Flyquest left up the Camille, for Echo Fox to take, Echo first picked the Camille, Fly immediately locked in Poppy expecting the Camille pick and Poppy is apparently their counter to Camille. That’s when things went crazy. Camille ended up being Echo’s support and not their top laner. Gate then proceeded to use Camille as an invade, and roaming specialist, and he completely carried the game with the pick. Flyquest then won game two and lost game three in a hard fought 41 minute contest. I think the Echo Fox loss was a fluke, but I don’t think they are on the level of Cloud 9 or TSM right now.
- Phoenix 1 +2 (3-1)
Last year Meteos had Inori on his MVP ballot and people lost their minds, well, Inori is proving that he is in contention for the best jungler in North America right now, and if you asked me right now who I would pick for that title, I think it would be a toss-up between Inori and Contractz. Inori looks clean and he seems to have a general high mastery on most meta champions. His Kha’zix in particular, looks to be other worldly, he started a trend where Kha’zix takes a second point in his W to clear raptors quicker, something that allows Kha’zix to stay relevant in matchups with Olaf for example who can power clear raptors in nothing flat.
Though I don’t believe P1 to be a top tier team they definitely look a cut above the middle tier teams, this definitely seems like a team to keep your eyes on as the season progresses.
- Echo Fox +4 (2-2)
After a horrendous week 1 Echo Fox came back and beat Flyquest and Dignitas who were a combined 3-1 after last week. Akaadian seems to be playing out of his mind, and sits most likely as the third best jungler in North America right now. Though I think their win against Flyquest was a fluke, it’s impossible to deny that Echo Fox had a great comeback week against strong competition.
- Dignitas -4 (1-3)
Wow, clearly a talented team, but they just can’t seem to put it all together yet. This team looks so strong on an individual basis with Ssumday and Chaser, maybe they need a split together only time will tell, but this teams looks poised for long term success no matter what happens this split.
- Immortals -2 (2-2)
Immortals only wins this year have been against Echo Fox and Envy, definitely not quality wins.
- Counter Logic Gaming +0 (1-3)
CLG has a particularly tough schedule this year taking on Cloud 9 (C9 Blue) and Flyquest (C9 White). Taking Cloud 9 to 3 games was particularly impressive, but they need to improve at basically every position besides support and jungle. I have always been an Xmithie fan but his carries are just awful. Darshan lost a trundle into Nautilus matchup. How is that even possible? How do you go from split push kind, to top feeds in a year? Darshan needs to figure things out if CLG is going to have any chance. Huhi has played well but needs to show himself as a consistent damage threat from the midlane.
- Liquid -2 (1-3)
Loses versus P1 and TSM weren’t as telling as the play of Reignover and the lack of communication during the game. It is looking more and more like Dardoch and Fenix weren’t the problems last year…
- Envy +0 (0-4)
Envy needs to be happy that there is no more autoregulation in the LCS and that there isn’t a Cloud 9 challenger team waiting for a chance to get promoted.
Global Top 10
T1) KT Rolster +0 (3-0)
Sweeping Longzhu was impressive, but nothing will separate KT and SKT besides a loss, or a head to head win.
T1) SKT T1 +0 (3-0)
Still look like one of the top 2 teams in the world.
3) Afreeca +1 (1-1)
With the LCK off for a week thanks to the Lunar New Year, Afreeca holds steady.
4) Samsung Galaxy +1 (2-1)
Nothing much to report on in the case of Samsung.
5) Longzhu +1
2-0 loss to KT doesn’t really hurt them in these standings in my opinion.
6) Cloud 9 -3 (4-0)
Clearly Cloud 9 has the potential to compete with Korean teams in time, but right now they just aren’t at that point. Having to go 3 games to CLG for me really showed they weren’t ready to be considered a top 3 team in the world. CLG has very poor mechanical players, and C9 should be able to win in 25 minutes through superior macro play or by superior mechanical play, losing even a single game to the atrocity that is CLG, is enough to see them drop significantly in the standings.
At this time, with a limited pool of games to go by and some uncertainty about the strength of some of the regions, I think I can say pretty fairly that these are the top 6 teams, but I can’t say anything more than that.