By Isaac Chandler
July 11, 2019
Welcome back to our weekly LCS Power Rankings! Again, we had a week full of surprises with Cloud9, lacking Licorice due to an injury, absolutely putting the slam down on Team Liquid and Clutch with their Academy top laner Kumo, as well as FlyQuest finally putting together their first 2-0 week of the split! There’s a lot to talk about today, so let’s dive right on into our week 5 LCS Power Rankings!
There’s a lot to talk about today, so let’s dive on in!
Petar: Saying which team deserves the number one spot is exceptionally hard right now.
Liquid definitely had an uncharacteristically bad showing, but we all know just how strong they really are and what they’re capable of when they play up to their full potential. A bad week is not a cause for concern, especially considering the fact that they’re still at the top of the official standings.
The upcoming sixth week of play will be extremely important for Liquid. They lost quite a fair bit of steam, and they need to get back to their dominant, winning ways.
Isaac: Well, we did say that Liquid’s big test would be C9 on their return from Rift Rivals, and if this was a school, I’d give ‘em a big F-.
Liquid looked completely out of sorts in the match on Saturday, making unnecessary aggressive plays, fighting in weird spots, and just overall playing way beneath the level we know they can play at.
Perhaps the Rift Rivals fatigue really got to them, or perhaps they weren’t ready for Kumo, but they definitely weren’t up to par for the day. Coupled with their near throw of the game against 100 Thieves on Sunday, this wasn’t the best week for Liquid.
Thankfully for them, they’ve had such a lead in points that they can afford to sluff off, at least for this week.
Hopefully, they got some good practice and rest this week, as they’ll be taking on co-first place adversaries CLG to start the week off, followed by a suddenly lively FlyQuest to finish out the week.
Isaac:*party horn blows* Woot, Cloud9 is on fire! After a dismal Rift Rivals performance that saw most of their roster sick or in the hospital, many were looking forward to a strong return for C9 coming back to the LCS. Given their spot on our week 5 LCS Power Rankings, I’m sure you can already tell they didn’t disappoint.
The news that Licorice would be out due to injury was a major fear for fans, as the arguably best top laner in the league was a huge part of C9’s winning strategy.
I’ll be the first to admit I was scared seeing Kumo lock in Jayce top, as NA historically does not do well with the champ, but boy, was I wrong. Kumo and C9 dominated TL, and even though their foes were having an off week, they still looked mightier than we’ve seen them all split.
Kumo himself kept up his smart play we’ve seen in the Academy circuit with his bait of Impact under turret and his fantastic flank on Liquid after Sven got picked off.
Sunday wasn’t as great a score for the rookie top laner, but considering how much pressure he drew for his team in fights, it’s completely understandable. When your team only has seven deaths, and you account for six of them in a fight-heavy game but still have a positive KDA, you’re probably doing something right. We don’t know if he’ll be back this week or if C9 will start splitting time between the two, but it’s nice to see C9 has such a deep talent pool and continues to develop rookie talent.
Petar: Cloud9 beat the defending champions last week (after losing the last five thousand games in the head-to-head), but we still need more time before giving them our full benefit of the doubt.
Perhaps the biggest surprise last week was just how cohesive and capable Cloud9 was with their substitute top laner Kumo. To say that Kumo knocked it out of the park would be an understatement. Licorice has been underperforming for quite a while now, so having an extra set of hands to help out and fight against North America’s best will surely come in handy.
Isaac: It was rivalry week for TSM with their Sunday game against CLG, and what better way to warm up than to smash a surging 100 Thieves? TSM looked strong in the match-up, and many were expecting them to continue their dominance over CLG that had been going for the last 1173 days.
It wasn’t to be, however, as CLG took it to TSM, smacking them down in a 25:00-minute-flat beat-down. Bjergsen and BrokenBlade looked fine in the match-up, but man, did Akkadian and Zven put up horrendous performances.
It appears more and more that the two are the lynchpin on which TSM turns. If they’re not getting blown out, TSM wins. If they do, game over. Smoothie also seemed invisible on his support Gragas again, a pocket pick that, now having seen on C9 and TSM, I don’t believe is really worth it.
Hopefully, the loss hasn’t caused them to lose their mental game, as they’ll be taking on the aforementioned Cloud9 this Sunday.
Petar: What does one say about the boys in black and white? Are they good? Are they bad? The answer lies somewhere in the middle, for better or worse.
Now, their inherent potential is undeniable. They’re definitely one of the biggest threats to Liquid’s throne, but for one reason or another, they have been unable to maintain a certain level of excellence and have dropped more games than they should’ve.
Despite this, we’re all fully aware of what they’re capable of when they’re playing at their best. We need to see a bit more from the former LCS champion before coming to a verdict. They’re currently trying things out, they’re experimenting, but they’re not exactly finding much success.
That could change over time, but perhaps they should focus on the things they do well instead.
Isaac: They did it! The madmen actually did it! After 1173 days, Counter Logic Gaming has finally defeated TSM! Gone are the memes about how long it’s been, gone are the tears from CLG fans before the match even starts.
Wiggly looked insane on Sylas jungle, and the team actually seemed to be firing on all cylinders. PowerofEvil made Corki actually look like a good pick, while Biofrost showed just how powerful a Yuumi can be in the right hands.
The one concern I still have, though, is Stixxay — the man still is looking rather rough, even in the team’s wins. Perhaps taking down TSM will finally get him back into form, but it’s still something of a concern as they take on much stronger and more aggressive bot lanes from other teams.
Anyway, now that they’ve exorcised their demons and jumped into a three-way tie for first, it’s time for their next big hurdle: can they defeat Team Liquid?
They’ll have their shot at them this Saturday, followed by a duel with middle-of-the-pack Golden Guardians to close out the week. If CLG can take them both down, I think there’s a good chance we may see them in the Summer Final.
Petar: The faithful have finally been rewarded. After years of absolute mediocrity, the age-old organization has finally been able to step up and play at the highest of levels.
Now, saying just how strong they are and how high they will be able to go is still rather impossible. They’re rough around the edges, they’re still meshing as a five-man unit, but their potential is undeniable. To make matters even better, they were able to break a three-year-long drought and take down their perennial adversaries Team SoloMid.
They’re a brand-new contender, they play the game in a fascinating way, and they’re not afraid to experiment both in-game as well as in the pick and ban phase.
Petar: Saying just how strong the Golden Guardians are is still a thankless endeavor, even after all this time. It feels like everything has already been said about them and their nature: one-dimensional, overly reliant on Froggen, at times out of sync, and defined by ill-advised decisions and engages.
Sometimes they’re exceptional; sometimes they’re mediocre. The problem is, you never know which one is going to step foot on stage.
Despite their inconsistent nature, they’re definitely a Top 6 team with a ton of proven talent. The only question right now is whether it will be enough.
Also, their decision to swap in FBI and Huhi is still completely confusing and could seriously hinder their chances of attaining success going forward. Deftly and Olleh are by no means perfect, but at least they have built-in synergy with the rest of the team and can handle the pressure of playing on the biggest of stages.
Isaac: I agree, the swap for FBI and Huhi was so strange. I get the desire to give their rookie a start, and synergy is important, but I’m just not impressed by Huhi enough to justify swapping out Olleh. He was mediocre in mid, and he looks mediocre in support now too.
Most of the teams below them are in a complete upheaval right now, so they should be safe in their playoff spot if they can garner a few more wins, but I don’t see them making a very deep run.
Again, they’re too one-dimensional, and while that can get them wins in a best of one, I don’t see it taking them the distance in a best of five.
Petar: It’s still strange seeing OpTic Gaming this high up the rankings. But for all of their faults (and there are more than just a few), they’re a solid, somewhat well-rounded middle-of-the-pack contender that can throw down and fight with the very best the LCS has to offer.
Their three-man core (Meteos, Crown, Arrow) is a world-class trio and definitely elevates OpTic Gaming as a whole. That said, they don’t have a particularly high skill ceiling (or potential, rather), as they’re lacking in certain areas of play and definitely need a couple of roster changes before actually being able to compete (and win) against the LCS pantheon.
Regardless, they’re deceptively strong and are definitely a bona fide playoff contender.
Isaac: Dear OpTic: you see that Academy top laner C9 is playing? Grab him when Licorice comes back, or grab Licorice if he doesn’t recover by season’s end. Literally, that one change could take this team to an LCS final, and possibly a championship.
Petar: They are by no means a powerhouse, but I feel like they still deserve a spot higher up the rankings. They have all the right pieces of the puzzle, but they just can’t get off the ground. And it’s infuriating, but not because of any allegiance. They could be challenging for the playoffs, but for one reason or another, they always make egregious mistakes at the worst possible times.
The story of Clutch Gaming is the story of wasted potential. The last year and a half was more than enough time for them to get on the same page and decide how they want to play the game out, but alas, fate had different plans.
Going forward, they will remain an elusive, somewhat capable mid-tier team that will upset when you least expect it. Unfortunately, their season is pretty much over at this point. They might fluctuate a bit in the standings, but when the dust settles, they should be near the bottom of the pack.
Isaac: It’s clear to me that Clutch jumped into the league way too excited for franchising and didn’t actually think about all the pieces needed to make a team successful. As you said, Petar, their season is basically over at this point, and with it the end of the Clutch name, as they’ll be switching to Dignitas next year.
The release of their coach yesterday does give me hope that they are looking to change, but they’ll need more than that if they want to succeed next year.
Personally, I think they need to replace the entire top half of the map. Huni is way too big a liability to keep nowadays, and Lira really shouldn’t be anywhere near the pro level of a top four region at this point.
Perhaps looking into some academy players could help the team out, or if they really want an import, they should grab Ssumday from 100 Thieves now that he’s on the Academy squad.
Petar: Yeesh. What exactly is happening with this bunch is a complete mystery. Now, sure, we can always deconstruct their issues and try to come up with a solution, but they should be winning a lot more than they currently are — that is a fact.
We can be optimistic and say that they will bounce back in due time, but we’re also five weeks in, and they have shown no big signs of promise.
You never really know with Echo Fox. That’s a part of their allure. They might improve leaps and bounds this week and string together a bazillion wins. Or they might end the split as the laughingstock of the region.
Either way, their volatility — which was once so engaging — is now getting a bit stale, to say the least. We’re all off to the next big thing, and whether or not Echo Fox gets on the same page is a question that currently interests no one.
That’s a pretty harsh way to phrase things, but it doesn’t make it any less true.
Isaac: I’m actually a bit mad they ended up ranked here, but that just goes to show just how deep a hole FlyQuest and 100 Thieves dug themselves into this split. Echo Fox honestly is close to the worst team in the league, held up by the occasional gasps for air they make when they upset a stronger team.
With matches against C9 and 100 Thieves this weekend, I fully expect them to go 0-2 and finally fall to the bottom of the power rankings. All this team’s taught me so far is that I need to update the formula I use for determining rankings.
Petar: Yet another team that is hard to read right now. If anything, one thing is for certain: they’re getting back to their Spring Split form. They’re not doing so at a staggering pace, nor are they wrecking house in the process, but the improvements that we’ve seen last week (a 2-0 week as well) are a great sign of the things to come.
They’re currently sitting outside of the playoffs, but there are still four whole weeks of play left. If they make the right changes and adapt accordingly, they should be able to make a solid run.
“Should” is the key word here. Even though the odds are stacked against them, they’re still a well-rounded team, and they do have a chance, no matter how small.
Isaac: I feel bad for 100 Thieves this week. They’ve definitely improved from where they were at the split’s start, and they were so close to beating Liquid this week. I won’t hold it against them for going 0-2; they played two of the top teams in the league, including the three-time reigning champions, so it was to be expected.
They’ve got match-ups against OpTic and Echo Fox this week. Echo Fox should be a walk in the park, but OpTic should be a really good match-up to watch. I think both of these teams have a lot of similarities, and we should be able to learn a lot watching the match.
100 Thieves will really need a 2-0, however, if they want to make a run for the playoffs. They’ve got a top 4 team every week from here on out, so beating someone closer to their rank will really make the difference between going or staying home. That concludes our Week 5 LCS Power Rankings. If you want more LCS action, check out our weekly recap for more coverage, and as always, follow us on social media to keep up with the latest league news and competitive updates. And don’t forget to tune in Friday for the return of the LEC!