Three weeks have passed in the NALCS Spring Split and we’ve gotten lucky enough to see some great action. We’ve seen a few teams fly out of the gate while others are still stumbling. Now that we’re a third of the way through the split and entering week four, it’s a fair time to start ranking each team.
10) Optic Gaming (2-4)
Optic came into this split with a different style of play than most other teams. Their 10 man roster makes swapping players much easier if someone is having a rough string of games, but it can also affect synergy.
Though Optic has shown some promise, their team play as a whole has been their biggest flaw.
Five members of Optic have a negative W/L ratio, which could mean that making changes on the fly are negatively impacting their overall synergy and game play. If they want to start moving in a positive direction, they’ll need to keep their roster more consistent in the future.
9) Clutch Gaming (2-4)
Clutch Gaming has two big wins under their belt against TSM and Echo Fox, which keeps them above last place. Not much has gone wrong for CG so far this split, but one thing that stands out is the death count for Huni and Lira. Both average over 3.5 deaths per match and although that isn’t terrible, it isn’t helping them either. Damonte has done a great job of keeping himself alive for the most part (averaging 1.5 deaths per match) and their bot lane has had a few positive sparks in recent games. There isn’t much to pick apart with CG, so expect them to move up in the pack as long as they’re able to stay alive more often in-game.
8) Golden Guardians (2-4)
GGS had high hopes coming into the spring split after signing Hauntzer from TSM and Olleh from Team Liquid. Both players have great experience in winning, competitive environments which gives GGS a lot of hope for the future.
We’ve seen the Golden Guardians chalk up a few impressive wins against TSM, a competitive old-school type team, and a tough Optic squad. One major key to their success has been Deftly’s play in the bot lane (5.56 K/D/A through 6 games). Opposing teams have done everything they can to stop Deftly from steamrolling, but if GGS can funnel kills and gold into the bot lane then we’ll be seeing them move up in the rankings with ease.
Middle of the Pack
7)Team SoloMid (2-4)
Though we haven’t seen the same TSM from previous years, it’s still pretty clear that Bjergsen and Zven have the carry potential to catapult TSM into the spotlight again.
At 2-4, TSM has struggled quite a bit against decent opponents like Cloud 9 and FlyQuest. While they haven’t had too many issues overall, losing Hauntzer has definitely had an impact on their synergy. Broken Blade’s K/D/A is right around where they need it to be, but Akaadian hasn’t picked up enough slack. These issues will most likely solve themselves as TSM continues to play together and with that I believe we’ll be seeing the old, dominant TSM show itself in weeks to come.
6) Counter Logic Gaming (3-3)
CLG might have the most impressive set of victories so far this split. In their three wins they’ve beaten Cloud 9, Echo Fox and FlyQuest. Each of these teams are in the top five, so credit has to be given where it’s due. What’s most impressive about CLG is their focus in the bot lane. Stixxay and Biofrost have the best K/D/A’s on the team at 4.25 and 4.5 respectively. They’ve stuck with the same three or four champions in six games so far, so expect to see a lot of bot lane bans in the future. If CLG wants to continue their success, they’ll need to keep their ADC and support ahead while sustaining in the other lanes. Wiggily will need to create more pressure in the jungle to do that, but if they only have one priority lane we’ll see a lot more focus on the bot side from enemy teams.
5) FlyQuest (3-3)
With big names on the roster like Pobelter, WildTurtle and Santorin, it’s hard to see why FlyQuest hasn’t hit their stride yet. To be fair, their three losses have come against competitive and experienced teams. In their loss to Team Liquid, FlyQuest held the gold advantage through the first twenty minutes up until a few poorly-positioned fights turned the tides. This is a team with a lot of potential heading into week four and I believe beating 100 Thieves this weekend would be a statement win for them. However, one loss this weekend would keep them in the middle of the pack. I see this team making a dominant run in the near future if they sharpen their play up and beat a qualified team.
4) Echo Fox (3-3)
Echo Fox has shown that they are worthy of a top five spot this split and there’s little that anyone can say or do to change my mind. Their bot lane duo of Apollo and Hakuho has racked up an incredible 6.73 K/D/A between the two of them.
Apollo’s creep score has been out of this world, while Hakuho has kept his partner alive in so many important situations. Both average 1.5 deaths per match and it’s something that their teammates need to start taking notes on. While the bot lane has been incredible for Echo Fox so far, they can’t continue their success with just one stellar lane. Rush does a great job of stacking kills on other players, but it might be time for him to start doing it for himself. There isn’t much to critique with Echo Fox’s play through three weeks and I believe it will stay that way for the rest of the split. However, they face two of the top three teams this weekend.
3) 100 Thieves (3-3)
100 Thieves is another team that had incredibly high hopes coming into the split. With experienced additions like Bang and Huhi in the offseason, this squad has been destined for success ever since. Starting off 0-3 definitely lit a fire under 100 Thieves, as they’ve gone 3-0 since the rough patch.
Bang has made such a huge impact in the bot lane for this team and if Aphromoo doesn’t start picking up some slack, we could be seeing a roster change soon. The two have completely opposite K/D/A’s at 6.86 for Bang and 1.83 for Aphromoo. It’s so important for the bot lane duo to be in-sync and it feels like the rest of the team has to pick up for Aphromoo’s poor play. If they want to continue this run, they’ll need to prioritize the bot lane while playing safer and smarter. Sometimes it’s better to simplify things to further grasp the concept and with that, I have 100 Thieves as my sleeper pick to win the split if they can sharpen up their play a little bit.
2) Cloud 9 (4-2)
At 4-2, this Cloud 9 squad is one of the best we’ve seen in years. Taking a look at C9’s stats is like looking at golf scores: low numbers where you want to see them. Overall, the team averages 1.9 deaths per player, per match which is among the lowest in the NALCS.
What’s even crazier is the fact that Svenskeren is the only reason that number is so high (he averages 3.67 deaths per match, while the rest of the team is under 2.0). Sneaky and Zeyzal have killed it in the bot lane so far, while Niqsy has stomped the mid lane. Their only two losses are against great teams in Team Liquid and CLG, so I expect them to dominate the competition this weekend. If they can keep up this type of play, they’ll be giving Team Liquid a run for their money at first place.
1) Team Liquid (6-0)
As I said in my most recent article, Team Liquid is comparable to the Golden State Warriors in the fact that every member of their team is polished and experienced. Jensen and Doublelift are two of the biggest names in all of League of Legends, and respectively they have the best K/D/A’s in the NALCS. CoreJJ has flourished in the bot lane with Doublelift and I can only see Cloud 9’s bot lane duo stopping them at some point this split.
TL has had bad games, but what’s kept them at the top for three weeks is their ability to ride out their disadvantage. You rarely see any member of Team Liquid behind because of how well they farm and keep vision control. This team is on the right path and I don’t see many teams contesting them on their way to the playoffs.
Matches to Watch in Week 4
Team Liquid (6-0) v. Team SoloMid (2-4)
This match showcases some of the best players in the world. Jensen and Bjergsen will be facing off in the mid lane, while Doublelift and Zven battle in the bot lane. A win here could help TSM get it’s confidence back.
100 Thieves (3-3) v. FlyQuest (3-3)
100 Thieves is looking to extend their win streak to four games, but FlyQuest aren’t about to let them win easily. This match will be a great test for both teams, and the winner will most likely move into the top three.
Cloud 9 (4-2) v. Echo Fox (3-3)
In this match, we’ll be seeing two very strong teams butt heads. Cloud 9 is looking to make a run at first place, while Echo Fox is looking to shut down the naysayers. This will be another match where bot lane is prioritized and we’ll get to see which duo gets bragging rights.
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