LCS NA Week 2 Power Rankings
Week two has passed and it’s time to see where the teams stand. This has been the most balanced week possible with the three-way second-place tie expanding to a four-way tie, and Cloud9 finally suffering their first loss. The rankings are still primarily based off of wins and head-to-head, but the competition has surprisingly gotten tighter. With week three at MLG Anaheim giving teams three games each, the ties will hopefully get smashed; but the teams have started to show off what they excel at and the LCS is anything but set in stone.
Cloud9 – LCS W/L: 6-1 – LCS Ranking: 1 – Power Ranking: 1.
Cloud9 reigns supreme, but Earth looks a whole lot closer after their most recent results. This week was very different from week one for the Cloud brothers with their first loss and a very tight win. It was only two games however, and while they didn’t win the week, they’re still two wins ahead of the competition. C9 has a particular strength that makes it very difficult for them to fall too far behind in games: dragon control. Like clockwork the team is picking up dragons early and coming back every six minutes for that extra thousand gold. Even in games where they’re down in towers or kills, the fact that they have such a rigid focus on dragon means that by the 30 minute mark they’ve made 3000 to 4000 in dragon gold – keeping them from falling behind. This strength could be turned into a weakness however, and teams may start bullying around Cloud9 if they become too predictable with dragon approaches.
~Note: Second place power rankings are primarily based off head to head scores~
Team Solo Mid Snapdragon – LCS W/L: 4-3 – LCS Ranking: 2 – Power Ranking: 2.
TSM is in a weird spot compared to their Season One selves. Their strengths used to be that they never had a negative week, and only once went even in wins and losses. However it’s week two and they’ve already had their “one even week” by going 1-1 and the rest of North America seems to be keeping steady with them. TSM is strong this season, but so is everyone else. TSM’s biggest weakness right now seems to be their ability to adapt to bad situations. In TSM vs CLG, TSM took a very direct approach to fighting CLG: push lanes and hope to kite back once CLG engages with their heavy-engage team. The problem was that CLG had too much engagement and TSM would only kite after having lost 1-2 to the Malphite ult. TSM’s discipline was amazing, but unfortunately the strategy itself was lackluster in that circumstance.
Team Coast - LCS W/L: 4-3 – LCS Ranking: 2 – Power Ranking: 3.
Coast’s champion picks are still exciting as hell to watch, but unfortunately for them, crazy picks are not guaranteed to work out. They are the warriors wielding awesome champion choices, but their aggressive snowball-style tends to melt against more stable team compositions, if not successful early on. Of the second place luchadores, they’re the hardest to predict the future for. Every game where they pick very snowball-oriented characters like Fiddlesticks or Riven, is a game that can end in 20 minutes for either side. It’s how they play though and if teams can’t adapt to their constant aggressive playstyle, they could easily skyrocket to first place. One way or another Coast is going to break this tie; the question is do they go up or straight down? Though there is the possibility that some teams could adapt while others get left for dead, giving Coast very unique strengths and weaknesses on a team-to-team basis.
Counter Logic Gaming - LCS W/L: 4-3 – LCS Ranking: 2 – Power Ranking: 4.
This Week’s Winner
Counter Logic Gaming showed some vastly improved play this week as the role-swapped members have gotten comfortable enough to secure a 2-0 finish for the week. CLG’s biggest growth wasn’t individual player skill however, though Nientonsoh and BigfatLP have gotten much better since last week, but the team’s coordination. Cloud9 vs CLG’s level-one fight was a great example of this: CLG expected an aggressive play, spammed wards from multiple players, and turned an aggressive invade into two free kills. Ward placement and the very meta-specific route CLG took to avoid wards were all team decisions. Meta-specific decisions used to be CLG’s strong suit back in 2012; the team said they didn’t adhere to the meta, but in reality they played with strategies that had a little influence from the meta or even countered it. They can deal with the strategy of the week, but they have to make sure that the players don’t get comfortable and be sure to expand their champion pools. They went 2-0 once, can they keep it up?
Vulcun TechBargains – LCS W/L: 4-3 – LCS Ranking: 2 – Power Ranking: 5.
Vulcun has the very confusing “weak spot” of the second placers. They lost to both TSM and Coast, beat CLG – but CLG is the only team to have taken down Cloud9 – hence fifth place. However they’re still tied for second place and even if they’re in a theoretical fifth place they’re in a very comfortable position for how Vulcun plays. Vulcun doesn’t necessarily have the consistency of TSM, but last season, after Bloodwater joined the team, they would mirror a terrible week with a great week. The fact that they’re only two wins up from 7th place isn’t terrific, but if they can maintain an even win ratio they’ll most likely make it to the playoffs- where the team’s Bo3 skill comes into play. Their game versus Cloud9 showed a moment of disorganization however, when two quick picks led to Cloud9 gaining very quick momentum late in the game. That mistake could have been one sloppy mistake, rather than a continuous problem, but MLG’s games will reveal that. Vulcun has cleaned up their act when it comes to “carry” status on the team, now everyone has a chance at it (including Bloodwater), but more standard issues that teams have should reveal themselves over time.
Team Dignitas - LCS W/L: 4-3 – LCS Ranking: 6 – Power Ranking: 6.
Dignitas showed some steady improvement this week, but the team is similar to Curse in that improvements still need to be made. They’re only one win behind the other teams though, and with every team having the same number of games played it’s not too shabby of a spot to be in- since they’re theoretically two wins from second place. They were able to stomp Coast, and were counter-stomped by Curse, which puts them in the middle of the NA pack. The team does have an issue when it comes to their approach towards games. This happened last season but it wasn’t uncommon for Dignitas to underestimate the strength of a team and get blasted as a result. This might have happened in week two versus Curse, due to their perceived weakness, but this should be a smaller issue as enough teams have beaten Dignitas to give a great perspective.
Curse - LCS W/L: 2-5 – LCS Ranking: 7 – Power Ranking: 7.
Curse showed a spark this week, going 1-1 and looking fearsome in their victory against Dignitas. Edward is playing very well, and the rest of the team has started to regain their former glory. While they’re still in a rough state, they’re steadily transitioning into their former selves. Based off statements from last week, Curse was both distracted by E3 and also adjusting to Edward, the first week shenanigans may have been due to a lack of practice. It’s not by any means a good excuse since the game should be taking priority, but it is a problem that can be fixed. If it truly was bad practice prior to the first week, then by the end of the season Curse will have had a chance to win their way back to the top six and possibly secure top two. It’s going to be a tough road, but if they are able to stay confident and stay practiced they could be the Curse from early Spring Split once more.
Velocity eSports - LCS W/L: 1- 6 – LCS Ranking: 8 – Power Ranking: 8.
Velocity was the only team this week not to secure a win, resulting in a 0-2 week and last place in both rankings and power rankings. The good news is that it’s still early in the season and it’s still very possible for Velocity to take the top six and represent themselves in the playoffs. However, the problems from last week remained the same this week. They can play well in the early game and come out ahead, but they’re not pressing a huge advantage. Similar to Vulcun versus Cloud9, someone will get caught out in the mid-game and Velocity will lose any advantage they’ve accrued. The team needs to find a way to transition out of their strong early game to a powerful snowball, and it’s just not happening. If an analyst looked at the first 20 minutes of Velocity’s games they’d look like a very strong team, but there is some aspect to their play or picks that is holding them back. The team needs a lot of work, and if it’s not done soon, the playoffs are quickly slipping away from them.
No disappointment this week! Teams either met perceived notions or did better than anticipated. North America is a helluva lot closer than anyone anticipated. No team is perfect however and as team strengths and weaknesses reveal themselves, it’s going to be up to the teams to adapt and change on a game to game basis. It’s still early in the season though, and even little Velocity can find their way into the playoffs.