Four Teams That Have the Highest Chance of Making It to the NA LCS Playoffs
Published on March 08, 2018
If there’s one thing we’ve seen about the 2018 NA LCS, it’s that this year’s Spring Split regular season has been extremely unpredictable. Players are becoming more versatile, and teams have learned to adapt to face against veteran teams like Team SoloMid and Counter Logic Gaming.
That being said, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly who will make it to the NA LCS playoffs. Some teams have been matching up against the competition for the past five weeks, and they don’t intend on stopping anytime soon.
However, there have been teams that have proven themselves to be strong competitors in the scene of League of Legends. There are some teams who are so confident that their place in the playoffs is almost guaranteed.
Some of these teams’ recent success can be attributed to their strong playstyle or the way they synergize on the virtual field. Whatever it may be, these are the top four teams of the NA LCS who basically have their spot reserved for playoffs.
I’m not going to lie. I had my doubts when I first saw the team’s roster. Considering that Clutch Gaming didn’t seem to have that strong of a team on paper, many fans and bettors alike were stunned to see that Clutch Gaming was taking down names like Team SoloMid and Counter Logic Gaming.
Currently, they’re tied for a third-place hold against 100 Thieves and Team Liquid. However, the only real threat at this time has been 100 Thieves, who turned the tides in their favor during Week Six, largely thanks to their upset over Cloud9 and their win over FlyQuest.
Meanwhile, Team Liquid has struggled to show their former dominance from the first few weeks. They’ve won here and there, but despite their strong roster consisting of Xmithie, Doublelift, Impact, and Pobelter, they’ve faced losses against names like Golden Guardians and 100 Thieves.
That being said, Clutch Gaming has been one of the most consistent names so far. They haven’t lost to any teams below them.
Though they have lost to 100 Thieves and Team Liquid, this was at the beginning of the regular season, and as the weeks have progressed, Clutch Gaming has been showing the more consistent results, while 100 Thieves and Team Liquid are struggling to retain their previously-known dominance.
Clutch Gaming’s success can be attributed to different players on the team. Like I said, when you look at CG’s (Clutch Gaming’s) roster, it lacks the luster that names like Team Liquid and Echo Fox have. However, despite this setback, Clutch Gaming has still managed to become one of the top names, largely thanks to three of their players.
This one is no lie. Ever since he joined Clutch Gaming, Febiven has been a mid-lane monster. One could even say that he’s taken away the North American throne from Bjergsen, as he currently leads in KDA by .1 units more than Bjergsen. As of now, Febiven has a 7.3 KDA, while Bjergsen holds a 7.2 KDA—a small stat by the numbers but a huge stat on the field.
He grabbed himself a pentakill on Azir during his first few weeks on Clutch Gaming, and every mid laner currently fears his presence, even Bjergsen. While he is known to be deadly on his Azir and his Orianna, he isn’t afraid to pull out a Corki or Zoe mid, both of whom are strong when Febiven is calling the shots.
Known to be the one European threat to the international League of Legends king Faker, Febiven has proved his worth both internationally and domestically. In the EU LCS, he was easily the strongest mid laner without any opposition, and in the NA LCS, he is making himself a threat yet again.
There aren’t many supports which can make an impact in their specific role. However, Hakuho has proved himself to be a steady and versatile player, ranging from tanks to mages who can provide consistent damage or presence while defending their main carries.
Currently, his favorite champions and the ones he finds the most success on are Rakan, Braum, Morgana, and Shen. During his match against Team SoloMid in Week Five, his Rakan was crucial to their victory against the former Spring Split champions.
When they played Counter Logic Gaming in Week Six, his Taric was the footstool which helped the rest of his teammates snowball. He was even stronger during his time on Braum against FlyQuest, where he achieved a 9.00 KDA, playing a champion which was only meant to keep defensive ends for a team.
His recent success has put him ahead of prodigies in the NA LCS like PowerOfEvil and Zven in terms of KDA. Now, with his wide range of champions he can play, we can expect a lot more from him for the rest of the regular season.
Apollo is no rookie to the NA LCS. Like Cloud9’s Sneaky, he has a safe yet consistent playstyle which usually puts him ahead of most AD Carries when the time comes. He’s already shown his resilience through his time on Team EnVy and hasn’t changed since.
His mechanical prowess is perfect on champions like Ezreal and Caitlyn. Currently, he is undefeated on Ezreal while holding a perfect 10.0 CS count per minute, two aspects which every AD Carry needs to succeed, and Apollo has been doing this since his start on Clutch Gaming.
Because of this, Apollo will be huge for Clutch Gaming. During their match against Team SoloMid, the duo of Hakuho and Apollo were crucial and were the main carries behind their victory against the team. Because of Apollo’s recent uncanny mechanics and consistent success, he’s been a key factor as to why Clutch Gaming has been doing so well and is almost guaranteed a spot in the NA LCS Spring Split playoffs.
No one expected Echo Fox to be at the top of the leader this year, considering their last two years have been utter trash compared to their recent performance. There are many things which have contributed to their recent success.
Two of these things have been a complete roster change with players of the highest caliber and a revamped performance staff which lets them see the game from almost every perspective. That being said, the explanation as to why they’ve been playing so well is quite clear now.
They’ve only suffered two losses throughout their current season, one to Team SoloMid and one to Counter Logic Gaming. However, both of these matches have been quite close, and unfortunately for Echo Fox, they went to the opposing team’s favor.
Now that we understand Echo Fox’s recent success in the NA LCS regular season, let’s take a look at their key players and what makes them tick. Some of these players have made lasting impacts on the team, but others have already cemented their legacies in the North American region itself.
If you haven’t heard of the name Huni by now, then you have a lot to catch up on. This former World Champion Finalist has built himself a hefty resume of highlight reels, pentakills, and solo lane dominance.
He’s one of the few players that isn’t afraid to go all in and take you down without much hesitation. He holds a large array of solo carry champions, ranging from Gangplank to his signature Gnar, which he has used to help propel his team to victory without much problem.
So far, he’s been essential to Echo Fox’s laning phase, considering that he has solo-killed players more than once and that he isn’t afraid to make the play when it comes down to it. With this playstyle, he’s a key factor into what makes Echo Fox tick.
Dardoch’s jungle prowess has not gone unnoticed this Split. If there’s one player that is essential to Echo Fox’s cause, then it is Dardoch. Most junglers are only essential because they need to secure objectives or grab easy kills for their teammates in the early phases of the game.
However, Dardoch is a present threat throughout the entire stage of the match, especially on signature champions like Zac and Sejuani. He can control objectives easily without much opposition from the enemy team. He is very good at grabbing kills for his teammates and setting up future events.
In team fights, he does not back away from his enemies—instead being a full-on force that is a threat in every way for their opponents. In fact, Dardoch’s in-game prowess has been responsible for their domination throughout the past six weeks.
There’s more to come from the highly talented jungler Dardoch. He’s built himself a hefty resume that ranges from different teams that he has worked with. Now, on Echo fox, he’s looking to become something more than a talented jungler.
Sure, Bjergsen and Febiven may be considered to be the kings of the mid lane, but there’s no doubt that Fenix has been a significant threat throughout the current NA LCS regular season. He holds the third-highest KDA in the current NA LCS and is undefeated on Zoe and Cassiopeia.
While most mid laners prefer to stay back and provide consistent damage, Fenix isn’t afraid to go in and take everyone out from their backline, even if he is playing one of the squishiest champions out there. During his time on Team Liquid, he managed to take out four on the Counter Logic Gaming roster single-handedly.
While they may have consistent damage dealers like their AD Carry, as well as Huni in some cases, Fenix is by far the biggest damage dealer. In fact, he’s been known to single-handedly carry team fights on his back. Because of this, he’s become a key component of Echo Fox’s success and what will help them make it into playoffs.
If there is one team that has made a lasting impact on the NA LCS, it’s Cloud9. They’ve been a strong team since their formation in 2013, and they’re the only team to have ever pulled off two reverse sweeps to land themselves a spot at the World Championship during the regional qualifier.
They’ve been the only American team to consistently make it to the knockout round of the World Championship, despite being put up against serious adversaries like South Korea Telecom, Edward Gaming, and ahq e-Sports Club.
Unlike Team SoloMid and Counter Logic Gaming, Cloud9 gives their players the freedom to play however they want to play. Several times, Team SoloMid and Counter Logic Gaming have been accused of holding back their talents so that they could play a specific way they wanted them to play, thus leading to lackluster performances all around.
However, another important aspect of their game is their team roster. While they may not look like a talented group of players aside from Sneaky and Jensen, what fuels their success are some of their outstanding players.
Aside from that, Cloud9 has a pretty clear path to the playoffs. They’ll face FlyQuest and OpTic Gaming for Week Eight and Week Nine. Though these two teams look like they have stacked rosters, they do not provide threats to Cloud9 in any way or fashion, as we have seen before. However, let’s take a look at what really matters: the players which make Cloud9 fundamental.
Currently, Jensen is the superstar of the NA LCS world for Cloud9. He is tied for third place with an impressive 6.7 KDA. He also averages the highest creep score per minute at a 10.5 magnitude. The only other player in the NA LCS who can match this is his teammate, Sneaky.
Jensen is ruthless when it comes to his arsenal of picks. While he tends not to diversify his range of champions, it’s no lie that Jensen knows what he is doing when he chooses his pocket picks. Names like Taliyah, Orianna, Syndra, and Ekko are no surprise to him.
Last year, he dominated the Split by using his Ekko and Syndra, making the two some of the highest banned champions in the game. He also currently uses his Taliyah and Orianna to dominate the team fights, making sure that even the most minuscule of mistakes are punished.
Look out for Jensen. While most veteran teams have been struggling to face the new playing field which has propelled rookie teams ahead of the curve, Cloud9 has stayed consistent, and it’s largely thanks to Jensen’s mechanical prowess.
Jensen may be the superstar of Cloud9, but it’s no lie that Sneaky is definitely the icon. He has been around for ages, and his skill has not deteriorated one bit. He still impresses by putting up large numbers every year and is confined to a small but sturdy champion pool which has helped him win countless matches.
Like Jensen, he averages a 10.5 CS score every game and is currently unstoppable on his signature Tristana. His ability to stay back and provide consistent damage for the team has been a pinnacle of Cloud9’s success in the NA LCS split, and we can continue to look to Sneaky to do more for the team.
Licorice is the newest addition to the team, and this could be a make-or-break situation for the team right now. However, Licorice is currently showing that he isn’t a breaker but rather a maker, by the looks of it.
He has had his ups and downs, like when he picked out Lucian top and proceeded to get destroyed by Huni’s Gangplank. However, he has also had his highs, like when he dominated on his Kled against Clutch Gaming and showed talent on Gnar against Team SoloMid.
He still has a lot to prove, since he’s been active for only the regular season, but the talent this rookie has is huge, and as the season continues, we could see more to come from this extremely talented top laner who hasn’t shown any signs of stopping.
This could be huge year for Team Liquid largely because they have the team roster and capabilities to make it to the playoffs. However, while they are almost guaranteed a spot at the NA LCS Spring Split playoffs, there is still an extremely slim chance that Team Liquid could yet again fail to make it to the knockout rounds.
They would have to lose every single match they play until the playoffs start for them to not qualify. This would also mean that names like OpTic Gaming and FlyQuest would have to go undefeated in order for this upset to occur – a very unlikely circumstance, considering that FlyQuest and OpTic Gaming have struggled to win very many matches throughout the regular season.
Team Liquid showed itself to be a notorious threat during the first few weeks, especially since they have the combined force of Xmithie, Pobelter, Impact, and Doublelift. However, it’s no lie that Team Liquid has had a shaky few weeks so far, only scrapping a few wins. But if one thing is for sure, it’s that the threat of Team Liquid is still there and that they can show up these last few weeks before the playoffs.
Pobelter is a name that is respected in all the regions. His notoriety spans from his ability to stay consistent yet make the play that’s needed whenever it is called upon. This can apply to his time on Counter Logic Gaming and Immortals where his playstyle was a threat to names like Bjergsen and Jensen.
While he may not be having a stellar season so far, he has proved his resilience on champions like Azir, Malzahar, and Viktor. Currently, on Azir, he is 2-1 and has a 27.0 KDA ratio, while on Malzahar, he has not suffered a single loss.
During their match against FlyQuest, Pobelter was the key behind their decisive victory over the team, and Pobelter has shown throughout the weeks that even though he isn’t as big of a deal as Bjergsen or Jensen, he still has a lot to prove in the long run.
There are few who haven’t heard of the name Doublelift, and that is largely because Doublelift has made a notorious name for himself. Known as the trash talker who likes to take it to the next level on both the stage and the field, Doublelift is no person to shy away from.
He’s relentless when it comes to the laning phase and isn’t afraid to shy away from any challenge. That being said, he is a top contender for the NA LCS playoffs. He plays well on almost any champion and is an advocate for aggressive in-game team fights.
While he may also have his ups and downs, there’s no lying – Doublelift is going to be a major threat in these remaining weeks for the NA LCS regular season. He’s built himself a hefty resume, and he’s going to keep going.
This year has been a rollercoaster for some and a disappointment for others. However, if one thing is for sure, it’s that there will be new teams going into this year’s NA LCS playoffs. Some of them will be familiar faces, but others will be completely new to the scene.
Only six out of the ten teams will come out alive in the end to face off to determine the eventual victor and qualifier for the Mid-Season Invitational. Some teams, like Cloud9, Echo Fox, and Clutch Gaming, already have their eyes set on a playoff spot.
However, other teams like FlyQuest, Counter Logic Gaming, and Team SoloMid will still have to battle it out to have a chance at taking home the trophy. The NA LCS regular season has provided us with some rather shocking turns of events, but it won’t be long before the playoffs come and the real money starts rolling in.