Welcome to the first edition of the Paravine LCS power rankings!
1. Cloud 9
There was no real legitimate threat to Cloud 9’s ‘Best in the West’ throne heading into the first week of the LCS. A 2 time LCS Champion, Cloud 9 maintain a 100% winrate in North American playoffs and an 88.7% winrate overall. Their performance at All-Stars 2014 was impressive on it’s own, even more so considering they were missing their midlaner, team captain and primary shotcaller Hai, as they took important games off of the European and Chinese champions.
It’s also worth noting that Cloud 9 have the longest lasting lineup of any professional team in the world (their last roster change was April the 6th 2013 when Sneaky joined as the starting AD Carry) and have established a period of dominance over their region only rivaled by their long standing nemesis Fnatic.
As one of the three North American teams to not import foreign talent, all eyes will be on Cloud 9 to see if they can continue their dominance in North America or whether we’ll finally see a lineup capable of pushing them off their throne.
Despite serious questions regarding their motivation and lack of support staff it’s difficult to argue with Fnatic being the second spot on the power rankings. Love them or hate them, the sheer talent on this roster is difficult to match for any Western team.
Fnatic have their doubters though, not a single member of the panel put them above Cloud 9 and a few members put them outside the top 4, something inconceivable at the times of the Season 3 World Championships. Fnatic are the most dominant European team in the history of competitive League of Legends with Cyanide, sOAZ and xPeke being the most successful (in terms of prize money) Western players. 3 time LCS champions, anything other than a 1st place finish for Fnatic is unacceptable.
3. Team SoloMid
Showcasing an impressive amount of faith and trust in the recent addition of Amazing and Gleeb, Team SoloMid still made it to number 3 on our rankings despite heavy doubts from the community. It’s worth remembering that this team did finish second the North American regionals and has, since at least season 2, always really been a top 2 team in North America and attended more World Championships than any other team.
There’s no doubt that the TSM players are extremely talented but I personally feel they don’t have the same talent advantage they had at the start of the Spring Split. At the risk of sounding like a cliche; with competition being fiercer than ever in North America, unless TSM successfully achieves a degree of strategy then the fall of TSM seems almost inevitable.
If we did the power rankings for the 2014 Spring Split, Alliance almost certainty would have been in pole position. The hype generated by their formation only lead to a major backlash against the team once their first superweek ended without registering a victory. The team recovered well from their initial turbulence and eventually finished the Season in third place. Playoffs didn’t go as planned, however, and Alliance came in 4th after a devastating loss to ROCCAT.
Now reinvigorated with two new analysts who are on trial, the team hopes to secure a place in the World Championships. Their first game versus Copenhagen Wolves will be a glimpse at what this young squad can do when given strong direction
5. Counter Logic Gaming
Counter Logic Gaming has always been a staple of the North American LCS. However, their results have never been up to par with what their fans expect. Despite good performances in the regular season, their playoff results have been lacklustre. The hype around Seraph has been only paralleled to Team Solomid’s sudden introduction of the Danish midlaner Bjergsen the previous split.
Seraph’s introduction into North America has been going relatively well as he tears up the challenger Ladder, however communication issues with Dexter may cause some problems for the team. CLG hopes that Seraph will be able to show strong results and carry them into the World Championships
6. SK Gaming
While it’s almost impossible to imagine a European LCS without SK Gaming there were very few who tipped them for a top 2 finish at the start of the Spring Split. Long written off as ‘ocelote’s team’, many wondered how a team resorted to an almost impossible reverse sweep to re-qualify for the EU LCS would perform after they lost their ‘best player’ Nyph and replaced him with nRated, a player many thought wouldn’t be able to cut it after his removal from the Fnatic lineup.
If we look at their strategy and coaching infrastructure then SK Gaming are unquestionably the best in Europe. SK Gaming’s issues come from their rather thinly spread roster and their perceived lack of growth potential. Perceived as the polar opposite over their local rivals Fnatic, SK head into the Summer Split as an unchanged lineup that’s expected to perform well right from the word go.
With the harakiri of Gambit Gaming all but complete, ROCCAT become the unquestionably strongest ‘single nationality’ team in Europe and the true heir to the throne of the Empire. The panel typically rated ROCCAT as a upper mid league team and an outside bet for World Finals.
With a flair for the unconventional and unorthodox, ROCCAT play a fast and aggressive game which they hope will simply overwhelm the opponents. With their Spring Split victories coming from strategy and not from individual outplay, ROCCAT need to improve their individual skill and standardize their team performance if they hope to make it to worlds and get their first real chance at international play.
8. Team Dignitas
If there was any roster change that general NA LCS fans wanted it was for Team Coast and Team Dignitas to combine their strengths and simultaneously cover their weaknesses. The 5th place bo3 between Dignitas and Coast seemed like fate itself had gone out of his way to make this happen and there were many fans cheering for Team Coast to lose to compLexity in the relegation partly because this roster would be otherwise impossible.
The dream is now a reality and Zion and Shiphtur are the solo laners for Dignitas. For fans it seems like the days of Dignitas being a top two team in North America had gone for good but if there’s any roster truly capable of putting Dignitas back into their top spot then this is it. For everyone on Dignitas this is their chance to shine and their chance to prove they’re players capable of reaching the world stage. The ‘Elo-hell’ that Shiphtur and Zion found themselves in is gone and the fans want to be proven right.
It’s quite surprising to see LMQ ranked this low. Despite their domination in the Challenger series, it seems that LCS players and managers aren’t quite convinced that they’re willing to Love My Queen. Perhaps it is the stiffer competition of midlaners and ad carries that have held donned the League of Legends Championship Series or perhaps it is the inconsistency of Vasilii and their poor late game rotations that make out panel question the decision, either way it seems that our panel doesn’t buy into the hype just yet. LMQ will have their standard pairings of XiaoWeiXiao and Vasillii to help them battle their way at representing North America at the Word Championships, the real question is of course how Noname will perform against top tier North American junglers.
LMQ may have dominated the Challenger Series but the LCS is a whole other level.
10. Supa Hot Crew
Originally built entirely out of soloQ talent, SHC’s surprise addition to the LCS was remarkable mostly due to the scenario that got them in. Just think, if not for a lack of preparation and a botched client then SHC might never have made it into the LCS, let alone preparing for their second split.
With the addition of former Lemondogs support wewillfailer, SHC have either ruined or strengthened their only reliable weapon. While it is true that MrRalleZ and wewillfailer certainly have a better friendship and dynamic than his last ADC Tabzz it’s also worth remebering that it was removing wewillfailer in favour of Mithy that propelled Lemondogs to the top spot of the EU LCS.
SHC are a team with everything to prove that can only really get better, it’s just a question of whether they’re capable of meeting the expectations our panel placed on them.
11. Team Curse
Curse is an interesting case. Despite the ever consistent jokes about their eventual 4th place finish from the community, their inability to attend a world championship must be a sore thumb in the organization’s history. Curse has yet again made roster changes for this Split, bringing in the veteran Xpecial to round up their botlane. Xpecial will attempt to take a greater role in shotcalling as the team prepares for another split. Questions have been asked about how Voyboy will perform this split as he is considered one of the weaker midlaners in the region and with the midlane talent in North America only increasing, the team really needs Voyboy to step it up. Curse’s other lanes should perform decently, but their midlane looms in massive doubt.
12. Copenhagen Wolves
I’m not convinced the Copenhagen Wolves are as screwed as this ranking or the community seems to believe. I mean I’ve seen the Copenhagen Wolves ‘lose their best players’ before and they proved capable of bouncing back and becoming a pillar of the European LCS. I actually think the loss of Rekkles and Shook to Fnatic and Alliance was more harmful to the Copenhagen Wolves than the loss of Amazing and FORG1VEN, especially if compare how Youngbuck (the only member of the team who is active on social media and in interviews) speaks of the four players.
The core of CW is the same as it’s always been and if CW can evolve past their ‘protect the ADC’ playstyle that FORG1VEN forced them into then they might be a team capable of serious upsets.
13. Gambit Gaming
It pains me to see Gambit ranked this lowly. I’ve followed this game ever since the beta but it was the CLG Europe – Moscow 5 rivalry that really made me love this game. I eagerly stayed up til 5 am watching Alex Ich and Froggen duke it out in the Midlane over and over, from the old 4PL Leagues to the Corsair Vengeance Cup and to CLG Europe’s epic comeback at Dreamhack Summer. Alas, the ranking is deserved. Gambit has never managed to fully adapt to the LCS, constant travels between Russia and Germany had left players exhausted and their personalities clashing ensured the departure of Edward to North America. Gambit struggled, but they did well and qualified to the World Championships.
The return of Edward seemed to install a boost in their fanbase and signs painted towards the return of Moscow Five as they steamrolled the competition at IEM Cologne. Alas, this did not happen. Gambit struggled during the LCS season and eventually fell to Roccat during the playoffs and into relegations. A brilliant performance by Alex Ich and Diamond ensured that Gambit would still stay in the LCS but it seemed that the constant infighting got to Alex Ich and he departed the team.
I honestly don’t know how Gambit will do, niQ is one of the better Challenger midlaners but it seems unlikely that the Russian tricolour will fly as proudly as it once did.
Millenium, at least for me, were the big disappointment of the Spring Split across all regions. I truly believed that they had a roster capable of competing with any Western team and, after a strong showing at Battle of the Atlantic, felt they were a contender for top 3 in the EU LCS. With numerous issues surrounding their gaming house, motivation, personal performance and coaching staff they struggled and they struggled hard.
Still though, I think there’s hope for Millenium. First off, unlike other 8th place teams like Velocity, Dragonborns or MYM, they always performed well in lane and often put up a good fight against some of the best teams in Europe. I honestly think that Millenium just forget how to win a game (similar to Fnatic’s 8 game losing streak), not a case that they were incapable of winning. Secondly, Kottenx’s surprise return to competitive play worked out better than many predicted it would and, after their tense series against strong favorites Ninjas in Pyjamas, they certainly received a massive boost to their morale. Millenium have some incredible players, it’s just about finding their identity as a team.
15. Evil Geniuses
I’m assuming EG’s low placement is a reflection of their old roster and not based on insider information but, unless the team decided to recruit Insec or Helios for the jungle and Pray for ADC, I struggle to see this team breaking into the top 4 of North America.
Having said that it isn’t all sour for the team, I think Innox and Pobeltor are genuine NA talents capable of outshining even the new Dignitas solo laners. Assuming their’s no visa issues mid split this time (losing 3/5s of your players for 3+ weeks is going to hurt your performance) and that actual improvement is made with some of the more suspect positions; I believe in a EG capable of turning some heads. It’s clear that the EG management want their team to perform well, there’s no reason they’d risk alienating their entire fanbase by considering the bench for Yellowpete, Krepo and Snoopeh otherwise, but I’m just suspect whether they’re capable of acquiring and utilising the talent necessary.
Complexity’s victory over Coast was a significant upset in the LCS relegations, but it seems that our panel doesn’t expect very highly of them, well it’s time to prove them wrong. It’s going to be a lot harder now though espeically after the team lost its analysts that heavily contributed to their victory over Team Coast. Brokenshard is a better jungler than Nintendude but he’ll have to face Meteos, Dexter and Amazing. Westrice also has yet to prove his mantle as a toplaner and how the team adapts to the LCS will be very interesting to watch.
– ROCCAT Vander
– CW SchmantFRED (manager)
– A Tabzz
– C9E Febiven
– CW Youngbuck
– SHC Impaler
– d Crumbzz
– NiP Nukeduck
– EG iamguitar (manager)
– A Nyph
– A Wickd
– SK Joe ‘InnerFlame’ Elouassi (SK Prime manager)
– Duncan ‘Thorin’ Shields
– Renato ‘Shakarez’ Perdigão
– Ann ‘Tazza’ Pragg
– Nilu ‘Dooraven’ Kulasingham
Please Note: This is still in the early stages and we’re on the look out for more contributors, especially from NA. If you would like to contribute then please contact either @annpragg or @dooraven on the twitter and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.