After a stellar showing at All-Stars, it’s become clear that North America is easily a top six region in the world. With all this stiff competition, the 2018 season promises to be packed with excitement and quality play. However, with the many roster shakeups taking place over the offseason, it can be hard to know what to expect this year. But an excruciatingly careful analysis of statistics and community testimony can shed some light on who might get out to a fast start in January. Let’s take a look.
Delta Fox Tier (Tier S)
NA LCS could have a new look at the top of the standings. Paid by Steve and motivated by a fear of becoming like the last Liquid roster, this super team is poised to destroy the rest of the region, piecing together superstars from Immortals, Cloud9, and TSM to form a weird esports Exodia. Historically, assembling various all-stars that look good on paper has worked very well. Literally this long-term strategy never goes wrong. Naturally, this team will go far, and probably win Worlds.
Redditor Tier (Tier A)
There’s still a spot near the top of the standings, but according to Doublelift, this is as far as TSM will get. Nevertheless, Reginald has come one step closer to his dream of importing a full European team to North America with the pickup of G2 bot duo Zven and Mithy, and this will do just fine. And if anything the Reddit community said during Rift Rivals this year is true (which it always is without a fault every time), MikeYeung is already the next great American jungler. No doubt about it — this will be the best version of TSM to fail in the Worlds group stage we’ve ever seen.
Counter Logic Gaming
Losing Aphromoo will certainly feel weird for CLG, but the ‘Rush Hour 2’ combo of Stixxay and Biofrost will do well in making CLG fans feel right at home, as the suspense of how well the team will actually perform in a given week keeps supporters on the edge of their seats. To add to the “faith factor,” CLG has acquired Reignover, whose career trajectory has been a bit of an enigma. At the end of the day, I predict they will end up much like the organization often did in the first Rush Hour era: spectacularly okay.
Challenger Tier (Tier B)
This roster hasn’t generated a ton of buzz, but it shows a bit of promise. The squad contends to be focused around the jungle-mid synergy as Brett “Hai” Favre will team up with the talented Contractz to try and force the Guardians to the last playoff spot. Beyond this duo, they gain advantage from the fact that in the NA LCS system, it would be mathematically impossible to blow a 3-1 lead to 100 Thieves.
This new organization has only just recently announced its full lineup, so there isn’t much speculation. But it hardly matters, as 100 Thieves has already amassed many fans, with the familiar faces of Pr0lly, Aphromoo and Meteos. It stands to reason that the team could see huge success with this much support behind them. And if they don’t, we all know the League of Legends community would never turn its back on its favorite team after a setback.
After being the only good NA team at Worlds two years in a row, it seems Cloud9 has gotten a bit tired of winning, and let go a region-best jungler, as well as the only member who knows what a championship looks like. Replacing Contractz and Impact are Licorice and Svenskeren. The questionable decision and obvious downgrade might put them out of worlds contention or give them a fringe chance at best. It’s a shame too — the acquisition of Svenskeren could have helped their Worlds knockout stage chances by tilting their LMS opposition.
Team Coast Tier (Tier C)
After an impressive worlds run, PowerofEvil has gone the way of many European midlaners before him, and landed in North America. The roster surrounding him seems to be a bit of a hodgepodge. But fear not, for they will find success in the tried-and-true method of bootcamping in Korea. Whether it will boost them into the playoffs is a mystery, second only to whether or not LemonNation will collect social security alongside his LCS salary.
Rick Fox’s new-look squad seems impressive on paper, but their season could go either way. North American teams have about a 50% success rate when picking up former SKT players, and only time will tell whether Huni’s second bout in the states goes better than his last. He and the other members will have to do everything they can to rack up as many wins as possible before drama ensues and Dardoch gets released again.
Team Siren Tier (Tier D)
FlyQuest shows potential to be a bottom-tier team in terms of League-related content, logo quality, and now the actual standings. They do boast an appropriately named midlaner for the second year in a row, and the (lesser) portion of a very successful Immortals roster. But the lack of hype or big names on this team suggests a lack of top-tier talent. They will likely be successful, however, in making many fans mad that they were awarded a spot over Immortals.
Team EnVy 2.0 didn’t miss out on getting their own European midlaner, but much like the original Team EnVy, Clutch Gaming might miss out on any real success. Given what appears to be a very average roster, the team’s name likely comes from the very ‘clutch’ timing of the franchising system, ensuring that the organization will never have to face the threat of relegation. They do have Lira to build around though, which is nice.
No matter what the outlook for your team, hopefully you’re excited about the new split! The NA LCS begins on January 20!
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