Note: This was written before any roster changes, either rumored or confirmed, went public. Regardless, it wouldn’t change much.
Here we go with round 2: the EU LCS Way Too Early Power Rankings. Despite H2K’s success at Worlds, the region drew much criticism for not being taken seriously, both by outsiders as well as those within. The most important factor to me in this offseason is roster stability. With an already dwindling pool of prospects, and with now-Challenger FC Schalke drawing the interest of a some of that pool, those teams who are able to focus on improving rather than replacing will have an edge going into 2017. Let’s get into it.
It should be no surprise that the three representatives from Worlds sit atop this list. All three seemingly have solid rosters, with only H2K’s Forgiven making a point to test free agency, and they all hold a cast of individually skilled players, who have hopefully learned a thing or two in their stints on the international stage. I’ll give the edge here to H2K simply because they have fewer team issues to work out, and what I believe to be a more seasoned coach. Ultimately, there’s not a ton here to analyze, and I look for last year’s top teams to stay top-tier until proven otherwise.
4. Unicorns of Love
As with the last group, UOL and Fnatic don’t move much from last season. Both squads have strong histories, but not the current rosters to compete with their own pasts. Fnatic in particular here falls victim to having huge roles to fill from Spirit and the legendary Yellowstar. The only reason they even stay here is a combination of the resources they have to potentially draw players from other regions and the fact that nearly everyone below them is in a worse position.
I view these teams in their own group, mostly because they’re unpredictable for different reasons. Misfits steamrolled through the Challenger Series, and have a decent amount of time together, but they’ve been relatively untested, and therefore it’s hard to know exactly how they’ll fare. Vitality is hard to gauge simply because they defy odds — the team looks pretty good on paper, but can’t seem to find enough for more than a handful of ties to show for it. But once again, they net a break insofar that they aren’t facing widespread changes, unlike the squads below.
The aforementioned “struggle squads” lie here. It’s a bit sad really: Giants finished a very respectable third in the regular season (a complete turnaround from the spring) only to lose out on two of the players that made it happen. Origen and Roccat face similar woes, minus the momentum, and don’t appear to have too many options, again with many of them (and one former ADC) trying out for Schalke or eyeing other regions. Only time will tell of course, but if I were them, I’d be a bit uneasy.
There you have it: analysis for the west is in 2017 in the books. With all of the excitement around the corner, we can only wait patiently for what’s in store.
Photos from Riot Games and ESPN.