The LCS is tighter than ever heading into the second half of the Spring Split.
Halfway through the Spring Split, the LCS is wide open. Every team has nine games in the books and nine left on the board. Each League of Legends squad is presented with the same exact strength of schedule moving into the second half of the split.
There’s a crowd of teams all pushing for a spot at the top of the LCS and only two games separate first place from sixth. It’s anybody’s league right now.
With playoff rumblings beginning to dominate the conversation, we tasked our League writers to somehow rank the teams battling in the incredibly close race to the finish. Here are our power rankings for the 2021 LCS Spring Split after three weeks of play.
A long way to go: Golden Guardians, CLG
While these two teams are undoubtedly the weakest that the LCS has to offer up right now, the end goal should still center around progress. And thus far, Golden Guardians have earned the edge in that department. For CLG, a roster packed with veterans has failed to live up to expectations. Players like Smoothie, WildTurtle, and Finn haven’t played up to par so far this season, let alone stack up to their respective 2020 performances.
Golden Guardians, on the other hand, has a team composed mainly of true rookies and is making tangible progress on a week-to-week basis. Sure, players like Niles and Iconic certainly have some bumps in the road to jump over, but with time, individual development will come.
Golden Guardian’s 56-minute long triumph over 100 Thieves this past weekend was enough to drag the team out of the cellar. And if the team can find success in more games like that one during the course of the Spring Split’s second round robin, Golden Guardians could make significant progress.
Still building an identity: Evil Geniuses, FlyQuest, Immortals
Evil Geniuses are turning into a gatekeeper team, which, while not unfair, does undermine how good they’ve been and the fact that you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who didn’t think that on any given day EG could take a game off a top team. They’re one of only two teams to beat Cloud9 besides Team Liquid, who they’ve also beaten earlier this year.
Jiizuke seems to have gotten his happy games out of his system. And while Impact isn’t on the absolute heater he was on in the Lock In tournament, he’s been rock-solid in the top lane—despite no Malphite games in 2021. EG are ranked second and third in combined kills per minute and gold percent rating, respectively, behind only C9 in both categories and TL in the latter, according to League stats site Oracle’s Elixir. When they win, they do so handily—and their losses aren’t horrific. It’s just about consistency now for EG.
FlyQuest has fully bought into its identity as a rebuilding org. Despite Licorice’s veteran presence in the top lane and Josedeodo’s relative consistency in the jungle, FlyQuest look to be just that. They’re one of a few teams whose record reflects almost perfectly their caliber as a team: all of their wins besides the TSM win in week one are against teams below them in the standings and they’ve lost to every team above them. Licorice’s laning stats continue to be impressive, which is to be expected from a player like him, and doubly nice given that he’s gotten a counter pick in all but two of his games—the most in the LCS alongside Impact. The team has looked one-dimensional, with that dimension being the top side of the map, and the bottom lane is relatively stable. If Palafox’s repeatedly brutal early games can get ironed out, he’s shown enough flashes of fearlessness and skill that FlyQuest’s floor should expect to keep steadily rising.
Immortals have distinguished themselves as one of the better, if not the best, rebuilding squads in the LCS. They’ve won three of their last five games and two straight, with losses only to TSM and 100 Thieves and a nice win over a playoff-caliber team in EG. Raes and Destiny have played pretty well and Xerxe continues to look like a good use of an import slot. Right now, he has the highest KDA (5.4) of any jungler not named Blaber (5.7)—and third place isn’t particularly close with Santorin’s mark of 4.2.
Mid-split hopefuls: 100 Thieves, TSM, Dignitas
With how open the LCS is after the first round robin, these three teams will have a chance to challenge the upper echelon of the league over the next three weeks.
All three of these squads sit just one game out of first place. But surprisingly enough, Dignitas shined the brightest during the first round robin in comparison to their second-place contemporaries. The team’s bottom lane duo of Neo and Aphromoo has excelled extensively during the early stages of the season, established themselves as one of the most aggressively dominant partnerships in the LCS. Through nine games, Neo and Aphromoo rank first and second, respectively, among all players in the LCS when it comes to KDA with marks of 7.3 and 6.7, according to League stats site Oracle’s Elixir.
100 Thieves, who came into last week tied for first alongside C9, suffered a brutal 1-2 week and will come into week four looking to rebound. They’re 6-3 after their rough outing against Golden Guardians last weekend but will have a chance to immediately re-find their form against another bottom-of-the-barrel squad in CLG to kick off week four. After that matchup, though, the schedule for 100 Thieves ramps up noticeably. Defining games against Dignitas and C9 to close out the weekend will give the team an identity that could either propel 100 Thieves to the top of the LCS or force them to continue their long, grueling climb to first place.
Of these three teams, TSM will play host to the easiest schedule this weekend. A “prove-it” game today against Liquid should give the team a solid boost of momentum if TSM win. The team’s six-game winning streak was halted last weekend by Dignitas, but TSM have a real chance of reclaiming their hot streak if they can take down TL to kick off week four. Two softer games against CLG and FlyQuest should provide enough of a cushion for TSM to get their mojo back after a minor slip-up a few days ago.
Blow for blow: Cloud9, Team Liquid
Although Liquid walked all over C9 this past week, this team still has plenty of work left to do to instill true confidence from its fan base. They’ve shown flashes of greatness throughout te year, but consistency is still something that hasn’t been locked down by this star-studded roster.
They’re still losing to top-five teams like EG, TSM, and 100 Thieves and some of their players haven’t been having a great performance this split. But this past week might have helped them with both momentum and figuring out a true identity they can stick with for the remainder of the split. This team still has a ton of potential, but this lack of direction can hurt them while it persists.
C9, on the other hand, still look like the best team in the league—but the competition is barking and chomping right at their heels. Even still, this team is a well-oiled machine with almost every cog spinning well. Whether it’s Perkz crushing it with Tristana or Blaber popping off across the map, C9 know how to play for their win conditions, they rarely give away leads, and they’re always ready to take advantage of any space given by the enemy team.
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