The days of NA LCS being a joke when compared to EU are a thing of the past. With the considerably bigger amounts of investment in the scene, teams managed to buy a lot of expensive Korean top laners, and other players as well in some cases, to build themselves teams that would probably look set to win the whole thing in EU. In NA, however, everything is up in the air with several teams which should have slightly more of a chance than the others.
First up, Team SoloMid, which became a bit weaker from what it was last season due to the loss of Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng while the rest of the the region, or at least most of it, became stronger. TSM still has the best Mid in NA LCS, however, the Jungle power is not on TSM Jungler’s side. Their top laner, Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell is not even the second or third best Top in the region like he used to be. What is worst is that the shot-calling responsibility in the team will probably have to fall on the shoulders of Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg once again, when it was taken over by Doublelift previously. Hopefully, the team can find how to fix it. Without LiftLift, the Bot Lane is likely to be worse than it used to be, even though Jason “WildTurtle” Tran has the mechanics to replace DLift. It’s just that he’s not a particularly… leader-ish… player.
Cloud9 remained just as strong if not becoming stronger than it was in the 2016 Summer Split. An argument could be made that the introduction of Juan “Contractz” Garcia, who’s coming fresh off the win of the Challenger Series with Cloud9 Challenger, is an upgrade from William “Meteos” Hartman, who’s been known to be entirely unsatisfactory towards the end of the 2016 season. With that said, Meteos’ playstyle is actually more fitting than ever before according to what is strong. Who knows, he might come back better than ever. All in all, C9 is still a very strong team, one of the absolute strongest in the region and they should place highly in the upcoming Split.
Immortals. The team which surprised everyone in last year’s regular seasons. Immortals. The team which disappointed everyone in the Playoffs. Immortals. The team which signed Lee “Flame” Ho-Jong and Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett, one of the most valuable resident players in NA, due to being a Jungler, one of the hardest to find roles among native NA players. Even though the Immortals AD Carry is unproven at best, the team still has a very strong core which should help them to successfully compete for the top spot in the Spring Split. With an almost entirely new roster, they should also avoid having choking problems too. Let’s hope that that is the case.
Of course, the NA region is too stacked with expensive players who are supported by mediocre talent to just write the rest of the teams off. We could talk about Echo Fox with Jang “Looper” Hyeong-seok, we could talk about Team Dignitas with Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho and Lee “Chaser” Sang-hyun, we could even talk about Team Liquid and their Kim “Reignover” Ui-jin and Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin. The problem is that most of these teams have one or two exceptional players and the rest are… meh. These teams will be good in the LCS, might even challenge TSM, C9 and Immortals, however, they are doomed in the World Championship. To be honest, everyone is doomed in the World Championship. Why? KT Rolster – Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho, Go “Score” Dong-bin, Heo “PawN” Won-seok, Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu, and Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong. Do you see now? All of this is pointless. Let’s get our knees used to bowing to our Korean overlords.