Three weeks in, the NA and EU LCS aren’t really going like we expected them to before the leagues started. With that said and the number of changes affecting both regions in mind, it’s not like this is a huge surprise.
In the preseason, North America’s franchised League of Legends teams went on a rampage through the rosters of their poorer American brethren, ripping away some of the best mid laners and other great players.
As a result, numerous NA teams have yet to reach their peak form due to the number of kinks that remain to be worked out in their teamwork. The whole EU region was also left scrambling to recover, with some surprising teams coming back to the new season with their feet firmly on the ground while some old favorites are left teetering on the edge of disaster.
Let’s start with North America.
Looking at the table, the most surprising thing in the standings is the poor record from Team SoloMid, the most accomplished League of Legends team in the region.
With a 3-3 score, which meant a great recovery from the disastrous first week of the 2018 NA LCS, TSM is NOT where fans expect them to be.
To be fair, however, the team went through significant changes in the preseason, replacing all but two of their players. The talent they got is significant, but TSM continues to look to the Playoffs. Instead of risking tiring out the players come Playoffs, TSM started practicing a couple of weeks before the Split began, when others started earlier.
Is it any wonder, then, that Team SoloMid is underperforming? Of course not. With that said, they are showing signs of improvement and can be expected to finish the Spring Split in a way befitting TSM’s status as the best League team in the region.
With the roster Paid by Steve, featuring Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, Eugene “Pobelter” Park and Jake “Xmithie” Puchero, Team Liquid is 5-1 to nobody’s surprise. Cloud9 has a strong roster of proven players as well.
The big surprise in the NA LCS so far is Echo Fox. Fans of NA LCS are used to Rick Fox’s team sucking big time. That doesn’t mean that the org doesn’t have fans, though. The personality of the team’s owner makes the brand immediately likeable and useful for the league, giving it a public defender of esports.
With Echo Fox finally winning, any of its old-time fans should feel a great pride for supporting the team through thick and thin. The team’s results even started to fix the bad image the team’s jungler, Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett, earned himself over the last couple of years.
In the second half of the standings are the new or bad teams of the NA LCS, most of them owned by non-Cavaliers NBA orgs. We can’t say that we’re surprised. You can throw money around all you want but that has nothing to do with knowing how to put together a roster.
In week 4, there will be several interesting matches going on. The second match on Saturday will pit Cloud9 against Team Liquid in a battle for the top of the standings. No matter what at least one team will fall from the top after Week 4.
There will also be a couple of interesting matches on Day 2. In the third match, Team SoloMid will face Counter Logic Gaming and Team Liquid will play Echo Fox in the fourth match of the day.
Normally, the el classico of CLG vs. TSM would take the bulk of our interest, especially after Vincent “Biofrost” Wang moved from TSM to CLG, but Echo Fox is extremely fun to watch this Split with Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon in the top lane and Dardoch jungling. That and the high stakes implications of the match for the standings at the top of the bracket after Week 4 makes us look forward to this game more.
For those who were cryogenically frozen in the 2017 Summer Split and woke up before this week’s matches, the current standings in the EU LCS would be something out of this world.
Team Vitality in 1st place is weird, but not totally out of the realm of possibility. After all, it’s been a middle-of-the-pack team for a long time. Giants Gaming with a 4-2 score, though? That’s a shocker. For a long time, Giants have barely trudged along in the LCS, not getting relegated but also failing to do anything significant.
It seems like the upheaval of NA ripping through the top talent from Europe might have allowed Giants to figure out a way to get to the top, at least so far. At this point, anything could still happen, the Split isn’t even halfway done.
It’s extremely jarring to see teams like Fnatic, G2 Esports, H2k-Gaming and Unicorns of Love not fighting for the top spot in the league. While G2 and FNC are doing alright so far, the other two are going through a major crisis.
It looks like Neil “pr0lly” Hammad had a huge impact on the H2k-Gaming team. After he left for NA, H2k looks to be much weaker. To be fair, however, the team’s roster isn’t anywhere close to what we were used to seeing. With players like the ones representing H2k now, even pr0lly would have been hard-pressed to build a truly strong squad.
In Week 4, we will have some interesting matches in the EU LCS. Giants Gaming will face off against Misfits in a battle of the 4-2s, G2 Esports will try to prove that they still deserve a higher seed against FC Schalke 04 and so will Fnatic against Giants Gaming. A time-traveller wouldn’t be excited about these matches, but such is the inverted life we now live.
Photo credit: LoLesports @ flickr.com