With the LCS just around the corner, it's the time to start predicting how teams stack up as we get ready for a new season of professional League of Legends. In case you missed it yesterday, you can find the teams I believe will end up in the bottom five right here.
While yesterday's article had to focus on the shortcomings of some team's, today's will be a bit more positive, as we get to discuss teams that have a good chance of at least making the playoffs, or even going to Worlds. Let's get started with the teams I expect to end up in the top five, starting with #5.
|Top Lane||Samson "Lourlo" Jackson|
|Jungle||Christian "IWillDominate" Rivera|
|Mid Lane||Kim "FeniX" Jae-hoon|
|AD Carry||Chae "Piglet" Gwang-jin|
|Support||Andy "Smoothie" Ta|
On yesterday’s list, I finished with Counter Logic Gaming at #6, but I think these two spots could easily be swapped. Much like CLG, Team Liquid is counting on a couple of star players (FeniX and Piglet) as well as veteran shot-calling from IWillDominate. This strategy should be good enough to get them into the playoffs, but much more than that may be a long-shot.
Liquid is going with a complete rookie in the top lane, and Smoothie, while talented, has yet to really prove himself. IWD is a strong jungler, but isn’t a true star. He’s certainly good enough if the rest of the team plays well, so it’s going to be up to FeniX and Piglet to have monster seasons. If they do, Liquid should be one of the better teams in North America. Anything less than that, and the team will be “merely alright.”
|Top Lane||Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong|
|Jungle||Galen "Moon" Holgate|
|Mid Lane||Lee "GBM" Chang-suk|
|AD Carry||Johnny "Altec" Ru|
|Support||Kevin "Konkwon" Kwon|
The second team to have ties to the NBA, with this one was purchased by co-owners of the Sacramento Kings. There is undeniable talent on NRG, and it could take them a long way. Impact was one of the best top laners in North America last season, and Altec has shown that he can play with any of the ADC’s in the region. GBM was one of Korea’s best mid laners last year, and was a huge pickup for the team.
Where NRG might falter a bit is with their jungler and support. Both players were decent, but nothing special, in the Challenger scene. It’s quite likely that NRG’s game plan will focus heavily on their triple carry threat, expecting Moon and Konkwon to do little more than enable to the other three players to win the game. This isn’t the worst strategy, and teams have won a fair number of games with something similar. However, I have my doubts that it’ll be enough to make them a top 3 team, though it is certainly possible.
|Top Lane||An "Balls" Le|
|Jungle||Lee "Rush" Yoonjae|
|Mid Lane||Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen|
|AD Carry||Zachary "Sneaky" Scuderi|
|Support||Hai "Hai" Lam|
It seems Hai reconsidered his position about wanting to retire, and there’s little doubt that Cloud9 will be better off with him in the lineup. He’ll be playing his third position with the team, now moving to support. There are legitimate questions about the difference between shot-calling from a lane rather than the jungle, but when we consider how long he did so successfully from the mid lane, it shouldn’t be much of a concern.
The team’s weak point appears to be in the top lane, where Balls is no longer the player he once was. However, there was a time when he was one of the best at his position in North America, so it’s not impossibly that he could at least not be a hindrance to his team. Rush was a tremendous addition for the team, and should provide a threat from the jungle C9 hasn’t had since Meteos in season 3. Sneaky has been one of the best ADC’s in the region for quite some time now, and Jensen (formerly Incarnati0n) has proven that his solo queue talents can translate into team play. This team isn’t without its question marks, but on the whole, appears to be quite solid.
|Top Lane||Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon|
|Jungle||Kim "Reignover" Ui-jin|
|Mid Lane||Eugene "Pobelter" Park|
|AD Carry||Jason "WildTurtle" Tran|
|Support||Adrian "Adrian" Ma|
After acquiring the LCS spot of Team Coast, Immortals did one heck of a job putting together a roster. They imported Fnatic’s dynamic duo of Huni and Reignover, making them instantly one of the best top lane/jungle combos in the NA LCS. Pobelter played quite well for CLG last season, and should provide a consistent threat in the mid lane. The one potential area of weakness might be the bottom lane. WildTurtle used to be a great ADC, but has struggled to live up to the bar he set for himself for some time now. Adrian helped Apollo improve in their time together on Team Impulse, but has usually appeared to be little more than an adequate support. Of course, if he can work some magic on Turtle, the bottom lane should be able to hold its own.
Aside from that lane, Immortals looks like a very scary team. We appear to be heading towards a meta where top, jungle, and mid can all accomplish quite a lot in the game, and IMT appears to be very strong in those positions. If they can help WildTurtle recapture some of his former glory, a top 2 spot appears quite likely.
|Top Lane||Kevin "Hauntzer" Yarnell|
|Jungle||Dennis "Svenskeren" Johnsen|
|Mid Lane||Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg|
|AD Carry||Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng|
|Support||Bora "Yellowstar" Kim|
After losing every player except Bjergsen in the offseason, TSM had a lot of work to do in constructing an almost entirely brand new roster. There’s little question that they had an absolutely exceptional offseason while doing so. The addition of Hauntzer gives SoloMid a carry threat in the top lane, without losing the “consistency” that made Dyrus such a respected player. Svenskeren was one of Europe’s best junglers, and was a fantastic addition. The upgrade from WildTurtle to Doublelift at ADC is massive, and helps make TSM much more than just “Bjergsen plus 4 wards.”
One of the most impactful additions, with all that said, has to be Yellowstar. Arguably the best support player in the West, he’ll combine with Doublelift to form what has to be considered the strongest bottom lane in the NA LCS. However, his contributions will extend much further than that. Yellowstar is an excellent shot-caller, and will be taking over those duties for the team. This will free Bjergsen to focus only on his own play, something he’s desired for some time now. This means that the best mid laner in NA could conceivably get even better, which should be a scary thought for the competition.
Before the games are actually played, it’s undeniable that Team SoloMid appears to be the most likely candidate to claim the NA crown.
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