The NA LCS survived its first split since switching to a franchise system.
A new champion was crowned and none of the dynasty teams made it to the final. It is a new look for the North American region and a good one at that.
It’s too soon to dream about a World Championship title for the region. The teams are still adapting with new and old organisations establishing themselves under the new format.
Thanks to franchising, no one will be exiting the league. All 10 teams will return to the rift next summer.
Before that, we have the 2018 Mid-Season Invitational to look forward to. This tournament will provide a good indication of whether the NA LCS teams are something to write home about.
The spring left us with surprising results. The winners are now losers and the new kids in town are taking over. Each team has a different story to tell and adjustments to make before the summer arrives.
As we wait for the Summer Split, Final Kill considers each team’s chances in the second half of the 2018 season.
2018 Summer Split predictions
The Spring Split is over, the winners have mid-season tournaments to attend and the losers have time to reflect.
Those teams that couldn’t perform are now focused on fixing their issued ahead of the Summer Split. However, even for those that topped the table in the Spring Split, there’s plenty of room for improvement.
Based on their Spring Split results and what the teams showed, the Summer Split standings could end up looking something like this:
1. Team Liquid
Team Liquid may have won their first NA LCS title, but now they must prove that they’re worthy champions.
Entering the Summer Split as champions, Team Liquid will represent North America in the Mid-Season Invitational ahead of the second half of the 2018 season. This will be the first international event of the year and the pressure will be on them to do well.
Team Liquid will return to the Summer Split as winners or losers. The result could affect the team’s mentality. If they get a positive result, it’s a second major victory and a pass to the World Championship.
2. Echo Fox
Echo Fox started the season on a good note. Throughout the Spring Split, Echo Fox was a dominant team that only few could take down.
Just like Cloud9, they were on top until they started losing. Both the mid laner and the support were underperforming. They were eventually replaced, but the negative results kept coming.
Rick Fox’s team finished third. As a result, they will represent the North America region at Rift Rivals. They will travel to their first international tournament before returning for the Summer Split.
Echo Fox offers plenty of promise, but as a team, they have work on their communication.
3. 100 Thieves
Little was expected of this new organisation. They had a good structure and experienced players. However, few predicted that this roster would make it as far as they did. 100 Thieves proved them wrong.
They finished the regular season in first place and made it all the way to the final. In the end, Team Liquid took the title, but 100 Thieves will be seeking revenge in the Summer Split.
As an organisation, they proved to be solid and as a team they put fear in everyone’s hearts.
After an impressive first split, great things are surely coming for this team.
4. Counter Logic Gaming
One of the most popular teams in the NA LCS. Counter Logic Gaming couldn’t find the right strategy until it was too late.
They started the Spring Split with a negative record, but they managed to turn things around. On week nine they still had a small chance to qualify for playoffs. They didn’t make it in the end, but they’re on the right path.
Shot calling was an issue for Counter Logic Gaming. The job finally landed on Vincent “Biofrost” Wang, support and new member of the squad. Biofrost’s shot calling skills brought the team back to life.
CLG will open their new training facility soon. A new environment, combined with a new strategy, could provide that final push that the team needs.
It was a good split until it wasn’t for the boys in sky blue. Cloud9 started the Spring Split as the clear frontrunners. For several weeks they held on to second place, but after a couple of key loses, ended the split in sixth.
Eric “Licorice” Ritchie, the rookie top laner, was key to some of Cloud9’s victories. However, as the Split progressed, the top laner struggled to keep up.
We can expect Cloud9 to come back stronger than ever. The squad knows its strengths and weaknesses, which will serve them well in the summer.
6. Team SoloMid
TSM is considered the most popular team in the NA LCS. Through the years, the team has had plenty of successes in the region.
Only few teams could go head to head against TSM. Unfortunately though, their domestic success hasn’t translated into international titles.
As a result, having failed to make an impressive at the 2017 World Championship, the organisation replaced three of its five players ahead of the Spring Split.
The new TSM looks awkward on the rift and it shows in their results. They finished fifth after losing against Clutch Gaming of all times.
TSM must return to the rift with more synergy and a better strategy. It’s time to prove that changing the roster wasn’t a huge mistake.
7. Clutch Gaming
This is another new organisation that exceeded expectations in its first split. Nobody believed that Clutch Gaming would perform as well as they did during the off-season.
They had a European star, a Korean jungler and three all-American players. It’s a decent roster, but it wasn’t decent enough to convince the analysts. Most put Clutch Gaming at the bottom but they ended up in fourth place.
They missed out on a place at Rift Rivals, but they have time to train for Summer Split.
The Clutch Gaming players don’t like to show off and don’t attract much attention. However, this roster makes little to no mistakes. Next split they will adjust the final pieces and hopefully show their true potential.
We could see Clutch Gaming going to the World Championship.
Playing it too safe was the final nail in the FlyQuest coffin. The team had strong performances, but the players often hesitated and didn’t pull the trigger. Not taking risks essentially cost them the entire Split.
FlyQuest has everything that it needs to be a top team, but they need to take the final step. If they overcome their fears, we could see a completely different FlyQuest next summer.
9. Golden Guardians
The predictions about Golden Guardians were right. The team in yellow and blue couldn’t find their pace during the split.
Golden Guardians finished the Spring Split in 10th place. However, there’s only room for improvement at this point.
They did produce some good performances in the second half of the Split. If they can get back into that mentality, they should come out of the Summer Split with a better result.
10. OpTic Gaming
OpTic’s Spring Split didn’t go as intended. The team finished 9th with a record of three wins and 15 loses. As a result, the organization decided to replace Derek “zig” Shao, the top laner and Daerek “LemonNation” Hart, the support.
There’s plenty of room for improvement during the Summer Split. Armed with a new-look roster, the team will be hoping for better results during the summer.
Heading to the 2018 LoL World Championship
These results would mean that Team Liquid, Echo Fox and 100 Thieves would represent the NA LCS in the World Championship.
However, these positions aren’t set in stone. Team SoloMid will be trying their best to find a way back to the top and Echo Fox will also be out for blood in the Summer Split.