NA LCS Season 9 spring split power sankings: preseason

BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA - OCTOBER 21: Team Fnatic vs Edward Gaming play during the quaterfinal match of 2018 The League of Legends World Chmpionship at Bexco Auditorium on October 21, 2018 in Busan, South Korea. (Photo by Woohae Cho/Getty Images)
BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA - OCTOBER 21: Team Fnatic vs Edward Gaming play during the quaterfinal match of 2018 The League of Legends World Chmpionship at Bexco Auditorium on October 21, 2018 in Busan, South Korea. (Photo by Woohae Cho/Getty Images) /

The NA LCS may still be in hibernation for a few weeks, but the rosters and coaching staffs are set. Will teams like Liquid and Cloud9 remain at the head of the class, or will upstarts like Golden Guardians or OpTic show their talent?

It’s still a few weeks before the NA LCS Season 9 Spring Split starts up, but the rosters are already starting to come together for a majority of the teams. While some squads still look to be the best (or worst) in the region, others have made enough changes to really shake things up and improve their chances of taking the split championship.

Without further ado, let’s get into it.

10. Golden Guardians

Make no mistake – the Guardians definitely look stronger than they did in Season 8. Acquiring Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell and Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung will certainly shore up some of their weaknesses and give the team more threats to play around.

However, that doesn’t mean they’re strong. Henrik “Froggen” Hansen and Juan “Contractz” Arturo Garcia were unable to carry the roster last year, and it’s not like Hauntzer or Olleh were at the very top of their respective roles. The Guardians have an opportunity to do better this year, but it’ll all come down to how well they mesh together as a team.

More from LCS

9. Echo Fox

It’s a bit of a mixed bag for Echo Fox this time around. Losing Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon is a big deal, but acquiring Colin “Solo” Earnest, Apollo “Apollo” Price, and Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent helps even that out. Since all three came from Clutch Gaming, there should be a good amount of team synergy for Echo Fox to work with, which isn’t something that can be taken lightly.

On top of that, Echo Fox have swapped out Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett for Lee “Rush” Yoon-jae, a move that should guarantee them the jungle pressure they need to get their solo lanes ahead. It wouldn’t be too bold to say that Echo Fox may finally have an opportunity to make a run for a split championship this year with a roster this good.

8. OpTic Gaming

OpTic has made some absolutely huge moves in the offseason, acquiring Lee “Crown” Min-ho as their new mid laner. On top of maintaining Noh “Arrow” Dong-hyeon in the bot lane, OpTic now has two huge threats that they can bring to bear against their opposition, giving them flexibility in how they want to play.

They will still be relying on Dardoch to enable their carry players, which isn’t an optimal scenario, but OpTic look like they could be far more than a disappointing seventh-place team this time around.

7. Cloud9

C9 has certainly seen more downs than ups in this offseason after making the semifinals at Worlds. Losing Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen was a huge hit to the team, but at the very least they do still have Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi to lean on in the bot lane. On top of that, Jensen was replaced by Greyson “GoldenGlue” Gilmer, who can certainly hold down the mid lane. The team will have to play a lot more bot-focused than in years previous, but if any team can pull it off, it’s Cloud9.

6. FlyQuest

FlyQuest certainly has some potential going into this season. Acquiring Eugene “Pobelter” Park is a huge move for the squad, as they’ll finally have a top-tier mid laner to play around and hopefully give them a guaranteed winning lane.

That’s just about all FlyQuest has going on, though. Jason “WildTurtle” Tran and Lucas “Santorin” Larsen were unable to help the team get past the first round of playoffs, and it’s unclear if the rest of the roster has what it takes to propel them further.

5. Team SoloMid

It’s been a long time since TSM’s had more threats than just Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg and whomever they were playing at ADC, and their Season 9 roster isn’t changing that. Their new top laner, Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik, is a bit of an oddball, and breaking up Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodríguez from their bot lane duo looks bad on paper.

Bjergsen is still Bjergsen, but TSM looks the weakest they’ve been in a long time. They’re certainly still contenders, but it’s anyone’s guess as to how high they’ll actually place in the NA LCS this spring.

4. 100 Thieves

100 Thieves have been on the cusp of greatness so many times but always fell just short of their goals. However, their new roster may have a chance of pushing them over the top, as they’ve acquired Bae “Bang” Jun-sik. With SKT’s former ADC on their team, in addition to bringing on Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun to replace Ryu “Ryu” Sang-wook, the Thieves are looking stronger than ever.

Synergy is still a bit of a question mark for the squad, but with this much raw talent you can’t help but think they have a shot at winning an NA LCS split championship.

3. Clutch Gaming

They may have finished ninth in the summer split of last year, but Clutch may have a chance to shine in Season 9. Swapping out Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten for Tanner “Damonte” Damonte is certainly a downgrade, but Clutch now have Huni to rely on in the top lane, in addition to keeping hold of Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin. With two powerful threats on their roster, it’s not like Clutch needs Damonte to carry – they just need him to hold up.

I wouldn’t count on Clutch to leap ahead in the standings based on these improvements, but they’ll almost assuredly become a contender with these swaps.

2. Counter Logic Gaming

CLG was certainly one of the losers of this offseason. Replacing Huhi with Tristan “Power of Evil” Schrage isn’t a huge step back, but Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin’s departure is a blow they’ll certainly feel. Filling his shoes is rookie Raymond “Wiggily” Griffin, which is certainly a hard bargain.

They’ll certainly feel the lack of strength in the jungle, but CLG does still have a veteran top laner and a powerhouse bot lane to rally behind. Look for them as a sneaky team in the NA LCS spring split.

Next. G2 Esports - the dark lords of Europe return. dark

1. Team Liquid

Though they’ve lost Pobelter, Team Liquid still looks to be the strongest team in the NA LCS. Jensen isn’t that big of a step down from Pob, and Liquid has the added advantage of bringing on Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in in the support slot. A world-class support will certainly help enable Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng more, enabling TL to play around their bot lane better while still keeping Impact around as a threat.

On top of that, Liquid’s roster has stayed largely intact over the off-season, allowing them to keep their team’s synergy intact. When compared with the general chaos that most other team rosters have suffered, there’s no doubt that NA’s reigning champions are still looking head-and-shoulders above the rest.

What do you think of our rankings? What teams are you excited to see surprise us in the next year?