A new season of League of Legends has begun and I've marked my schedule busy for the next ten or so weeks. Introducing Neoseeker's LCS 2014 Spring Split Power Rankings, a weekly series where the LCS teams are evaluated and ranked based on their current strength. Win/loss standings serve their purpose, but this list focuses on the week-to-week fluctuations for each team as they mature or fall apart. Honesty's always the best policy.
Both the European and North American LCS will be covered, separate at first though perhaps a joined list may be fun in the long run. Each team's rank will be accompanied by a short description related to the team's performance that week. In the following weeks the description will be accompanied by the numbers showing whether the team has moved up or down, as well as their win/loss ratio for that week.
Now that we've covered the details, let's get to the rankings.
1.) Fnatic and Cloud 9
- Fnatic - Hooray for the EU LCS' only team to have a perfect record one week in. Some might say the secret to Fnatic's wins are the steady, but aggressive play of their solo-laners Xpeke and sOAZ, but the stats don't lie -- bot-lane duo Rekkles and Yellowstar had zero deaths through three games and carried in the fourth as well. Hint to all Fnatic opponents going forward: ban Jinx!
- Cloud 9 - Here they are to dominate again! Time for a perfect season, so get ready everyone -- oh, wait, hold that thought. They've gone and lost to Dignitas. After a surprisingly rich strategic game against Team SoloMid where Hai's Teemo laced the map with mushrooms, controlling the map with precision. In other games Cloud 9's true strength became apparent, with all team members contributing and carrying. The 2014 season is Cloud 9's to lose.
2.) Gambit Gaming and Team SoloMid
- Gambit Gaming - Gambit Gaming typically comes out swinging every time a new season or tournament starts. Sadly, that wasn't so in their first matchup against Fnatic. They seemed to stumble with the new meta, but soon bounced back onto their feet. With a mix of Warwick top-lane and, of course, Jinx bot-lane, GG are still stuck at number 2, but much stronger than any team below. Question for the future: has the team struggled with Edward returning to the team?
- Team SoloMid - Bjergson's addition at mid is absolutely an improvement over the talented-but-dangerous plays of Reginald. The question is whether the team will form around Bjergson in the same way. The answer, unfortunately, is unclear. Preferring a high-aggression, scrappy play-style should keep TSM ahead of most teams, but do they have the planning and organization to compete with the best?
3.) ROCCAT and Dignitas
- ROCCAT - Here comes the odd part of our European Power Rankings. See, ROCCAT beat Millenium, Millenium beat SK, SK beat Copenhagen Wolves and the Wolves beat ROCCAT. In terms of win/loss ratio there's really not much separating these four teams. ROCCAT's position is certainly the most tenuous on the list, but best of luck to these guys.
- Dignitas - Why Dignitas at #3? Because no one else earned it. After losing to both Counter Logic Gaming and Team SoloMid, Dignitas regained their bearings playing against Team Coast and then won the week with their huge upset victory over Cloud 9. Want to know the secret? They lost the games they didn't have Jinx and won both games they did get her. Also, for goodness sake, have Scarra play Gragas every game.
4.) Millenium and Counter Logic Gaming
- Millenium - Yes, the big surprise of the list! Millenium at number four? Yet despite Millenium's 1-3 record they do indeed look like this list's fourth best team. Their big losses went to both Gambit Gaming and Fnatic, a heck of a way to start off week won, followed by a sound defeat at the hands of ROCCAT. Honestly, they would be lower, but they dismantled SK when they played each other. Considering Millenium's been beaten by the best, it's hard to say they belong anywhere lower than fourth.
- Counter Logic Gaming - What kind of team is Counter Logic Gaming? We don't know. Dexter, the team's starting jungler, is still having visa issues. Instead, HotshotGG came out of retirement to play mid and Link rotated to jungle. Did they do well? Yes and no, but that's always been the case with CLG, hasn't it? Hopefully Dexter arrives soon and we get to see just what kind of team CLG really is.
5.) SK Gaming and Curse
- SK Gaming - Ah, if only they had beaten Millenium! Defeating both Copenhagen Wolves and Super Hot Crew persuasively, but falling behind in their matches against Fnatic and Millenium, SK's future remains unclear. Jungler Svenseken performed poorly in all of the matches, while mid-lane Jesiz had polar performances -- outstanding as Kassadin, but disappointing as Ahri. The truth, as it usually goes with SK, depends on how well CandyPanda and nRated do bot lane. Always a mixed bag.
- Curse - Experienced enough to beat Team Coast and XDG in week one, but without the teamwork and leadership needed to take on Team SoloMid or even the troubled Counter Logic Gaming. Voyboy's mid-laning is exceptional, but counterable (CLG's Nidalee vs. Kha'Zix and TSM's Leblanc vs. Riven). Can Curse win games when Voyboy's champion pool gets banned out? That's a lot of weight on Cop and Quas' shoulders.
6.) Copenhagen Wolves and Team Coast
- Copenhagen Wolves - Someone had to get the short end of the stick of the four mid-teir teams in the EU LCS and that team is the Copenhagen wolves. Yes, they did beat ROCCAT, but they still have a long way to go in order to prove they can be competitive week-to-week with the best teams in Europe.
- Team Coast - They beat XDG and Evil Geniuses and lost to Curse and Dignitas. They might have earned the fifth place spot if their losses hadn't been so persuasive. While their bot-lane is suspect, ZionSpartan has the potential to carry and Shiphtur may be the best mid-laner in North America.
7.) Super Hot Crew and XDG
- Super Hot Crew - Meet this year's European team that you really want to see do well, but probably isn't there yet. Losing to Gambit Gaming, SK, and ROCCAT, but defeating Alliance, there may be something to Super Hot Crew that we've yet to see. Mr RalleZ's Lucien and Caitlyn certainly won't be happy with the team's 1-3 record. Maybe a rough start is just what these guys need to kick them into gear.
- XDG - Previously known as Vulcun, XDG started off great with a win off of Evil Geniuses, who were thought to be a strong contender. Unfortunately neither team would be seeing many positives with regards to week one. After losing to Cloud 9, they also lost to Curse and Team Coast. Much of the team's strength seems to hinge on Mancloud's ability to carry, which it seems other teams are starting to figure out. Really, there's nowhere else to go but up from here for XDG.
8.) Alliance and Evil Geniuses
- Alliance - Fan favorites, the newly reformed Alliance, started off with an 0-4 record losing to both top teams like Fnatic and ROCCAT, as well as lower teams like the Copenhagen Wolves and the Super Hot Crew. While mid-lander Froggen seemed to perform decently, top-laner Wickd and support Nyph took the brunt of the damage in their matches. The question they have to ask themselves now is: can we do better?
- Evil Geniuses - While EG managed to sneak a win off the unorganized and unpracticed CLG, nothing else came easy for the newly transported European team. A scrappy match with Team SoloMid was perhaps their best showing, but losses to XDG and Team Coast were surprisingly slanted. I bet they're hoping they never have to see Shiphtur's Leblanc ever again.
Keep in mind that Power Rankings represent the current identifiable strength rankings of LCS teams for the given week. They are not predictions and they aren't simply a reproduction of the current LCS standings. Some teams will look better or worse from week to week, so take these "Power Rankings" with a grain of salt. It's all for fun!
Make sure to post your personal LCS predictions in our forums where the community is already having a heated discussion about who will come out on top.
Follow Rory Young on Twitter @bluexy or read his news, reviews and features every day here at Neoseeker.