The LCS lock-in tournament concluded this past weekend with a preseason champion being crowned. Team Liquid looked dominant across all phases of the competition as CoreJJ lead the team to victory in a relatively easy back-to-back series. Cloud9 showed glimpses of brilliance alongside Perkz’s heroics on champions like Yone. Evil Geniuses and 100 Thieves showcased themselves as legitimate threats despite their shortcomings in the semi-finals, and FlyQuest even felt like a promising roster once their starting jungler was added to the mix.
In this LCS Power Rankings, we will look at the current best teams (in order) within NA and determine the most key player on each organization as all ten teams reinforce their rosters for another chance at glory in this new season.
1. Team Liquid
(Key Player: CoreJJ – Support)
The LCS Lock-in champions deserve all the flowers after their aggressive outing in the semifinal and final of this event. CoreJJ enjoyed plaudits this tournament as the sole player to receive four MVP of the match titles at the tournament’s end.
His bot lane pairing with Tactical has proven even more fearsome than last season as they are routinely putting enemy laners to shame with their mechanical outplays. Not to mention the rest of their map is technically sound and each player has legitimate claims to being the best or second-best player in the region.
Alphari showed he was leaps and bounds ahead of the competition in the finals when he routinely had Fudge down by insane CS deficits. His versatility in play and cohesion alongside Santorin will take TL from a good LCS team to a great international team if they can continue this upward trajectory for the rest of the season. Team Liquid already have all the tools in place to become a powerhouse domestically, but this year is all about the next step.
(Key Player: Perkz – Mid)
If the LCS lock-in tournament taught us anything, it’s that it takes a village to win a title in any region, and North America is no exception to the rule. Cloud9 seemed on the verge of another reverse sweep in the finals, but the obstacles were too much to overcome with certain players hemorrhaging leads against their superior counterparts.
The bright side for this young C9 team is they’re still incredibly young. Fudge looked rough around the edges in this tournament, but everyone on C9’s staff is adamant about his growth. Blaber in many regards is still the best mechanical Jungler in the league. Not only that, but Zven and Vulcan proved they are a force to be reckoned with bot lane still.
Of all the bot lanes that can attempt to hold a candle to Team Liquid, Cloud9 is best equipped to put out the flame, but not just yet. To improve over the course of the year, C9 will need to play the long game with their results and focus on player development in the long term if they hope to surpass their rival TL on the LCS 2021 Power Rankings.
3. 100 Thieves
(Key Players: FBI & Huhi – ADC & Support)
While anyone who watched the LCS lock-in would concur that 100 Thieves’ Korean top laner Ssumday is the most valuable player on this LCS Power Rankings list, the players who will take 100T from a meandering semifinal team into a top two contender within the league belong in the bot lane.
All preseason long, 100T’s Head Coach Zikz sang the praises of every individual on his team, but especially his Support Huhi, who he formerly played with back on CLG where he role swapped from Mid lane. In his new outfit alongside his duo partner, Huhi is regularly seen as one of the more proactive Supports in NA as he has taken a young Australian ADC in FBI and molded him into one of the most mechanically gifted AD’s in the region.
To compliment the Aussie’s impact on the game, 100T’s Turkish jungler Closer has been a revelation since his breakout split last year in 2020. 100 Thieves lost the razor close series against C9 after making a flurry of mistakes in the final three games. However, they did have the wherewithal to take two games from their opponent with Ssumday hard carrying on carry champions. Once the rest of 100T gets on the same page with their new top laner, this team should be a definitive lock for the World Championship.
4. Evil Geniuses
(Key Player: Impact – Top)
Evil Geniuses were looking like one of the strongest teams in the league after their group stage win over C9, but they faltered against an overpowered Team Liquid shortly after in the knockout stages.
Impact proved he has worth every penny of his transfer and then some with his performances during the preseason. The former World Champion used to be known as a strict tank player, but the diversification of his picks in recent years has shown he is very much the full package when it comes to elite talent in the top lane.
The deficiencies for this team come from the newness of a roster that hasn’t fully developed yet. While Deftly looked impressive in small bursts, it was obvious his synergy with IgNar needs further development if they hope to crack into a top-three position later on in the year.
For now, EG are relying on their former Academy ADC to pull the strings together in his professional outing for Evil Geniuses. Nurturing his growth over the course of 2021 will be the difference-maker for whether or not EG advance or drop down on the LCS Power Rankings.
(Key Player: Huni – Top)
While TSM’s roster was highly sought after this offseason with the departure of Bjergsen and Doublelift, the new changes for their team haven’t gone over the best with fans after a disappointing quarter final outing against Cloud9.
While PowerOfEvil managed to show his consistency in lane, the real issues for TSM came during the mid-game team fights where Huni and the rest of the team failed to ever be in sync. This time around, Head Coach Bjergsen will need to iron out the kinks for his squad as they face a rabid fan base and high expectations once again given the amount of money they shelled out on players this past offseason.
The reason why TSM rank lower than EG on the LCS Power Rankings has to do with consistency across lanes. Huni and Lost were regularly getting beaten by their lane counterparts in certain games and in order for them to not lose games on a weekly basis in a best-of-one setting, they most do better to straighten out those early game frailties before they become a massive bust within the league.
(Key Player: Josedeodo – Jungle)
FlyQuest looked abysmal in their first few games without their starting jungler this preseason. Once he joined the fray, FlyQuest looked like a legitimate force to be reckoned with as they made quick work of Immortals and Dignitas after previously going 0-2 in groups without him.
Going forward, FlyQuest have a serious team on their hands that can compete with the likes of Evil Geniuses and TSM if they put their minds together. Licorice is still very clearly an elite level top laner after his showings in landing phase this tournament.
Once players like Palafox and Diamond develop their confidence, a top-four finish for FlyQuest could be in reach as they look to climb their way up the LCS 2021 Power Rankings by hook or by crook.
7. Counter Logic Gaming
(Key Player: Broxah – Jungle)
While Counter Logic Gaming suffered one of the worst records of the lock-in tournament, we have to caveat those losses with the fact they were down two starters due to visa issues. For whatever reason, there is confidence within this CLG lineup because it’s one of the few teams that have no rookies to nurture on the roster.
Once Finn and Broxah make their arrival from EU, there is a high chance CLG can put together wins over low tier teams as they rely on experience to get them their wins, instead of raw talent alone. Pobelter, WildTurtle, Smoothie and Broxah have all been part of championship-winning teams at one point or another.
If they develop confidence early, this could be a team that makes playoffs by regularly beating the younger competition they are entrenched with. Time will tell if veteran-ship is as important as it seems within the LCS based on CLG’s results.
(Key Player: Dardoch – Jungle)
Dignitas find themselves with the eighth spot on our LCS Power Rankings due to their project in place. While the bottom teams of the LCS seem to just have put players together with whatever budget they could muster, Dignitas have opted for a North American centric roster that can develop for the future.
Both Soligo and FakeGod were Academy talents who briefly got opportunities to play on the LCS stage last year but had little chance to make a name for themselves. This year, they have the opportunity to play a full split and develop as starters with a supporting cast of veterans to aide in growth.
Aphromoo and Dardoch will be crucial to getting these young players like Neo and FakeGod to thrive. With the proper pacing and development, this could be a roster that develops into a good enough team to take the final playoff spot come the end of the year.
(Key Player: Insanity & Revenge, Mid + Top lane)
This Immortals roster was yet another roster that became plagued by visa issues, which forced two players from IMT Academy to come in as substitutes during the lock-in tournament.
Portuguese Head Coach Guilhoto hopes to have a Jose Mourinho-esque effect on this team as he imported an Oceanic bot lane to pair up with the European import Xerxe in jungle. However, the most fundamental piece of the puzzle in order for this Immortals roster to actually work will revolve around Insanity finally getting comfortable enough in mid lane to carry and live up to his name.
For years now, Insanity has been a solo queue beast that has yet to be unleashed on the LCS stage, let’s hope 2021 is the year he can turn things around and solidify himself as one of the next best North American mids who can actually compete with the imports.
10. Golden Guardians
(Key Player: Stixxay – ADC)
From the start of the offseason, Golden Guardians roster announcement was met with plenty of head-scratching and “who’s?” with good reason. A few players on this roster are directly picked up from the collegiate scene in North America, which is a scouting first for the region.
On top of that, Golden Guardians took a page from the FlyQuest book of importing as they signed Argentinian Support Newbie to their roster to pair alongside Stixxay, their lone veteran. While Newbie has been playing professionally for a few years in the Latin American scene, the LCS is a different beast entirely.
Over the course of the group stage lock-in games, Golden Guardians looked out of sorts as their solo laners had very little room to work with. Game after game, the advantages were lopsided and not within their favor as Stixxay became the lone saving grace for the team, and still failed in some instances due to the lack of cohesion on the roster.