The EU LCS adopted a new format for their region at the start of the Spring Split that separated their ten teams into two divisions of five. After last split’s top two teams, H2K-Gaming and G2 eSports initially drafted the teams into two groups, the teams would play two best of three series against teams in their division and one with those against in the other division. By limiting the opportunity to play some of the other top teams in the region to only one series, the EU LCS has unintentionally limited their top teams when compared to the format of the NA LCS.
It all started with a draft. G2 Esports and H2K Gaming each drafted one team for the other’s group, and then that team would continue the draft. When the dust settled, Group A consisted of G2 eSports, Fnatic, Misfits, Giants Gaming, and Team Roccat. In Group B we found H2K, Splyce, Unicorns of Love, Team Vitality, and Origen. While the groups appeared to be almost equal in strength at the beginning of the season, as the season has progressed this initial projection did not prove true.
With a top tier of three teams that includes G2, UoL, and H2K Gaming, naturally there will be an imbalance. When you add in Splyce and Misfits, teams such as G2 are at a disadvantage competitively as they are only able to play three of the other top four teams only once the entire split. This is a disadvantage when compared to other regions such as NA, where teams have the opportunity to play all of the other top teams twice on stage. By not having multiple opportunities to play the other top teams on stage, you are limiting the growth and experience of your team.
The format also creates an irregular schedule for the teams where they are not playing at least two series each week. Unlike the NA LCS, teams may only play one game per week, once again limiting their growth and ability to gain stage experience. This is due to the fact that teams will only play a total of thirteen series, five less than their counterparts in NA. For those teams with aspirations of international success, more time on stage can only help them to be better prepared.
The EU LCS format also only takes the three best teams from each division, regardless of whether or not those are the six best teams overall. While this might not be an issue in the current split, ideally you want your six best teams in the playoffs regardless of what group they are in. A playoff atmosphere is very different from that of the regular season, with increased energy and pressure. Making sure your best teams are in the playoffs is vital to improving the strength of the region.
The EU LCS format, while an improvement from the old best of two series, is still not ideal for the growth of the top teams in the region. Moving to a model that is similar to the NA LCS would be a smart move for the EU LCS to make at the end of the season. Limiting teams such as G2 to only one opportunity to play teams such as H2K Gaming and Unicorns of Love on stage is a mistake that should be remedied in order to increase the strength of the region.
CLICKON eSports Totally-Legit Global Power Rankings
Misfits would've exploded on to the European LoL scene in an unprecedented fashion... had G2 eSports not done it better last year.
An immediate contender on the international stage despite never playing on the international stage, Misfits have quickly become a fan favourite behind the play of their charismatic Jungler, Lee "KaKao" Byung-Kwon.
Second place in NA, accounts to 9th in a global power ranking. Despite consistently struggling international, Cloud9 qualified from the group stages of the last World Championship, a sign of their emerging global dominance.
8. Edward Gaming
When looking for a World Championship contender in the LPL, the best place to start is to look for a team with two Koreans. Currently tied at the top of the Standings, EDG wisely avoided embarrassment at IEM Katowice by feigning visa issues and hid their “always fighting” strategy that has carried them to the top of the Chinese LoL scene. No power ranking is compete without EDG - no one even watches the Chinese league anyway... they could be insane for all we know.
7. Flash Wolves
The kryptonite to the Korean Supermen, Flash Wolves looks poised to once again make a deep run in the World Championship Group Stage. Although admittedly overrated by one of our experts, Flash Wolves may have the best Jungle/Mid pairing outside of Korea. "What are we basing that on?" Shut up.
6. KT Rolster
Rumour has it that just a whisper of the name “KT Rolster” is enough to make Christopher “Montecristo” Mykles turn red in the cheeks and begin to perspire. The new Korean super team, KT Rolster have the ability to conquer the world of League of Legends... you know, if they actually qualify this time.
5. SK Telecom T1
After losing one series to the Afreeca Freecs, it’s tempting to drop the reigning World Champions SKT completely from the rankings. You think ranking them 4th is insulting ESPN!? We've gone one step further. Recent video of star Mid laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok dominating solo queue on Teemo may show a return to form, and what will likely be another another must-ban champion moving forward.
4. Team Liquid
A team loaded with talent, Team Liquid is a clear favourite to challenge for that elusive spot in the NA Promotion Tournament. With a rumoured role swap of Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin to mid lane, look out for a dramatic surge by Liquid towards the middle of the NA standings on the backs of their Korean superstars. If they qualify for an international event, it's a given that they will finish 4th - that's just how the world works.
3. BBQ Olivers
Any team passing fried chicken to their fans before a game clearly knows what it takes to win a World Championship. After seasons toiling near the bottom of the LCK as Ever, a name change proved to be the key difference in their recent rise in performance; a model others may look to as they search for ways to reach the pinnacle of eSports.
2. G2 eSports
As the undisputed number one team in what is arguably the strongest region, it is hard not to have G2 anywhere other than the top of the Global Rankings. With NA’s Counter Logic Gaming unlikely to make the World Championships this year, the door is finally open for G2 to dominate on the international stage.
1. Team SoloMid
Team SoloMid is clearly the best team in the world right now, just ask any TSM fan. The only question for a team loaded with talent in every position, is if they could ever drop a game at the World Championships with Peter “Doublelift” Peng back in the roster - it just wouldn't be fair on the competition. TSM will likely make a spectacle of it by playing WildTurtle, it will please their sponsors.