I had been looking forward to this for the last month, finally getting to watch the first week of the League of Legends Championship Series season over the weekend, watching teams over- or under-perform compared to their previous tournament. The first day in particular was teeming with upsets that helped set the stage for some interesting standing situations.
One-hundred Thieves and Cloud9 both emerged from the first week undefeated, surprising virtually nobody. C9 was downright dominant, taking over their games in the first 10 minutes every time. Their jungler, Robert “Blaber” Huang, continued his upwards trajectory, earning player of the game in all three games and the LCS player of the week award. They’ve settled on playing to the top side of the map, stopping players from getting advantages over Fudge in the top lane and letting the overall superiority of their mid- and bot-lanes scale into the late game.
Meanwhile, 100 Thieves had to fight for their place at the top. Their opening game against Evil Geniuses was brutal as they played behind for literally 40 minutes before scraping together advantages and eventually winning. Their match against CLG was mostly the same, as they came away with the win after CLG threw away their gold advantage over the course of the last 20 minutes. It wasn’t until their third game against Dignitas where they finally got to showcase the ability to win early, gaining a gold lead and never letting it falter as they closed out a 30-minute victory. Their bot laner Ian Victor “FBI” Huang has notably looked really good, able to contend with the better bot laners in the league.
The next two in the standings are predictably Evil Geniuses and Team Liquid at 2-1. EG bounced back from their opening day loss to 100 Thieves and overcame an early deficit to beat FlyQuest before convincingly squashing Golden Guardians off the back of their world champion top laner Jeong “Impact” Eon-young. Team Liquid also suffered a shocking opening day upset to Immortals before coming online against Dignitas and FlyQuest, beating them soundly. They reminded viewers that they are indeed an already formidable team with a major upgrade in their top laner Barney “Alphari” Morris.
Standing spots 5-9 are all sitting at 1-2, made up of Dignitas, FlyQuest, Golden Guardians, Immortals, and TSM. Only Immortals have the notable upset against Liquid, while the other teams’ wins come against each other. Dignitas’ roster has looked solid and definitely has enough good points to develop into a good team. FlyQuest have had a notable acquisition in their jungler Brandon Joel “Josedeodo” Villegas who has looked like a one-man army on his best days. Golden Guardians are largely held back by their top laner Aiden “Niles” Tidwell, who despite having a very feel-good story about his entering the LCS, was straight run over in their two losses. Immortals have their upset to look back on during top laner Mohamed “Revenge” Kaddoura’s LCS debut where he stood up to Alphari and legitimately looked like the superior player. TSM is the outlier on this list, looking on the low end of mediocre on their best days. Their one win was against last place CLG in a game where literally any other team would have beat them. Coached by Bjergsen and with relatively big names on the team, one can only wonder what’s holding them back.
CLG rounds out the standings, emerging as the only winless team. It hasn’t looked great. They benched their starting mid laner just before the season started, opting to run out rookie Alexey “rjs” Zatorski. They are also still waiting for their jungler Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen to work out his visa issues and join the team. His stand-in Griffin has been a liability. They have seemingly played their early games well, but have not been able to transition it into a victory yet.
Week two looks destined to shake up the standings. C9 has games against EG and 100 Thieves and 100 Thieves has a match against Team Liquid as well. Both C9 and 100 Thieves have a chance to break away from the pack, making the other have to play catch up.