10. Golden Guardians
- Top lane: Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell
- Jungle: Can “Closer” Çelik
- Mid lane: Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer
- Bot lane: Victor “FBI” Huang
- Support: Yuri “Keith” Jew
Starting at the bottom we have the Golden Guardians ("GGS"). Since their introduction into the LCS, GGS has suffered from mediocrity and haven't accomplished much. In fact, they've only made it to playoffs one time in their four-split existence. Their current roster looks as though it will continue on this tradition.
Hauntzer is a staple name in the LCS by now, formerly playing on the TSM roster that dominated North America for multiple splits. Meanwhile, Goldenglue has accumulated quite a following from his time on Cloud9. He did play on the Worlds stage but always played second fiddle to Jensen and Nisqy.
The rest of the GGS roster is hard to accurately judge. FBI experienced some success in the Oceanic region but hasn't shown that same level in NA. On the other hand, Closer was a dominant player in the TCL but is also unproven in the LCS. He fell to Clutch Gaming in last year's World Championship in 0-3 fashion. Finally, Keith is a decent Academy player but has little main stage experience. He also is role-swapping from ADC, which makes things potentially worse. In the higher level of LCS, its hard to back these players against the likes of the other teams.
It's not impossible that GGS causes some upsets, but overall, they look quite weak. Their big-name talents aren't the same caliber as many other recognizable players and its hard to say how their other players will perform here. It won't be easy for them this split, but its all the more likely they continue their trend of being a bottom-tier team.
- Top lane: Paul “sOAZ” Boyer
- Jungle: Jake “Xmithie” Puchero
- Mid lane: Jérémy “Eika” Valdenaire
- Bot lane: Johnny “Altec” Ru
- Support: Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent
They're returning to the LCS after a few years away, but things don't look all that great for Immortals ("IMT"). Their most notable players are without a doubt sOAZ and Xmithie. These two are exceptional players with rich histories in League of Legends pro play. For the last two years, sOAZ was on a world-class Fnatic roster, while Xmithie played an integral role in Team Liquid's domestic dominance. Similarly to GGS though, their bottom side of the map is less convincing.
Eika is most recently from the French LFL, and despite having a fantastic track record there, he hasn't played against tier-one teams in a long time. Altec and Hakuho are familiar names in the LCS, but all in all don't show too much potential. The teams they've been on have mainly middle-of-the-pack, with some outlying higher tournament results. They're decent players but definitely a step below others like Doublelift, Zven or Stixxay.
But this isn't to say that they'll be a bad team. They all have quite a bit of experience and know how to tango with the best. Their top and jungle are exceptionally skilled players, and with them around, its possible IMT succeeds. Unfortunately, it's hard to say that it will happen with so many question marks surrounding the team.
- Top lane: Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon
- Jungle: Jonathan “Grig” Armao
- Mid lane: Henrik “Froggen” Hansen
- Bot lane: Johnson “Johnsun” Nguyen
- Support: Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black
Next up is Dignitas, who took over Clutch Gaming's LCS spot. They retained Huni from their World's miracle-run roster, but the rest of the squad is new. They're new to the team but faces most fans should at least recognize. Of course, Huni is the main focus of this roster, as he's grown a huge fan base throughout his years in pro play. But he isn't always the best to rely on. He has a reputation of being a coinflip player; either hard carrying or running it down his games. He can be stellar, but his lows are very low.
After him is Froggen. Known for his unique champion pool, Froggen has relatively high carry potential. He hasn't always been on the best rosters but does manage to stand out no matter where he is. As for the rest of the team, they're more up in the air. Aphromoo was an incredible player in his prime, but his last stint on 100 Thieves left much to be desired. Indeed, he was the focus of a lot of criticism. Grig is in a similar boat, having some success on TSM but struggling during that time at points too.
Lastly, Johnsun is difficult to put a lot of faith behind. There's not much to see with him; he placed well in the 2017 Tyler1 Championship Series and helped TSM Academy get fourth in the 2019 Summer Split. But seeing as this is all, it's unlikely he can stand up to the best ADCs in the league.
If Huni, Froggen and Aphromoo are on top of their game, this team can be threatening. But if the stars don't align they're probably going to be low in the standings.
- Top lane: Omran “V1per” Shoura
- Jungle: Lucas “Santorin” Tao Kilmer Larsen
- Mid lane: Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage
- Bot lane: Jason “WildTurtle” Tran
- Support: Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun
At the seventh-place spot is FlyQuest. Their history in the LCS hasn't been the brightest, but have shown some signs of brilliance. In particular, Santorin made a name for himself in recent years as a top jungler in NA for his consistently high level of play. He's considered the star of this team by many and will be a huge carry in the Spring Split.
After him, PowerOfEvil is the name that sticks out. Many viewers will remember his time in the EU LCS as well as the LCS. He's a great player with the potential to hard carry games when he needs to, though he does have some flaws. V1per is returning to the team too, he's someone who has done some amazing things on the Rift but also felt lackluster at points.
Finally, we come to the bottom lane. Wildturtle and IgNar have successful histories in LoL pro play, but as of late haven't been on top of their game. This isn't to say they're bad players, far from it, but their recent season performances have left a lot to be desired. FlyQuest can break out of the middle of the LCS standings, but the safest bet is to place them here for now.
6. 100 Thieves
- Top lane: Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho
- Jungle: William “Meteos” Hartman
- Mid lane: Tommy “ry0ma” Le
- Bot lane: Sun “Cody Sun” Li-Yu
- Support: William “Stunt” Chen
100 Thieves' LCS stay has been up and down, but they're looking to rebound this year off of a very low year. With the roster they've assembled, they're very likely to do so. After benching their top laner last year due to import-player restrictions, Ssumday is back at last. The Korean powerhouse gained quite a large fan base through his time in Korea and on 100T for his superb individual performances.
Secondly, Meteos is returning to 100T too. He's a very intelligent jungler and was actually a major reason the team made their best playoffs run in 2018. Known for smart pathing and controlling the jungle, Meteos is one of NA's best and will be a player to watch in 2020. Cody Sun is another star on the roster, though he's been undersold in the past, he is capable of being a premier late-game carry, no matter the circumstances.
Ry0ma and Stunt are the potential weak points on the team. Though Ry0ma found great success in the Oceanic league, he hasn't had the same experience against major regions that most other LCS mids have. On the other hand, Stunt has played for a while but has fluctuated between the LCS and Academy. They're not bad players but are difficult to heavily endorse without seeing their current form.
5. Evil Geniuses
- Top lane: Colin “Kumo” Zhao
- Jungle: Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen
- Mid lane: Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro
- Bot lane: Bae “Bang” Jun-sik
- Support: Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam
At the half-way point in the list is a returning team to the LCS, the Evil Geniuses. Despite it being their first split here in many years, they managed to create a fairly impressive roster. The two things that pop out on it are their ADC Bang and jungler Svenskeren.
Bang is a former World Champion, and though he was on a mediocre 100T roster, he still managed to stand out as a powerful player. Meanwhile, Svenskeren was the MVP of the 2019 Summer Split and has really established himself as one of, if not the top jungler in the LCS.
But it's impossible to go further without mentioning the Itallion Stallion, Jiizuke. Formerly on Europe's Vitality, he's famous for his Ekko play and aggressive playstyle. Though this aggression can backfire sometimes, he's a skilled player with a lot of passion.
With that out of the way, we come to Kumo and Zeyzal. They both played on Cloud9 and now are together in the LCS here. Kumo has dominated the LCS Academy for a while now, while Zeyzal has played with C9 in their biggest games and on the Worlds stage. But, Kumo hasn't been able to prove himself in the LCS yet and Zeyzal has a distinctly weak laning phase. If these two can keep up with the rest of the squad, they probably have a chance to hit top-three.
4. Counter Logic Gaming
- Top lane: Kim “Ruin” Hyeong-min
- Jungle: Raymond “Wiggly” Griffin
- Mid lane: Lee “Crown” Min-ho
- Bot lane: Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes
- Support: Andy “Smoothie” Ta
Up next is Counter Logic Gaming. Their roster has mostly stayed the same, but their two roster changes do make them a side to be feared. First of all, they brought Crown into the middle lane. He's another import player who won a World Championship and has the skills to back it up. On OpTic Gaming, he was a member that shone brightly on a rather lackluster team.
Their other pickup is Smoothie in support. He's a consistent player with a good voice for communication and shot-calling. Furthermore, he's able to adapt his playstyle to suit what the team needs.
As for CLG's returning core, they all show a lot of promise. Wiggly received much praise for his growth over the last two years, going from an average player to an excellent one. Ruin has done something similar. He's played all over the world, but his last year on CLG showed how much potential he has. Lastly, Stixxay is a long-time LCS player who has consistently performed as a strong late-game carry.
With this core and their upgrades, CLG is a menacing team, but still seems to be a step below the region's top three teams.
- Top lane: Eric “Licorice” Ritchie
- Jungle: Robert “Blaber” Huang
- Mid lane: Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer
- Bot lane: Jasper “Zven” Svenningsen
- Support: Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme
The first of the top three teams is Cloud9. They're consistently a top-three team in NA and should continue to be this season. Although they tend to sit around #2, there are a couple of factors that put them down one spot. That said, it's definitely possible for them to be the second-best team once the split starts.
First off, the C9 solo laners are staying the same. Licorice and Nisqy are both very strong players who have dominated domestically and had awesome international games.
Secondarily, the bottom lane has been completely changed. Zven is replacing Sneaky, with Vulcan moving from Clutch Gaming to join him. Zven was considered the best ADC in the west back on G2, but caught some flak during his TSM days. If he can maintain his top form, his strong laning partner in Vulcan will turn him into a powerful carry.
Thirdly, Blaber is taking Svenskeren's jungle spot. He has played on and off with the main team, and though he's had some explosive games, he lacks consistency. Svenskeren's and Nisqy's synergy was fantastic, so if C9 wants to challenge the top two spots, a lot of it may depend on how Blaber and Nisqy work together. Even if they don't as well, if their new bot lane plays well, they can still go far.
2. Team SoloMid
- Top lane: Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik
- Jungle: Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett
- Mid lane: Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg
- Bot lane: Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup
- Support: Vincent “Biofrost” Wang
At number two is the team with chants heard around the world, TSM. The iconic NA organization made big moves during the offseason and is poised to be a serious contender this year. Returning from 2019 are Broken Blade and, of course, Bjergsen. Bjergsen has been one of the LCS' best mid laners and will be a clear focal point of the team in 2020. But Broken Blade had a great 2019 season, so he shouldn't be underestimated either.
But the new additions make this roster even scarier. Kobbe, long time Splyce member, solidified himself as one of the best European AD Carries last year and is expected to be on par with Team Liquid's Doublelift. This is the most significant change that will make TSM able to contest TL.
But the pickups of Biofrost and Dardoch are great too. TSM's jungle situation last year was precarious, as they struggled to find a consistent performer. Dardoch is infamous for behavioral problems, but if he can overcome those, he's actually pretty talented. Biofrost should be a good support for Kobbe too, as he was part of TSM's title-winning squad and an overall solid player. They'll be great supporting elements to a team filled with talent.
In the end, it'll be TSM's challenge to contest Team Liquid for the best team in NA. With this squad, they have the tools to.
1. Team Liquid
- Top lane: Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong
- Jungle: Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen
- Mid lane: Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen
- Bot lane: Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng
- Support: Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in
It's no surprise to see Team Liquid at the #1 spot on this list. With four consecutive LCS titles under their belt, it's impossible not to rank them here. This is especially true when you consider that their roster has stayed the same besides one change, which many consider was for the better.
This change was getting rid of Xmithie for Fnatic's Broxah. Though Xmithie, as mentioned before, is a fantastic player, Broxah is a tier above. He played a crucial role in Fnatic's amazing 2018 and 2019 seasons. This is where they made the 2018 World Championship Finals and had better early games than the insane G2 Esports in 2019. Indeed, much of Fnatic's early game prowess and proactivity was contributed to Broxah himself.
There isn't too much else to go over. Impact is the rock in the top lane, who has shown immense growth from a tank player to a carry player as well. Jensen remains as a top-three LCS mid laner who is another solid laner and team fighter.
Alas, TL's bottom lane is the main strength of the team. Doublelift and CoreJJ are a near-perfect duo, having great laning, skirmishing and team fighting. These two are the best in the roles domestically, and as TL plays through them a lot of the time, they're bound for success.
Whether or not anyone can challenge TL for the title is yet to be seen. Either way, the Spring Split will be exciting to watch unfold!