League Analysis — LCS 2021 Preaseason Power Rankings

11 DECEMBER 2020 — by League Analyst

Offseason is moving towards it’s closing stages and it’s time to assess what has happened during the past month. All LCS teams has done spicy changes and today’s analysis will break down who won this offseason and why. We’ll look at all the new rosters and at the end I will also do my power rankings for the upcoming season.

Disclaimer
This analysis is based of pure facts and no subjective opinions. If you disagree, you are wrong but feel free to flame me in the comments. Let’s begin!

Top 5 roster moves

1. Perkz → Cloud9
Arguably the greatest European player of all time is coming to NA in 2021. For anyone that has been living under a rock for the past years this is what C9 is getting in terms of past achievements:

  • 8 LEC Championships
  • MSI 2019 Champion
  • Worlds Finalist

Perkz will look to bring experience and leadership to the C9 roster. G2 CEO Carlos recently stated that a big part of the team’s success was based of Perkz as the leader and captain of the squad.

Perkz spring 2020 stats (midlane)

One of the other big talking points of the signing is the reunion with his former teammates Zven and Mithy. Together the trio dominated LEC under the G2 banner, winning multiple titles and getting 2nd place at MSI 2017.

2. SwordArt → TSM
The offseason has undoubtedly been rough for TSM, loosing both Bjergsen and Doublelift. But the team is now revamping their roster by bringing in this years world finalist SwordArt from the LPL.

SwordArt summer 2020 stats

When looking at stats alone, SwordArt was a mid tier support in the LPL, which might surprise a lot of people. But support stats can be very misleading and doesn’t really paint the full picture of what TSM is getting with this move.

SwordArt is known for his shotcalling and leadership abilities and is most likely going to act as the new captain for TSM. He is a big voice in game and was a core part of Sunings rise in 2020, leading the team full of rookies to the worlds stage and bringing out the full potential of his teammates. Hopefully this move can insert some well needed leadership to TSM so we don’t have to watch any more nine man sleeps in the future.

3. Alphari→ Team Liquid
Another big EU signing with Origen’s toplaner Alphari moving to TL. Alphari has been putting up very impressive numbers in 2020 and solidified himself as a top 3 toplaner in EU. This whilst playing for the 10th place team, making his performance even more admirable.

Alphari summer 2020 stats

Alphari will be joining an already stacked TL roster, bringing in even more firepower to the top lane. For me, there is no question that Alphari will have the resouces to shine on this roster and for TL, anything else than winning will be considered a failure in 2021.

4. Impact → Evil Geniuses
Even thought Impact never really was the big talking point on the rosters that he’s been a part of. EG has secured one of the most consistent players in the league and a player who always steps up in the big pressure games.

Impact summer 2020 stats

He is no hyper carry that will bring EG to the top. But he is the player that will secure their spot in the standings in 2021. If the team can bring out enough firepower on the other side of the map, Impact is the perfect player to absorb pressure and support his teammates when necessary.

5. IgNar → Evil Geniuses
NA’s Hyllisang, the enemy midlaner’s worst nightmare. Another big signing for EG with IgNar joining the roster. The combination of Jiizuke and IgNar is something that got me very exited for EG’s roster and the amount of potential aggression that might come from the duo.

The dynamic of IgNar and Deftly will most likely look very similar to FlyQuest’s bot lane in 2020, with Deftly playing back to free up IgNar to sync up with Svenskeren in the jungle. I really like the team dynamic that EG has built for 2021 and IgNar is a crucial part of this new roster and I expect him to be a key playmaker for the team.

2021 Power Rankings

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. With the addition of Alphari and Santorin, TL has built the best roster on paper by far heading into the 2021 season. Alphari is considered to be one of the best toplaners in EU and put up some very impressive stats in the summer split on Origen.

Santorin is also one of the most well-rounded junglers in NA and glues this roster together perfectly. All around a very balanced roster with strong individual pieces. We all know what TL is capable of and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them pick up their 5th LCS championship in 2021.

2. Cloud9

C9 made one of the biggest roster moves in NA history, bringing in the EU superstar Perkz for $11.75 million. It is safe to say that this team has a lot of expectations built up with the addition of Perkz. They also promoted Fudge from academy, a bold move considering they already had one of the best toplaners in the league. Fudge previously played in OPL for MAMMOTH and attended worlds in 2019. Since joining NA he has had a good track record in academy, winning both the 2020 spring and summer splits. With the amount of talent around him, Fudge is set up to become the next superstar brought up by C9 in the past years.

In my mind the success of this team will come down to blaber’s performance in 2021. Mainly due to the fact that towards the end of the 2020 summer split, he seemed to have been figured out by the other teams in the league, causing a lot of problems for C9. This lack of diversity from Blaber is the biggest reason for me not placing C9 as number 1 as I wonder what happens if he has to play a more supportive role as his team fills up with other superstars. But with huge shakeups in the coaching staff I’m sure the’ll figure it out and if everything clicks C9 has a chance at another title.

3. 100 Thieves

Golden Guardians +Ssumday, on paper a straight upgrade from 2020 for the thieves. I honestly expect this team to be a title contender in 2021 as well. This is a roster with massive potential which we got to see glimpses of in 2020.

We are looking at two of the fastest improving players in LCS, Closer and FBI. A veteran leader, Huhi. Tanner time himself and arguably the best player in the league, Ssumday. If this amount of firepower clicks on the rift, we are in for a treat. With the infrastructure that 100T has put in place, I have high expectations that this roster can go far.

4. TSM

When looking at this roster I simply see a worse version of TSM’s 2020 roster. POE is not Bjergsen and Huni certainly isn’t BB. What is TSM going to play around here? I simply cannot see it. In my mind BB was the guy for TSM, the player to play around and the person who bridged the early and mid game together to the point where Bjergsen and DL could shine.

Is Huni really the player that can fill that void? I personally doubt it a lot. I really want to place this team lower in the standings, but based of experience alone I think this team can, and will win some games. One thing is for sure, Huni has to return to form if this is going to work out.

The one shining factor of this new TSM team has to be their new botlane with SwordArt and Lost entering the roster. I just feel like there are so many factors that has to click if TSM is going to reach the top this year. Can Lost step up to the best in the league? Will Huni get back on form? Is SwordArt the leader that the team needs? Maybe it all works out and TSM can contest, but I highly dubt it.

5. Evil Geniuses

Another roster with a lot of potential! At first glance I cannot think anything but Jiizuke + Ignar, this will be explosive beyond imagination. And alongside two stable players in Impact and Svenskeren, this actually looks like a balanced roster overall. The question in my mind is, how much we can expect from Deftly? Because this looks like a team who will be focused on the bot lane primarily.

Will Deftly be able to step up and be that carry against some of the other top tier teams? I like the roster that EG has put together but at the same time I worry about a lack of firepower. I think EG is the final team that might have a shot at the title in 2021. It’s quite far-fetched but I don’t believe that it’s impossible.

6. FlyQuest

FlyQuest had a complete overhaul of their roster in the offseason and I gotta say, it doesn’t to shabby at all. They managed to get a C9 core with Licorice, Palafox and Diamond, which they filled out with the rising star Johnsun and Argentinian talent Josedodo. Overall this is a team with a lot of unproven talent that will get their first chance at playing in the LCS. So going into the season I don’t really know how much we can expect from this roster.

Even thought most of the players have had good showings in academy or in other leagues, LCS is on another level and the players will have to stay on form to keep up. We know that Licorice will be a rock in the top lane, so it’s up to the rest of the team to prove that they are worthy to play with the best.

7. CLG

CLG managed to form the least exiting roster I’ve seen in a long time in the LCS. It’s just 4 stable but one dimensional players that we know what to expect from. This just isn’t a championship winning roster and it isn’t a roster with potential for much improvement either.

The only player that I have much to say about is Finn, who is coming over from Rouge. He had an alright split in EU but was mostly put on tank duty. If CLG is going to have any chance to push higher in the standings Finn has to go back to comfort and become a hyper carry god. But the top lane competition is NA will be ridiculous in 2021 so I doubt that is going to happened. This roster will probably grab some wins, but it’ll take much if they are gonna have a chance to reach the top teams.

8. Dignitas

So, we have reached the bottom 3 and here we find Dignitas. Rebuilding seems to be the name of the game as DIG has constructed a roster of 3 rookies accompanied by Aphromoo and Dardoch. Rumors has it that DIG was reaching deep into their pockets this offseason but it seems like we’ll have to wait another year to see what this legendary org can bring to the rift. For this year we’ll get to see what some of the academy talent has to offer. I don’t expect much, but they might be able to squeak out some wins.

9. Immortals

Another big rebuild we’ll see in 2021 will be Immortals, who is doing big changeups for 2021. A mix of OPL, academy and LEC talent is what Immortals will be fielding for this upcoming season. To me the bright spot of these bottom teams is that we’ll be seeing some new players entering the league.

Of course it’s hard to hype up the new talent to the level of the superstars on the top teams but it will be interesting to see what they can achieve in 2021. Immortals roster will have to step up if they want to compete with the big boys but I personally expect that we’ll have to wait quite a while until we see them competing at the top again.

10. Golden Guardians

Someone has to be last, and this year it is the guardians. The team was hit by a big budget cut and has decided to rebuild in 2021. To me it seems like GG will be sitting out this season, mainly be focusing on growing their talent for future seasons. I respect that the org decided to go all out on this revamp and didn’t throw together a half assed roster, wasting time and resources. As for expectations, if they can avoid the bottom 3 I would consider the season a huge success for this rookie-project.

Martin — Swedish League of Legends analyst