JackLovesLamp: In My Opinion... Diamond Power Rankings Going Into Week 10 & Playoffs (GRLCS Spring 2019)
Week 10 isn't even over yet but here are (IN MY OPINION YOU DON'T HAVE TO AGREE RREEEEEEE) some power rankings going into week 10 and quarterfinals. I'll include my reasoning where it applies but some of these opinions are just gut feelings. They’ll probably change drastically between now and the LAN too. Though last split's playoffs I did have a gut feeling during my time on GetRECalled that fourth seed Kansas State University was going to take it all and they did… So much for the caster's curse! Anywho, let's jump right into it:
1. Unlucky Retribution (6-2)
I really think this team is going to take it all. Their roster has shifted a bit over the course of the split and the current rendition seems crazy strong. SacredStrike of Team Ascension (a team that plays in other tournaments~) is the biggest reason for this. In the limited number of games SacredStrike has been in against top teams like GGL in Week 9, he did fantastically. The entire team has also made their way onto the league leaderboards (stats and leaderboards courtesy of iiSilverHammer). UR did struggle a little earlier in the season against some of the other top teams of the time, but they did still beat mid tier teams and the SacredStrike addition only makes them better.
This isn't to say the rest of UR isn't pulling their weight. For instance Thien Sama is an excellent player mechanically but I think can sometimes he struggles with positioning. SacredStrike's immense presence and disruption in a team fight seems to buy Thien all the time and space he needs to output tons of damage. The pressure SacredStrike puts on the opposing top laner and his skill in 1v2 and 2v2 situations is great for his team as well, as they seem to struggle (if at all) during the early stages of the game. Drawing the pressure top and dealing with it so well is huge for mitigating that bit of weakness. If Iron 5 can beat them in Week 10, my opinion will for sure change. But for now in my mind, they are S tier.
2. Land Snek (5-3)
I know this article is by a Land Snek player so there is for sure some bias here. But the biggest reason for thinking this is that I think Land Snek has improved more than any other team this split. Playing with various rosters each week but in Week 8 finally figuring out some combinations that seemed to bring them the most success. While I think all the players who have played for SNEK this split are fantastic, these combinations are the ones that have achieved the best results be it because of playstyle cohesion, champion pool synergy, or whatever else may be at work here. TL;DR: Everyone on the SNEK roster is dope as hell but certain combos seem to work better for whatever reason~
Since finding some of their more succesful roster combinations, SNEK 2-0'd SKY and 2-1’d RotM. One of which has struggled this season (SKY) and the other could have just been slumping or having a bad game (RotM). But if SNEK can take a convincing win in their series against THUMB in Week 10 I think they could prove to be a real contender in playoffs. They took a game off of both IRON5 and GGL before hitting their stride later in the season and have only lost one series 2-0 this split, against UR in Week 4. Given those results and their immense improvement since, I truly think they're up there!
3. Return of the Middlesticks (6-2)
This team has only lost to SNEK and GGL this split. However their loss was to GGL in their prime (who seems to be slumping currently) and with RotM only beating TFT 2-1 rather than 2-0 in Week 8, I wonder if their loss to SNEK was a part of RotM's own slump (meaning SNEK would be put lower on this list). Perhaps these teams are only slumping due to the fact they were already guaranteed spots in playoffs, but whatever the case I'm basing these rankings around what I think of these teams as of the last couple weeks so RotM and GGL are a bit lower than maybe they could be. RotM will probably be picking up a free win against UCO in Week 10 so we may not get to see if the slump is real or not. Only playoffs will tell.
RotM is good but they often seem to be carried by their jungler, Tendies2. Any team in these top spots mind you is a good team, but some of them have standout players who are really the ones who seem to be the driving force behind each win. When Tendies2 gets shut down, it really seems to be an uphill battle for RotM afterwards. For instance: Every game this split where Tendies has had more kills than deaths, RotM won. Every game where Tendies had more deaths than kills, RotM lost. Not to mention over the course of the split, Tendies2 has ended up with the highest Kill participation on his team. Now OF COURSE just a few stats don't tell the whole story. Just because of those stats doesn’t mean the rest of the team isn’t pulling their weight. Demonprint has the highest KDA of any GRLCS player so far and seems to be doing work as well. LiposuctionLane, 4thShot, and maximus are no slouches either. But after the 2-1 loss to SNEK and Unlucky Retribution's climb to S tier (in my mind), I think RotM currently sits at third going into Week 10.
4. Iron 5 (6-2)
I really want to put a lot of these teams higher like Iron 5, because really I think many of these teams could pop off and beat each other at any moment. But I'm not a pansy and I'm going to rank these teams for real, so not everyone can be at the top. But keep in mind I think that aside from UR, all of these teams are veryyyyy neck and neck. Iron 5 is a strong team, struggling a little in the early part of the season but alongside SNEK I think they're one of the teams that has improved the most over the course of the split. Starting in Week 7 with their 2-1 win over SNEK they really started to pop off and beat GGL 2-1 in Week 8 and SKY 2-0 in Week 9. If they can beat UR 2-1 in Week 10, then I would probably put them at second on this list still behind UR. If they beat UR 2-0 then first. If they lose 2-0, then I think they probably would stay right about here on my list. 2-1 loss I'd probably put them third.
All that out of the way, IRON5 seems to be carried by their team fighting and skirmishing. In lane I don't think they are particularly oppressive players, but they definitely play the map and rotate well. RandyNewman has an insane 74% average kill participation this split which speaks to their bot lane skirmishing and team fighting as well. The team has significant depth and variety in their champion pools and strong drafting. I think another advantage this team has is that they don't rely on one player to carry them, in looking at their wins this split they vary a lot in who on their team has the most kills/damage. Meaning they don't have one player to shut down to shut them all down. The only reason they're not higher is that for whatever reason, they haven't been able to decisively beat a top contender of a team. While they don't have many weaknesses, I think what they need to work on is sharpening their strengths so they can more often push for a win. All in all definitely a contender that could probably beat any team on this list except for UR on the right day. If they beat UR Week 10 I'll eat my words and reconsider my opinion but if not, I think everything above stands for now.
5. Good Game Losers (5-3)
This team could probably be higher as well, but I have them so low at the moment due to the slump they seem to be having. They are a very solid team that in my opinion is in large part carried by their jungler and to a lesser extent, their bot lane. This is not to diss Vy Banh or Mortally Divine though, as I think they are strong players who tend to support the teams playstyle pretty well. But with top teams like RotM and GGL relying on their junglers so much, I think there is potentially another reason for RotM and GGL's seeming decline later in the split, that teams are adapting to the jungle threat and playing around it with more care. As such it could be reducing the success they normally see from their strats. It could also be a slump though, only playoffs will tell.
In Week 5 before the bye they lost 2-1 to THUMB, the first real team they played after the bye and the Week 7 match against GU, was IRON5 in Week 8 who picked up the win against GGL 2-1 as well. And in Week 9 they lost 2-0 to the roster changed UR. However earlier in the split they took down RotM which is the biggest reason they still sit so high on this list.
6-7. Team Fish Taco & Those Thumb Guys From Spy Kids (both 4-4)
To be honest I think this is too close for me to really call. THUMB beat TFT recently in Week 9 which makes me think they have the edge but TFT has better performances against other top teams. So maybe THUMB has more potential, but TFT is more consistent? In either case, I think these are both solid teams that could beat higher teams on the list should any of those teams underestimate these two. Week 10 results could also shape my opinion here if THUMB could beat SNEK or TFT could beat GGL but we shall see. I don't think anyone would be upset if either of these teams wound up in quarterfinals.
8. SKY 0 (3-5)
SKY seemed to have had a hard time finding their form this split, players like AllMighty and Dudeperfect have had some stellar showings in OKLCS Diamond in previous splits. Brandopham is a highly ranked ADC and Pico de Galio and Mark Hames aren't slouching either. So I'm not exactly sure what held this team back from performing better. They are against GU in Week 10 so we may not get to see SKY play, but there are some ways that SKY could squeak into the 6th seed playoff spot depending on the results of Week 10, as they did beat THUMB 2-1 in Week 2. So perhaps should that come to pass, they'll get one last chance to show us what they're made of!
9 & 10: UCO and GU (both 0-8)
These teams were new to competitive play for the most part and seemed to struggle early in the season. Their rosters started to lose players until they eventually fizzled out. I hope to see them return with renewed vigor for our casual summer event (details soon) or the Fall Split of GRLCS. Maybe even an appearence in plat capped in the case of GU.