Rogue rises to the occasion in the LPL

The third week of the 2018 LPL Spring Split has brought to a close the era of madness that prevailed throughout the earlier weeks, as teams that were expected to rise to the top of their conferences are starting to make their way up, while the upstarts that led the league early on have begun to be put in their place.

Nowhere was this transition more evident than in the top echelons of the Eastern Conference. Of the three teams that led the conference last week, only two remain in the top half of the standings. JD Gaming and Suning Gaming, two teams that looked to be real threats right out of the gate, had disastrous weeks thanks to their more rigorous strength of schedule. JD Gaming in particular had a rough fall, as its loss to both Invictus Gaming and Rogue Warriors -- the two teams currently controlling the top of the standings -- made it clear that it could not possibly be the best team in the conference, a title it held at the end of last week.

The rise of Rogue Warriors has been especially notable, as the so-called Chinese superteam had a downright abysmal opening to the split with losses not only to Invictus Gaming, who currently leads the conference, but also to LGD Gaming, who's fighting near the bottom of the table. The team seems to have at last found its stride, as it took down both JD Gaming and a struggling RNG over the course of the last week, catapulting it from the lower half of the standings directly into second place in the conference. While it's always risky to count a team with the pedigree of Royal Never Give Up out, it looks as though the rematch between Invictus Gaming and Rogue Warriors is going to determine who will take home the Eastern Conference title, as both teams are clearly playing on a level unmatched by any of the other teams at the moment.

Speaking of teams that are playing on another level, the Western Conference continues to be the playground of Snake Esports, who locked down its first place position with victories against both Bilibili Gaming and OMG. Its match score is now matched only by EDward Gaming, who it has already smashed in the head-to-head, making Snake Esports the uncontested best team in the Western Conference -- a statement that will seem somewhat surreal to longtime fans of the LPL.

Meanwhile, teams like Team WE and OMG are having a rough time, as neither of the two teams -- both of whom were predicted to be leading the Western Conference -- are even in the top half of the standings. Team WE's sole match of the week was a painful loss to EDG that raised some serious questions about Team WE's place in the league. Team WE collapsed in the late game against EDG, which is the phase of the game that has, traditionally, been where Team WE is the strongest. Without its trademark teamfighting and smart late-game rotations, Team WE is left with nothing but a mediocre early game and some middling solo laners, which raises the question of whether it'll be able to turn its season around and reclaim its mantle of a top team, or if Snake Esports, EDward Gaming, and Bilibili Gaming are truly now the best that the Western half of the LPL has to offer.