The LCK Summer Split is winding down, and each team just has five more matches on the schedule before postseason seeding is fully determined. With just six spots to fight for in the playoffs, the LCK is easily one of the most competitive League of Legends leagues in the world, and this split is proving exactly that.
This past week, a new contender claimed the top spot in our power rankings, while eight of the 10 teams in the league shifted their overall position. The league is tighter than ever, and just three matches separate first place from sixth place in the LCK standings. With the regular season coming to a close, we could very easily see the entire ranking table shift once again. With that being said, here are our LCK power rankings with just three weeks to go in the Summer Split.
Now it’s official: DRX
After another winless performance this past week, DRX have been officially eliminated from LCK playoff contention, as well as Worlds 2021 contention. The team—just one year removed from a stunning quarterfinal appearance at the World Championship—lost 17 of their last 18 regular season matches in the wake of a full rebuild. And now, with only five more matches left to play, it’s mathematically impossible for DRX to climb back up into the postseason picture.
Searching for a season-saver: Hanwha Life, KT Rolster, Fredit BRION
Unlike DRX, these three teams still have a shot at reaching the LCK playoffs. Their chances are fading fast, however, and they’ll most likely have to make up ground by winning a majority of their remaining games, in addition to receiving help from other teams along the way to shift the standings in their favor.
If any of these three teams have the potential to string together a few late-season wins and sneak into the postseason, it’s Hanwha Life. The team, who won both of their matches last week, simply has too much talent on-paper to fizzle out of the playoff race so quickly. Any roster featuring Chovy and Deft can most definitely pull off a clutch winning streak when it’s needed most, and with matches against DRX and Nongshim RedForce this week—two teams that Hanwha Life have already beaten this split—the team might be able to accrue some momentum heading into the final two weeks of the regular season.
Fighting for a breakthrough: Liiv Sandbox, T1, Afreeca Freecs
The top three of the LCK has seemingly presented an unbreakable wall for these squads throughout the summer, but with just two matches separating first place from fifth place, this week could finally be the week where one of these teams makes a push towards one of the top spots in the league.
Liiv Sandbox, in particular, have been on an absolute tear as of late, winning three consecutive matches and tying third-place DWG KIA’s 8-5 match record on the split. After blowing past T1 and Gen.G last week, Sandbox go toe-to-toe with first place Nongshim RedForce this Friday. A win in that match would definitively move Sandbox up in the standings, while the continuation of a late-season surge against some of the top teams in the LCK would surely place Sandbox in the conversation for a potential Worlds berth. It’s one thing to compile a few matches in a winning streak, but if a team can do it against top-tier squads, then it’s time we start calling them a potential top-tier squad, as well.
Granted, it would take a pretty hefty stumble from Nongshim, Gen.G, or DWG KIA for one of these three teams to climb far enough up the rankings and secure a top-three seed at Worlds, especially considering the postseason and regular season are two completely different beasts. But with how unpredictable (and tightly-knit) the LCK has been as of late, it’s possible that we see one of these outsiders make a move towards international play as the season winds down.
Another team takes the crown: Nongshim RedForce, Gen.G, DWG KIA
A five-match winning streak coupled with a winless week from Gen.G was enough to push Nongshim RedForce into the top spot in this week’s LCK power rankings, making them the third different team to claim the top rank this season. But does Nongshim’s top placement in our rankings ensure our confidence in them as an LCK playoff contender? Not necessarily as heavily as one might think.
With three weeks left on the LCK schedule, all eyes are on the postseason, and Nongshim—who weren’t expected to be in playoff discussions back at the start of the split—are somehow right in the thick of the playoff race. Although the team has found extensive regular season success thus far, Nongshim need to prove in the playoffs that they can hold their own in a best-of-five format. The team lost its first playoff match of the season back in the Spring Split to Hanwha Life by a score of three games to two, marking the first postseason match played by a majority of the team’s players.
Direct competitors like Gen.G and DWG KIA won’t have to worry about jumping into best-of-five series, considering they’ve both been there before and have rosters full of veterans that can quickly get accustomed to the playoffs. You can safely bet that seasoned names like ShowMaker, Ruler, and many others won’t be breaking a sweat in the postseason. In the case of Nongshim, though, question marks still remain as to whether the roster can survive a lightning-paced bracket. If they stay as hot as they are right now, there shouldn’t be much room for concern, but it still remains to be seen if they can keep building momentum to the finish line.
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