3 June 2015 - 10:15
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NA LCS, EU LCS, LPL and LCK Power Rankings: Week 1 Conclusions

A detailed analysis of teams among Korea, China, North America, and Europe.
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A Detailed Analysis of North America, Europe, China and Korea after Week 1

While I do know Frank “Riot Mirhi” Fields makes a widely-read version of rankings every week, I often feel that I disagree with them and can create a different version myself, one that offers an equally unique and interesting perspective. Among much community criticism of Fields, I noticed that no one else has even attempted to create their own power rankings despite their disagreements, so I thought I would give it a shot and see the community’s response to my writing. Although I want to be kept anonymous, keep in mind that I am still in college, and that I am not working full-time with League of Legends analysis as my profession.

Before I begin, I also should probably state my qualifications. I am simply an avid fan who tries to watch as many games as possible every week. I am making these rankings to simply provide a different take on things using my own knowledge, which I gained by reading other people’s analysis and through my own background with the game. Although I do not have any professional League background, I would argue that most writers (including Fields) simply present their opinion as eloquently and clearly as possible – and that is exactly what I will be trying to do in this article.

Europe:

  1. Fnatic (2-0)
  2. Origen (2-0)
  3. Unicorns of Love (1-1)
  4. H2K (1-1)
  5. Elements (1-1)
  6. ROCCAT (1-1)
  7. Copenhagen Wolves (1-1)
  8. Giants Gaming (1-1)
  9. SK Gaming (0-2)
  10. Gambit Gaming (0-2)

The first week of EU LCS was fascinating. There were many interesting and surprising developments alike, namely Origen’s success and SK and Gambit’s struggles. Yet, once again, a week of action-packed League of Legends resulted in Fnatic at the top of the standings.

Fnatic seems to have the best roster in the West, and performed up to those standards in the first week, beating Unicorns of Love and SK Gaming. While they did struggle early against SK, they eventually turned it around with their teamfighting, which led to a satisfying 2-0 week. I’m not saying Fnatic could go 18-0, because that level of consistency is rare in any region, but they certainly have the level of talent to reach a Cloud 9 level of dominance, winning the majority of their games. Their roster and teamplay simply seems fantastic, with arguably the best (or top 3) players at every position in the West. After their showing at MSI and SKT, it certainly seems that they will take first in the EU LCS.

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The return of star ADC Rekkles should make Fnatic much stronger.

Origen also had a fantastic first week, with convincing victories over both Giants Gaming and H2K. Although the Giants win was expected, the sub-30 minute victory against H2K was very surprising. Many expected it to be a close game, but the bot lane duo of Niels and Mithy proved to be extremely dominant. Mithy often seemed to roam ahead of his counterpart, and made many great plays on Alistar and Annie. Niel’s Vayne and Kalista were also simply fantastic, and his positioning in teamfights made ROCCAT fans jealous. After the first week, the team seems very strong, with their main strengths in the mid lane with xPeke and the bot lane duo. Jungle and top lane seem to be the weakest positions for the team, although sOAZ and Amazing are still both very strong players and are nothing to be laughed at.

H2K and Unicorns of Love (UOL) both had solid showings as well. H2K had a convincing win against ROCCAT, but dropped a game against Origen, while UOL struggled against Fnatic but resoundingly beat Elements.

Since their victory against Elements was more convincing (and their loss against Fnatic was not as surprising), UOL gets the #3 ranking. H2K lost against a good Origen team but it is still unknown as to how good Origen actually is. Regardless, they beat an extremely hyped up ROCCAT team very convincingly and thus deserve the #4 ranking. Just like last split, it seems that H2K relies on its solid teamplay while UOL relies on great skirmishing mechanics and star midlaner PowerOfEvil. Although both teams have many strengths, they also have some weaknesses. H2K’s biggest strength is their teamplay and map movements. H2K’s biggest weakness seems to be in mid laner Ryu’s laning, who often falls behind in CS but sometimes makes up for it with his roams. UOL biggest strength is probably their ability to surprise their opponents in champion select with their off-meta picks, and their biggest weakness is certainly their inconsistency, which was seen in the previous split.

As of now, it seems these four teams are above the rest of the EU LCS by a certain margin.

Elements seem to have regained its form from last year, but it may be too late as the talent in the EU LCS is a lot stronger. Froggen and Tabzz performed at a high level this first week. Their victory against Gambit was very convincing, although it is unknown how good Gambit actually is, especially considering their lack of resources heading into the first week. Regardless, the new additions to the team seem to be okay for the most part and it’ll be crucial to see how Elements performs in the following weeks. PromisQ played a good Alistar in his debut but landed hook after hook into minions as Nautilus in his second game. Jwaow seemed pretty good both games, although much of his success relied on how the rest of his team was doing. Dexter may have single-handedly prevented Elements from winning their second game, the one against UOL, with his build. Elements drafted a double AP comp (with Rumble and Viktor) with Rek’Sai in the jungle. Dexter went full-damage Rek’Sai and the lack of a tank (he itemized Warrior enchant into Hexdrinker) ultimately led to POE’s Kog’Maw shredding apart everyone before fights even started. The team looked very promising in its victory against Gambit, and their loss to UOL should be attributed to their comp/itemization. If they can make steady improvements, Elements should be a contender for playoffs this split. For now, simply judging by the pedigree and performance of Froggen and Tabzz, Elements merits the #5 ranking.

ROCCAT comes in at #6. While this may seem surprising, many professionals say that the only thing ROCCAT lacks is stage results. Apparently ROCCAT has very good scrim results and an even more impressive roster on paper. Nukeduck has not performed as well as he did in the past, but people still say that he has it. Heading into the spring split, Jankos was hyped up as the best jungler in the West, ahead of Meteos, and while the talent is still there, the lack of results seems to have provided an end to this debate. Vander is also a very respected support but has struggled to make a noticeable impact with ADC Woolite. Woolite seems to have many positional errors, although he won Rookie of the Split last year, which is just a testament to his potential. He certainly has the potential to succeed and must simply work on minimizing his boneheaded strategic mistakes, as his overall mechanics are fine. I’m not sure what to make of top laner Steve, although he seems like a likeable guy and his play up to this point seems decent. I think we need more time to judge Steve but he certainly doesn’t seem like a detriment to the team (I think his first game against H2K on Hecarim was more a result of stage nerves and being camped than actual bad play). If ROCCAT can live up to their potential, some have them pegged as a top EU team. I think I need results before I can move them up any further in the rankings, as the #6 spot may be a stretch in itself. This next week they play UOL and Fnatic, and if they can pull out a win against either of these teams, this will justify the hype.

Copenhagen Wolves was also pretty surprising, as they had a chance to go 2-0 this week. For one, we know that Freeze is one of the best ADC’s in Europe, although the rest of his team is not as good. Copenhagen had a convincing win against SK as Freeze brought out his favorite champion, Draven, and dominated. Next game, against Giants, Freeze got a sizeable lead with Urgot, but Adryh and Pepiinero carried Giants to win. I think Copenhagen can be a good team if they can find advantages in other places besides their bot lane, and they should finish around the same as last split as long as Freeze continues to dominate and other players can improve.

Giants are actually a decent team, and I was debating whether to put them ahead of Copenhagen (because they actually beat them). On paper, they don’t look as good as the Wolves, but their Week 1 results weren’t too shabby. Pepiinero is a very good midlaner in his own right, and Adryh had a dominating performance this week as well. I’m not sure what to make of the rest of the players as they didn’t have very good performances last split (and G0dfred is new). I’m hesitant to put them any higher because I think they will lack the consistency to win a lot of games, as shown by last split. I need some more time before I can rank Giants any higher, although I can see why some would argue for them to be placed ahead of Copenhagen.

SK lost to two middle of the pack teams in Copenhagen and Fnatic. They actually played a close game against Fnatic simply because CandyPanda became extremely fed on Kalista, but lost pretty convincingly to Copenhagen. SK really does not seem that great without Forg1ven, and I would not be surprised with a bottom-2 finish. With the influx in ADC talent in EU, their bot lane does not look spectacular. Additionally, fredy122 has been playing extremely poorly and the Cinderhulk meta does not favour carry jungler Svenskeren. Fox seemed somewhat promising last split, but I’ll have to see his growth before we can make any reasonable judgements on SK. For the meantime, they do not look to be very good, especially with freddy122 struggling so much. Perhaps SK can succeed if the meta changes to favour freddy or Svenskeren more, focusing on carry junglers rather than tanks.

Gambit comes in last, although could certainly jump a few spots if they get everything sorted out. To provide context, they once again have poor management and were not able to practice the week leading up to the LCS. Thus, their 0-2 week does not seem too surprising, and they may be able to bounce back just like last split, where they started 0-6. The departure of coach Leviathan seems to be a good thing, as it was widely publicized that he did not get along with the players. Overall, this roster seems way more talented than last splits’ simply with the addition of Forg1ven, but the main issue will be the synergy within the team as every player seems to have had history with bad behaviour. The team is very talented and if it can gain some composure, Gambit could be very formidable in the coming weeks. For now, however, it seems to be in turmoil and an unimpressive first week means the #10 ranking.

North America:

  1. Counter Logic Gaming (2-0)
  2. Team Solo Mid (1-1)
  3. Team Liquid (2-0)
  4. Team Impulse (1-1)
  5. Cloud 9 (1-1)
  6. Enemy Esports (1-1)
  7. Dignitas (1-1)
  8. Gravity Gaming (1-1)
  9. Team 8 (0-2)
  10. Team Dragon Knights (0-2)

North America’s Week 1 results were not too surprising aside from Incarnati0n struggling and Cloud 9 getting stomped by Dignitas. Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) once again started strong to the split. The addition of mid laner Pobelter seems to be an upgrade from Link, but only time will tell until we can make reasonable judgements about CLG. They often start strong, get complacent and end up having a terrible showing in the playoffs. For now, they still had the most impressive performance in the first week and merit the #1 ranking, but keep in mind that it really does not meant too much unless CLG shows up in the playoffs. It’s the same old story with CLG, and their regular season dominance is more or less the same. Look for CLG to continue to be one of the strongest teams in NA during the regular season, as they have exceptional map and individual play.

In the meantime, Team Solo Mid (TSM) takes the #2 spot despite a 1-1 showing. Their loss against Cloud 9 was disappointing because of the terrible decision making, as they threw a sizable lead by fighting against a Rumble (and Kog’Maw!) in chokepoints. Yet, once again Bjergsen was very impressive, accumulating a massive CS lead against Cloud 9 midlaner Incarnati0n. To me, it seems that TSM will perform very well in NA just by playing off Bjergsen’s advantages. But they also seem to have recognized that may not be the case on the world stage, as other Bjergsen will not have huge advantages against other equally mechanically-skilled mid laners (which was seen at MSI), and thus have attempted to diversify their strategy. They have tried to have jungler Santorin provide more focus on the top lane, and while this does diversify their playstyle, it seems that TSM still struggles because top laner Dyrus is their weakest link. It remains to be seen whether giving Dyrus advantages and trying to snowball off him will even work in NA before TSM can try this strategy against top Korean and Chinese teams. TSM may find difficulties a bit more this split because of their attempt to prepare for Worlds (instead of simply trying to win games in NA), but we may see them revert back to a mid-lane focused playstyle. Regardless, I’m certain that Bjergsen’s (and Lustboy’s) dominance in NA will continue.

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TSM's strength lies in Bjergsen, but it depends on how the rest of team does to see how well it can perform on an international stage.

Team Liquid had a 2-0 week, although it was not as impressive as it could have been. They struggled early by playing very sloppy against Team Dragon Knights (TDK), a team with three subs, but were able to overcome that with their overall mechanical and teamplay prowess. The same goes with their victory against Team 8, as they relied on Team 8 top laner Calitrolz’s greedy misplays to get back into the game. Regardless, they did finish 2-0 and still have a very talented roster, so if they can clean up their sloppy play, they will be a force to be reckoned with. Additionally, one thing to note is that Quas once again reinforced the notion that he is one of the best top laners in NA, providing dominating performances on both Rumble and Gnar and taking home the Week 1 NA LCS MVP. His champion pool, laning, and overall teamplay seem extremely solid and he is one of Liquid’s best assets. If there is any weakness on this team, it is Fenix’s over-aggressiveness, which often leads to many deaths per game (even when Liquid wins). Although acceptable against teams like Team 8 and TDK, this will be capitalized by good Western teams and Eastern teams, and he will need to clean up his sloppy play for Liquid to achieve their goal of reaching (and performing well at) Worlds. Additionally, the team will only go as far as Piglet takes them.

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Star ADC Piglet struggled at the start of last split but showed up during playoffs. How will he do in the summer?

I actually have Impulse at #4 ahead of Cloud 9. I think despite their loss to CLG, they still had a dominating performance against Team 8. They have a very talented roster and play extremely aggressive. Cloud 9, despite beating TSM, was not impressive at all in their victory. Incarnati0n was down 50 or so CS at 10 minutes, and the team largely struggled until their comp scaled. They simply relied on TSM throwing the game rather than making any of their own impressive plays. Their loss against Dignitas was even worse, as they picked a greedy comp and failed to get a single objective (tower or dragon). I certainly think Impulse as of now looks to be the better and stronger team and will probably have stronger performances in the next few weeks. However, I also think that C9, even if they start slow, can and will still be an elite team in NA and simply require some time to grow. Incarnati0n, despite a very mediocre showing, can still live up to his potential as long as he overcomes his stage nerves and continues to develop. I think there’s a good chance that he can become the second best mid-laner in NA behind Bjergsen as long as he continues to find ways to improve. Additionally, Meteos still needs to work out kinks in his shotcalling, as C9 did not get a single dragon this week. I think C9 may struggle in the next few weeks but will ultimately work things out and end up as a top team in NA and qualify for Worlds.

Enemy Esports was actually pretty impressive too, with their ADC Otter having a great showing on Vayne in his first LCS game against Gravity. Their win against Gravity was in itself a huge statement, showing that they are a middle tier team and not a bottom tier one. They supplemented this notion by giving TSM a run for its money by snowballing off of top laner Flaresz’s Hecarim. As seen in the first week, the team has threats at every position (including mid laner Innox), and has the chance to make playoffs (and avoid relegations!) this split.

I know that many pros placed Dignitas as the worst team at the start of this split but I think that their victory over Cloud 9 reinforces the notion that they will actually be decent. Mid laner Shiphtur has never been spectacular but has always been solid, and Korean imports CoreJJ and Gamsu are actually pretty strong. CoreJJ and KiWiKiD actually form a very aggressive bot lane, and Azingy showed up in the Cloud 9 game with a strong performance on Zac. Azingy is still probably the largest weakness on Dignitas, as he has struggled to perform on champions besides Zac and it remains to be seen what he will do if that champion is banned against him. Regardless, I think Dignitas is underrated and actually has a solid early game (CoreJJ is actually pretty good), and their performance this week merits the #7 ranking.

I think Gravity is still a very good team and is fighting Dignitas and Enemy for the #6 spot, but their poor performance this week merits the #8 ranking. They have a very talented roster with Korean import (and EDG practice squad player) Move in the jungle, as well as hyped ADC Altec and Thresh god Bunny FuFuu at support. Keane and Haunzter have always been solid players, but the lack of a shot calling presence that they had in Saint will greatly hurt them. I think Move could be very good (and his Week 1 performance was much better than Rush’s) but once again we will need time to see if his mechanics live up to the hype. I don’t think he will be as good as Rush is now, but I think he still has a lot of room to grow. Nevertheless, if Gravity can overcome the lack of a steady presence and find a voice within the team, I think they will certainly be the favourites for the #6 spot. A lot of it has to do with the growth of Bunny FuFuu, and I am a firm believer that he will grow as a leader and help the team make playoffs. Although I have Gravity at #8, I certainly expect them to finish the split at #6 or higher.

Lastly are Team 8 and TDK. I actually think with Nien, Team 8 can be decent. I think Team 8, Dignitas, Enemy, and Gravity are all more or less on the same level and will be fighting for that last playoff spot. Team 8 has a pretty solid roster and their weakest link seems to be support Dodo, who often gets caught out. Team 8 was decent last split and probably got a bit better this split with the addition of Nien, but the overall talent in the LCS seems to have gone up as well. They had a poor showing Week 1 but actually gave Liquid a run for their money, which could be promising. Meanwhile, TDK had subs for Week 1 but will probably be the worst team in NA. I doubt they will even have a chance at the last playoff spot and but maybe Korean imports Ninja and Emperor can prove me wrong.

Before I begin into the next section, which will detail Korea and China I just want to make it clear that I personally do not have as much familiarity with these regions. While I do watch all the LCS games every week, I rarely have time to watch all the LCK and LPL games, and even more so for the LMS region. While I do try to catch as many games as I can every week so I can understand the Eastern teams better, I usually only catch at most half the games and do the rest of my evaluation through watching highlights and reading other articles online. I do feel that I have enough knowledge to have pretty good judgements on what is going in China and Korea, but my knowledge of the LMS region is limited. Furthermore, I have little to no knowledge of smaller regions, such as Brazil, Oceania, Turkey and Latin America, and thus will not include any section on them. I cannot say I express the same confidence in my Eastern rankings and evaluations as I do in my Western ones but I will nonetheless give it a shot and listen to feedback accordingly.

China:

  1. Edward Gaming (2-0-1) [5-1]
  2. Qiao Gu (2-0-1) [5-1]
  3. Invictus Gaming (3-1-0) [6-2]
  4. OMG (1-0-3) [5-3]
  5. Vici Gaming (0-1-3) [3-5]
  6. Snake (2-1-1) [5-3]
  7. LGD Gaming (0-1-3) [3-5]
  8. Unlimited Potential (0-1-4) [4-6]
  9. Masters 3 (1-0-3) [5-3]
  10. Royal Never Give Up (1-1-3) [5-5]
  11. World Elite (0-2-2) [2-6]
  12. Team King (0-4-0) [0-8]

China is a fascinating region for many reasons. While there are so many games played that it is often to come to rational conclusions, one thing is for certain: Edward Gaming (EDG) is the best team in not only the LPL, but the world. A star studded roster featuring top talent at every position makes for EDG to be the LPL favorite as well the favorite for Worlds. The return of top laner Koro1 in the second week after some initial contract disputes makes that goal seem even more feasible than ever. Their victory at MSI backs this and I see little to no reason for EDG to lose the LPL.

In these power rankings, there are probably a few choices I made that I should address. First, is my choice of ranking Qiao Gu (QG) second ahead of Invictus Gaming (IG). The rationale is as follows: QG had a fantastic first week, sweeping top tier teams IG and LGD Gaming (LGD) while also drawing another top team, OMG. That level of consistency against the cream of the crop is quite rare. Furthermore, because IG lost to QG 2-0, this also merits putting QG second ahead of IG.

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QG has looked very dominant so far, thrashing top teams LGD and IG.

In my opinion, it seems that EDG is on a completely different level than the other LPL teams. EDG is on a god tier. Following EDG, there is a pack of tier “one” powerhouse teams: QG, IG, OMG, Vici Gaming (Vici or VG), Snake, and LGD. The rationale for having QG second is provided above. Meanwhile, besides losing to QG, IG had a very impressive showing in the first two weeks, accumulating three wins by beating World Elite (WE), Unlimited Potential (UP), and Vici. The most noteworthy of these is their sweep against Vici, although some of it can be attributed to Vici having roster issues.

OMG merits fourth because they were able to provide QG’s only loss by drawing them. While the team still has many issues it has to solve, the swap from Gogoing to Xiyang seems to have stabilized the roster greatly, seeming to allow for more resources to be distributed among Uzi and Cool. The new jungler, JueJue, is still largely an unknown, and it remains to be seen whether former star Loveling will return. Cool and Uzi have had mostly good performances to date, and the roster is still oozing with potential. As others have said, if OMG can figure out a way to synergize, they will be a very deadly team.


The next three spots, positions #5,6,7, are between Vici, Snake, and LGD. Simply because of their good performances from the last split as well as the skill on the rosters, these teams deserve the spots over teams like UP, Masters 3 (M3), and Royal Never Give Up (RNG). I have Vici at #5 because although their record is unimpressive (0-1-3), they had a very tough schedule in the first two weeks. They were able to draw EDG (very impressive) as well as OMG. They experienced a minor setback by drawing their former sister team, UP, but their 0-2 loss at the hands of IG at the end of the second week can be attributed to not having their top laner Carry able to play. This led to a series of interesting roster decisions, most notably having star jungler Dandy temporarily switch to top lane. Regardless, their 0-2 loss to Invictus can be taken lightly and overall, the team survived their tough first two weeks.

I put Vici ahead of Snake, who is #6, because Snake had a relatively weak schedule. The addition of former EDG mid laner U seemed to be beneficial for the team however, as he was able to diversify their playstyle through his champion pool (with picks such as Leblanc). Although there isn’t much to make of their 2-0 loss to EDG (it was more or less expected), Snake’s wins and draws came against bottom of the rung teams such as UP, King and WE. If they can put together some convincing wins against stronger teams next week, they will certainly shoot up the rankings.

Lastly, LGD was probably the most disappointing team after the first two weeks of the LPL. They weren’t able to win a single series, getting swept by QG and drawing other middling teams like M3, RNG, and UP. The former LPL runner ups were certainly disappointing this week, although their draws may just be attributed to the up and coming talent from some of the younger and newer rosters.

The next tier of teams, tier two, seems to be positions #8 through #11. UP, led by veteran support Heart, was impressive, netting draws against top teams Snake, Vici and LGD. WE, although much improved from last split, seem to be struggling because of the influx of talent into this LPL split. Their lack of success is not due to a drop of play but rather a spike in the level of competition. Look for them to continue to struggle as they fight to stay in the LPL. RNG, comprised of members formerly from King, seems to be a solid group of talent as well that can occasionally draw tier one teams through solid mechanics and early game laning but seem to struggle with late game rotations and teamfights. M3, led by Dade and Looper, do not seem to have the consistency to join their other teams led by Korean superstars. Dade’s play, although solid, is nowhere near his level last season, and his laning still seems to be questionable.

King, however, is by far and away the worst team. It’s notable that they do not have Insec do to an injury, but even if Insec was playing, they probably would still be last. Namei, formerly known as the best ADC in China, is struggling to perform. While his performance has been solid, his inability to carry can be attributed to being in such an early game deficit that it is nearly impossible to come back from. Not to detract from Namei’s play from previous seasons, but it seems that he really benefited by having his counterpart superstars on his former EDG team. Nevertheless, it seems to be and end of an era, as he and his team continue to struggle to find even a single win.

Korea:

  1. SK Telecom T1 (2-0) [4-0]
  2. CJ Entus (3-0) [6-2]
  3. KT Rolster (2-1) [5-2]
  4. Jin Air Green Wings (2-1) [4-2]
  5. Najin e-mFire (1-2) [3-5]
  6. KOO Tigers (1-1) [3-3]
  7. Samsung (1-2) [3-4]
  8. Longzhu Incredible Miracle (1-1) [2-3]
  9. Anarchy (1-3) [4-7]
  10. SBENU Sonicboom (0-3) [0-6]

In my opinion, there is not much to take away from the first two weeks of LCK. SK Telecom T1 (SKT) is still the best team. CJ Entus (CJE) is second, despite dropping a game against Anarchy. It seems that the rest of the LCK is a bit behind these two powerhouses.

KT Rolster (KTR) has actually had a pretty impressive showing to date, beating both a decent Jin Air (JAG) team and an up and coming Samsung team 2-0 as well as being able to take a game off CJ, thus meriting the #3 ranking.

Jin Air really has not shown much up to this point. Their two wins came against IM and Anarchy, and they couldn’t get a single game off KT. It remains to be seen how good these guys actually are, but just like Snake in the LPL, if they can provide some convincing wins in the next few weeks, they will definitely jump up the power rankings. For the meantime, they seem to be a solid and consistent team and thus merit the #4 ranking above the inconsistent KOO Tigers and Najin e-mFire.

Najin e-mFire, a roster full of talent, had a disappointing showing against Anarchy (lost 1-2) but was able to beat one of last year’s top teams, KOO Tigers, 2-1. It is unclear how good the KOO Tigers are at this point, but they still seem like a solid team to me, regardless of the Cinderhulk meta. Their jungler, Hojin, renamed from Lee, is still the weakest link on the team. KOO’s teamfighting, however, still seems pretty strong and they will have to thrive off that if they want to succeed this split.

Samsung has grown this split and is ahead of the new Challenger teams, SBENU and Anarchy. Taking a game off of the KOO Tigers was certainly impressive and merits the #7 ranking.

Incredible Miracle was also hyped coming into this split as much improved, but there were unable to take a single game off of Jin Air and struggled to beat Anarchy 2-1. Due to a lack of impressive wins, IM is #8 but could certainly jump Samsung with a few marquee wins.

Anarchy seems to be a team that has the potential to take games off anyone, but lacks the consistency to win an entire series. They have taken games off CJE and beat Najin, but then fell flat on their face against Jin Air and struggled against IM. With a proper coaching staff, Anarchy could certainly grow into a pretty good team.

SBENU Sonicboom is just outclassed in every regard and is this split’s Samsung. Perhaps a split in the LCK will help their players grow but there seems to be little chance of them making a meaningful impact this split.

I did not write that much for the LCK, but that is mainly because there weren’t too many surprising developments (unlike the LPL, where an LSPL team like QG did really well and former runner-up LGD struggled). Anarchy provided to be surprising, but still ended up at the bottom of the standings. Najin seems to be the same old story with the potential to do well only to be maddeningly inconsistent. KOO’s struggles were perhaps the most surprising development of the first two weeks, but I still think they have what it takes to eventually challenge KT as the third best team in Korea.

 

World Power Rankings:

Note: While I did not include specific rankings for the LMS region, I will still try my best to fit Taiwan into my World Rankings. I did a bit of research (I rarely get to catch any of the games so I my only opinion is from MSI and IEM Katowice) and I think the only strong teams are ahq e-Sports and yoe Flash Wolves. The middle pack of LMS teams seem to be struggling (Taipei Assassins, Machi Esports, Hong Kong Esports) and all have middling records. I think they have the potential to be good but we have no exposure to them, as we have only seen the top 2 LMS (most dominant teams) teams perform on an international stage. Once again, feedback is certainly appreciated. One thing I noticed is that a top-25 may be better than a top-20 because it provides more insight into where top Western teams rank. In a top-20, often only a few Western teams make the cut (and a few barely miss it), but by adding a few more slots, it is easier to see how Western teams stack up.

  1. EDG (2-0-1) [5-1]
  2. SK Telecom T1 (2-0) [4-0]
  3. CJ Entus (3-0) [6-2]
  4. Qiao Gu (2-0-1) [5-1]
  5. Invictus Gaming (3-1-0) [6-2]
  6. KT Rolster (2-1) [5-2]
  7. Fnatic (2-0)
  8. ahq e-Sports Club (3-0-0) [6-0]
  9. OMG (1-0-3) [5-3]
  10. Vici Gaming (0-1-3) [3-5]
  11. Snake (2-1-1) [5-3]
  12. Jin Air Green Wings (2-1) [4-2]
  13. Najin e-mFire (1-2) [3-5]
  14. KOO Tigers (1-1) [3-3]
  15. LGD Gaming (0-1-3) [3-5]
  16. yoe Flash Wolves (2-0-1) [5-1]
  17. Counter Logic Gaming (2-0)
  18. Origen (2-0)
  19. TSM (1-1)
  20. Unicorns of Love (1-1)
  21. H2K (1-1)
  22. Team Liquid (2-0)
  23. Unlimited Potential (0-1-4) [4-6]
  24. Team Impulse (1-1)
  25. Masters 3 (1-0-3) [5-3]

A few things to address before I conclude:

Although I really wanted to rank Qiao Gu ahead of CJ Entus, I simply don’t think it’s a good idea to jump to conclusions after two weeks, even if QG really has lit up the LPL scene. CJ Entus has been playing really well in Korea and deserves the #3 ranking because of its consistency, although I still think China is the strongest region now (which is shown by EDG’s victory at MSI). We just don’t know enough about QG to rank them as a top-3 team in the world. The only thing we do know is that they are potentially the second best team in the LPL. I think the rest of my top-10 make sense, although areas I would like to address are the #7,8, and 9 spots. I’m still a firm believer that Fnatic and ahq are very close but that Fnatic is better. I think the quality of the LMS region is still up for debate but we do know that the best teams in the LMS are pretty good. I’d still argue that TSM simply underperformed at MSI which led to ahq and Fnatic looking really good (perhaps better than they actually are), but results are hard to argue with. Still, I’d like to advise people to be cautious with ranking the LMS too high, as Taiwanese teams haven’t really performed that well since TPA at Season 2 Worlds. Granted, yoe Flash Wolves did do pretty well at IEM Katowice (not as well as ahq did at MSI), and I’d argue that as the course of the LMS season unfolds, we will see that yoe and ahq are more or less on the same level (and that ahq may have slightly over performed at MSI).

I know people might think I’ve succumbed to the OMG circlejerk but I really think it’s hard to argue when potential and results are both there. OMG performed pretty well in its first week, and the roster changes seem to be going okay for them. Sure, they have drawn a lot of their matches just like last split, but keep in mind that these matches are still against pretty good teams like QG and Vici. They seem to be performing decently at this point. I rate OMG ahead of the next Korean team, Jin Air, simply because I think China is still a stronger region as a whole (which is why I have Vici and Snake ahead of as well). Additionally, Jin Air has not  won any games against teams of significance (their two victories came against IM and Samsung and they were swept by KT 2-0) so it’s hard to rate them at this point. Judging from their past and present body of work, it's really hard to be optimistic about their play. I think they are simply a middle of the pack Korean team, far behind the top tier teams SKT, CJ, and KT. I even think Najin and KOO are better teams, but since they have produced results, I will give Jin Air the benefit of the doubt for now. Regardless, I don’t see why OMG shouldn’t be rated highly if their hyped-up talent is performing at a pretty high level as well.

Once again, it’s hard to rate the yoe Flash Wolves because we haven’t seen them in the international stage in a while (and LMS is a very hard region to judge), but we do know that they are worse than ahq. I feel like yoe is super ovverrated, and I think the top seven or eight teams in China could handily beat yoe. I think ahq may be the only decent LMS team, and even then, I think am overrating them since I really believe the aforementioned top seven in China could handle them as well. Keep in mind that yoe struggled against the KOO Tigers at IEM Katowice even though KOO themselves had a bad performance. Although they had some decent wins against the likes of SK and Cloud 9, they lost to TSM and overall their performance was not too impressive because they didn't beat any top teams (C9 and SK don't really count as a top team). I'm probably relying too much on my intuition right now, I still think LMS is being overrated by a good margin after ahq's performance at MSI.

I think EU is stronger than NA (simply because Fnatic is really, really good) but that NA is a lot better than people think. I remember watching some videos or streams and pros were saying CLG didn’t have trouble handling ahq when they scrimmed them. Once again, I think TSM just severely underperformed and misunderstood the meta at MSI and their performance was not representative of NA as a whole (although I may be biased because I am NA).

I really wanted to rate CLG higher  because I think NA is underrated but it’s hard to judge where CLG falls. I think their Week 1 performance was very impressive (as usual), and that if they can continue that level of dominance throughout the rest of the split (a big if), then they can compete on an international stage at a high level. Not taking account into their off-Rift tendencies (playing poorly in playoffs, abandoning what works), their gameplay has been nothing short of spectacular. I think after Week 1 CLG certainly looks like the best team in NA (and a really good team in general) but once again, because of their history, we’ll have to proceed with caution. There's no reason to rank them so highly at this moment, even if I think they could actually keep up with some of the Eastern teams.

I also think Najin, LGD and KOO are all better than Origen. These are still top tier pro teams with really good players, ranging from ohq to imp to Acorn to Pray to Gorilla. It’s hard to think that Origen can effectively compete with them just after seeing just one week in the EU LCS. I think maybe with more time we can rate Origen higher, but there’s certainly no need to jump to conclusions. We do know that they do have a lot of international experience, as their roster is full of veteran players. The only player who has not been to a Worlds is Niels, but he may be their best player and is certainly a stud.

I’m not sure where to rate TSM because I think they are really good and can dominate bad teams when they play around Bjergsen but that they have a lot of weaknesses otherwise. Bjergsen is really good and I think after MSI he is underrated by a lot of people – his laning is world class and he actually performed well at MSI. A lot of their losses were attributed were attributed to Dyrus being camped/dove, Santorin exerting no pressure, and bot lane often losing straight up in a 2v2. Bjergsen’s biggest weakness is his susceptibility to ganks, which is largely junglers in NA exert no pressure early game whatsoever. Aside from that, Bjergsen was probably the sole bright spot for TSM at MSI, and I think if TSM can somehow figure out how to control other areas of the map besides mid-lane, they will once again be a formidable team.

I also think Unicorns of Love and H2K are better than Liquid, although it’s close. I see a lot of similarities in UOL and Liquid’s playstyle – sloppy but mechanically sound. I think with time, Liquid has the potential to be better than both UOL and H2K, but they still seem to make way too many mistakes in game to justify ranking them above either team. If they can work a lot of their minor weaknesses this split, look for them to potentially have a strong showing at Worlds.

I also don’t think Cloud 9 justifies a top-25 spot for now. Once again, I think we’ll need to give them time to grow with Incarnati0n, but I really don’t seem them beating a middle pack of the LPL team like Master 3, with stars like Dade and Looper (once again, I may be overrating the LPL but I really do think it is really strong). Perhaps I am underrating Cloud 9 (which is unlikely because I am a huge fanboy), but I really don’t think they had a good showing despite beating TSM. I’m not sure how long it’ll take for them to get accustomed to each other, although I think when they do, they’ll be a top-2 team in NA once again and have a strong showing at worlds. Maybe it is next week, or maybe they will pull a Liquid and not show up until the playoffs, but regardless of when, I think Cloud 9 will eventually find a way to come out on top of NA. Obviously this is all speculation at this point, and a lot remains to be seen.

Thanks for reading and I appreciate all constructive feedback!

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