League of Legends global power rankings through July 2
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Rift Rivals kicks off this week, so we’ll get to see a little bit of that international competition we all clamor for. Before we get to that, we need to look at this week’s League of Legends global power rankings.
Nos. 1-10: World contenders
Nos. 11-20: Playoff contenders
Nos. 21-30: Middle of the pack
Nos. 31-40: Struggling
Nos. 41-52: Bottom of the barrel
1. Royal Never Give Up | Record: 5-1 | League: LPL | +/-: —
After a 2-1 victory over East Region rival Invictus Gaming, Royal Never Give Up is still the best team in China, and the number one team in our power rankings. Against iG, RNG top laner Yan “LetMe” Jun-Ze had his time in the spotlight with an excellent Malphite performance before Liu “Zz1tai” Zhi-Hao attends the upcoming Rift Rivals event with the team as its starting top. It’s another reminder that RNG has so many ways that the team can beat opponents, especially with both LetMe and Zz1tai in the top lane, and the pairing of Liu “Mlxg” Shi-yu and Hung “Karsa” Hau-Hsuan in the jungle. At Rift Rivals, RNG will be the team to beat.
2. Invictus Gaming | Record: 5-1 | League: LPL | +/-: +1
In Week 8, Invictus Gaming will have one more chance to beat Royal Never Give Up in the regular season before both teams (presumably) head into the 2018 LoL Pro League Summer playoffs. For now, iG is still slightly behind RNG but is still looking more consistent than the South Korean trio of the Afreeca Freecs, Kingzone DragonX, and Gen.G, which earns iG the second-place spot in our rankings. Against RNG, iG began with a team staple: strong pushing lanes and Camille for jungler Gao “Ning” Zhen-Ning. This led to early pressure and good coordination with mid laner Song “Rookie” Eui-jin’s Galio in teamfights and skirmishes. Unfortunately, iG’s synergy didn’t last for the entirety of the series, and Ning’s over-aggression was quickly punished by iG. iG has recently been teasing the return of top laner Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok, who could be back in the starting lineup for Week 4. It won’t solve iG’s small in-game communication errors, but could revitalize the team for the back two-thirds of the split.
3. Afreeca Freecs | Record: 6-2 | League: LCK | +/-: +2
If the Afreeca Freecs, Kingzone DragonX, and Gen.G could be ranked as one tier, they would be. All three teams are good, but all three teams have specific strengths and weaknesses that place them alongside each other rather than in a definitive hierarchy. The Afreeca Freecs get the nod as South Korea’s top team this week for a 2-0 series record that included a sweep of Gen.G. Initially, the Freecs seemed to be LoL Champions Korea’s most comfortable team in the new meta. This past week we saw glimpses of that return with a few different, yet still successful, compositions that further showcased the flexibility of top laner Kim “Kiin” Gi-in and mid laner Lee “Kuro” Seo-haeng. The Freecs can flex around both of these players to funnel more resources towards AD carry Kim “Aiming” Ha-ram who played in both Week 3 series.
4. Kingzone DragonX | Record: 6-2 | League: LCK | +/-: -2
Kingzone DragonX still have similar issues that plagued the team at the 2018 Mid-Season Invitational, most of which revolve around the team’s early game. Previously, the team would rely on Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong to control the mid lane wave push, allowing Moon “Cuzz” Woo-chan to farm or Han “Peanut” Wang-ho to aggressively invade the opposing jungle. Kim “PraY” Jong-in and Kang “GorillA” Beom-hyeon provided a stable foundation for the team in the bottom lane, and either jungler could go topside to guarantee Kim “Khan” Dong-ha top lane advantages. Kingzone still looks a bit uncomfortable in this meta, especially now that bot lane and mid lane are no longer stable champion-wise and Khan has looked out-of-sync with the team since MSI.
5. Gen.G | Record: 6-2 | League: LCK | +/-: -1
Gen.G still deserves a lot of credit for sticking to what the team does best: playing around scaling AD carry champions for Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk. This style still relies on the versatility of mid laner Song “Fly” Yong-jun and early pressure from jungler Kang “Haru” Min-seung. Much like last spring, Haru’s more aggressive nature has suited the team better than Kang “Ambition” Chan-yong’s more conservative power farming. That being said, Haru’s aggression was punished by the Afreeca Freecs, stymieing Gen.G’s early momentum. Fly’s champion pool, although it apparently now includes Ornn, has primarily relied on him playing Zoe or Lulu for a Gen.G win. We like that Gen.G have stuck to the style that works best for its players, and don’t recommend that they change it since it’s generally been working for them. But, Gen.G will have to find more ways to work within that style to change draft up enough within the team’s preferred parameters.
6. EDward Gaming | Record: 5-1 | League: LPL | +/-: +2
Although EDward Gaming still had a few in-game execution issues this week, the team moved up this week in the rankings thanks to a 2-0 sweep of previously-undefeated Rogue Warriors and the general closeness of the LCK top three cluster of teams. EDG is at about the same level as Rogue Warriors and JD Gaming, with a slightly stronger understanding of macro fundamentals than the other two teams mentioned. The meta may change around EDG, but as long as the team has jungler Ming “Clearlove” Kai or support Tian “Meiko” Ye starting (or both players) EDG will have a good idea of how to play the game, especially around AD carry Hu “iBoy” Xian-Zhao and the bottom side of the map. If EDG can destroy the bottom lane turret early, rotate iBoy around the map taking structures or neutral objectives, and get iBoy involved in teamfights, it’s usually an EDG win regardless of in-game mistakes. However, these mistakes (over-extending to fight, not fighting when they could) are what keep EDG from once again being at the top of the LPL.
7. KT Rolster | Record: 5-3 | League: LCK | +/-: —
We could say that KT Rolster subverted expectations by losing to SK Telecom T1 and sweeping both Griffin and MVP, but that would also admit to having certain expectations of KT in the first place. After a strong performance against Gen.G last week, KT opened this week with a disappointing 1-2 loss to SKT before handing Griffin its first loss of the split. KT’s gameplan against Griffin was strong, and fit well into the team’s preferred playstyle: focus on the bottom side of the map with strong early pressure. We’re not exactly sure why AD carry Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu returned to the Mordekaiser, but KT did play around him well and used top laner Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho to split Griffin’s teamfights into more manageable skirmishes. It seems that KT can plan well for opponents (as shown by series against Gen.G and Griffin) but the team’s inconsistent nature is especially punishing in a split with teams like Griffin and Hanwha Life pushing their way towards the top of the standings.
8. Rogue Warriors | Record: 6-1 | League: LPL | +/-: -2
The problem for Rogue Warriors has never been finding the team’s stride. Much like last split, Rogue Warriors immediately identified how the team wanted to play in this meta and what would make the most of specific player talents and foibles. Mid laner Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang has unsurprisingly taken well to this meta, favoring top lane champions for the much shorter mid lane, especially as counters to the all-too-common Irelia mid pickup like Kled, Aatrox, Ornn, and most recently, Renekton. Wonky champion picks have always been a Doinb specialty — he first established his particular flair with a Maokai mid pick in the 2015 Demacia Cup — and this meta makes the most of his flexibility, even with other players not being as flexible as their mid laner. Going into Rift Rivals, even with the loss to EDG, Rogue Warriors should be a team to watch out for, especially in a meta that favors Doinb’s quirkiness.
9. JD Gaming | Record: 5-1 | League: LPL | +/-: —
Just outside of the top LPL teams is JD Gaming, a young team full of talent that’s still the only team to beat Royal Never Give Up this split in a series. Against Vici Gaming this week, JDG showed a superior understanding of minion waves to close out Game 1 with an unlikely Lee “Loken” Dong-wook teleport backdoor. JDG has the talent to surprise, whether it’s Loken, top laner Zhang “Zoom” Xing-Ran, or mid laner Zeng “Yagao” Qi, both of whom we’ve mentioned here in prior week’s writeups. This week, JDG also looked a bit less lost when it came to mid-to-late game neutral objective setups or turret trades. Yet, when comparing JDG to a team like RNG, Invictus Gaming, EDward Gaming, or even Rogue Warriors, JDG has not figured out how they want to best play as a team, and lacks some of the macro fundamentals that China’s top teams have.
10. Griffin | Record: 6-1 | League: LCK | +/-: —
Continuing the claim of sole possession of first place in LoL Champions Korea, Griffin faltered a bit this week. The team’s win over Kingzone DragonX was a strong victory, and went a long way towards proving that Griffin is a team that didn’t garner wins solely because of a weak initial schedule. Yet, Griffin’s loss at the hands of KT Rolster, punished gaps in Griffin’s early game that have always been present, but went unpunished by the likes of Kingzone, a team that has struggled with its own early game lack of pressure. Moving forward, Griffin have a schedule break at the perfect time: immediately after the team’s first loss. Griffin should have the time to regroup, address early game holes, and return from the loss a stronger team.
11. Hanwha Life | Record: 3-2 | League: LCK | +/-: —
Hanwha Life Esports is an infuriating team because we can see how good this roster could be if players didn’t fumble the in-game execution. The team has a strong understanding of its players, their champion pools, and how they want to play. Yet, this doesn’t stop in-game mistakes, especially when it comes to Hanwha understanding its win conditions at any given time. Against Kingzone DragonX, Hanwha easily took Game 1 with a strong early game and had a composition poised to take Game 2 by spreading Kingzone thin on the map with Twisted Fate and Kindred for Kim “Lava” Tae-hoon and Yoon “SeongHwan” Seong-hwan yet didn’t play the composition correctly, giving over early advantages to Kingzone. Similar issues arose in Hanwha’s Week 1 loss to Griffin and Week 2 loss to Gen.G. Hanwha is almost there, but the team really needs to brush up on how to execute some of the compositions it picks.
12. Flash Wolves | Record: 3-0 | League: LMS | +/-: —
Flash Wolves is going into Rift Rivals with a full head of steam, seemingly maintaining its form from the Mid-Season Invitational and smashing everyone in Taiwan. Flash Wolves can’t really move up in the power rankings even if it goes undefeated, but its form cannot be ignored. Currently, the competition in Taiwan is a tier below and Flash Wolves’ real challenge is coming up this week at Rift Rivals in China. It is a grand opportunity to prove that any success at MSI was not a fluke, even if the tournament tends to be more lighthearted.
13. G2 Esports | Record: 6-0 | League: EU LCS | +/-: +1
G2 Esports is the master of the funnel comp and Luka “Perkz” Perkovic is loving every second of it. The traditional mid laner is performing incredibly well on marksman champions in the mid game and is making himself out to be an absolute star again. In G2’s match against Fnatic, Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski flexed onto the Tahm Kench for Perkz’ Xayah and the team executed perfectly on yet another funnel comp that also included Morgana and Rakan bottom lane. G2’s current understanding of funnel comp and the importance of wave management makes it the highest-ranked Western team, soon to overtake Flash Wolves from the LMS as well.
14. Misfits | Record: 6-0 | League: EU LCS | +/-: +1
Misfits had a pretty soft schedule last week, playing against Schalke 04 and H2K gaming, and had little issue showing why, like G2, it sits at the top of the EU LCS. Misfits continue to flex onto numerous compositions that take advantage of the early game and snowball to perfection each time, with Draven even being pulled out this week by Steven “Hans Sama” Liv. There is no doubt that Misfits is knocking on G2’s door.
15. Suning Gaming | Record: 3-3 | League: LPL | +/-: +3
Right behind JD Gaming and vying for a playoff spot from the East Region is e-commerce brethren Suning Gaming. Suning Gaming only played one series this past week, and it was a series that was already included in last week’s power rankings, but the team moved up one spot thanks to other Chinese teams and South Korean teams moving down and out of the top 20.
16. Team Liquid | Record: 4-2 | League: NA LCS | +/-: +1
Team Liquid – Well, that wasn’t how Team Liquid wanted to go into Rift Rivals. Clutch Gaming bopped the North American champion, but TL should still feel pretty safe in its spot as the region’s premier team. After failing to make it out of groups at MSI, Liquid will at least want to gain back some bragging rights at Rift Rivals in front of the home crowd fans.
17. Team SoloMid | Record: 4-2 | League: NA LCS | +/-: +1
It’s OK to breathe, Team SoloMid fans, as long as it is not Clutch looking across from the other side of the stage, your team has a chance. Per usual, TSM is humming along quite well in the regular season, and the real questions will come when playoffs come. After winning Rift Rivals last year, TSM has a week off, getting to see if its domestic rivals can make it back-to-back wins over Europe.
18. MAD Team | Record: 3-0 | League: LMS | +/-: +14
A second LMS team in the top 20? Madness! Or MAD Team. MAD currently sits at 3-0 in the LMS Summer Split and is going into Rift Rivals as the second best LMS team. The schedule hasn’t been challenging so far, but MAD is the only team that looks even remotely close to Flash Wolves’ level of comfort right now. The lane-focused, early skirmish playstyle from MAD works perfectly in this meta and there’s no denying that bottom laner Huang “Breeze” Chien-Yuan was made for it with his uncompromisable aggressive laning. MAD is the perfect combination of hungry, young talent and a turbulent meta.
19. Snake Esports | Record: 3-3 | League: LPL | +/-: -6
After another inconsistent week, Snake Esports is on the verge of dropping out of the power rankings top 20, but again deserves credit where credit is due for recognizing team strengths and drafting accordingly. Snake knows that the team’s most likely path to success is paved with a strong carry performance from the top side of the map: jungler Lê “SofM” Quang Duy and top laner Li “Flandre” Xuan-Jun, and have done away completely with any semblance of a standard League of Legends draft. Unfortunately, Snake is also a volatile team that is prone to execution mistakes. All of these factors combined mean that Snake is a fun team to watch, and more teams should look at Snake’s draft approach for reference, but wildly inconsistent, as reflected in Snake’s Week 3 win over EDward Gaming and loss to Topsports Gaming
20. Fnatic | Record: 4-2 | League: EU LCS | +/-: —
Fnatic couldn’t keep up with the funnel comp of G2 and is seemingly handicapped strategically, but the team still had a decisive victory over bottomfeeder, Giants Gaming. The current starting situation involving two top laners, Paul “sOAZ” Boyer and Gabriel “Bwipo” Rau, is working, but one hopes that Martin “Rekkles” Larsson will join the roster again as a bottom laner. Marksman champions are plenty viable and being unable to play with one will only hamstring the Kings of Europe.