We’re around the halfway point of the League of Legends domestic summer splits worldwide. While Europe’s MAD Lions continue to impress in the LEC and China’s Top Esports control the LPL, Cloud9 suffered another loss in North America and tumbled in the rankings as a result.
How we rank: We weigh the teams’ strength of schedule, wins, losses and overall performance for the week and have our panelists submit a ranking of 1 through 10 for each team, with 10 being the strongest and 1 being the weakest. We then average the scores to create our initial ranking and discuss any changes needed.
There are five overall tiers. Here’s what they mean:
Tier 1: No. 1-10 — These are world championship quarterfinalist (and beyond) contenders. The farther down you go in the top 10 the less likely that team could win it all, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
Tier 2: No. 11-20 — These are the teams we’d expect to make it to the world championship group stage, with a possibility for quarterfinals. They are likely strong regional contenders in their respective leagues.
Tier 3: No. 21-30 — It’s a long shot, so don’t expect to see these teams in the quarterfinals, but a few will make it to groups at worlds. They are likely middle of the pack in their region.
Tier 4: No. 31-40 — These teams have a tough road ahead of them if they want to see anything postseason related.
Tier 5: No. 41-47 — Luckily relegation isn’t a thing anymore.
1. Top Esports
Region: LPL | Record: 9-1 | Change: —
Last week Top Esports lost to Victory Five in a jaw dropper the day of our previous edition of the power rankings. But the Chinese powerhouse made up for itself, dominating Vici Gaming on Sunday and continuing to hold its title as the best team in the League of Legends Pro League, and by proxy, the world. With their 9-1 record this split and a title win at the Mid-Season Cup a few months ago, Top have become a powerhouse among a competitive region, the same that holds the past two world championship trophies. If this course continues as is, with Top remaining so dominant, they’ll enter the 2020 League of Legends World Championship — in whatever form that may look like — as one of the favorites for the title.
— Jacob Wolf
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2. MAD Lions
Region: LEC | Record: 9-2 | Change: +1
With Rogue having a lighter schedule this week, MAD Lions found themselves at most risk to fall from the tie for first in the summer split. A victory over Excel on Friday set up the big contest on Saturday against a struggling G2, who had dispatched the young lions in Week 1. Momentum was in MAD’s favor, however, and they handed G2 a drubbing on Saturday. Zhiqiang “Shad0w” Zhao dominated on his comfort pick Lee Sin, improving to 5-2 this split (and 12-7 in his career) on the champion. The bot lane stayed deathless, with Norman “Kaiser Kaiser playing Leona for the first time this split (having played The Radiant Dawn three times in the spring playoffs) and Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság leading in team KDA on Kalista with 2/0/12. This is the time of year when fan predictions ramp up about what worlds could actually look like and which teams will participate; MAD Lions has been in that conversation for a while now, and performances like this not only further cement their participation, but also give fans more fodder with which to predict them making a run on the big stage.
— Arda Ocal
3. JD Gaming
Region: LPL | Record: 9-2 | Change: +7
Forget us? You know, the reigning Chinese champions? The team with the best all-around top laner in the world Zhang “Zoom” Xing-ran and current league MVP, jungle wunderkind Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok? While the likes of Royal Never Give Up, FunPlus Phoenix and EDward Gaming combust along with surprises like Victory Five shoot up the rankings, JD Gaming is out here taking care of business like professional surgeons with their dissection of opponents. JD Gaming have little to prove following their domestic crown and put on another flawless week of play, first by dispatching an up-and-coming Vici Gaming squad before continuing the world champion’s woes by smacking down FPX in a sweep. JD are in worlds-ready form and are inching ever so closer to taking back their No. 1 spot in the global power rankings.
4. Invictus Gaming
Region: LPL | Record: 10-3 | Change: +6
Wait, are Invictus Gaming back? During the Mid-Season Cup it felt as if we were watching the unraveling of iG in full, the summer season an epilogue to a world champion franchise before shaking up the roster entirely in the offseason. Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok had become a parody himself, throwing himself over and over into the grinder that was his opponent to rack up a mile-high death chart. If it wasn’t for the reemergence of team talisman Song “Rookie” Eui-jin, this team would have fallen apart completely in the early parts of the summer and be swimming with the likes of EDG as famed orgs at the bottom of the table.
Yet, in true iG fashion, as if it was as simple as flipping on a switch, the 2018 world champions and 2019 world semifinalists are roaring back as another world championship approaches. Rookie has continued his elite form, TheShy is dying a bit less but impacting the game a whole lot more, and maybe most surprisingly, Wang “Baolan” Liu-Yi, has been controlling games back in the starting spot as support. Once regarded as simply Yu “JackeyLove” Wen-Bo’s sidekick that was kept in the starting-five due to the superstar AD carry’s fondness for his bottom lane partner, Baolin is playing some of the best games of his career without Jackeylove beside him in the bottom lane.
Jackeylove and Top Esports might be leading the charge towards the world championship, atop the LPL standings, but Baolan is in the rearview mirror, chasing his friend and former partner.
5. Victory Five
Region: LPL | Record: 8-3 | Change: -3
The story of the summer, Victory Five have captured the hearts of a nation and even more overseas with their movie-esque ascent in China. In the spring, V5 were at the very bottom at the global power rankings, a punching bag for even North Americans to have a laugh about, the only winless team in all of the four major regions. Li “Mole” Hao-Yan endured the worst embarrassment a player could achieve in League of Legends and woke up to a new team surrounding him in the summer, allowing him to exact some revenge on the teams and players that looked down on him in the spring.
It’s a classic Cinderella story. No one believed in them, and even now, near the top of the LPL standings with the only squad to take a match off the titans known as Top Esports, there are questions if V5 are the real deal or similar to EStar’s quick rise and fall in the spring. Although the team lost its only game since last week’s power ranking to 2018 world champion Invictus Gaming, dropping them from No. 2 to No. 5 in the rankings, it was another notch in V5’s belt that this team is no one-hit-wonder. Even in defeat, V5 didn’t look out of place playing a team filled with former world champions on the upswing, taking them to the utter brink before falling in a thrilling three-game series.
Region: LCK | Record: 9-1 | Change: -2
DRX continue to be the best team in the League of Legends Champions Korea, taking blowout series wins over bottom-dweller Hanwha Life Esports and middle-of-the-pack Team Dynamic this past week. Each week DRX seem like they’re shoring up some of their weaknesses, but at the core, the team is still at times unpredictable. As mentioned in past rankings, they’re likely to face some stiff competition in Gen.G, T1 and DAMWON Gaming and it’s still unclear if, when push comes to shove in key pressure moments, whether or not DRX can really step up to the plate. The team is incredibly talented at a raw skill perspective — notably young stars, mid laner Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon and support Ryu “Keria” Min-seok, and veteran AD carry Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu — but “young” is the keyword here; their inexperience may be their downfall. Still, it would be unfair not to acknowledge their regular season success and award them the top spot among the LCK titans.
Region: LEC | Record: 9-2 | Change: -1
Yes, Rogue did have a lighter schedule than MAD this week, taking down last place Schalke and 4-7 Excel. But that doesn’t take away from their impressive split and the fact that perhaps the only reason they didn’t move up in the Power Rankings this week was because of the quality of competition. If anything, this week’s match against Excel did more to feed the forever lasting Rogue > TSM debate with the Special / Reginald comparisons. Emil ” Larssen” Larsson and Inspired both went deathless on the weekend; Larssen ended with a 14/0/12 KDA while Kacper “Inspired” Słoma finished with 4/0/19. Rogue will meet Misfits and G2 this weekend, and another 2-0 showing should bump them up the rankings, at least in my book.
Region: LCK | Record: 8-2 | Change: +5
Gen.G are sitting pretty in second place of the LCK standings, in position to lock in a worlds position and battle for the LCK summer split title after being swept by T1 in a disappointing spring final. All of that is in the rear view mirror, as Gen.G were able to dispatch of T1 handily last Saturday (and Afreeca Freecs prior to that). AD Carry Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk leads the LCK in kills with 122, and if he keeps up the pace it should open up more options to victory for his team.
9. Damwon Gaming
Region: LCK | Record: 8-2 | Change: -2
DAMWON falls in the rankings this week, not because they lost a game, but rather due to Gen.G’s big win over T1 and DAMWON’s par-for-the-course wins over Team Dynamics and Afreeca Freecs. This week was mid laner Heo “ShowMaker” Su’s week as he racked up two game MVP awards against Afreeca and also contributed handsomely against Dynamics, all across three champions of various playstyle, Sylas, Zoe and Orianna. DAMWON is still a top team in the LCK but questions still remain around their consistency and the earlier split loss to Gen.G makes DAMWON’s playoff hopes peculiar indeed.
Region: LPL | Record: 8-3 | Change: +7
Don’t look now but Suning is on a win streak of six matches and are barreling towards the LPL playoffs with a whole lot of momentum behind them. The team had a rough patch in the early part of the season when they dropped three-straight matches to JD, iG and EDG but have rebounded in recent weeks with a string of wins to put them firmly in the playoff picture with the possibility of making the world championship no longer a pipedream. Led by 19-year-old mid laner Xiang “Angel” Tao, Suning continued its impressive form with two more victories this past week, first winning a close 2-1 series with BiliBili Gaming before taking another 2-1 scoreline over faltering Royal Never Give Up. There have been a lot of 2-1 wins recently for Suning, but none of that matters — as long as the “W” appears in the team’s standings following a game, they’ll be just fine, inching their way ever so closer to the franchise’s first world championship appearance.
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