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Team Liquid continues to climb slowly, as does Flash Wolves. In China, Invictus Gaming just keeps winning, including a sub-20-minute Game 3 thrashing of Rogue Warriors, another strong team in the LPL.
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. Invictus Gaming
Record: 13-1 | League: LPL | +/-: --
Invictus Gaming is a good team. Whether it's the best in the League of Legends world is still up for debate, primarily because iG looks eerily similar to how it did at this point in the split this spring. Then, Royal Never Give Up stopped iG when the LPL title looked all but won for Song "Rookie" Eui-jin & Co. iG is excellent at drafting around team weaknesses in teamfighting and objective control, especially when it comes to lane counterpicks. Would iG beat all of the top teams in China and South Korea? Maybe not -- stay tuned for a thought exercise by the power rankings team on this topic -- but one of the highlight matches of last week was iG's 2-1 victory over the top team in the West Region, Rogue Warriors, and this week ends with a must-see grudge match between iG and RNG.
Record: 13-5 | League: LCK | +/-: +3
In the battle for best in LoL Champions Korea, Gen.G has done its part. Now the team waits for KT Rolster, Kingzone DragonX and Griffin's final matches. This doesn't mean that Gen.G doesn't have weaknesses. A continuing problem for this former Samsung Galaxy lineup is that when its players' champions aren't in meta, the team struggles. Fortunately for Gen.G, this split has been kind, giving over strong picks across the board such as Kang "Haru" Min-seung's Camille, the duo lane of Park "Ruler" Jae-hyeok's Ezreal and support Jo "CoreJJ" Young-in's Tahm Kench, and Lee "CuVee" Seong-jin's Gnar. Although Gen.G's love of 5-on-5 teamfighting and scaling, traditional AD carries doesn't call to mind a good early game, Gen.G's early vision control and objective setup have been fairly consistent and strong.
3. KT Rolster
Record: 12-5 | League: LCK | +/-: --
Watching KT Rolster dumpster Hanwha Life Esports this week was an excellent reminder of what this lineup is capable of, especially after a shaky 2-1 win over perennial playoff spoilers the Jin Air Green Wings. Now, KT are locked in the struggle for first place in the LCK with Gen.G, Griffin and Kingzone DragonX. It's not the first time we've said this, but it bears repeating that this KT team is reminiscent of the 2014 KT Rolster Arrows in both talent and volatility. No other team can make a 2-0 victory over 10th-place bbq Olivers feel almost like a lengthy 1-2 loss. Fortunately for KT, top laner Song "Smeb" Kyung-ho is playing better than he has at the moment, able to change entire games in KT's favor.
4. Rogue Warriors
Record: 11-3 | League: LPL | +/-: --
Jungler Sung "Flawless" Yeon-jun used to go by the name of "Flaw" before he changed it for his LCK debut on SBENU Sonicboom. Since then, Flawless' jungling has occupied two extremes: brilliant or horrifying. We saw both this week against iG, further underscoring mid laner Kim "Doinb" Tae-sang's role as a steadying influence for his junglers from the mid lane, although Flawless' penchant to push for plays even while his team is in a deficit is a team-wide issue for Rogue Warriors. Fortunately for him, support Liu "Killua" Dan-Yang continues his pursuit as the world's greatest Tahm Kench master, which helps the rest of the teammates in their more aggressive pursuits. Despite the loss to iG, Rogue Warriors has had some incredibly strong performances in cross-conference play, rallying after a close loss to JD Gaming in Week 5. Alongside iG in the East Conference, Rogue Warriors was the other LPL to qualify for playoffs last week, with three-and-a-half weeks of competitive play to go.
5. Kingzone DragonX
Record: 12-5 | League: LCK | +/-: +2
Look no further than the fact that Kingzone DragonX top laner Kim "Khan" Dong-ha sits above his teammate and mid laner Gwak "Bdd" Bo-seong for proof that the LCK Most Valuable Player points system is a bit lacking. This isn't meant as a slight against Khan -- although without similar jungle attention and 4-1 setups, he has looked a bit lost this split -- but Bdd has been the standout performer on Kingzone all split, pulling the team forward even when it was at its most disorganized on the Rift. Kingzone has settled down after the initial meta shift picking compositions that suit the team's style much better; however, the problem with Kingzone remains the team's early game. It's something that hampered it at the 2018 Mid-Season Invitational, and it's something that teams anywhere from Griffin to Gen.G in playstyle have used to beat Kingzone.
6. Royal Never Give Up
Record: 11-4 | League: LPL | +/-: -4
After a post-Rift Rivals rest, AD carry Jian "Uzi" Zi-Hao is back, and his return to Royal Never Give Up has been interesting. In his absence, RNG experimented with nontraditional compositions, flexed Liu "Zz1tai" Zi-Hao around the map, gave substitute AD carry Dai "Able" Zhi-Chun valuable starting experiences and played more around jungler Hung "Karsa" Hau-Hsuan with a somewhat stronger early game. It shouldn't be surprising that with Uzi's return, RNG has defaulted to compositions around him -- he's one of if not the best player in the world right now -- but this has also meant a return of RNG's early-game issues and awkward Vayne performances such as Game 2 against Suning Gaming, even though RNG was on the precipice of a late-game teamfight comeback. Going forward, we'd like to see a better combination of Uzi's strengths and the more flexible flashes of brilliance we saw in his absence.
7. Flash Wolves
Record: 11-0 | League: LMS | +/-: +2
Flash Wolves remains undefeated in the LMS, with 11 wins, but it cut it fairly close this weekend against Afro Gaming due to a specific roster decision, subbing out support Hu "SwordArt" Shuo-Jie for trainee Lu "ShiauC" Chia-Hao. Flash Wolves' esteemed position in the LMS and continued tight play make decisions such as this possible, but it is very clear that SwordArt is at the center of the team's success. As long as SwordArt is in the lineup, Flash Wolves can contend with the best in this early-game focused meta.
Record: 12-5 | League: LCK | +/-: --
With only one match left against 10th-place bbq Olivers, Griffin is in a fairly good spot, especially for a rookie organization with a (mostly) rookie team in such a volatile metagame. Across the back half of the split, Griffin is a middling 4-4, including an unexpected loss to the Jin Air Green Wings last week. Teams have not only figured out how to punish Griffin's passive early game, but also Griffin hasn't adjusted the team's playstyle enough to counter certain opponents, namely KT Rolster. Against Jin Air, Griffin's passivity once again came back to haunt it, as Jin Air star AD carry Park "Teddy" Jin-seong was able to scale on Ezreal before a dominating Game 3 Jhin performance. Griffin is full of young, talented players that should be able to adjust, especially since scaling AD carries were Park "Viper" Do-hyeon's bread and butter in Challengers Korea. Yet only with stronger objective control, vision and macro play to supplement the team's strong 5v5 teamfighting will Griffin be the best team in Korea.
9. JD Gaming
Record: 11-2 | League: LPL | +/-: +1
One of the more hilarious moments this past week in the LPL was watching JD Gaming top laner Zhang "Zoom" Xing-Ran give Oh My God the Benny Hill treatment on Gangplank in Game 2 en route to a 2-0 sweep. Amidst the rise of JDG as a team, especially mid laner Zeng "Yagao" Qi as one of the region's best, Zoom's contributions have often gone unnoticed, so it was nice to see him in the spotlight for a bit this past week. JDG is 6-1 in cross-conference play, further separating JDG from Suning Gaming and LGD Gaming, who now look to be squabbling over the fourth and final playoff spot from the East Region while JDG is making a run for the top spot -- or at least better seeding.
10. EDward Gaming
Record: 7-7 | League: LPL | +/-: -4
It was a struggle this week to decide just how far to drop EDward Gaming. EDG didn't receive as precipitous of a drop in the rankings as the team likely deserved based on in-game performance, but this is more due to similarly inconsistent performances from teams in every major region (also see: Hanwha Life Esports). What's actually wrong with EDG seems to be a continuation of the problems the team has had all split, especially with split calls and a loss of synergy. Not even the return of veteran jungler Ming "Clearlove" Kai worked this past week, though his leadership has helped right the ship in the past. It's particularly sad when we think of how EDG looked to be on the upswing just a few weeks prior.
Record: 10-4 | League: EU LCS | +/-: +4
Fnatic is back, and it didn't need Martin "Rekkles" Larsson. The starting of top laner Gabriel "Bwipo" Rau continues to prop up Fnatic as it seeks to win the Summer title. Fnatic's sidelane play is concentrated in the latter half of the game, and its knack for picking teamfights compliments that well. Scaling picks down bot continues to work for Fnatic but also has proven to be its downfall, as the team can be very easy to snowball against with a lack of range. Still, Fnatic is dedicated to fighting, and it continues to reap the benefits as most of Europe searches for an answer.
12. Hanwha Life
Record: 10-8 | League: LCK | +/-: +2
After the 2-0 drubbing that Hanwha Life Esports received at the hands of KT Rolster, you might be wondering why Hanwha is still here. Again, we cannot reiterate enough the general volatility across all regions that's contributing to some major fluctuations in rankings (just look at Topsports Gaming of all teams), especially when it comes to the top of North America and Europe and the middle-of-the-pack in South Korea and China. Hanwha is not a bad team, despite Game 2 against KT, and with how poorly the Afreeca Freecs have been playing lately, Hanwha moving up two spots after wins against MVP and Afreeca isn't all that crazy. Recent record is only one of the criteria. However, Hanwha is a remarkably frustrating team to watch since it's always in-game execution and small decisions that trip the team up, rather than individual talent or even draft problems.
Record: 7-7 | League: LPL | +/-: +10
If you had told us at the beginning of the split that Topsports Gaming would not only become a legitimate mid-tier team in China but also crack the Top 20 of these power rankings, we would have told you that you were crazy. If you had then casually mentioned that top laner Jang "MaRin" Gyeong-hwan was no longer starting, only further concern for your mental health would have followed. Yet one of the more interesting storylines as teams in the LPL West Region jockey for playoff positioning has been the rise of TOP with top laner Xiong "Moyu" Hui-Dong (from the team's initial LPL qualification as DAN Gaming and former Star Horn Royal Club mid laner Lei "Corn" Wen). TOP managed to beat both Suning Gaming and JD Gaming 2-1 in cross conference play by capitalizing on opponents' mistakes and teamfighting. Yes, TOP is benefitting from other teams in South Korea and China struggling with this position in the ranking, but that doesn't mean the team isn't fun to watch.
14. Afreeca Freecs
Record: 9-8 | League: LCK | +/-: -3
Last split, the Afreeca Freecs contended for the 2018 LCK Spring title and the chance to go to the 2018 Mid-Season Invitational. This split, Afreeca has slowly fallen from grace. Despite an initially strong understanding of what was a volatile meta, Afreeca has not continued to adapt while other teams around it, such as Kingzone DragonX, Griffin and KT Rolster have slowly found what works for them. Support Park "TusiN" Jong-ik has been much more locked in lane this split, and combined with Lee "Spirit" Da-yoon starting the majority of the time for Afreeca in the jungle, it has made for a more lackluster early game. Although top laner Kim "Kiin" Gi-in is still flexible with champion choice, he has been a bit more out-of-sync with the rest of the Freecs, which is likely a team communication problem rather than an individual failing. Afreeca can still qualify for playoffs, but this is not a team that looks like it will make it far in the gauntlet as of right now.
15. Team Liquid
Record: 10-4 | League: NA LCS | +/-: +2
Welcome again to part of the Power Rankings where we check in on how badly North America is doing! Luckily for the fine folks in NA, pessimism usually works the best going into an event -- CLG at MSI 2016 says hello -- and TL is still the best chance the region has to make a deep run in South Korea this October. On the blue side, like most of North America, Liquid is rolling through the competition. The question will be if it can continue its momentum with a slew of red side games coming up the next two weeks before the postseason begins. Still, blue side or not, with the likes of Team SoloMid and Counter Logic Gaming sputtering to the finish line, TL is staunch in the position of summer split title favorite.
16. G2 Esports
Record: 9-5 | League: EU LCS | +/-: --
If Fnatic is the teamfight king, G2 is the king of early lane control. G2's funnel comp might not be the de facto approach anymore, but the team's awareness around early jungle pathing and opportunities is still refined. Vision control is also a plus, but G2 has a tendency to fall to strong teamfight engage that takes it by surprise. Overstepping its control has been a problem, but it's a small problem that the talented unit should have no trouble dealing with in the long term. G2's general attention to the macro game is still a boom coming into the final week and upcoming playoffs.
17. Suning Gaming
Record: 7-7 | League: LPL | +/-: +2
We thought Suning Gaming was in a slight downturn at the end of Week 7, especially after a rough 2-1 loss to Topsports Gaming. This iteration of Suning has had the occasional game that has been reminiscent of the Jin Air Green Wings, not because of a lengthy average game time but because of a strong early game, poor mid game that gives advantages back to Suning's opponent and scaling options that can win them the game later on. Suning's mid game is a problem. Even in the team's 2-0 upset of Royal Never Give Up, Suning waffled after racking up multiple kills onto Uzi's Vayne early. In order to cement that final East Region playoff spot and keep LGD Gaming at bay, Suning needs to revisit its midgame decision-making.
18. SK Telecom
Record: 8-9 | League: LCK | +/-: -6
For the first time in the organization's League of Legends history, including OGN's Champions tournament and the post-2014 LoL Champions Korea, SK Telecom T1 will not be sending a team to playoffs. SKT additionally might not make the World Championship for the second time in its LoL history. The last time SKT missed Worlds, it was due to the rise of the Samsung Galaxy sister teams White and Blue alongside the KT Rolster Arrows' summer victory and an unlikely NaJin White Shield gauntlet run. This season is a bit similar with the rise of Griffin and decent performances from both Hanwha Life Esports and Afreeca Freecs. At this point, SKT and mid laner Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok have become synonymous. Going forward, it will be up to SKT and Faker if they want to continue this trend.
Record: 10-4 | League: EU LCS | +/-: -6
Misfits looked so untouchable for so long, but this week it not only bled but also gushed. Misfits lacked control of the early game and struggled to play from behind with its weaker sense of macro play. Steven "Hans Sama" Liv even tried the Vladimir this last week for the first time, but Schalke 04's emphasis on snowballing stamped out the pick with ease. Misfits will have to reapproach the meta game if it hopes to reclaim Europe's No. 1 spot in these power rankings.
20. Echo Fox
Record: 9-5 | League: LPL | +/-: +8
Meet Team Frankenstein. We have a world-class South Korean top laner who played in the Worlds final last year. We have an American jungler who has played on four teams in the past two years but has finally found a home on Echo Fox with a chance to win league MVP this split. There's an up-and-coming American mid laner, which hasn't happened since probably the 1970s. Echo Fox's support, Smoothie, is Canadian and was an MVP candidate on Cloud9 last split before suddenly getting benched and traded in the summer. Oh, and it just so happens that the team's other import is a rookie AD carry from New Zealand. Unbridled aggression is the only way this team knows how to play, and if its gamble on shaking up a third-place roster from last season works out, this team could be the dark horse for NA going into Worlds.