Thursday marks the beginning of the fourth annual League of Legends All-Star event in Barcelona, Spain. Each year, fans vote for their favorite player in the five different roles in League of Legends and the teams are assembled based on their region. Often this tournament -- while meaning little competitively -- plays to the fans' desires, mixing and matching some of the best, although more likely the most popular, in each role in each region.
But what if this event became more like the Olympics? Instead of having some of the players who made it into the lineups based off their popularity, what would happen if the best performer in each role was chosen? What would those lineups look like?
Let's take a look at each region and the top player at each position to reimagine League of Legends All-Stars rosters.
Dream Lineup Top: Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong; Jungle: Kim "Reignover" Yeu-jin; Mid: Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg; AD carry: Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng; Support: Zaqueri "Aphromoo" Black
This is North America's lineup for Thursday and, quite frankly, the best lineup available currently from the pool. Good work, North American fans, you've given the region the best possible roster to compete on the world stage, if we deduct cohesion as a factor. This lineup, with mixtures of Cloud9, Immortals, Team SoloMid and Counter Logic Gaming, truly represents the melting pot of North America and the best talent, and each of these players are the most popular by vote.
We wouldn't have it any other way. Cloud9's 2013 world champion top laner Impact had one heck of a second part of the year, leading the way for his team to be the second best in North America and showing that his career is far from over. Simultaneously, fellow South Korean pro Reignover made his name as the best jungler in North America and arguably the best in the west; he was the only member of the privately voted All-Pro team who was not on Team SoloMid.
As for the remainder of the lineup, it's hard to argue any mid laner comes close to Team SoloMid's Bjergsen, who has continued to be the shining star in that lane since his North American debut nearly three years ago. And while the bottom lane of this team was voted together due to their popularity as the former Counter Logic Gaming duo, both Doublelift and Aphromoo are among the top of their respective roles.
Dream Lineup Top: Andrei "Odoamne" Pascu; Jungle: Kim "Trick" Gang-yun; Mid: Fabian "Febiven" Diepstraten; AD carry: Konstantinos "FORG1VEN" Tzortziou; Support: Alfonso "mithy" Aguirre Rodríguez
This lineup contrasts heavily to the fan-voted lineup, primarily due to the fan vote reflecting the most popular in Europe (not coincidentally three members of the longtime Fnatic team, pre-2015.) But this lineup shows the best in Europe in their role from the previous season with a mixture of players from H2K Gaming, G2 Esports and Fnatic, each of which were in the top four this season.
While there's an argument to be made for the top lane, as Europe has several who perform at quite a high level, none are quite as good as Odoamne. Not only did he have a strong performance at the 2016 League of Legends World Championship, but Odoamne's consistency makes him the best in the region.
The argument for jungle is too close to call. The current pick is H2K Gaming's Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski, but over the course of the season, Trick has shown himself as one of the strongest junglers as well, being one of the main focal points of G2 Esports. Trick has a higher KDA than Jankos, but Jankos has a higher kill participation than his opponent, so frankly either makes a good fit in this team.
Rounding out the lineup is more clear. Former Fnatic mid laner Febiven is not only an incredible talent, but even in his roughest split yet this summer was one of the better members of the Fnatic team. AD carry FORG1VEN finally got his shot at the world stage this season and showed what he's made of -- leading H2K, alongside Jankos and Odoamne out of their group in first place. And G2 Esports support Mithy wasn't the original nominee for the team but is more deserving than ever after having an incredible performance in both seasons since his competitive return.
Dream Lineup Top: Song "Smeb" Kyung-ho; Jungle: Go "Score" Dong-bin; Mid: Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok; AD carry: Bae "Bang" Jun-sik; Support: Kang "GorillA" Beom-hyeon
This year's South Korean lineup is confusing, but again it's due to the popularity of the players and not their skill levels. Top lane and mid lane remain the same; Smeb and Faker are easily the best in their role in South Korea and despite being rivals, showcase exactly why South Korea is the most dominant region in the world.
As for jungle, Score is a shoe-in for the best jungler in the region, competing for that title with former ROX Tigers jungler Han "Peanut" Wang-ho. It's clear that Bae "Bengi" Seong-ung (the current jungle choice) is the most popular but his skill has dropped severely since his peak in 2013, despite having a strong worlds showing and winning another championship.
The AD carry and support position also rang true of the "popularity contest" mentality. While it's hard to deny former ROX Tigers Kim "PraY" Jong-in is a solid AD carry, he is not as strong as two-time world champion Bang. As for the support role, current choice Hong "MadLife" Min-gi hasn't been the strongest support in the region for several years, with Gorilla filling that void.
Mixing these five together would make South Korean a clear candidate for anything. And as the Telecom Wars heat up between SK Telecom T1 and KT Rolster next split -- the latter of which has three ineligible South Korean players, two of whom would make this list otherwise -- this lineup would ring true of the new super team mentality.
Dream Lineup Top: Jang "Looper" Hyeong-seok; Jungle: Ming "ClearLove" Kai; Mid: Wei "We1less" Zhen; AD carry: Kim "Deft" Hyuk-kyu; Support: Cho "Mata" Se-hyeong
At face value, the Chinese lineup that made it isn't terrible considering that no team can have more than two members voted in. But with some adjustments, it's certainly easier to make a better lineup and that can be done by bringing together two members each of the 2016 EDward Gaming and Royal Never Give Up lineups, the two best teams in China throughout the year.
As the two Chinese members of the team, ClearLove and We1less serve as anchors to the lineup. ClearLove has been the best jungler in China historically, and while We1less wasn't the best mid laner in the region, he bodes well considering the rules of voting.
The firepower for this lineup comes in the form of 2014 world-champion duo Looper and Mata. You can have Mata without Looper but not Looper without Mata; Mata often controls Looper's macro play and as one of the game's best strategist, made Royal Never Give Up and Samsung White well-oiled machines at their peak. As for Deft, he and Uzi Jian "Uzi" Zi-Hao were the best AD carries in China this year, but since Looper and Mata would be top and support, Uzi would be ineligible in this lineup.
Dream Lineup Top: Chen "Ziv" Yi; Jungle: Hung "Karsa" Hau-Hsuan; Mid: Huang "Maple" Yi-Tang; AD carry: Chang "BeBe" Bo-Wei; Support: Kang "Albis" Chia-Wei
Given the rules, the voted lineup from Taiwan may be the best. In particular, it's hard to argue against Karsa, who has proven to be a solid jungler on the world stage and is considered the best jungler in Taiwan. The same goes for Maple.
This roster is a mix of talent from ahq e-Sports Club and Flash Wolves, the two best Taiwanese teams this year, as well as fan favorite and 2012 world champion BeBe. Mixing the play-style and performance of Maple and Karsa with that of Ziv, considered the best top laner in Taiwan, and Albis, one of the best supports in the region is solid.
While J Team did not participate in worlds, BeBe is statistically the best AD carry in Taiwan, out of those who started for the entire season. He holds the highest kill-death-assist ratio of 8.3, while simultaneously having the second-highest kill participation at 76.5%.
We wouldn't change this lineup if the same rules applied.