The 2018 League of Legends preseason power rankings

The reigning League of Legends World Championship winners, KSV Esports, come in at No. 2 on our preseason power rankings. Provided by Riot Games

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Welcome to the first League of Legends global power rankings of 2018. Every week, we look at each team in the five major regions and rank the teams according to how they are performing.

Action starts up next week for all regions around the world.

Nos. 1-10: World contenders

Nos. 11-20: Playoff contenders

Nos. 21-30: Middle of the pack

Nos. 31-40: Struggling

Nos. 41-50: Bottom of the barrel

World contenders


Record: -- | League: LCK | +/-: --

There was only one move the old Longzhu Gaming could have made to improve their 2017 LCK Summer Championship team: acquire a better, more experienced jungler than Cuzz. The team did just that by picking up ex-ROX Tigers and SK Telecom T1 jungler Han "Peanut" Wang-ho. Peanut is already familiar with his old bot lane of Kim "PraY" Jong-in and Kang "GorillA" Beom-hyeon, and despite a lackluster split with SKT, Peanut already looked like his old, aggressive self with the team in the KeSPA Cup.

2. KSV

Record: -- | League: LCK | +/-: --

The reigning world champions in second place might be unexpected, and the gap between KSV and Kingzone is admittedly small. But other than its Worlds victory, the team formerly known as Samsung Galaxy has not won a title in Korea to accompany the Summoner's Cup. KSV did well to retain this roster, although there are a few lingering questions around Lee "Crown" Min-ho's mid lane control.

3. KT Rolster

Record: -- | League: LCK | +/-: --

Call them the superteam or the supermarket team, the star-studded lineup of 2017 KT is back for 2018. Although it seemed to crumble before viewers' and Samsung Galaxy's eyes in the gauntlet last year, KT was a powerhouse early- to midgame team in the 2017 summer regular season. There are questions around Heo "PawN" Won-seok's lack of mid control and map awareness, and he'll likely be looking over his shoulder at rookie Son "UcaL" Woo-hyeon, but KT is still a top-three team in Korea until another team proves otherwise.

4. EDward Gaming

Record: -- | League: LPL | +/-: --

Although it's hard to put stock into offseason events, the sheer dominance EDward Gaming displayed in dropping only one game throughout the Demacia Championship is hard to discount. Though EDward Gaming has a long history of struggling to coach star top laners, including its new pickup, Jeon "Ray" Ji-won when he was on EDward Gaming's secondary team in 2015, the addition of Jeong "NoFe" No-chul as a coach last year gave rise to EDG experimenting with more top side pressure compositions. As a result, Ray seems like the logical addition to the squad if the team can rein him in. With new rookie pickups to give EDward Gaming options in the jungle and ADC roles, the team looks primed to retake its throne as the king of the LPL.

5. SK Telecom T1

Record: -- | League: LCK | +/-: ---

SKT looked shaky throughout most of summer, but there was always a sense that it would adapt and pull out a victory anyway. That is, until the team lost to Longzhu in the LCK finals and then Samsung in the Worlds finals. Blame has mostly fallen on the shoulders of ADC Bae "Bang" Jun-sik and support Lee "Wolf" Jae-wan, but SKT still has a problem topside, and new starter Park "Thal" Kwon-hyuk seems like even less of an answer than Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon. Jungler Kang "Blank" Sun-gu, who was SKT's savior last year but still struggles when his lanes are behind, will also be put to the test this split unless rookie jungler Park 'Blossom' Beom-chan is a yet-unknown prodigy.

6. Team WE

Record: -- | League: LPL | +/-: --

Though arguably the weakest of the top four rosters at the World Championship, Team WE's resilience is not to be discounted. WE numbers among the best teams globally for Baron control and late-game vision, a distinction normally reserved for the likes of SKT and KSV. Though commentators continue to argue that WE's roster will hit a ceiling, its results have done nothing but improve. LPL fans can expect a solid team that performs well out of the gate and continues to contest for top four domestically.

7. Misfits

Record: -- | League: EU LCS | +/-: --

Misfits wasted no time following up on a strong 2017 World Championship campaign as it made clear long-term upgrades to its roster with the additions of mid laner Chres "Sencux" Laursen and support Mihael "mikyx" Mehle to its lineup. The move provides long-term flexibility macro-wise and is a slight downgrade at worst in the support position on the short term. Although the team enters 2018 with a new roster, macro might be the last problem it faces as long as jungler Nubar "Maxlore" Sarafian and head coach Hussain "Daku" Moosvi are on the team. Considering how other teams not named Fnatic made more fundamental changes to their lineups, Misfits' ability to swing right out of the gate nets it a clear advantage over most domestic competitors.

8. Team SoloMid

Record: -- | League: NA LCS | +/-: --

It should surprise no one that Team SoloMid is the highest-ranking North American LCS team to begin the 2018 Global League of Legends power rankings. The three-time defending champion retooled in the offseason, bringing in the best Western bottom lane of Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen and Alfonso "mithy" Aguirre Rodriguez to anchor the bottom lane and give TSM one of the strongest mid-to-bottom halves the Western scene has ever seen, with four-time league MVP Soren "Bjergsen" Bjerg signed on for another year. It might take some time for new head coach Kim "SSONG" Sang-soo to make TSM his own, but by season's end, as it has done for the past 10 seasons, expect the crown jewel of North America to be once again in the league final and favorite to take home its fourth straight title.

9. Afreeca Freecs

Record: -- | League: LCK | +/-: --

Kim "Kiin" Gi-in isn't going to create the same amount of map pressure as Jang "MaRin" Gyeong-hwan, but the former is a top lane talent who should be watched closely going into the split. While Kim "Malrang" Geun-seong and Park "Cepted" Wi-rim stole the show on Ever8 Winners last year, Kiin showcased strong awareness and teamfight targeting. He's rough, but Freecs has a strong veteran core surrounding him and retained the rest of its roster. This still puts Afreeca below teams such as SKT, KT, KSV and Kingzone but firmly above the rest of the LCK for now.

10. Royal Never Give Up

Record: --| League: LPL | +/-: --

After a smashing display at the World Championship, some might look askance seeing RNG all the way down in 10th. A changing in the coaching staff and a few questions lingering around RNG's new jungle pickup give us pause. Hung "Karsa" Hau-Hsuan works best with a high-roaming support, but RNG's preferred method of play focuses heavily around a dominant 2-on-2 bottom lane. A long list of subs in the AD carry position also raises questions as to Jian "Uzi" Zi-Hao's ongoing health concerns. Going for a conservative placement sets the tone for RNG to rise in the ranks.

Playoff contenders

11. Fnatic

Record: -- | League: EU LCS | +/-: --

Fnatic's hiring of ex-Unicorns of Love support Zdravets "Hylissang" Iliev Galabov positions it as the most aggressive squad in Europe, at least in the bot lane. The change of pace might be a welcome sight for Martin "Rekkles" Larsson in lane and for the team overall during team fights, but it does not mean that the team's underlying issues, which are chemistry-related, have been solved. In addition, Mads "Broxah" Brock-Pedersen and Rasmus "Caps" Winther are in clear need of another year of pro play to develop to something akin to a finished product -- a scary prospect for opponents at large. Considering the minimal roster change that further asserts Fnatic's identity on the short term, Paul "sOAZ" Boyer and his teammates are expected to make an impact from the start this year, lest communication issues arise.

12. Invictus Gaming

Record: -- | League: LPL | +/-:--

At this point, most LPL fans have heard the rumors that Invictus Gaming had the best results scrimming international teams at Worlds time in China. Yu "JackeyLove" Wen-Bo's age has long been a subject of public discussion, but he turns 17 in time for the 2018 season. Known best as a skilled Draven prodigy, JackeyLove's entrance in the LPL has been highly anticipated. Still, even if he starts the season without stage fright (something we wouldn't predict, considering his showing in offseason events), Invictus Gaming's macro approach remains suspect. The team often tries to overwhelm its opponents but takes too many risks.

13. Team Liquid

Record: -- | League: NA LCS | +/-:--

Possibly the team with the most buzz around it any region this offseason, Team Liquid enters the spring season with what could be unreachable expectations. The starting lineup for the team will include most of the core that made up the Immortals team that made the World Championship last year, and of the two positions that were switched, one is a clear upgrade. Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng takes over AD carry duty, and the other, Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong, is a side-grade in mechanical talent with a more shot calling edge helping out the roster. This team is capable of brute forcing its way to a top spot in North America, though that might not be enough if its goal is taking home Liquid's first league title in team history. If this team doesn't make the World Championship in 2018, it'll go down as one of the greatest failures in League of Legends history.

14. Flash Wolves

Record: -- | League: LMS | +/-: --

One of the major offseason shakeups was star jungler Hung "Karsa" Hau-Hsuan leaving the Flash Wolves, who had stood at the top of the LMS for a long time as a relatively unchanged roster. Replacements Kim "MooJin" Moo-jin and Chen "Morning" Kuan-Ting are obvious downgrades from Karsa, but the real pressure will be on Huang "Maple" Yi-Tang. The once-stalwart mid laner had a weak summer split and an awful showing at Worlds last year. If he plays poorly, expect the Flash Wolves to be overtaken easily by ahq e-Sports Club or the rising talents of J Team, Hong Kong Attitude or G-Rex.

15. G2 Esports

Record: -- | League: EU LCS | +/-: --

For the first time in three splits, G2 Esports is not headlining the show in Europe in the preseason. This is not the same roster that claimed four EU LCS playoff final victories in a row, or the same lineup that fell in the group of death in the 2017 World Championship despite an admirable showing, as Luka "PerkZ" Perkovic is the sole remaining player of that era. Despite roster turnover, G2 built a lane-dominant team with a huge upside macro-wise, and it gets credit for hiring Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski to provide a solid backbone in the jungle. Although the players' lack of experience as a unit might lead to jitters, the team's awareness of macro concepts and strong laning facilitates entry into "G2 mode" in case of early deficits.

16. Counter Logic Gaming

Record: -- | League: NA LCS | +/-: --

The departure of longtime captain and shot-caller Zaqueri "Aphromoo" Black is going to sting for a while for the Counter Logic Gaming faithful, but this new era of CLG might be good enough to make the pain go away sooner than expected. The player to watch out for this spring will be in the jungle with former NA LCS MVP Kim "Reignover" Yeu-jin coming into the season needing to reassert himself as a star following a disaster of a year on Team Liquid in 2017. In the case Reignover can return to the peak performance he showed on Immortals in 2016 and Fnatic a year prior, CLG will have gotten itself a steal in the jungle role and put itself in a position to play the spoiler to the predestined TSM vs. TL final many are expecting to see at the close of the split.

17. ahq e-Sports Club

Record: -- | League: LMS | +/-: --

Like Flash Wolves, ahq always seems to make its way to the top of the LMS. This offseason, both Liu "westdoor" Shu-Wei and Kang "Albis" Chia-Wei stepped down, while Wong "Chawy" Xing Lei left for Hong Kong Attitude. It will be up to the veteran top side combination of top laner Chen "Ziv" Yi and jungler Xue "Mountain" Zhao-Hong to help mid laner Tsou "Wako" Wei-Yang while he integrates himself onto the team. Like Flash Wolves, ahq will have to look out for J Team, HKA and G-Rex and could fall significantly in these rankings depending on how those rosters pan out.

18. ROX Tigers

Record: -- | League: LCK | +/-: --

Like bbq Olivers and the Jin Air Green Wings, the ROX Tigers made one noticeable upgrade that could bump the team into an unlikely playoff spot if a top LCK team falters. Lee "Kuzan" Seong-hyeok is a significant improvement from Kim "Lava" Tae-hoon and is far less volatile than Son "Mickey" Young-min. AD carry Gwon "Sangyoon" Sang-yun flew under the radar internationally last year, since the Tigers failed to make playoffs, but became one of the best at his position.

19. FC Schalke 04

Record: -- | League: EU LCS | +/-: --

The Schalke 04 panzer has arrived, albeit one year later than the team might have expected in its social media campaign at the time. Jungler Milo "Pride" Wehnes, has been making waves in the preseason and squashing short-term worries about the vulnerability the team has at his position, though his long-term development is what will make or break Schalke 04. If he develops under the guidance of his teammates and of Mitch "Boris" Voorspoels, he should be able to leverage the strong laning of his teammates across to board to free them for lethal ganks and savvy rotations and possibly help top laner Kiss "Vizicsacsi" Tamas reach the World Championship berth that has eluded him for three seasons in a row.

20. bbq Olivers

Record: -- | League: LCK | +/-: --

Bbq picked up a strong jungle upgrade in Kim "Trick" Gang-yun. Support Lee "IgNar" Dong-geun should also prove to be a dynamic laning partner for Jang "Ghost" Yong-jun, who was touted as a strong rookie when he debuted but hasn't yet shown anything outstanding. Bbq now has two fairly strong but volatile side lanes, which could cause potential problems for the team if Trick remains inattentive to his lanes early. However, if it works, this team could sneak into the playoffs.