Following last week’s rankings, I come back to update my list of the world’s 15 best teams at the moment, following the past week of competitive play around the globe.
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1 – SK Telecom T1 (-)
Record last week: 1-1; overall in the LCK: 6-2
After being almost perfect-gamed in game one, and ultimately losing the series 2-0 to the Afreeca Freecs on Wednesday, SK Telecom T1 struck back, and, led by Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok’s (who had a terrible performance against the Freecs) Anivia, defeated Longzhu Gaming in a close series.
SKT still is the best team in Korea (and subsequently, in the world), but this sequence of bad results allied with sub-par performances give hope for its closest rivals, anxious with the prospect of taking down the Champions. This week’s match against ESC Ever should go in SKT’s favor, as the team looks forward for next week’s important series against the ROX Tigers and KT Rolster, the two main challengers for SKT’s supremacy in the peninsula.
2 – EDward Gaming (-)
Record last week: 2-0 ; overall in the LPL: 8-0
EDward Gaming retain its status as China’s best team following wins over OMG and Vici Gaming. Now with a 8-0 record, the team turn its attention this week to the Demacia Cup, where it will be facing LGD Gaming, Invictus Gaming and LSPL side Star Horn Royal Club in the group stages.
After mentioning Chen “Mouse” Yu-Hao and Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu last week, I would like to write a few words about Ming “ClearLove” Kai, the living legend who has been performing at the highest level for several years now. In the close series against OMG, his 13-0-11 Kha’Zix was the paramount reason the team was able to walk with a quick win in game three, and his performance as Graves against Vici on Saturday ( 16-2-23 KDA across both games) was absolutely majestic. It will be a delight to see him once more in action against the best teams in the world this Fall in the United States.
3 – ROX Tigers (+5)
Record last week: 2-0 ; overall in the LCK: 7-2
Welcome back Tigers!
The ROX Tigers are roaring strong once more, after dominating the Jin Air Greenwings and the Afreeca Freecs in order to finish last week at the top of the standings in the 2016 LCK Summer Split.
Although the entire team looked extremely solid, Kim “PraY” Jong-in stole the show, with incredible performances on Ezreal and Jhin. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to see him and the rest of this team-mates in action this week, due to LCK’s shorter schedule to end the first half of the regular season, but you can start preparing yourself for next week, where the Tigers will try to confirm their good form against SK Telecom T1 and (again!) the Jin Air Greenwings.
4 – Royal Never Give Up (-1)
Record last week: 1-0 ; overall in the LPL: 7-1
Royal Never Give Up played a single match last week, a 2-1 win against Newbee which helped it to solidify even more first place in Group A. But the team’s unconvincing performance – especially in game 2 – against a mid-tier team ended up, allied with the Tigers’ fantastic week over in South Korea, costing Royal a top 3 spot in this week’s rankings.
The team should use the Demacia Cup’s group stages this week (Royal is in group D alongside I May, Oh My God and T.Bear Gaming from the LSPL) as an experiment for the decisive part of the split. Royal’s next match in the LPL is on next Thursday (July 7th) against Game Talents.
5 – Team SoloMid (+1)
Record last week: 2-0 ; overall in the NA LCS: 8-0
Who is going stop Team SoloMid in the North American LCS? No one, it seems. The team made two more victims last weekend, Echo Fox and Team EnVyUs. Surprisingly, the series against the team led by Henrik “Froggen“ Hansen was much more challenging than the set against the currently fourth best team in North America.
TSM lost game one against Echo Fox following a series of poor collective decisions, and was forced to give its best in order to close out game three with yet another “W” on the board. Yesterday, the team had a significant easier time against Team EnVy, and was able to close out the series without any type of trouble.
This week, TSM looks forward to reach double digits against the worst team in the league, Phoenix1, and against Counter Logic Gaming, still struggling to repeat its good performances from the Mid-Season Invitational.
6 – Flash Wolves (+1)
Record last week: 2-0-0 ; overall in the LMS: 5-0-0
The only team yet to drop a single game in the Summer Split, the Flash Wolves currently have no opposition in the LMS, and are cruising towards its second regional trophy in a row.
Last week started with a 2-0 win versus eXtreme Gamers, likely one of the worst teams in any of the top 5 leagues – not much to be taken from that. But the way the team won its next series, by completely dominating Hong Kong Esports, a team fighting for a top 3 finish, show that the Flash Wolves may have outgrown the LMS – and that they will be a huge force at the upcoming World Championship.
Anything other than another victory this week against Machi E-Sports would be simply one of the biggest upsets of the season.
7 – KT Rolster (+4)
Record last week: 2-0 ; overall in the LCK: 6-2
It took three weeks, but KT Rolster finally deserves a top 10 place in the Power Rankings. Last Tuesday, the team had its best showing so far in the split, and defeated the then third placed Samsung Galaxy 2-0. Game one was a true display of what KT can accomplish this split: the team completely demolished its opponent, claiming the win without conceding a single kill to Samsung. Game two was indeed a lot closer (and longer), but KT’s star Kim “ssumday” Chan-ho came huge as Irelia (11-2-9), helping the team to take a precious win home.
After a 2-1 win against CJ Entus, KT Rolster ended the week in third place, and now looks to beat the Jin Air Greenwings tomorrow in order confirm the favorable moment.
8 – Samsung Galaxy (-4)
Record last week: 1-1 ; overall in the LCK: 6-3
A very sub-par week coming from Samsung Galaxy. As mentioned above, the team was dominated by KT Rolster in game one, not being able to show in any moment the play-style which brought the team to the upper part of the standings in South Korea. Game two was indeed very disputed, with both teams on the verge of winning… but it was simply not Samsung’s day. A hard fought win against ESC Ever on Friday kept the team in fourth, still in reach of the top places.
This week’s break come as a blessing for Samsung, meaning that the team will have now an extra week to prepare for the series against ESC Ever, which will open the second half of the regular season, and Longzhu Gaming, two must win matches for a team aspiring for a spot at the World Championship.
9 – Immortals (+1)
Record last week: 2-0 ; overall in the NA LCS: 7-1
If there is a team able to stop Team SoloMid in North America, this team is certainly called Immortals. Showing a strong performance this week, the team had the mental fortitude needed after losing game one against Counter Logic Gaming on Friday to come back and win the series against the reigning Champions. Heading back to the Rift yesterday, Immortals put a halt on Team Liquid’s recovery, dismantling them in a little over than 50 minutes – both games combined.
With such a display of class coming from Eugene “Pobelter” Park and company, it would be pure madness not to put Immortals once more in the top 10. In this week’s showdown against Cloud9, the team will not only be looking to consolidate second place, but it will also try to show that it has the strength needed in order to defeat TSM later on in the split.
10 – Jin Air Green Wings (-5)
Record last/this week: 0-2; overall in the LCK: 5-3
Two 2-0 losses in a row for the Jin Air Green Wings: on Monday against MVP, and on Thursday against the ROX Tigers, who are looking back in form. Is the famous mid-season collapse underway? Maybe. Likely. The team showed against the Tigers an abysmal pick/ban phase, and was handily defeated in a series they had little to no chance. Truly worrying signs.
Jin Air has a final chance tomorrow to show that it learnt from past week’s defeats and will be a contender at the end of the split. Another loss however, will confirm the team’s status as Korea’s 5th best team. And even that “accomplishment” is already endangered: MVP is coming from 3 wins in a row, after defeating Longzhu Gaming earlier today, and will be looking to challenge Jin Air for the final spot in the playoffs.
11 – Fnatic (+3)
Record last week: 1-1-0 ; overall in the EU LCS: 5-2-1
Fnatic played a lot of League of Legends last week. The 80-minute long epic game two against Origen (which saw Martin “Rekkles” Larsson AND Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten breaking the world’s CS record in a competitive match) ended up with the team’s defeat, but on Friday, the team claimed for the first time in this Summer Split sole possession of first place at the standings, following a strong display during the 2-0 victory against Team Roccat.
Fnatic is not quite there yet – especially if compared to last year’s team, but it’s showing steadily signs of improvement since the start of the Summer Split, and, unless this development comes to an abrupt halt, it’s more than likely that the team clinches a spot for its fourth World Championship in a row.
12 – G2 Esports (-3)
Record last week: 0-2-0 ; overall in the EU LCS: 4-4-0
Reigning European Champions G2 Esports demonstrated further signs of weakness last week. The team was unable to impose themselves versus mid-table side Schalke 04 on Thursday, and suffered a heartbreaking loss in game two against Team Vitality on Friday – G2 brought Vitality’s Nexus down to 30 HP before getting aced. Vitality used the high death-timers to close the game on the other side of the Rift, “stealing” in the process two points from G2.
Overall, two points after two series is extremely underwhelming for the line-up deemed as the best in Europe, proving that the competition is fierce in the EU LCS. This week’s match against Fnatic, who took G2’s position at the top of the standings, will be of vital importance – for both teams.
13 – Cloud9 (NEW)
Record last week: 2-0 ; overall in the NA LCS: 6-2
Two very dominant wins by Cloud9 earned the team a spot in this week’s Power Rankings. Fighting for third place, the team dominated Team EnVyUs in game one, and closed the series 2-0 following a pentakill by ADC Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi. A comfortable 2-0 against NRG eSports on Sunday meant that C9 ended the week with a respectable 6-2 record, the only losses being to Team SoloMid and Immortals – unsurprisingly, the two strongest North American teams at the moment.
This week will however be a challenging one for the team, as it faces an improved Team Liquid Friday evening, and it closes the week with a re-match versus Immortals on Sunday.
14 – I May (NEW)
Record last week: 2-0 ; overall in the LPL: 5-3
Likely the most unknown – and maybe surprising – team for Western fans in this week’s list, I May is one of the 4 teams in the Chinese LPL with a 5-3 record, but its 2-0 week (including a 2-0 victory against Game Talents, placed 13th last week) earned the team a place in the rankings.
Currently sitting in second place in group B, only behind Royal Never Give Up, I May has Shek “AmazingJ” Wai Ho, formerly of EDward Gaming, and Kang “Athena” Ha-woon, Intel Extreme Masters Cologne Champion last year with ESC Ever as its most known players. With 80 kills in its favor in just 4 games this week, the team shows the explosive style so characteristic of many Chinese teams.
Taking a break from the LPL this week due to the Demacia Cup’s group stage (the team faces Royal Never Give Up, Oh My God and T.Bear Gaming), the team will be looking throughout the next couple of weeks to prove that it is a challenger for China’s third spot at the World Championship, starting with Invictus Gaming next Friday.
15 – Ahq e-Sports Club (-)
Record last week: 1-0-0 ; overall in the LMS: 3-0-1
Not much to talk about ahq e-Sports Club this week: the 2-0 against Machi E-Sports was expected. The true challenge lies however ahead, next Saturday to more precise, against the new upcoming strength from the LMS, J Team. It can be said with some safety that whoever comes out ahead will be in a better position to claim the region’s second seed for the World Championship.