With the playoffs upon us in three of the five major regions and qualifiers for the Mid-Season Invitational underway, the power rankings will be taking a brief hiatus. This week, we reflect on the top five teams in League of Legends for the month of March.
Kingzone DragonX (LoL Champions Korea)
March Series Record: 7-0
March Game Record: 14-2
Kingzone DragonX topped most power rankings and charts from preseason -- based on the addition of jungler Han "Peanut" Wang-ho -- and has rarely left that top spot with the exception of a Week 1 loss to KSV Esports. As long as top laner Kim "Khan" Dong-ha was starting, Kingzone were assured a series victory. Now, the team waits another two weeks for a finals opponent to emerge from the LCK playoff gauntlet. Regardless of whether SK Telecom T1, KT Rolster, or the Afreeca Freecs face Kingzone on April 14, Kingzone has winning records with a 12-1 game record against all three teams combined.
Peanut has been an upgrade from the team's 2017 starting jungler, Moon "Cuzz" Woo-chan and the jungle meta has increasingly suited his aggressive, invade-heavy style. His Olaf is a must-ban, and the strength of Gwak "Bdd" Bo-seong and his stable of waveclear mid lane champions is always there to back Peanut up. While Khan owns the spotlight in the top lane, the bottom lane of Kingzone is the true foundation of the team. With Ashe coming back into the meta, expect to see more highlights from Kim "PraY" Jong-in and his bot lane partner, Kang "GorillA" Beom-hyeon.
Invictus Gaming (LoL Pro League)
March Series Record: 8-0
March Game Record: 16-0
The comparisons between Kingzone DragonX extend beyond the teams' similar dominion over their respective regions. No other team has come close to outperforming Invictus Gaming in China, and iG was the first LPL team to qualify for an automatic semifinals bye in the upcoming spring playoffs.
iG also follows a similar style as Kingzone: drafting pushing lanes so jungler, Gao "Ning" Zhen-Ning can safely invade his opponent's jungle. With carry threats in every lane (Ning included), iG creates multiple points of pressure across the map and suffocates their opponents. More recently against the East Region's last-place team, Topsports Gaming, mid laner Song "Rookie" Eui-jin admitted that they tried out a scaling teamfight composition in Game 1. iG nearly lost that game - the team came back through large-scale teamfights and TOP mistakes - which did well to showcase iG's weaknesses. They're still less of a 5v5 team like Bilibili Gaming or Rogue Warriors, and more of a team that has a strong understanding of lane matchups and pressure, especially when they can split off top laner Kang "TheShy" Seung-lok or Rookie in a side lane.
Afreeca Freecs (LoL Champions Korea)
March Series Record: 6-1
March Game Record: 12-4
Going into the split, the main question for the Afreeca Freecs was how the team would look without Jang "MaRin" Gyeong-hwan in the top lane. The answer has been a surprisingly malleable skirmishing and teamfighting team that, for most of the split, combined its newfound flexibility with the careful planning and preparation that the 2017 iteration was known for.
Although Kim "Kiin" Gi-in doesn't draw the same amount of pressure in side lanes as MaRin, he is reliable and allows the team to play through other lanes, including mid laner Lee "Kuro" Seo-haeng and the bottom lane duo of Ha "Kramer" Jong-hun and Park "TusiN" Jong-ik. The team has also flexed between jungler Lee "Spirit" Da-yoon who has a farm-heavy carry style, and Lee "Mowgli" Jae-ha who is a bit more aggressive with his lanes in the early game. TusiN has had a career split, and the initiation duo of him and Kuro together has served the team well in picking the exact skirmishes that they want and chaining crowd control.
KT Rolster (LoL Champions Korea)
March Series Record: 5-2
March Game Record: 11-5
When KT Rolster announced that organization was committing to continuing 2018 with its 2017 star-studded lineup, the decision was generally well-received. Despite losing in the gauntlet to the same Samsung Galaxy (now KSV Esports) lineup for the second year in a row, KT had still been one of the best teams in South Korea for the majority of 2017. The only potential problem was mid laner Heo "PawN" Won-seok, who often had laning troubles - falling behind opponents regardless of matchup and occasionally failed to create the same pressure on the map that he had been known for on Samsung Galaxy White and EDward Gaming. This continued into 2018, often costing the team crucial mid lane priority.
The KT Rolster of this past month has not only been one of the top teams in South Korea, but has also begun to undergo a transformation. Mid laner Son "Ucal" Woo-hyeon started in their last four series. Although he makes a few rookie mistakes, he has a stronger push in mid, allowing Go "Score" Dong-bin and, most recently Lee "Rush" Yoon-jae more control over the jungle.
Rogue Warriors (LoL Pro League)
Series Record: 6-2
Game Record: 12-4
The fifth-place spot was a tricky one. Rogue Warriors ended the month with their worst tendencies exploited by Suning Gaming and then a systematic dismantling at the hands of fellow East Region powerhouse, Invictus Gaming. Although Rogue Warriors are nowhere near iG in terms of flexibility or map pressure, they do know how to play to their own strengths. This includes getting comfort picks for top laner Chen "Mouse" Yu-Hao (like Cho'gath) and late-game carries for Han "Smlz" Jin. Mid laner Kim "doinb" Tae-sang is a unique player, whose build patterns and champion choices often make him a hyper-support for both Smlz and jungler Sung "Flawless" Yeon-jun, who has found a new home on Rogue Warriors.
Rogue Warriors' scrappy playstyle reflects the team members themselves, many of whom felt discarded or forgotten by other teams and the community. Flawless receives support from doinb and the rest of the team to get away with his oft-risky invades, and the team can always group to dive for turrets or 5v5 teamfight with a farmed-up Smlz. They're not likely to win the LPL, but their strong performance in March - and inconsistent performances from the likes of SKT, KSV, the ROX Tigers, Royal Never Give Up, and Snake - earn them the fifth-place spot.