The League of Legends World Championship play-in stage begins Monday in Seoul, with 12 teams competing for the final four spots at the game's premier tournament. With the tournament approaching, ESPN broke down the rosters and picked the best players at each position. These difference-making stars could make or break their teams' world title dreams in South Korea.
Here are the top AD carries entering this year's tournament.
1. Jian "Uzi" Zi-hao, Royal Never Give Up
Uzi took a break to start the summer, leaving RNG to default to Dai "Able" Zhi-Chun in his absence, but Uzi showed little to no rust when he returned. The AD carry continued to dominate in the League of Legends Pro League and ushered that dominance into RNG's second straight LPL title run.
The sheer mechanical ability and consistency of Uzi is currently unmatched in the world. After taking two straight LPL titles and the Mid-Season Invitational, the world championship is Uzi's final unconquered stage in his career.
As someone who is currently considered the best player in the world, it is obvious that Uzi is also considered the best AD carry. His performances at MSI consistently galvanized RNG and gave the team the spark that made it so exciting during its first international title win.
As an AD carry and player, Uzi is an S-tier player when it comes to nearly every aspect of the game, but especially laning and teamfighting. His ability to eke out creep score leads in a variety of matchups while also crushing favorable ones makes it clear that he is the best laner in the world. It isn't just laning either -- Uzi has consistently showed that he can turn around any fight at any time, especially if he is on Kai'Sa or Vayne.
-- Xander Torres
Top 5 players at each League of Legends position
Phil Murphy and Tyler Erzberger break down the top five players by position for the upcoming League of Legends World Championship on ESPN+ on Oct. 1.
2. Kim "Deft" Hyuk-kyu, KT Rolster
Deft has been a competitive League staple at his position since 2014 during his time on Samsung Galaxy Blue. While on that squad, Deft impressed audiences and peers alike with his precise teamfight positioning, and his time in China with EDward Gaming from 2015 through 2016 helped hone Deft's laning mechanics and 2-on-2 potential.
Upon returning to South Korea to become a part of this KT team, Deft has once again showcased exactly why he's considered up among the best at his position while laning with one of the best supports to ever play the game: Cho "Mata" Se-hyeong.
During his time on KT, Deft has taken the more lane-focused style that he picked up in China and married that with his already excellent teamfighting skills. When the bot lane meta shifted at the beginning of this summer split, Deft adjusted accordingly and became a focal point of the team when playing Mordekaiser. This allowed KT to continue a bot lane-focused style that played a large part in handing Griffin its first loss of the year. In a year when AD carries had to become bot laners and then return to a more traditional style, Deft showed a surprising willingness to be flexible and help his team.
-- Emily Rand
3. Park "Ruler" Jae-hyuk, Gen.G
Since his arrival in League Champions Korea in 2016, Ruler has been heavily criticized for his small champion pool. He dazzled the League community with signature picks like Varus, Jhin and Ezreal but seemed to struggle outside of his comfort zone. One of the more interesting storylines accompanying the bot lane meta shake-up in South Korea was how Ruler stuck to traditional AD carry champions regardless and excelled on them while showing an understanding of his own strengths as well as an improved pool of traditional AD carries.
Above all else, Ruler is always willing to learn. He's credited facing Uzi on several occasions as key points in his career where he learned something valuable that he could apply to his own play. More importantly, it shows on the Rift. He adjusts and either picks up a new champion or hones his skills based on what he felt like he was lacking against stronger opponents. This has now made him one of the best in the LCK and the world.
4. Yu "Jackeylove" Wen-bo, Invictus Gaming
Jackeylove's fame goes back to his days as Invictus Gaming's AD carry prodigy-in-training: He was several years too young to compete in the LPL when he first showed up on the talent radar. Jackeylove's transition to competitive was bumpy at first, but over time, he adapted to bot lane play at the highest level and has proven to be one of the best players in his role.
The 17-year-old still makes his fair share of rookie mistakes, but Jackeylove's peak in teamfights is what makes him deadly. His mechanical ceiling is obvious, and that's what makes Jackeylove one of the top carries at the world championship. If he was more experienced and consistent, he may have been placed even higher.
5. Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng, Team Liquid
There are no ifs, ands, or buts about the best North American player at this tournament. Doublelift knows he has to go far at worlds this year after back-to-back group stage meltdowns on Team SoloMid in 2016 and 2017. After all, the clip of Doublelift getting caught out against Samsung Galaxy in 2016 is what first comes to mind when talking about his play internationally.
Liquid plays through Doublelift, unlike TSM playing to its namesake, and not getting out of groups isn't an option for the most expensive team in North America. After finally winning his first career league MVP after being denied for years, the ace of Team Liquid has never been in a better form or had as much momentum behind him as he is walking into this event.
-- Tyler Erzberger