With League of Legends Champions Korea play beginning in earnest, the worldwide League of Legends picture is shaping up a bit more, although play is still postponed in one of the top regions.
China's League of Legends Pro League remains on hiatus because of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in the country, and as a result our global power rankings will focus on only the LCK, League Championship Series and League European Championship for now. The LPL will be added back into the rankings once play resumes.
How we rank: We had our panelists and writers submit a ranking of No. 1 through 10 for each team, with 10 being the strongest and 1 being the weakest. We then averaged the scores to create our initial list and looked at the teams' schedules, wins, losses and overall performance for the week.
1. G2 Esports
Region: LEC | Record: 6-0
Should we end the split now?
By beating Rogue and archrival Fnatic -- two admirable teams with serious claims to the LEC throne -- G2 Esports have sapped the spring season of its drama, vaulting themselves into an untouchable echelon after just three weeks of competition. G2's stellar late-game execution has quieted any criticism of tepid early games or costly overconfidence, and even if those faults could be meaningfully punished, no European team has the skill to do it. Rogue came close, capitalizing on a teamfight positioning error by G2 to secure a 32-minute Baron, yet G2 simply counter-aced the upstarts around Elder Dragon and ended the game moments later.
The results seem so preordained, it's only a matter of time before G2 begin taking champion requests from the Berlin crowd. So far, the meta has provided enough humor to keep everyone amused via the disgustingly broken Soraka, but as the split wears on, expect more "creative" compositions from G2 that test their limits while relieving boredom as a side benefit. Already, everything before the Budapest stage feels like a formality.
-- Miles Yim
Region: LCK | Record: 2-0
When KT Rolster rolled over Gen.G in the opening game of their LCK season, it seemed as if we might have to pump the brakes on the Gen.G hype train. Fortunately for Gen.G, the team bounced back to win the KT series and run over Griffin in their subsequent match, reaffirming themselves as a heavy favorite to make a deep run in South Korea's premier League of Legends competition.
After a fruitful offseason in which Gen.G picked some of the biggest names on the market after a massive overhaul, the organization looks like the best in the LCK right now. Gwak "Bdd" Bo-seong has a boulder-sized chip on his shoulder after a woeful one-year stint on KT, and although a small sample size, the former back-to-back league MVP seems to be enjoying his new home, showcasing the same level of skill that put him in the conversation as best mid laner in the world back in 2017 and 2018.
-- Tyler Erzberger
Region: LCK | Record: 2-0
DragonX's roster decisions during the 2020 offseason were certainly gambles. The team built around veteran bot laner Kim "Deft" Hyuk-kyu; promoted 17-year-old Ryu "Keria" Min-seok support and rookie Hong "Pyosik" Chang-hyeon to the main roster; and acquired former Griffin top laner Choi "Doran" Hyeon-joon, mid laner Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon and coach Kim "cvMax" Dae-ho at the last minute.
The team was a mixed bag of unproven players and top talent. It was difficult to assess whether this young roster was a seventh-place or finalist material.
After watching DragonX's first two matches, their gamble so far seems to have paid off. Chovy and Deft reaffirmed themselves as two of the best players in the world in their respective lanes. Pyosik, a former Kindred one-trick streamer, is already showing striking performances, especially on Lee Sin and Elise. The team sometimes slips up in its midgame macro and objective decisions, but DragonX were still able to claim victories against KT Rolster and Sandbox Gaming largely through mechanical outplays by individual players.
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If DragonX add consistency to their explosive performance and improve in their drafting decisions and macro, this team will be a top-three squad in the LCK and might look to repeat the fairy-tale success of head coach cvMax's former team, Griffin.
-- Ashley Kang
4. Afreeca Freecs
Region: LCK | Record: 2-0
This blurb was initially going to be a take on the Western LCK community's reaction to bot laner Jin "Mystic" Seong-jun that simply said, "Some of you haven't watched the LPL in the past four years, and it shows." But I'll also talk a bit about the team itself.
The Freecs made a lot of mistakes (particularly around vision and also coordination while teamfighting) in their second series this week, but despite dropping the first game, it's easy to see the building blocks of what could become the strongest team in South Korea in Afreeca's 2-1 win over Hanwha Life Esports. Mystic has been a top-five bot laner in the LPL for years before returning to the LCK this split, and top laner Kim "Kiin" Gi-in is one of the best in the world at his position. There's understandable worry around teams pinching mid laner Song "Fly" Yong-jun's champion pool, but the current meta is so open that it's easy to find an oddball comfort pick for him.
-- Emily Rand
Region: LCS | Record: 6-0
Based on the team's first six games, Cloud9's offseason decisions might allow them to contend on the world stage. For the time being, they offer a great benchmark for North American teams to reach should they wish to be deemed great.
The team's performance against FlyQuest showcased their excellent early-game planning through lane swaps around Rift Herald and Dragon spawns, but whether C9 will be able to reproduce those calls against a stronger team remains to be seen.
On that front, Team Dignitas offered fierce resistance and scored a kill on Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen for the first time in 2020, but the mid-jungle synergy Cloud9 have become known for this spring, their teamfighting prowess and Yasin "Nisqy" Dinçer's Zoe more than made up for it.
-- Adel Chouadria
Region: LEC | Record: 4-2
Fnatic still look like the team best equipped to end G2 Esports' tear through the LEC. Even with this past week's loss to G2, Fnatic seem to have a better understanding of the world's No. 1 team than most. While many are calling the Veigar pick for Fnatic mid laner Tim "Nemesis" Lipovšek bad, I thought it was strong, and Fnatic could have won with their draft had they made better decisions, particularly around when and where to initiate teamfights.
Fnatic are able to beat up the other challengers in the LEC to stay within reach of G2, as the rest of their schedule has shown. Expect this one-two battle to continue to shape the narrative around the LEC until someone else shakes things up.
7. T1 Esports
Region: LCK | Record: 1-1
T1 were rusty yet efficient in their first week of LCK action. However, in a league that demands excellence in the laning phase and during teamfights around major objectives, the three-time world champions have been found wanting on occasion.
T1 showed their knowledge of the necessary steps to win games macro-wise, but they have been too tentative when the situation calls for proactivity. Against Hanwha Life Esports, their lack of initiative despite securing major leads in Game 3 left them open for a late-game defeat, which eventually happened.
Should T1 aspire to become a contender against Gen.G and DragonX, their team coordination must improve. But even at their current state, T1 are leaps and bounds above many teams across the world.
8. Sandbox Gaming
Region: LCK | Record: 1-1
One of the few jolts of energy in an otherwise muted LCK opening week, Sandbox Gaming raced through their two matches with mixed results. While Sandbox's fast-paced teamfighting overwhelmed APK Prince, DragonX proved more equal to the task, deftly punishing the second-year org's aggression in a tight three-game series.
Top laner Park "Summit" Woo-tae and jungler Kim "OnFleek" Jang-gyeom have built off their promising KeSPA Cup performances to spearhead the Sandbox attack, but when they're blunted -- as was the case in Game 3 against DragonX -- the team struggles to maintain tempo on the Rift. In those instances, it falls to the new bot lane of AD carry Han "Leo" Gyeo-re and support Kang "GorillA" Beom-hyun to press forward.
Were it not for a Thresh hook by DragonX support Ryu "Keria" Min-seok thrown milliseconds before he died, Leo might have carried Sandbox through a crucial Game 3 teamfight and upset DragonX. That result would have exaggerated Sandbox's place in the LCK hierarchy; instead, they enter winnable Week 2 matches against Griffin and Hanwha Life Esports with more measured expectations.
Region: LEC | Record: 4-2
In a region where fast-paced recklessness runs wild, championed by Europe's kings, G2 Esports, Origen are leading a rebellion. This team doesn't really care if you enjoy its style of play or find it attractive. Through the first six games of their season, Origen have made sure they've been the ones in the position to capitalize instead of their opponents, always taking the smart and safe option over barreling into the wilderness of the unknown.
Although Origen won't be winning any awards for how exciting they are, one player who could be seeing hardware in the future is starting top laner Barney "Alphari" Morris. Alphari always had the potential to be one of the big names in Europe, and with Origen, his full potential seems to be finally unlocked. If Alphari can continue his path of destruction, a first-team All-LEC selection is almost assured.
10. Team Liquid
Region: LCS | Record: 2-3
Team Liquid were expected to have a slow start to the season. Mads "Broxah" Brock-Pederson, the ex-Fnatic jungler originally pegged as Liquid's starter, has been out of the picture for three weeks due to delays in getting his work visa. But Team Liquid have slipped even more than expected without their new starter, especially this past week.
The former LCS champions looked especially underwhelming during their most recent match, against 100 Thieves. Top laner Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong was outclassed by his opponent, fellow ex-LCK top laner Kim "Ssumday" Chan-ho, and substitute jungler Shern "Shernfire" Cherng Tai, standing in for Broxah, did little to affect the game with his Lee Sin.
It's difficult to rank Team Liquid's current power level. Broxah has finally received his visa and is expected to start for Team Liquid from Week 4. Liquid's chances of climbing to the top of the LCS once again will now depend on how fast Broxah can meld into the team.