League of Legends
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As the summer split comes to a close around the world, Europe and North America have both already put a cap on their respective regular seasons. This week in Upcomer’s League of Legends global power rankings, we hone in on the heated race to the regular season finish line in both the League of Legends Pro League and League of Legends Champions Korea.
Parity within the top half of the LCK led to some exciting movement from the South Korean teams on our list this week, including the return of Liiv SANDBOX. DWG KIA are absent from our rankings for the first time ever, with a record of 2-3 in their last five matches and other teams surging at the right time.
The LPL’s RNG happen to be one of those teams. The 2021 Mid-Season Invitational champions bounced back from their early summer slump with a nine-game win-streak that’s earned them a spot in our rankings for two weeks in a row.
As the two most dominant regions in the world gear up for playoffs, we’ll be keeping an eye on which teams are able to impress in their final push. As always, here are the 10 teams from around the world that impressed us this week, followed by our top five regional rankings below.
10. Top Esports, LPL
Record: 9-6 (21-15) | This week: 2-1 (7-3) | Movement: -7
Top Esports have had a bit of a sloppy season, but their win over Oh My God was a bit more inspiring than much of what they’ve shown recently. TES’s biggest problem has been their consistency. Just this week alone, they beat an LNG Esports team near the top of the standings and then lost to Ultra Prime, who are at the bottom of the ladder. Then they beat OMG, who were just above them. Much of this could be attributed to TES starting their previous, Worlds famous top laner, Bai “369” Jia-Hao, again after subbing him out for the whole summer.
Top Esports are just playing spoiler, it seems, which could bode well for them in the playoffs. If they’re only able to beat strong teams, that’s a ticket straight to Worlds.
In all seriousness, the team finishes off their regular season with a match against Team WE to finalize the seeding for playoffs. If TES can win 2-0, they’ll overtake WE in the standings and jump up a few seeds. But if they lose, TES will start their playoff run at the bottom of the bracket. The only good news for them if they lose is they’d have more on-stage practice to re-synergize with 369 against some of the other weaker teams before facing the powerhouses at the top.
— Parkes Ousley
9. Gen.G, LCK
Record: 10-4 (22-14) | This week: 1-0 (2-0) | Movement: —
As far as top teams are concerned, Gen.G and TSM have more in common than most people might think. The South Korean squad has a tried and true default style that’s proven to rake in wins, and Gen.G have had their fair share of “free” wins that stemmed from having plenty of grit and a lot of luck on their side. One thing’s for sure though, and it’s that Gen.G are still a team capable of making a splash in playoffs. Their convincing 2-0 against KT Rolster last week is a testament to that.
Fans shouldn’t be alarmed by back-to-back weeks in the No. 9 spot of our League of Legends power rankings. Domestically, NongShim REDFORCE has been the hottest team in the LCK with Liiv SANDBOX nipping at Gen.G’s heels. Internationally, the LPL is looking like the league with the deepest roster of Worlds contenders above the top 10. Gen.G have earned their spot by raking in wins when it counts; there’s a reason they’ve been a top-two LCK team for the entirety of summer.
Gen.G’s old issues remain, but their win against KT brought a refreshing change of pace and a wonderful indicator of the teams experimentation potential after sub top laner Noh “Burdol” Tae-yoon put on such an impressive debut showing during the match. It’s clear Gen.G are making efforts to adapt before playoffs in order to qualify for Worlds, but whether or not bringing in a sub is enough to do that remains to be seen.
— Nick Ray
8. Liiv SANDBOX, LCK
Record: 9-5 (21-16) | This week: 1-0 (2-1) | Movement: New
Liiv SANDBOX make their way onto our weekly rankings thanks to their five-match win streak in the LCK and their defeat of NongShim REDFORCE earlier this week. The South Korean team has been on the cusp of greatness for a while thanks to wins against T1 and Gen.G in Week 7, and in their match against NongShim, SANDBOX showed that the hype was real in a three-game series highlighting the best of each squad.
For SANDBOX, top laner Park “Summit” Woo-tae and support Lee “Effort” Sang-ho led them past NongShim and into the LCK top three. Summit won his lane in all three games and further made his case as one of the best top laners in the league while Effort made impact plays across the map. The former T1 support is the tip of the spear for the squad and regularly finds crucial engagements across games.
SANDBOX have four more games to play for the rest of the season and could cement themselves in the top of the LCK rankings with wins against the LCK bottom table and DWG KIA in their final regular season matchup.
— Declan McLaughlin
7. Rare Atom, LPL
Record: 10-5 (23-15) | This week: 1-1 (2-3) | Movement: +1
Rare Atom had two tough games since the last edition of our League of Legends power rankings, and the LPL enigma put up mixed results against Royal Never Give Up and Suning.
In their match against RNG, Rare Atom simply looked outclassed. RNG were able to close out the 2-0 victory as both games ended around the 30-minute mark. Rare Atom’s matchup against Suning, however, was a nice bounce-back moment for the LPL squad. Game 1 was non-competitive as Rare Atom jungler Lu “Leyan” Jue and bot laner Hu “iBoy” Xian-Zhao took over the game with the latter earning player of the game honors in a 28 minute rout.
Suning flipped the script in Game 2 with a sub-30 minute victory of their own with the Game 1 MVP iBoy left humbled by the Suning bot lane of Tang “Huanfeng” Huan-Feng and Luo “ON” Wen-Jun. But as in many other series for Rare Atom this season, the team found a way despite stumbling, and in a 36-minute battle, RA closed out the series and improved to 10-5 on the season.
With a playoff spot already locked, RA is playing for seeding heading into their last match of the season against Invictus Gaming.
— Warren Younger
6. PSG Talon, PCS
Record: 15-0 | This week: 4-0 | Movement: +1
PSG Talon kept the dream of an unbeaten split alive with their successful drafts and teamfights this past weekend. Besides locking in first place in the Pacific Championship Series, they are also at 15-0, with four wins this week. Through effective trades, objective control and determination, the team looks far ahead of its PCS competition, with PSG Talon ending each of this weekend’s matches in under 30 minutes.
Matches such as their game against J Team really sum up PSG’s summer split. This match ended with PSG up 16,000 gold on their opponents to go with with four drakes and one Baron in 26 minutes.
PSG top laner Su “Hanabi” Chia-Hsiang has been a star throughout this past weekend’s matches, as he quickly recognized when to switch from top lane to help the rest of his team in several situations. He effectively traded losing a few minions to get kills or to help in teamfights. PSG Jungler Kim “River” Dong-woo also successfully rotated throughout the map in every game, allowing his teammates to capitalize on opportunities that helped push them to the enemy’s Nexus. With this successful run so far, PSG may be considered a big threat to any team they’ll be facing next.
— Carolynn Soba
5. Team WE, LPL
Record: 10-5 (22-15) | This week: 2-1 (4-2) | Movement: +5
Team WE burst into our rankings last week, and another string of strong performances saw them ascend even further in our League of Legends power rankings.
Team WE began Week 8 of the LPL with a 2-1 win over Rogue Warriors. The series between both teams started with a keenly contested Game 1. Even though Rogue Warriors secured dragon soul and looked set to end the game, Zhao “Elk” Jia-Hao’s quick double kill with the Ashe turned the game in WE’s favor. The team fell to RW in Game 2 but returned with a clinical performance in Game 3. Team WE’s Chen “Breathe” Chen made it hard for Zhu “Zdz” De-Zhang in the top lane and finished the match with a 7/2/7 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) on Gwen.
Team WE continued the week with a 2-0 victory over Invictus Gaming. They finished Game 1 of the series under 30 minutes with a gold lead of over 11,000. Breathe’s Gwen also proved to be very instrumental to WE’s victory as the player ended with 8 kills each in both games, the highest of any player in the series. Aside from this, WE dominated the laning phase against IG, with Cui “Shanks” Xiao-Jun completely outplaying Song “Rookie” Eui-jin in mid lane.
Even though WE just began Week 9 of the LPL with a loss to a resurgent Royal Never Give Up, they made things difficult as the MSI champions had to complete a comeback in Games 2 and 3 to win the series. Moreover, Team WE have already qualified for the LPL playoffs and will be eager to contend for the LPL summer split trophy and a spot at the 2021 World Championship.
— Rashidat Jimoh
4. NongShim REDFORCE, LCK
Record: 11-4 (25-15) | This week: 1-1 (3-3) | Movement: -2
The noodle-sponsored team drops a few spots in the League of Legends power rankings after a loss in an incredible series against Liiv SANDBOX this past week. Although the current top LCK team in the league table still swept KT Rolster later in the week, this week proved NongShim are not as untouchable as previous top LCK squads.
The SANDBOX series showed how volatile NongShim’s aggressiveness can be, especially if they are shut down in the mid game. SANDBOX secured two wins in that series thanks to Han “Peanut” Wang-ho and Kim “Gori” Tae-woo giving away their bounties in the mid game and superior late-game decision making.
But NongShim still look better than most of the LCK field and could possibly challenge the rest of the world if their trio of Peanut, Gori and Seo “deokdam” Dae-gil continue to play at their current level. NongShim only have one more high-profile matchup left in the regular season, against Gen.G, and with it, a chance to lock up the top LCK playoff seed.
3. Edward Gaming, LPL
Record: 11-3 (22-7) | This week: 1-0 (2-0) | Movement: +2
After a weird match against Team WE, Edward Gaming came into their lone matchup in Week 8 with their old roster. After rumors circulated about the status of EDG’s starting jungler Zhao “Jiejie” Li-Jie, EDG put those to rest in their series against Victory Five.
With Jiejie back on the rift, EDG took care of business by picking up a bounce-back 2-0 victory against Victory Five. However, it wasn’t the cleanest. All year, the typical EDG vs. bottom tier team series has consisted of businesslike games that don’t go past the 30 minute mark, but both games in this 2-0 did.
EDG are still holding onto the No. 1 spot in the LPL standings but are going to have to look a little bit better to get back to the top of the League of Legends global power rankings. Their chance will come in Week 9 as they square off against FunPlus Phoenix in the last game of the regular season.
2. Royal Never Give Up, LPL
Record: 10-5 (24-12) | This week: 3-0 (6-1) | Movement: +2
Royal Never Gave Up, because here they are, on a nine-game win streak to go from bottom of the standings at 1-5 to third place at 10-5. In their resurgence after the post-MSI slump, RNG took out a bunch of middling teams, but also some of the others on this very power ranking, including EDG, Rare Atom and WE, and they looked damn good doing so.
Just like in spring, Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao has been one of the best in the league, at the top of the charts across most stats and sporting a wide variety of champions to give his team flexibility in draft. The rest of the roster has stepped up again as well, performing closer to their spring split level than they did in the beginning of summer.
RNG’s dreams of completing the League of Legends Grand Slam are alive once again, with the LPL playoffs up soon. If they win there, they’ll just need to win Worlds to finish off what no team has done before. RNG only have Bilibili Gaming left on their regular season schedule, and if they win, they’ll end the split with an 10-series win streak and get at least a double-bye in the playoffs, and one series victory away from Worlds qualification.
1. FunPlus Phoenix, LPL
Record: 11-3 (24-10) | This week: 1-0 (2-0) | Movement: —
The No. 1 team in the League of Legends power rankings took care of business as usual in Week 8 of the LPL summer split. FunPlus Phoenix only had one series on the schedule against JD Gaming and didn’t waste time dispatching them in a quick 2-0 sweep.
FPX mid laner Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang headlined a 23-minute Game 1 victory while showing off his mastery on Orianna, and bot laner Lin “Lwx” Wei-Xiang being a menace on Aphelios. JDG failed to take a single tower as Lwx picked up player of the game honors.
Game 2 was slightly more exciting, but the skill gap between the two teams was just too big. Lwx showed up big once again on Aphelios and once again earned the player of the game nod.
FPX, who have won six straight series, sit tied atop of the LPL standings with Edward Gaming. But they will have their biggest test of the season heading into the final week of the regular season. With the title of best team in the world on the line, FPX will go toe-to-toe with EDG.
- TSM (TSM)
- Evil Geniuses (EG)
- Cloud9 (C9)
- 100 Thieves (100T)
- Team Liquid (TL)
- Rogue (RGE)
- G2 Esports (G2)
- MAD Lions (MAD)
- Fnatic (FNC)
- Misfits (MSF)
- NongShim REDFORCE (NS)
- Liiv SANDBOX (LSB)
- Gen.G (GEN)
- DWG KIA (DK)
- T1 (T1)
- FunPlus Phoenix (FPX)
- Royal Never Give Up (RNG)
- Edward Gaming (EDG)
- Team WE (WE)
- Rare Atom (RA)