We’re down to the final four teams at Worlds 2021, which means there are only 20 starters left standing in Reykjavik, Iceland.
After almost a month of heart-pumping moments, individual heroics and massive upsets, there are only three matches left separating us from a team hoisting the Summoner’s Cup.
While Upcomer did a video picking our top 20 players heading into the event pre-tournament, we thought it’d be best for the League of Legends community-at-large to rank the remaining starters at Worlds 2021 to see who is leading the pack heading into the semifinals.
Over 1,200 participants took the public survey, in which they rated each of the 20 starting players by a score of 1 (worst) to 10 (best) on solely how well they’ve performed so far at the world championship.
No. 20 to No. 16
20. Kim “Rascal” Kwang-hee (Overall rating: 5.94/10)
The only player to fall below an average of 6, Gen.G’s starting top laner is also the only starter remaining that hasn’t played all of his team’s games at Worlds 2021. Rookie Noh “Burdol” Tae-yoon played three games for Gen.G in an attempt to have more agency in the top lane, but that backfired quickly. Rascal returned to his stalwart position in the top lane following a series of games where enemies bullied his teenage understudy in the group stage.
19. Li “Flandre” Xuan-Jun (6.93)
We begin the bottom of the rankings with back-to-back top laners as we come to EDG’s veteran top laner. Flandre has had some impressive games at Worlds 2021 but overall has failed to impress the community, entering the semifinals as the starter with the lowest KDA at 2.9.
18. Kim “Life” Jeong-min (7.09)
Well, Gen.G isn’t going to be very happy with this ranking as we get their second starter in the bottom three. While Life leads the pack in assists and has had nowhere near a poor tournament, voters gave more credit to his AD carry on Gen.G’s bottom lane success.
17. Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun (7.32)
From the top assist man at Worlds 2021 to the leaders in kills, we have Ghost. The reigning world champion AD carry, not even a stellar statistic line of 51 kills, 16 deaths and 46 assists (6.1 KDA) could help Ghost shake the reputation of being DWG KIA’s role player. The viewers still doubt DWG KIA’s marksman on a team of superstars and players possibly entering the realm of top ten players all-time.
16. Kim “Clid” Tae-min (7.37)
The Gen.G culling continues with their jungler coming in at the No. 16 position. While the former top-rated jungler had a forgettable group stage, he starred in his team’s advancement over Cloud9 in the quarterfinals. His key smites in Game 1 and perfectly-timed flanks on Lee Sin in Game 3 helped Gen.G secure the 3-0 sweep over the North American club.
No. 15 to No. 11
15. Zhao “Jiejie” Li-Jie (7.51)
EDG’s jungler was massive in their quarterfinal victory over RNG, stealing multiple Barons to ensure that his storied franchise could make the top-four at the world championship for the first time in its illustrious history. While learning from legendary jungler Ming “Clearlove” Kai, the future is bright for Jiejie at his debut international event.
14. Lee “Scout” Ye-chan (7.73)
The former understudy of Faker on SK Telecom T1, Scout, has forged his own legacy and career since arriving in China and EDG back in early 2016 as a fresh-faced prospect. Since taking a chance on switching regions, Scout has embraced China and become one of the LPL’s brightest superstars. Now, on the cusp of a grand final (possibly against Faker), his upcoming match with Gen.G is the biggest of his lengthy career.
13. Tian “Meiko” Ye (7.77)
If it weren’t for this man, Scout would be the face of EDG. Instead, it’s impossible to argue that the franchise’s legendary support that has been on the team since their inception year of 2014 isn’t the face and soul of the club. It hasn’t been the best world championship thus far for Meiko, but that might not be a good thing for the rest of the field. If EDG’s feared bottom lane hasn’t hit its peak and they’re still in the semifinals, how good can they be if Meiko and Park “Viper” Do-hyeon start rolling?
12. Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk (7.99)
Speaking of legendary bottom lane players not playing to their ceiling at Worlds 2021, we have former Worlds 2017 Finals MVP in Ruler. The ace of Gen.G and their perennial late-game wars, Ruler, like Meiko, hasn’t had a poor tournament but hasn’t played up to the pedigree of one of the best AD carries ever to play League of Legends. A clash alongside Life against Viper and Meiko will be a sink-or-swim moment for Ruler, who seeks his second Summoner’s Cup.
11. Moon “Oner” Hyeon-joon (8.10)
The first T1 player in our ranking, rookie jungler Oner, has had a breakout tournament for the ages. Ever since the legendary Bae “Bengi” Seong-woong hung up his keyboard and mouse, the winningest franchise in history has been on the lookout for his replacement. A few years ago, it was the belief Clid would pick up the mantle, but he left to join Gen.G with players closer to his age. Now, T1 has undergone its own youth movement with Oner as one of the leaders, and if he continues building from this debut world championship, the sky’s the limit for the exciting rookie.
No. 10 to No. 6
10. Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee (8.13)
While Ghost is left to his own devices in the bottom lane, BeryL roams the land, making plays and catapulting his team into enormous gold advantages. Though the world champion isn’t perfect and some of his overaggressive attempts result in games going further than they actually should, the support’s engage prowess is undeniable. While the strength of DWG KIA comes from the top side of the map, BeryL should receive an honorary top lane support badge for how much he helps out with his team’s supremacy over the map in the first 15 minutes of the game.
9. Kim “Canna” Chang-dong (8.17)
Canna’s story arc so far in his short career has been about overcoming his perceived limits. In 2020, it was Kim “Roach” Kang-hee who appeared to be in line to be the team’s starter, but the relative unknown rookie Canna took his chance at the starting job and ran away with it, establishing himself as a strong point for the new-look T1. This year, blue-chip prospect Choi “Zeus” Woo-je was primed to usurp Canna for the starting job as the latter was experiencing a sophomore slump. Still, when doubted, he came alive and has returned to being a leading carry on a team that has only dropped a single game so far at Worlds 2021.
8. Park “Viper” Do-hyeon (8.25)
The highest-rated EDG player on the board, a lot will be on Viper’s shoulders heading into their semifinal clash with Gen.G. He went through the first four games of the main event before finally losing his life in a match. In the first round of the knockout stage with RNG, Viper didn’t have a performance he’ll like to remember, finding success throughout the series but ultimately dying 13 times to only 20 kills of his own in the narrow 3-2 win. If Viper wants to make his first world championship final, he’ll need to be in his ace form against a Worlds Finals MVP with Gen.G’s Ruler.
7. Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong (8.26)
Gen.G’s mid lane pillar has acted as the Western hitman this tournament, slashing through the best the West has to offer and eliminating them one by one. After being embarrassed by Luka “Perkz” Perković and G2 Esports at the 2020 world championship in which Gen.G got swept in the quarterfinals, Bdd returned the favor with a sweep of his own against Cloud9. Now, though, there are no more Western mid laners to dunk on, and Bdd’s excellent performance throughout the tournament will come to a head when he faces his toughest test yet, EDG’s Scout, in the semifinals.
6. Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok (8.30)
Faker entered the world championship scene in 2013 as a teenage phenom, smashing mid laners and breaking their ankles like they were on a pickup basketball court. Eight years later, Faker is a grizzled veteran and has transformed into a defensive stopper of sorts. He sacrifices mid lane victories to secure early Rift Heralds and keep the enemy mid laner occupied in the lane. This neutralizing style Faker has adopted allows his young teammates to take center stage as the offensive heroes of this reborn T1 squad.
No. 5 to No. 1
5. Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong (8.93)
In his first world championship, Gumayusi couldn’t have asked for a better first nine games. He didn’t die once in his team’s shellacking of Hanwha Life Esports in the quarterfinals. Gumayusi’s numbers from the group stage to the knockout stage have been phenomenal. On his way to becoming a superstar, the skill lives within the family, as his older brother Lee “INnoVation” Shin-hyung is regarded as one of the best players in the history of StarCraft II.
4. Ryu “Keria” Min-seok (9.05)
Are we already looking at the best support in the world? At 19, Keria is beyond his years in terms of intellect. His mechanical playmaking allows him to be another carry on a team filled with individual talent led by the experience of Faker. When good things happen for T1, Keria is often the central figure in orchestrating it all, possessing an astonishing 78.6% kill participation through his first nine games of the tournament.
3. Kim “Khan” Dong-ha (9.14)
Khan has an argument to be called one of the greatest top laners in history. His professional career only has a maximum of ten games left as he prepares for mandatory military service following the world championship. Instead of going out with a whimper, Khan wants to add a Summoner’s Cup to his laundry list of accomplishments and has been unstoppable in the top lane. T1, his former team, now stand in his way from reaching the grand final and a shot at the greatest prize in League of Legends.
2. Heo “ShowMaker” Su (9.42)
It’s difficult to talk about the top two players without bringing them up together. At No. 2, we have the talisman of DWG KIA and the man that makes everything flow on a team that has not dropped a single map the entire world championship. ShowMaker’s influence over the whole map with his roams and backstabs has forced teams to ban Twisted Fate before he can even get an eye on his signature champion. On the cusp of a climactic duel with Faker, it’s a match between a man who shaped the first dynasty with SK Telecom T1 and the challenger looking to mold his respective era with DWG KIA.
1. Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu (9.47)
Could it be anyone else after that performance in the quarterfinals? Canyon was the best jungler in the group stage. In the first round versus MAD Lions, though, it’s hard to leave that series, where he dictated almost every facet of the game against the European champions, and not feel like he’s somehow leveled up from his previous form. He’s already won the Worlds 2020 Finals MVP award. As this tournament winds down, the question has become if any of Oner, Jiejie or Clid have a chance at toppling the man lovingly dubbed as the “polar bear” by his peers.
World-class junglers can overcome jungle gaps.
But can anyone overcome the jungle canyon?
About the Author
Tyler Erzberger is entering a decade of covering esports. When not traveling around the world telling stories about people shouting over video games, he’s probably arguing with an anime avatar on Twitter about North American esports.