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Every week, we look at each team in the five major regions and rank the teams according to how they are performing.
Nos. 1-10: World contenders
Nos. 11-20: Playoff contenders
Nos. 21-30: Middle of the pack
Nos. 31-40: Struggling
Nos. 41-52: Bottom of the barrel
1. Kingzone DragonX
Record: 5-1 | League: LCK | +/-: --
No other team in the world looks as strong as Kingzone DragonX. It knows exactly where its strengths lie, playing around Kim "Khan" Dong-ha in a meta that already suits its playstyle. Han "Peanut" Wang-ho and Gwak "Bdd" Bo-seong look more coordinated with each passing game, freeing up both jungle and mid. Unlike KT Rolster and KSV Esports, Kingzone not only beat the opponents they were supposed to beat this week, but they also obliterated them, giving fans the gift of an extra Riven highlight reel courtesy of Khan.
Record: 5-1 | League: LCK | +/-: --
It's a toss-up between whether KSV or KT is the second-best team in South Korea. KSV didn't look as strong as it would have liked against two opponents it should have easily beat as a top LCK team. This week also included yet another narrow escape from an 0-2 sweep for KSV, this time at the hands of the bbq Olivers. MVP's Kim "Beyond" Kyu-seok was able to exploit weaknesses against Kang "Ambition" Chan-yong. KSV has been giving Kang "Haru" Min-seung play time to shore up its early game, but then the team's neutral objective setup and late-game shot-calling suffers. KSV is the steadier team, with the better record and a win against Kingzone (albeit without Khan), so it gets the nod for now.
3. KT Rolster
Record: 5-1 | League: LCK | +/-: --
KT looked arguably stronger than KSV this past week, and there's certainly an argument for them in second place. Yet KT also seems content to fritter away games that it already had well in hand because of overly aggressive plays and unnecessary engages onto opponents. It bodes well for KT that Heo "PawN" Won-seok is performing better and Go "Score" Dong-bin still has phenomenal early-game jungle performances. This coming week KT will take on Kingzone, which should be a better measure of where this team is.
4. EDward Gaming
Record: 5-1 | League: LPL | +/-: --
Last year when EDG was a top team, it was the best at fast-pushing bot lane and playing to then-jungler Ming "Clearlove" Kai's style. However, what pushes EDG to the top of the list for the LPL this year is the team's flexibility. EDG can play around rising star AD carry Hu "Haro" Xian-Zhao pathing top side for Jeon "Ray" Ji-won, but it can also return to the team's bread and butter of playing around a strong bot side with Hu "iBoy" Xian-Zhao and team leader Tian "Meiko" Ye. The team is still figuring things out, but it looks stronger and more versatile than the rest.
5. Snake Esports
Record: 5-1 | League: LPL | +/-: --
As the LPL gears up for a few days of interleague play before the Lunar New Year break, Snake are sitting pretty at the top of the West Region with a better record than even EDG. The team knows how to use globals well, and while most will point to jungler Lê "SofM" Quang Duy's strong jungle pathing and pressure, mid laner Zeng "Guoguo" Jun-Li helps facilitate this by keeping his opponents pushed up. His improvement is something that we pointed out previously, and it continued this past week with strong showings on Cassiopeia. Although 8.2 will bring a few changes after Chinese New Year, TP and Spellbook usage is likely to remain prevalent, which should keep Snake at or close to the top.
6. Afreeca Freecs
Record: 4-2 | League: LCK | +/-: --
After a tough Week 2, the Freecs bounced back against bbq and SKT with 2-0 sweeps, cementing their fourth-place spot in the LCK standings. Lee "KurO" Seo-haeng continues to be the rock of the Freecs while the rest of the team moves more freely around his mid lane pressure. His consistency has certainly helped out jungler Lee "Spirit" Da-yoon, who is prone to bouts of over-aggression while trying to counterjungle or set up vision, as well as Kim "Kiin" Gi-in who still doesn't draw the same amount of pressure as Jang "MaRin" Gyeong-hwan but has integrated himself onto the team well.
7. Invictus Gaming
Record: 5-1 | League: LPL | +/-: +1
It's fun to watch the members of Invictus Gaming dive its opponents' fountain and all die (along with all of their opponents) as they're closing the game. Continuing from where iG left off last year, this team has poured their aggressive nature into everything they do. Rather than scaling back, they relish in it. This meta has been all about top lane pressure, and Kang "TheShy" Seung-lok has happily stepped up to the task with some help from jungler Gao "Ning" Zhen-Ning. We might not always understand why Ning pops up and initiates when he does, or exactly why half of the team decides to engage when the rest of the members are nowhere nearby, but iG is the sole possessor of first place in the East Region and is a fun team. However, it won't be a reliable top team until the members' more reckless tendencies are curbed.
8. Jin Air Green Wings
Record: 3-3 | League: LCK | +/-: +1
By virtue of bbq Olivers and ROX Tigers' rough weeks, Jin Air holds steady in the standings: above the rest of the "middle of the pack" in South Korea -- but it's still not fearsome enough to be considered a top team. Jin Air beat Kongdoo Monster with ease but lacked the firepower to take a game off of KT, despite a fairly even Game 1. Going forward, more pressure will be placed on rookie Lee "Grace" Chan-ju, who Jin Air has seemingly chosen as their primary mid laner. Neither Grace nor Yoon "Justice" Seok-joon have been bad per se, but they'll be further pushed with bot lane a bit more volatile on Patch 8.2.
9. Team WE
Record: 3-4 | League: LPL | +/-: -2
This particular Team WE earned a reputation as "the baron team" in 2016 thanks to Xiang "Condi" Ren-Jie's timely baron steals that first became a meme, and then a win condition for WE. If they botched the early game, they always had baron. This transitioned into WE becoming one of the best late-game teamfighting teams in the world. Yet, what truly lifted WE to elite status in the LPL last year was Condi's strong early game. It's early in the split, and Condi just returned to the team last week, but WE seem laser-focused on waiting for late game by drafting losing lanes that shoot the team in the foot before it can scale or not playing around more aggressive lanes (Kalista/Thresh), handing advantages to their opponents.
Record: 5-1 | League: NA LCS | +/-: +5
Could this be the season where a support wins the MVP award in the North American LCS? Andy "Smoothie" Ta has been arguably the best native NA support in the last year and he's having a career year through the first six games of the season. The former Team Liquid member was looked over when he was a rookie player but has found a home on C9; and along with veteran Zachary "Sneaky" Scuderi, he has built one of the best bottom lanes in the west. After almost getting to the World Championship semifinals last year and starting out the spring season 5-1, nothing but C9's first domestic championship in three years will be good enough for Smoothie and company.
Record: 5-1 | League: EU LCS | +/-: +5
Team Vitality's fall at the hands of Misfits was "merely a setback." The team demonstrated that it had overcome the hurdles of implementing poke compositions by dismantling an otherwise strong Schalke 04, then followed up with a convincing macro-centric showing against a surprising Unicorns of Love. More importantly, the mid-jungle coordination between Berk "Gilius" Demir and Daniele "Jiizuke" Di Mauro continues to help the team ease into devastating mid-game transitions, and Jakub "Jactroll" Skurzynski has remained a strong peeling pillar in teamfights. The only things that could cause Vitality's downfall could be the increasing level of play across the league, and -- if any -- adversity from within.
12. bbq Olivers
Record: 2-4 | League: LCK | +/-: +6
The phrase "better than their record shows" certainly applies to bbq Olivers this week. It might seem like sacrilege to move up a team that went 0-2 this past week, but as the LCK is still sorting itself out, bbq improved despite two losses. Substituting Kim "Bono" Gi-beom in for jungler Kim "Trick" Gang-yun initially seemed like bbq was submitting to KSV Esports, but Bono exploited Kang "Ambition" Chan-yong's penchant for farming with a more aggressive playstyle than Trick. This early game focus also unlocked support Lee "IgNar" Dong-geun on initiators like Alistar and Blitzcrank. Unfortunately, bbq still needs better mid-game transitions and objective setups to rise in the LCK standings.
13. BiliBili Gaming
Record: 4-3 | League: LPL | +/-: --
BLG remain fairly high, despite opening Week 4 with a 2-1 loss to Royal Never Give Up. Against RNG, BLG continued to rely on strong Teleport plays and Shek "AmazingJ" Wai Ho flanking with Vladimir. RNG attacked this well with strong river vision thanks to Hung "Karsa" Hau-Hsuan and the counterpick of Cho-gath for Liu "Zz1tai" Zhi-Hao along with their own Vladimir flex in Game 3. It isn't enough to drop them yet due to similar weak points on RW, JDG, Suning, and their prior steadiness in the West Region, but after a few more cross-conference matches, BLG will be forced to adapt or drop further.
14. Rogue Warriors
Record: 5-2 | League: LPL | +/-: +18
Making their first appearance in the Top 20, Rogue Warriors are a team that owe a lot of their early victories to opponents leaving up Lee Sin for jungler Sung "Flawless" Yeon-jun, and saving Gangplank or a tanky counterpick for top laner Chen "Mouse" Yu-Hao. However, Week 3 victories against not only the flailing RNG but JDG and now Team WE in their first cross-conference match propel RW up the standings. Once RW sense that they can close a game, they move quickly as a unit with the coordination of a more seasoned roster, catching a few opponents by surprise with their stubbornness. RW might lack the flexibility or raw potential that JDG and Suning have, but they make up for it by playing to their strengths.
15. Team Liquid
Record: 5-1 | League: NA LCS | +/-: +6
When Team Liquid looks good, it looks reallllly good. The official speedrunners of the NA LCS, Liquid has repeatedly beaten its record for the fastest win of the spring season so far in consecutive games, first rolling over a hamstrung FlyQuest before brushing aside the Golden Guardians. The issue for the team is when its raw skill can't outmuscle the weaker teams in the competition. This Liquid roster won't be too tested in the current single-game league format, and while a 14-4 regular-season record seems like an easy bet, this roster's real test will come in the playoffs in a longer best-of-five format where pure strength isn't going to be enough to get TL to its first league final.
16. ROX Tigers
Record: 2-4 | League: LCK | +/-: +3
Similar to bbq Olivers, the ROX Tigers had a rough week against two top-tier opponents. Although their win over KT Rolster in Game 2 seemed more like a KT loss than a ROX win, ROX kept Game 3 close early and again, like bbq, couldn't transition their early map advantages into a victory. In focusing more on top laner Heo "Lindarang" Man-heung as the meta has dictated, ROX have lost a bit of their bot side spark with Gwon "Sangyoon" Sang-yun. With 8.2 opening up the bot lane from 8.1's double Relic Shield passivity, we'll learn more about where the Tigers want to focus as a team going forward.
17. JD Gaming
Record: 4-2 | League: LPL | +/-: -3
In the battle between the two upstarts of the East Region, JD Gaming defeated Suning before dropping 0-2 to Rogue Warriors. JDG tested out a few things this week, including a split-push Yorick for Zhang "Zoom" Xing-Ran that didn't go well for them once they were forced to fight instead of playing around setting up the push. It's still difficult to talk about JDG without comparing them to RW and Suning. All three of these teams are evenly-matched with specific strengths and weaknesses. JDG have the ability to play different styles and compositions but lack the experience to execute them correctly. Only time will tell if this is a team problem, or an easily-fixed symptom of their inexperience.
Record: 4-2 | League: EU LCS | +/-: -7
Despite its fall from the top of Europe, Misfits have demonstrated why its offseason has been one of the best -- if not the best -- in the region. With added flexibility in the mid lane and the bottom lane, the team gained the ability to smoothly implement spellbook-related movements as well as 1-1-3 compositions. However, oversights in the early-game against Fnatic and its team composition's short shelf-life against Splyce are matters that require further scrutiny. Despite that, Misfits seem poised to take the league by storm once again, to the image of an improving Steven "Hans Sama" Liv.
Record: 3-3 | League: LPL | +/-: +4
This past week, Suning opened up with a 2-1 match against JDG where the matches weren't close but the series was, with each team snowballing their respective early advantages. Suning have a lot of talent and are a fairly smart team that move around the map, aided by Teleport, Unsealed Spellbook. Like JDG, their problems lie in execution, not a lack of talent.
20. Echo Fox
Record: 5-1 | League: NA LCS | +/-: -10
It wasn't the best weekend for Echo Fox. It began with a deflating loss to Counter Logic Gaming it was expected to win, and then even though it beat Optic to close out the win in one-sided fashion, the win showed how sloppy FOX can be when its freewheeling style doesn't work out as planned. It's awesome when you can wing it and land a backflip on command, but you know what sucks? When you try that same backflip casually and land on your head. Echo Fox has the talent and its instinct-based play is a joy to watch, though it will need to be cleaner if it wants to get far in the postseason.