With three of the four leagues back in action around the world, it's time for us to get back to work, too. The LPL continues its play online, while the LEC and LCS just kicked back into gear. The LCK is coming back this week, so we'll have our first, last, and only spring 2020 League of Legends power ranking with all four regions ranked next week.
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: 13-3 | Change: +1
After a brief hiatus imposed due to COVID-19 concerns, the LEC resumed on March 20 in an online format. People eagerly tuned in for the return of the LEC broadcast, many of them to see G2 in their "scrim form." With G2 already locked in for playoffs and all the teams playing from their respective team houses, it was expected that G2's last four matches will be even more non-traditional than usual.
And G2's performance throughout the week met all these expectations. We were treated to individual players recklessly seeking skirmishes while on off-meta picks such as bot lane Taliya and Ziggs, Marcin "Jankos" Jankowsk styling both games on Pantheon, and even a Bard support. Some of the finer details in execution fell through, but G2 bruted over both Rouge and Excel Gaming with sheer mechanical prowess and great teamwork.
G2's victory against Excel Esports confirmed the six playoffs teams for the spring playoffs -- G2 Esports, Fnatic, Origen, MAD Lions, Misfits Gaming and Rogue. G2's chances of finishing the regular split in the first place continues to look high as they need only one more victory next week, either from Schalke 04 or Misfits.
-- Ashley Kang
2. Invictus Gaming
Region: LPL | Record: 6-1 | Change: --
Sloppy as they were, Invictus Gaming were extremely entertaining in their showings, leaving where they left off before the LPL break: wreaking havoc left and right, and making the best of the situations they encountered (or ran into headfirst, especially bad ones).
Questionable as their judgment might be at times, they have emerged on top of the LPL by the end of the LPL's third week of action in large part thanks to their ability to recognize setups before they happen.
Currently, the power of iG's lanes cannot be neglected. Song "Rookie" Eui-jin and Kang "TheShy" Seung-lok have shown dominance throughout the season, consecutively passing skill checks against their opponents. In addition, their bot lane's steady performance has served them greatly against Top Esports.
On the other hand, their lack of coordination and excessive zeal has left them vulnerable against a methodical eStar on their first Week 4 matchup, a matter they would be wise to address should they wish to contend for the LPL crown.
-- Adel Chouadria
3. FunPlus Phoenix
Region: LPL | Record: 5-2 | Change: --
The 2019 LoL Pro League summer and world champions are back on top, not in the standings but in gameplay. FunPlus have torn through all of their opponents following the extended hiatus due to the coronavirus outbreak, making January's 0-2 Week 1 seem like a distant, faulty memory. Was Kim "Khan" Dong-ha ever on this team? We can't really recall that.
Jokes aside, FunPlus is back to something close to world championship form due to the return of Kim "Gimgoon" Han-saem in the top lane, which frees up Gao "Tian" Tian-Liang to go bot or, more importantly, to Kim "Doinb" Tae-sang in the mid lane. FunPlus has relied on an Aatrox flex priority, although Gimgoon has mostly been the one playing it, in draft alongside a few of Doinb's typical pocket picks like Kassadin or Kled. As always, FunPlus is an entertaining team to watch on and off the rift, so it's good to see them back in form.
-- Emily Rand
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Region: LPL | Record: 7-1 | Change: --
Almost every year the LPL has a young or new team (or both) that razes through the regular season and the same questions arise of exactly how good this team is and whether they'll be able to survive best-of-fives come playoff time. The LPL season is long and many teams are playing faster and looser than ever with games online. Just take a look at iG.
With that caveat out of the way, eStar are genuinely talented and almost always on the same page. It might not be a particularly good page objectively, but there's a lot to be said for a young team with a ton of talent that moves as a unit. Their decision-making has improved week-to-week, aiding their aggressive early game. Support Liu "ShiauC" Chia-Hao has also recovered from one of the worst Leona performances I've ever seen to being one of the best in his position in the LPL thus far.
Region: LEC | Record: 12-4 | Change: -2
Fnatic rebounded from a disappointing loss to G2 Esports last weekend with wins over two mid-table opponents, securing their domestic playoff spot for the 15th consecutive split. While a 26-minute pause proved more taxing for Fnatic than Excel Esports, Rogue was a sterner challenge. The LEC's best early game teams drew several opening skirmishes across Summoner's Rift before Fnatic's superb objective control and quicker rotations ultimately outmaneuvered Rogue in the mid game.
While Zdravets "Hylissang" Galabov hogged the spotlight with an exciting support Sett performance, credit bot laner Martin "Rekkles" Larsson for another understated-yet-solid day at the office. Rekkles was reliable in lane and an opportunistic teamfighting participant; in posting his second deathless weekend of the spring split, he now leads all LEC players in kills (77) despite being 8th in damage per minute (468) among bot laners, per Oracle's Elixir. As Fnatic's solo lanes are often inconsistent, it's reassuring to have one player who delivers at all times, especially with potential Winner's Bracket matchups against G2 and Origen on the horizon.
<>-- Miles Yim
6. JD Gaming
Region: LPL | Record: 5-2 | Change: --
Before dropping a close series to EDward Gaming, it appeared as if the Devils over at JD Gaming were on the verge of possibly cracking the top-three of our global power rankings. Through the first third of this fragmented season, JDG has done its best to keep atop of the LPL standings whilst missing their ace player, Zhang "Zoom" Xing-Ran, who is away from the team in his home province of Hubei where a strict travel lockdown is in place due to the coronavirus outbreak. In his place, 17-year-old rookie He "705" Yu-long has been admirable, playing an abundance of Mordekaiser games in hopes of being a lending hand in the late-game.
With Zoom's absence, however, it has given an opportunity for South Korean jungler Seo "Kanavi" Jin-hyeok to make a name for himself in one of the top leagues in the world. Formerly of Griffin and once loaned to JD Gaming, the now full-time member of the Chinese franchise has been a freight train so far in 2020, putting up big numbers and being the X-factor as his team cruises to the playoffs even without its best player. In a world where Zoom can rejoin with Kanavi and the rest of his teammates, watch out -- JD Gaming has the firepower and the depth to compete with any team in the world, including on the international stage.
-- Tyler Erzberger
Region: LCS | Record: 15-1 | Change: -2
After already locking up the first seed in the upcoming LCS spring playoffs and moving into an online format due to the coronavirus outbreak, it's tough to grade the far and away best team in the North American region. Both of C9's matches on the weekend against Counter Logic Gaming and 100 Thieves were relatively close, filled with some questionable decision making from the now 15-1 squad, but when push came to shove, C9 showed no hesitation to close out a game.
In both cases, C9 seemed to be in a dogfight that could go either way and then it was all over, the LCS leaders syncing together to blow out a team fight and waltz to an emphatic victory. We've reached a point with C9 where even a domestic victory won't really tell us how strong this starting-five really is when compared to the world's best. Unfortunately, the Mid-Season Invitational is postponed and there's no telling when an international competition in an offline format will happen. Until then, we'll have to take what we can get, and that's C9 looking to win its first North American league championship since 2014 in the coming month.
Region: LEC | Record: 12-4 | Change: -1
It was a quiet weekend for Origen, qualifying for playoffs with wins at the expense of two bottom-feeding LEC squads. Although Team Vitality and SK Gaming were able to procure the standard early- game advantages Origen tend to offer their opponents, neither could snowball those leads into any meaningful mid game power. Origen slowed the game down, picked their fights wisely, and pressured objectives on their own internal clock. The only drama present in these games was guessing when Origen would step on the gas and pull away (hint: usually around 20 minutes).
Playing lesser opposition allowed Origen to tinker, extending top laner Barney "Alphari" Morris' questionable love affair with Renekton while testing mid laner Erlend "Nukeduck" Holm on a trendy Maokai. The overall beefiness of Origen's experimental compositions gave bot laner Elias "Upset" Lipp room to conduct teamfights from a lethal distance, finishing the weekend a perfect 12-0-7. It's a promising line that should put all Winner's Bracket teams on notice (if they weren't already): Combat Origen's Upset-fueled late game at your own peril.
9. Top Esports
Region: LPL | Record: 4-3 | Change: --
Top Esports may have lost their Week 3 series against Invictus Gaming, but they put up a fight. Spearheading their effort was standout mid laner Zhuo "Knight" Ding, with help from the recently acquired Karsa in the jungle and the mostly solid 369 up top.
However, their bot lane's ability to contend was as questionable as the team's drafting priorities (with a lack of emphasis on Aphelios, a choice that doomed them).
For now, their coordination jitters may go unpunished against most LPL teams for good reason: their great play and occasionally inspired team fights nearly flipped games upon their heads. That alone is enough to land them in the Top 10, albeit a top 10 lacking LCK teams -- the latter on hiatus until March 25.
10. Royal Never Give Up
Region: LPL | Record: 3-3 | Change: --
Royal Never Give Up drops from the top of the LPL standings after two regretful matches. First, the team's winning streak was broken by then 16th-place Vici Gaming. Then, in the 2019 summer split finals re-match against FunPlus Phoenix, RNG was crushed in a one-sided 2:0 series, both games ending before 35 minutes.
The piece that might be lacking in the current puzzle that is RNG might be, unsurprisingly, Jian "Uzi" Zi-Hao. Concerns have been raised around the current RNG roster for its lack of carry potential. The bot laner Lu "Betty" Yu-Hung has not been fulfilling the role of this carry threat as the former Flash Wolves star went 0/0/2 in the first game in the series against FPX and showed some questionable positioning in the series against Vici Gaming.
Uzi is currently listed as inactive due to quoted health concerns. However, if Uzi returns to the stage, 2020 spring will not be the first split when the golden prince of RNG took a hiatus during the regular season but returned to the starting roster later in order to propel RNG back to the top of the LPL standings.