The Summer Split ramps up big time this week, with both the North American and European LCS starting. The Korean and Chinese Leagues are already duking it out for potential spots at Worlds.
Below is a top ten power ranking for Worlds.
1. SK Telecom T1 (LCK)
SKT just recently added to their legacy by claiming their first-ever Mid-Season Invitational crown by sweeping Counter Logic Gaming. That followed their victory at IEM Katowice, where they swept Fnatic.
They claimed their second World Championship at the end of 2015. If you’re still counting, SKT have claimed the last three major League of Legends events. Need further proof they’re the best team in the world right now? SKT have also claimed victory in the past four LCK splits.
SKT will be the favorites at Worlds for obvious reasons. Faker is still one of the premier players in the world, even if he looked somewhat human at MSI. Look for SKT to be contenders again as they prepare for their third World Championship in the span of four years.
Until someone can beat them, they’re the No. 1 team.
2. ROX Tigers (LCK)
Meet SKT’s nemesis, ROX Tigers (formerly KOO Tigers).
ROX Tigers made it to Worlds last year, losing out to SKT in a highly competitive finals. The team is extremely talented, with skilled players at each position. Their coordination and team chemistry is as good as we’ve seen.
What’s missing from ROX Tigers are those elusive trophies in major tournaments.
In large part, SKT’s building legacy has overshadowed the success of ROX Tigers in this department. ROX Tigers have defeated SKT in the regular season twice, but they haven’t yet taken them down when it matters most in the playoffs.
3. KT Rolster (LCK)
If you can’t tell by now, the LCK is stacked this split. They have a legitimate argument for hosting four teams in our top five alone.
Coming in at No. 3 is KT Rolster, a team that previously found a way to come on strong during the Summer Split. KT Rolster’s roster is as good as the two teams ranked above them, but they can suffer from individual performances during key moments.
Mid laner Song “Fly” Young-jun is a developing superstar, but he still struggles against the likes of SKT’s Faker. Where KT Rolster can find success against SKT and ROX is in the top lane. Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho continues to be one of the most dominant top laners in the world.
4. Royal Never Give Up (LPL)
Our first non-Korean contender.
RNG demonstrated they can be a legitimate contender at the most recent MSI tournament, finishing in first place after the group stage. Unfortunately, they had to play against SKT in the knockout stage and were unable to come away with a series win.
RNG made a huge roster move following MSI, picking up Chinese AD carry Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao. The rest of the roster remains intact, including 2014 WC MVP support, Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong.
RNG will have to continue improving this split as they look toward the 2016 World Championship and a potential rematch against SKT.
5. Jin Air Green Wings (LCK)
Jin Air are notorious for being inconsistent, and it’s that wavering that makes them hard to project. Jin Air have the roster talent to compete with anyone in the world, but you never know what team is going to show up.
One week they look like they could dethrone SKT, only to leave you shaking your head the next week at their abysmal play. Once again Jin Air’s success will depend on finding the right mix of play each week.
Kim “SoHwan” Jun-yeong will be replacing veteran starter Yeo “TrAce” Chang-dong in the top lane. The team is hoping to find more consistency (ironically) in the top lane.
6. Counter Logic Gaming (NA)
Two-time North American Split Champions now, CLG have finally established themselves as World contenders. No other team has grown more in the past two years than CLG.
Despite roster changes that left the team with a rookie ADC, CLG has shown itself as an organization built for the long haul. The team is exceptional at not only finding talent, but also incorporating that talent into a single, cohesive unit.
CLG just made the finals at MSI, perhaps their best showing in an international tournament to date. Despite losing to SKT, there’s nothing but upside to take away from MSI.
The NA LCS will be extremely competitive this split, but look for CLG to rise to the top once again.
7. Flash Wolves (LMS)
Flash Wolves were looking to show they could be serious contenders in an international tournament at MSI, but unfortunately fell short of those goals. While they did make the knockout stage, they were looking to progress even further in the tournament.
The LMS and Flash Wolves have both come a long way in the year and a half since Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao seceded from the Southeast Asian Garena Premier League (GPL).
The Flash Wolves have been heavily challenged by ahq e-Sports Club within their region, with both teams making it out of the group stage at the 2015 World Championship. After dethroning ahq last split, they’ll be looking to do the same and extend their stay at the 2016 World Championship.
8. EDward Gaming (LPL)
The second best team from China, EDG have been longtime rivals of SKT but have recently fallen on tough times.
Their mid lane star, Heo “PawN” Won-seok, has dealt with aggravating medical issues. Former SKT Telecom T1 substitute, Lee “Scout” Ye-chan, will look to fill the big shoes that PawN leaves behind in his absence.
The rest of EDG’s roster remains formidable and includes players with years of experience. South Korean AD carry Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu and Chinese support Tian “Meiko” Ye have been a dominant force in the region since joining the team.
Ming “Clearlove” Kai is one of the most decorated professional players from China. Ultimately, the success of EDG will depend on how the mid lane position evolves.
If PawN can’t come back from injury, the team will have to rely on Scout to mature quickly.
One of the most dominant teams we’ve seen in the NA LCS couldn’t quite get it done in the playoffs last split. There’s no questioning the individual talent of Immortals; they just need to make sure they don’t become complacent (an issue that arose in the pick/ban phase at the end of last split).
Ultimately, Immortals’ success will be determined by their finish in the playoffs this coming split. They just proved that going 17-1 during the regular season means nothing if you get upset in the playoffs.
There were no changes to the roster during the offseason. Continuity is huge in a team-based game, and we’ll see if Immortals can build off their early success from last split.
Longzhu is the equivalent of Immortals in the LCK — a relatively new team that recruited top-notch talent at every position.
Unfortunately for LZ, the LCK is not the NA LCS, and the team struggled early on with team coordination and synergy against superior competition. Coming into this split, LZ is looking to push the other LCK teams ranked above them for a playoff spot.
The organization has trimmed down its roster from 10 active members to only seven, hoping the team chemistry will improve. LZ’s mid laner, Shin “CoCo” Jin-yeong is considered the heir apparent to Faker as the best mid laner in Korea.
The question remains, can LZ put it all together and take down the premier teams in the LCK? It doesn’t need to beat SKT, but it does need to get past ROX and/or KT Rolster.
Needless to say, it is going to be an exciting season for fans, both from a spectating and an esports betting perspective. If you do plan on betting, you should also plan on keeping up to date with esports betting odds from across top esports betting sites like Betway and AlphaDraft using our tracking tool.