Competitive League of Legends is at the pinnacle of eSports. In ESPN’s latest edition of their power rankings, the standings turned as Samsung Galaxy took the number 1 spot. They overtook SK Telecom T1, the widely regarded best team in the world. SKT recently took a tumble with losses to multiple teams in the LCK, and analysts are questioning whether this is a permanent of temporary slump. Meanwhile, the top teams from the NALCS and EULCS round out the top 20. Unicorns of Love, Fnatic, and G2 are the top teams from Europe. TSM, Immortals, and Counter Logic Gaming are among North America’s top teams. Following a recent NA win at Rift Rivals, experts are project the NALCS to be top contenders for the world championships in a few months. The world championships will be a fantastic event held in the Bird’s Nest in China. For now, the power ranking are all we have to go by. Many questions remain, such as whether middle of the pack teams such as Cloud 9 can surge to the top. At the same time, G2 and SKT are looking vulnerable at the top. In the coming months, fans will witness the rise and fall of these rankings, which will largely determine seeding at worlds. While seeding is not the end of the world, it plays a massive factor as to who gets out of the group stages. League of Legends is a game of numbers, and statistics do not lie. The teams at the top of these power rankings have continuously displayed their dominance on the rift and through practice scrims. It is up to them to take this momentum and bring home regional championships.
It is well known that Korea is the most dominant region in League of Legends. With multiple world championships and international titles to their name, other regions such as Europe and North America are far behind. However, it is important to make a distinction. Three of their world championships belong to SK Telecom T1. Within Korea, SKT is easily the most dominant team. Therefore, it is difficult to compare Western teams to Korea in general. We must acknowledge that SKT is on a completely different level than their counterparts. In this sense, top Western teams such as Team Solo Mid and G2 Esports might not be as far behind as previously imagined. They have superstar players that can carry games alone, and if left unattended, other players have the potential to pick up the slack. When we talk about gaps between regions, it is important to make these distinctions that bias each argument. Players, coaches, and meta all contribute to the holistic strength of a team.
Different analysts have different views on this issue. Some analysts such as MonteCristo argue that the majority of Korea is still vastly ahead of everybody else. Their macro and micro play have noticeable advantages that other teams simply cannot replicate. However, EULCS caster Martin “Deficio” Lynge believes otherwise. Because we don’t see too much international play to begin with, it is irresponsible to make blind judgments about relative strengths. Each region has their own playstyle, and until we see competition to make comparisons, we must abstain from these rankings. Regardless of which end of the spectrum you fall on, there is no question that SKT is a powerhouse that is feared by even top Korean teams themselves. Armed with a lineup of Faker, Peanut, and Bang, they are ready to take the world by storm and secure another championship.