Ashton’s Thoughts: A World Championship Power Ranking

This year’s World Championship will be held in Europe this year. / Photo by Lucie Liz from Pexels

As of this weekend, 22 teams who will attend the League of Legends World Championships have been decided. With reports that the VCS once more will not attend, the full field may already be prepped.

Today, I will focus on 14 teams that are considered to have the highest chance of winning, though I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention PSG’s legitimate chance at playoffs. But for now, here’s a power ranking of the 14 favorites based primarily, if not entirely, on their regional performances this summer.

1: FunPlus Phoenix

I really think their 3-0 loss to EDward Gaming was not a sign of their overall placement in this tournament. This team should still be one of the favorites, especially when facing off against teams that don’t keep China’s pace. Their potential of being seeded into a MAD Lions or PSG Talon group also helps them substantially.

2: EDward Gaming

While not being able to get Damwon is great, this team can potentially get a combination of T1 and Fnatic that might be harder than it looks. Toss in a surging C9 out of Play-Ins and this team could find the group of death, along with not looking as good as FPX for most of the season.

3: DAMWON Gaming

Second place at the last MSI, defending LCK champs, and defending World champions–the only surprising thing about this team is that they’re only third. Damwon could also snag weird group situations, with the potential of getting FPX. This is also the same team that MAD took to five games at MSI, so another Europe matchup can not be underestimated.

4: Royal Never Give Up

This team looked alright this summer coming off of their MSI win, finishing fifth out of six in the regular season but they lost badly to LNG, who takes the fourth LPL slot, which makes me nervous. They’re also going to have serious seed issues, with a possibility of a Damwon rematch in the group stage and this is a less experienced team than RNG has taken to the World championship in the past.

5: MAD

Despite a solid performance in the playoffs and a good MSI performance earlier this year, MAD still makes me nervous. Their regular season wasn’t great and we’ve already seen this team have serious issues. They’re a big swing team and they could just as easily make the top four, especially with who they might face. However, being in pool one gets them out of some of that..

6: T1

I should preface this by saying I didn’t watch the most LCK this year, but from everything I’ve seen this team is good but not necessarily great. Any team with Faker is, of course, a perennial powerhouse even with how hard he and this team have struggled in recent years– they don’t have the most winning record in LoL history for nothing. T1 is a big option for potential upsets.

7: Gen.G

I’m putting this team below T1 based purely on precedent, but third place in Spring is nothing to scoff at even though they did eventually lose to T1. I don’t expect Gen.G to go crazy and win, but they should at least make it out of groups.

8: LNG

Like T1 before them, I don’t really know what to do with this team but this time it’s because we’ve seen two very distinct LNGs. There’s the postseason LNG, who beat Suning, Top and RNG before FPX took them down. Despite losing to both FPX and EDG, LNG recovered to beat Rare Atom and Team WE. I don’t think anyone knows if this team will be top three or bottom three but they’re gonna be fun to watch either way.

9: Hanwha Life Esports

This one for me is a big meta question. Hanwha was 8th in the regular season and didn’t even make the playoffs. At the same time, they took T1 to game five in the regional finals and tried out a massive list of players before settling on their roster while qualifying. If the meta goes their way and Chovy does what he can, watch out.

10: Fnatic

Addition three to the “who knows” list, for similar reasons. Fnatic surged in the playoffs and deeply earned qualification. But, if the Fnatic of playoffs doesn’t show up it’ll be an embarrassment. Despite that, and some potentially truly terrifying group scenarios that could exist depending on pools, I think this team could pull out at least a top 8 berth.

11: Rogue

This one is a shocker. Rogue went from looking great to losing to Fnatic and MAD in two series that looked bad enough to drop them below Fnatic. They went three wins and eight losses in the postseason and nothing in those games looked good enough to improve their standing here.

12: Cloud9

Maybe this is optimism for another North American run at Worlds, but as an organization I have slightly more hope in Cloud9 than in the other two LCS teams. Realistically, none of these teams will qualify, but I think C9 has the best shot.

13: Team Liquid

This is a hard team to rank because they lost the finals to 100 Thieves but also looked better. I’m putting them above, because I think 100 Thieves’ victory was more of a situational thing where the matchup was right, and TL has at least a chance of taking a few wins.

14: 100 Thieves

I don’t see the crash-and-burn streak of “good” North American teams fading, and I think their win over Tl was largely based on just Closer. International teams will likely shut him down more effectively and then I think both C9 and TL have more diverse weapons.

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