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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. We're on to the second week of League of Legends action around the world, and already things are shaking up. Team SoloMid 0-2? Ninety minute games? Royal Never Give Up 2-0 without Uzi? What is this madness?
Nos. 1-10: World contenders
Nos. 11-20: Playoff contenders
Nos. 21-30: Middle of the pack
Nos. 31-40: Struggling
Nos. 41-50: Bottom of the barrel
Record: 2-0 | League: LCK | +/-: +1
The reigning world champions stormed through their first week in 2018 LCK Spring. While it's too early to say that Lee "Crown" Min-ho is truly back, the current mid lane champion pool suits him, making the team's map pressure all the more stifling for opponents. Park "Ruler" Jae-hyuk shows no signs of slowing down in the current meta either, and it's a testament to his growth that KSV can rely on his positioning in late-game teamfights on scaling carries. KSV's upcoming match against the Afreeca Freecs should definitely be on everyone's calendar, since no other team in South Korea looked as strong as KSV in this first week.
2. Afreeca Freecs
Record: 1-0 | League: LCK | +/-: +7
Afreeca leapfrogs over Kingzone, KT, and SKT this week thanks to its 2-1 victory over KT. This is a strong meta for the Freecs. Ha "Kramer" Jong-hun is most at home in a competitive landscape that favors scaling hypercarries, and Kim "Kiin" Gi-in looked surprisingly comfortable with his new team. Lee "Kuro" Seo-haeng even made strides towards burying his "good in scrims, bad onstage" reputation on Azir. The true test for Afreeca comes this week, when they take on both KSV and Kingzone.
3. KINGZONE DRAGONX
Record: 0-1 | League: LCK | +/-: -3
KSV's 2-0 victory over Kingzone was closer than the result of a sweep and the scoreboard suggest. Kim "Khan" Dong-ha was also sorely missed in the top lane, and Kim "Rascal" Kwang-hee looked both confused and out-of-place on his flanks, especially on Vladimir in Game 2. However, Rascal's awkwardness doesn't excuse multiple communication errors between Han "Peanut" Wang-ho and Gwak "Bdd" Bo-seong. Bdd having the push in mid lane is integral to Peanut playing aggressively and the two don't look fully coordinated yet. Kingzone leads off and closes the week, with a whopping three matches to get through, including ones against SKT and Afreeca. After this week, we'll know a lot more about this Kingzone team and where it stands.
4. Royal Never Give Up
Record: 2-0 | League: LPL | +/-: +6
The rise of RNG in this week's power rankings can be attributed to more than a few outside factors. This includes the regularly-scheduled LPL turmoil where two other top teams (Team WE and EDG) both lost to perceived worse teams (BLG and Snake), and general instability in LCK, where neither KT nor SKT impressed. Last week we worried about how RNG would integrate Hung "Karsa" Hau-Hsuan onto the team, but they seem to have settled on Liu "Mlxg" Shi-Yu for the foreseeable future and the team looks all the more comfortable for this. Thus far, Dai "Able" Zhi-Chun and Wang "y4" Nong-Mo have been acceptable stand-ins during Jian "Uzi" Zi-Hao absence, although this could change as more teams find their strides during the season.
5. KT Rolster
Record: 1-1 | League: LCK | +/-: -3
Talk around KT this offseason revolved around the team's newfound coordination, with multiple members assuaging fan fears of another split with strong individual play and a lack of synergy. KT's first series against Afreeca showed off a new KT that could actually play from behind, despite the loss. Yet KT's second series against MVP (one of the worst teams in South Korea) was sloppy and unfocused, relying on individual outplays from Heo "Pawn" Won-seok to finally close out a 2-0 sweep. Go "Score" Dong-bin will be an easy target for the community, especially international fans who want to see Lee "Rush" Yoon-jae, due to a slight decline in his mechanics, and although PawN looked better than expected, he still struggles throughout laning phase. These five members of KT have a long way to go before they prove that they've truly become a team.
6. EDward Gaming
Record: 1-1 | League: LPL | +/-: -2
And so it begins. EDG have looked good with Chen "Haro" Wen-Lin and Jeon "Ray" Ji-won as the team's new starting top side since its recent Demacia Cup victory. That continued this week in the first match against FunPlus Phoenix. However, against Snake, Lê "SoFM" Quang Duy and Li "Flandre" Xuan-Jun exploited Haro's inexperience with his lanes. When EDG found itself without reliable engage tools or strong objective setup, Haro's rawness showed. With Hu "iBoy" Xian-Zhao, Jeon "Ray" Ji-won, and Haro all still adjusting to the team, there were bound to be some hiccups, but look forward to EDG bouncing back this week against BLG and OMG.
7. SK Telecom T1
Record: 1-1 | League: LCK | +/-: -2
Outside of a few, well-kept scrim rumblings during the World Championship, Lee "Wolf" Jae-wan jungle shocked the LCK and the international LoL community. Wolf is still visibly unfamiliar to the jungle position, with both Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok and Park "Untara" Ui-jin sometimes doing the heavy lifting when it comes to early vision. Even then, Wolf has been easily tracked by his jungle opponents. One positive for SKT is that Lee "Effort" Sang-ho has looked alright in his new role as the team's starting support, but has been unable to showcase his more aggressive style due to the current state of the bot lane. Going forward, SKT will have to show some semblance of decisiveness rather than waiting for opponents to make more mistakes. It's almost unheard of to think of SKT as a team that cannot close out a game once they take control of it, but 90 minutes later and a 2-1 loss to Jin Air, here we are.
8. Team WE
Record: 1-1 | League: LPL | +/-: -2
Substitute jungler Zhong "Melon" Wang was rough at the start, even in a WE win, but settled down by the team's second series of the week against Bilibili Gaming. Unfortunately, Xiang "Condi" Ren-Jie's absence was still felt when it came to teamfight decision-making and neutral objective setup. Su "xiye" Han-Wei is playing particularly well, and WE certainly isn't in trouble, but its 2-1 loss to BLG drops them down a bit in the rankings going into week two. Team WE has three matches this week, and the match with Snake should be especially interesting, given how Snake's top side performed against EDG.
9. Team Liquid
Record: 2-0 | League: NA LCS | +/-: +4
The first week of the season couldn't have gone any better for the new super team of North America. The highly anticipated opening day match between Liquid and Team SoloMid turned into a one-team show when TL took an early advantage in the bottom lane and snowballed to an easy win. Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng wanted revenge on TSM for passing over him in the offseason in lieu of Europe's superstar bottom lane from G2, and he got just that. Undefeated and looking good doing it, North America might have a new favorite.
10. Jin Air Green Wings
Record: 1-1 | League: LCK | +/-: +13
Of the middling teams in LCK that we were unsure of last week, Jin Air made the strongest statement, nearly capitalizing on a mistake to take a game off of top-ranked KSV, and slugging it out with SKT for 90-plus minutes before claiming a victory. Park "Teddy" Jin-seong made a strong statement towards being one of the best AD carries in LCK right now, and even Eom "UmTi" Seong-hyeon looked a bit more measured in his first few routes, allowing the team to take control of the early game. Jin Air isn't a good team yet, but there's a lot of promise and a really good AD carry.
11. Invictus Gaming
Record: 1-1 | League: LPL | +/-: +1
AD carry Yu "Jackeylove" Wen-Bo may be one of the up-and-coming players on everyone's radar, but Invictus Gaming is still all about Song "Rookie" Eui-jin, who brought back Syndra and his signature Cassiopeia this week in iG's 2-0 slaughter of Rogue Warriors. iG also took a game off of Royal Never Give Up in the LPL's opening match with a surprisingly controlled Game 1 that punished RNG's scaling composition. This week, it's up to iG to dispatch two opponents that they're favored to beat in JD Gaming and Topsports.
12. G2 Esports
Record: 1-1 | League: EU LCS | +/-: +3
G2 Esports wasted no time showcasing its abilities against Misfits in the first enactment of what may become an LCS playoff matchup in the spring split. The follow-up against Team ROCCAT was not pretty, but it served to highlight where G2's strengths and weaknesses lie in the present.
Communication and methodical gameplay has traditionally been G2's forte, and the new-look squad asserted the matter further with decisive map movement. However, minute lapses in vision and team fight execution show that G2 has yet to knock off the offseason rust, as Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski displayed on occasionally laborious engages as Sejuani and Jarvan IV. But if G2's worries are solely there, all the team needs is more practice.
13. Snake Esports
Record: 1-1 | League: LPL | +/-: +12
Snake christened their new home in Chongqing with a loss to FunPlus Phoenix but ended its week with a strong sweep of EDward Gaming, which bumped the team up the rankings. After the victory, AD carry Yang "kryst4l" Fan accidentally left his microphone on following an interview and his excitement at the win was caught on tape. This has been a long time coming for Snake, and although they're still not the most reliable team, this roster showed signs of strong synergy and more measured play against EDG. The trick going forward for Snake will be to find even a modicum of consistency, something that has eluded them in the past.
Record: 2-0 | League: NA LCS | +/-: +11
Who needs to win the offseason when you can win in the actual season? C9 was criticized for losing two members of its starting roster that was a single game away of making the World Championship semifinals, and it came into the season needing something to prove to both its fans and critics alike. Well, a first impression is important, and C9 aced it, going 2-0 in week one and playing a fun, lively style to go with it.
15. ahq e-Sports Club
Record: 1-0 | League: LMS | +/-: +2
Ranking the LMS teams this week was difficult. Since there were only two series, it's a bit unfair to punish the teams that didn't play, specifically Flash Wolves, who were ranked first of all the LMS teams in our preseason ranking. That being said, AHQ's 2-0 sweep of HKA bumps them up above the Flash Wolves for now. Tsou "Wako" Wei-Yang looks to be a smart addition to the team, although we'll have to see him on something other than Ryze to say that definitively.
Record: 1-1 | League: EU LCS | +/-: -9
Misfits Gaming signaled its return to the EU LCS in emphatic fashion with a landslide victory against a FC Schalke 04 Esports squad with a substitute. However, by that time, it had already lost a game in the league as G2 Esports feasted upon costly execution mistakes in early-game tower dive attempts and poor positioning in a crucial team fight, showing Misfits' two sides at the moment: an organized, but overzealous unit at times. Chalking such issues on stage pressure may be an obvious choice, as Misfits has since shown devastating skirmishing and better decision-making against Schalke 04.
Improvements on those fronts and on unit micromanagement would certainly help Misfits in its quest for a 17-1 record, and the matchup against Team Vitality represents its first big test.
17. Suning Gaming
Record: 2-1 | League: LPL | +/-: +12
Suning have a young, talented roster that is also coordinated and fun to watch. Xie "XiaoAL" Zhen-Ying and Zhuo "Knight" Ding both impressed in Week 1. With two strong solo lanes and the steady bottom lane of Lee "Fury" Jin-yong and Kim "Yoon" Byung-yoon, Suning are poised to make a case as a playoff threat in the East Region. That being said, there are cracks in its decision-making, especially around teamfights. The team can be overly-aggressive and choose inopportune times to engage opponents, shown most recently in the first series of Week 2, and Suning's only series this week, a 2-1 loss to Rogue Warrior. A Week 3 series against RNG and iG will test the true level of this team. Similarly, Suning is the type of team that will challenge top teams and likely give them a hard time, even if it ends with a 2-0 Suning loss.
18. bbq Olivers
Record: 1-0 | League: LCK | +/-: +2
Alongside KSV, Kingzone, and the Afreeca Freecs, bbq only played one match this week. Although Kongdoo Monster look much improved with Raise, bbq's 2-1 win over them was not too impressive, and the team only seemed synchronized in Game 3. There is a disconnect between Kim "Trick" Gang-yun and his lanes which should naturally improve with time, but its inability to close games quickly after gaining a lead is what really needs to improve before this team can move up in the standings.
19. BiliBili Gaming
Record: 2-0 | League: LPL | +/-: +25
The former I May roster now stands at the top of its competitive division with a sweep of Vici Gaming and a surprise victory over Team WE. Shek "AmazingJ" Wai Ho and Kang "Athena" Ha-woon were both standouts this past week, but it's Bilibili Gaming's choice teamfighting that helped it defeat WE. The next big test will be against EDG.
20. Echo Fox
Record: 2-0 | League: NA LCS | +/-: +16
This might already be the best Echo Fox team in franchise history. For two years Echo Fox has disappointed on stage, failing to make the playoffs the previous four splits. This roster though, built around Worlds finalist and region hopper Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon, might have what it takes to not only make the playoffs but go deep into them. As long as this team can grow together and not fracture apart when the first sign of adversity hits, EF could be the dark horse to take the NA throne.