A change in the midlane for T1 certainly offered a boost to the former world champions. Meanwhile in the LCS, teams are starting to shape up, but none have broken into the top 10 for the last three weeks. Time is running out before the playoffs and the League of Legends World Championship in Shanghai.
How we rank: We weigh the teams' strength of schedule, wins, losses and overall performance for the week and have our panelists submit a ranking of 1 through 10 for each team, with 10 being the strongest and 1 being the weakest. We then average the scores to create our initial ranking and discuss any changes needed.
There are five overall tiers. Here's what they mean:
Tier 1: No. 1-10 -- These are world championship quarterfinalist (and beyond) contenders. The farther down you go in the top 10 the less likely that team could win it all, but it's not out of the realm of possibility.
Tier 2: No. 11-20 -- These are the teams we'd expect to make it to the world championship group stage, with a possibility for quarterfinals. They are likely strong regional contenders in their respective leagues.
Tier 3: No. 21-30 -- It's a long shot, so don't expect to see these teams in the quarterfinals, but a few will make it to groups at worlds. They are likely middle of the pack in their region.
Tier 4: No. 31-40 -- These teams have a tough road ahead of them if they want to see anything postseason related.
Tier 5: No. 41-47 -- Luckily relegation isn't a thing anymore.
1. Invictus Gaming
Region: LPL | Record: 12-3 | Change: +2
With both JD Gaming and Top Esports falling to Victory Five and Royal Never Give Up respectively on Sunday, Invictus Gaming and their current seven-match win streak receive the nod this week in the top position. They only played one series, a 2-0 win against 14th place Oh My God, but coupled with the win streak and faltering of some of their top-tier competitors, this is iG's time. They're in a prime position for summer playoffs as well having already qualified for at least a quarterfinals spot with only one more series to be played against Vici Gaming. They should win that handily, although that's never a guarantee with iG.
As with any LPL team that makes it to the first spot, the question must be asked: are Invictus Gaming the best team in the world? As with most LPL teams, especially iG, the answer is a resounding maybe.
iG have been on a tear recently led by the surprising strength from jungler Gao "Ning" Zhen-Ning and a career resurgence for previously-maligned support Wang "Baolan" Liu-Yi. Sure they're still carried by their solo laners, but it's the Ning-Baolan combination that have helped propel the team to the top.
-- Emily Rand
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2. DAMWON Gaming
Region: LCK | Record: 11-2 | Change: +3
Are we witnessing one of the best seasons a player has had, well, ever? In any professional League of Legends competition? Heo "ShowMaker" Su, nearing the end of the summer split, has a KDA of 16.6 to lead all players in South Korea. He's third in kills, eighth in assists and is third in the entire league with a damage-per-minute of 603. He's dominant inside of the laning phase and equally as scary roaming around the map or in an all-out team fight. Along with solo lane partner Jang "Nuguri" Ha-gwon, the two create a partnership reminiscent of the duo that has been the centerpiece of Invictus Gaming's success in the last three years. Like their Chinese older brothers at iG, DAMWON is at its best when the speed of the game is accelerated and the map breaks down into a mechanical showdown where the faster, more skilled team overpowers the other. DWG has found the swagger that made them the most feared team at 2019's world championship before the event started with their success in scrimmages, and that all-out, aggressive style is finally starting to transition from the practice room to the main stage. South Korea has waited for years to see a team play a more upbeat style with a killer instinct, and if DAMWON can continue this form as we head into worlds at the end of September, they might finally have their bloodthirsty champion.
-- Tyler Erzberger
3. Top Esports
Region: LPL | Record: 11-3 | Change: -3
It's been a shaky three weeks for Top Esports. Including their 1-2 loss to Victory Five in Week 7, Top Esports have gone 3-3 with losses to Invictus Gaming and more surprisingly, Royal Never Give Up.
Top Esports is hardly live-or-die by Yu "JackeyLove" Wen-Bo, but the bot laner has looked inconsistent in recent series with the high highs and low lows that characterized his first season with Invictus Gaming. More importantly, Top Esports have lost a lot of these games due to a loss of objective control. Against RNG their fate was sealed due to a lack of dragon control and misplayed Baron takes. RNG also looked to have stronger and more coordinated teamfights and skirmishes against Top Esports. Top Esports already have qualified for a spot in summer playoffs (with at least a quarterfinals seed likely) and have 40 points as spring finalists. They will be a contender in the regional gauntlet if they fail to win or qualify on championship points, but they have to shore up on objective control and coordination if they want to be China's best.
4. Victory Five
Region: LPL | Record: 10-4 | Change: +4
It's time to start believing in Victory Five. After showing some mortality in recent games, the story of the summer was put in a difficult situation with their upcoming schedule heading into a (hopeful) playoff push. It wasn't the cleanest of victories in either case, but V5 triumphed over their toughest week yet, starting off with a 2-1 over an up-and-coming Team WE side before the main course, thwarting the reigning Chinese champions JD Gaming in a reverse-sweep following a game one defeat. It has been a breakthrough season for Li "Mole" Hao-Yan, the lone remaining starter from the V5 squad last split that embarrassingly lost every match, only managing to salvage a single map victory in 33 attempts. In the series clincher against JDG, he arguably had the best game of the season, going 11/0/5 against the defending domestic champs.
5. JD Gaming
Region: LPL | Record: 12-3 | Change: -3
A win over Victory 5 would have more than likely established JDG back atop of our global power rankings, but alas, the Cinderellas of China kept their fairytale going with a win over the defending champions. Although starting jungler Seo "Kanavi" Jin-hyeok is the reigning MVP of the league, this team's backbone and lifeblood runs through the top lane with Zhang "Zoom" Xing-Ran. He is the proverbial straw that stirs the drink that is the Chinese champions of JD Gaming. When Zoom can make himself known in the top lane and lead the charge from there, everything else comes into place for JD. Yet, when Zoom can't make a significant impact and is put into a background role, that's when things can go sour for JDG as it did against V5, where Zoom was kept in relative check throughout the entire best-of-three series. The good news for JDG? At 12-3 and with only one game left, they can still finish atop of the standings and put themselves in prime position for another league title. As long as they care of business versus a waffling OMG side, JD's road to the 2020 world championship should be in clear view.
Region: LCK | Record: 12-2 | Change: --
Fresh off of their narrow win over Gen.G last week, DragonX fell to DAMWON Gaming this past week. DAMWON is the best team in South Korea, but it was not nearly as close as their series against Gen.G, pointing at a potential gap between the two teams with DAMWON comfortably on top.
As it is with all DragonX series, draft is part and parcel of the discussion. Against DAMWON, DragonX pulled out a Heimerdinger for Kim "Deft" Hyuk-kyu that did not work out and DAMWON additionally won the Game 2 draft with their Galio/Camille combination on top of a Karthus jungle and Senna/Tahm Kench bot. Sometimes it feels like DragonX drafts in a vacuum and gets too cute, and against DAMWON this meant an 0-2 loss that was not even close.
Region: LCK | Record: 10-3 | Change: --
Gen.G had one job this week and that was to roll SeolHaeOne Prince. They did that job and did it very well. Led by jungler Kim "Clid" Tae-min's Lee Sin, Gen.G showed flashes of early proactivity that we know this team is not only capable of but was aiming for when they focused on picking up Clid in the 2019-20 offseason. Right now in the LCK, the question isn't of whether Gen.G are good (they are) or have the talent (they definitely do) but of how they're going to topple a top LCK team like DAMWON Gaming, who they face this coming week and did beat 2-1 the first time they met in Week 2. Following the DAMWON match, it should be fairly smooth sailing for Gen.G. The only team that has given them a lot of trouble this split has been DragonX, and as we mentioned last week, it was a very close series.
8. MAD Lions
Region: LEC | Record: 11-4 | Change: -2
MAD Lions were on pace to have a great weekend dispatching of Origen on Friday. The battle with Rogue for top spot rages on, and MAD Lions must have been salivating at the prospect of facing Vitality when the blue hooded rebels had SK on the docket. Instead, MAD Lions got ultimately outclassed by Vitality in a crazy game that saw 16 towers dropped and 29 kills total (21 for Vitality). Three of the last four weeks for MAD have been 1-1 results. The Lions are on a collision course with Rogue on Friday in the "battle for first," then face Misfits and Schalke to complete the super week.
-- Arda Ocal
Region: LEC | Record: 11-4 | Change: --
Rogue and MAD Lions seem to be attached at the hip in standings and results -- one team goes 1-1, the other goes 1-1. They just can't seem to separate from their tied-for-first standing in the LEC. That's of course a good problem to have, as pretty much the entire rest of the league battle for placement below them (in what many people like to call the "LEC Soup"). Rogue looked in fine form after a victory over Fnatic on Friday, and held the kill lead against SK on Saturday until the end, but somehow found defeat from the clutches of victory as SK took down the Nexus with only a 1.2k gold difference. Rogue and MAD Lions will finally create separation as they face on Friday of the super week. Rogue's other matchups are against Vitality and Origen.
Region: LCK | Record: 9-4 | Change: +6
The three time World champions looked a little different this week with star midlaner Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok sitting out in place of 17year-old rookie Lee "Clozer" Ju-hyeon. T1 went a perfect 2-0 on the weekend, with victories over KT Rolster Friday and SANDBOX Sunday. Clozer played three of those games on Zoe (the other on Akali) and earned a 18/4/13 KDA overall and earned player of the game honors on Friday. T1 are currently fourth in the LCK with a 9-4 record, and while it's to oearly to tell if Clozer is the juice T1 needed, the wins certainly help trend their outlook upward. T1 face SeolHaeOne Prince and Dynamics this week.