League of Legends global power rankings through Feb. 23

The old guard is falling while the new names rise. It’s been a wild first half of the League of Legends spring split with Team Liquid looking out of sorts, G2 dropping games and Misfits looking clean, but as we just stated, we’re only halfway.

China’s League of Legends Pro League remains on hiatus due to the coronavirus outbreak. We will focus on the LCK, League Championship Series and League European Championship and will add in the LPL once play resumes.

How we rank: We had our panelists and writers submit a ranking of No. 1 through 10 for each team, with 10 being the strongest and 1 being the weakest. We then averaged the scores to create our initial list and looked at the teams’ schedules, wins, losses and overall performance for the week.

1. T1 Esports

Region: LCK | Record: 5-1 | Change: +2

T1 Esports may have started the season rusty, but their progression since our Feb. 10 power rankings has been a sight to behold. When pressured they have performed admirably in team fights and prioritized objectives. However, stating it plainly won’t do, so here is one example where their attention to detail mattered: In Game 1 against DragonX, Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok’s Ornn ultimate at 21:53 thwarted a flanking attempt, leaving his teammates on clean-up duty.

Moreover, their game understanding has been top-notch this early in the season, as they have averted disasters time and time again by predicting opponent moves that would have left them compromised. If that was not enough, their meta read and drafting priorities have evolved for the better, as their Ornn mid forays and Soraka top vs. DragonX attested.

T1 have done so with prized rookie top laner Canna, whose talent in solo queue was undisputable. As expected, his acclimation to the professional scene was rocky at first, as his KeSPA Cup showings attest, but he has grown into a crucial factor in his team’s victories as of late. Should that continue, who knows what heights the South Korean team will reach.

— Adel Chouadria

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2. Gen.G

Region: LCK | Record: 5-1 | Change: +2

After suffering a narrow loss to T1 in a battle of title contenders, Gen.G needed to diversify their carry threat beyond bot laner Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk. Enter mid laner Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong, whose standout Week 3 reminded us that the former 2017 LCK Summer Split MVP is much more than a KT Rolster lightweight. It was Longzhu Bdd who showed up at LoL Park last week, rolling back the years to outduel DragonX’s star mid laner Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon in convincing fashion, while triggering flashes of his CJ Entus Azir with a facemelting three-man Shurima Shuffle that aced Hanwha Life Esports where they stood. Three game MVPs across four Gen.G wins didn’t seem like enough.

But Bdd’s return to glory is only part of the reason Gen.G find themselves atop the LCK. Gen.G’s 1,725 gold differential at 15 minutes — second only to Cloud9 (2,687) among the regions considered for this ranking, per Oracle’s Elixir — is indicative of the decisive early games that have snowballed them to victory, outpacing a league prone to lane-bouncing lethargy. This new roster is starting to flex its power, and if Gen.G continue to improve, expect to see them in the LCK spring final.

— Miles Yim

3. G2 Esports

Region: LEC | Record: 7-3 | Change: -1

Going into this week one of the matchups I was looking forward to was MAD Lions against G2. Given how well MAD played their early game against G2 in their first series despite the loss, I wanted to see how MAD had evolved. G2 did better early, but MAD came out with a composition that allowed Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság to shine against a role-swapped Rasmus “Caps” Winther.

I don’t necessarily think it’s time yet to walk it back on the role swap for Caps — remember, G2 are 7-3, the sky is only falling when compared to their previous dominance — but thus far he’s not taking to the role as quickly as Luka “Perkz” Perković did last year during G2’s unexpected 2019 spring rise. This isn’t the only reason that G2 have looked worse, but it does put a strain on the team as he continues to adjust to the position. G2 is still a team of ridiculously mechanically-talented individuals who are also smart about the game. It’s still too difficult to bet against them defending their title come playoffs, regardless of these early hiccups.

— Emily Rand

4. Fnatic

Region: LEC | Record: 7-3 | Change: +2

We never questioned Fnatic’s talent. A quick glance at the team’s starting five and anyone who follows League of Legends could know this team has the raw power and veteran leadership to win a world championship. Everything with Fnatic came down to fit. 2019 Fnatic also had all the talent in the world and a clear path to a world final in their home continent, but the team never could consistently mesh well enough to raise any hardware.

The introduction of Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek as starting jungler was going to make or break this team. Almost the personification of Fnatic’s situation, the young jungler has a world-class ceiling but has a checkered past when it comes to behavior. Through five weeks, he’s arguably been the team’s MVP, and it still feels like we haven’t seen his true peak yet.

— Tyler Erzberger

5. Cloud9

Region: LCS | Record: 10-0 | Change: +2

Cloud9 continued its tyranny over the LCS in an unprecedented 10-match win streak as they defeated Counter Logic Gaming and Immortals this weekend. As ESPN’s League of Legends expert Tyler Ezberger often reminds the audience, the team is yet to give up the first mid lane turret in any of their games so far. The fact that Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme — one of the key playmakers on this team — is yet to receive an MVP is testimony to how dominating every single player on this roster has been.

Of course, there continues to be the underlying question of: Is Cloud9 that good, or is NA that bad? No other LCS squad has offered a true challenge to Cloud9 just yet, and this lack of competition might come as a double-edged sword if they face top teams from the LEC, LCK or LPL at an international tournament. If Cloud9 does represent the LCS at the 2020 Mid-Season Invitational, we will finally know if this domestically dominating team will falter against top international teams or repeat the success of Team Liquid last year, when the NA representative progressed all the way to the finals of 2019 MSI.

— Ashley Kang

6. DragonX

Region: LCK | Record: 4-2 | Change: -5

Week 3 of the LCK was a true test for DragonX, as the team went back-to-back against “won-the-offseason” Gen.G and the decorated powerhouse T1. Despite taking both best-of-three matches to game three, DragonX lost both series and dropped to third place in the LCK standings.

The two defeats surfaced some underlying issues within the team. DragonX and head coach Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho’s draft priorities, which often left Ornn unbanned for the opposing team, cost the squad at least one game. Individual members of DragonX seemed to lose focus and make misplays at post-20 minutes teamfights, which the disciplined players of T1 and Gen.G heavily punished for.

DragonX has a relatively manageable schedule coming up, facing the ninth-place APK Prince and seventh-place Griffin this week. DragonX should utilize this period to trial a variety of draft priorities and build more experience for their younger players top laner Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon and jungler Hong “Pyosik” Chang-hyeon. I would personally like to see DragonX experiment further with the top-lane Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon and mid-lane Song “Quad” Su-hyeong strategy and continue exploring pocket picks such as Pyosik’s Kindred and Chovy’s mid lane Ziggs.

— Kang

7. Origen

Region: LEC | Record: 7-3 | Change: -1

Anyone who has listened to me talk about the LEC this year likely knows how much I enjoy watching this Origen team (actually, as an aside, the LEC has definitely been the most fun league to watch in the absence of the LPL). Elias “Upset” Lipp has established himself as one of Europe’s strongest bot laners, silencing his doubters and top laner Barney “Alphari” Morris is having a career year.

That being said, after a short three-game run, Origen was absolutely smashed by Fnatic, initial early game aside. Teams have started to target Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir in draft, and Origen will have to learn to better adapt to this. In close matchups with top teams, Origen will have to take extreme drafting care to keep up.

— Rand

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8. Misfits

Region: LEC | Record: 7-3 | Change: +2

Who expected this? I know I didn’t. I’ll even call myself out here. When the season first started, I made a Tweet describing every LEC with one word. While many of them were tongue-in-cheek or glowing, my slogan of Misfits was simply “who?”

Well, who they are is a team fully capable of making a fairy-tale run to the Mid-Season Invitational. After feeling out of place ever since he left Fnatic, Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten has returned to the form which once put him in the conversation for the best up-and-coming mid laner in the world. It’s not only the big name player on the team, though, as Spanish rookie Iván “Razork” Martín Díaz has risen from unknown status to being one of the heaviest hitters in Europe his debut season. Next time I describe a team as “who,” it would be the smart play to bet all your money on them being good.

— Erzberger

9. Mad LIONS

Region: LEC | Record: 6-4 | Change: +2

MAD Lions warned G2 Esports when they first met: Feed us at your own risk. But while the young upstarts couldn’t capitalize on G2’s sloppiness in Week 1, they didn’t miss their chance on Saturday, upsetting the champions thanks to three kills and the Rift Herald gifted after 15 minutes of G2 control. The win is a balm after getting burned by red-hot Misfits Gaming the day before, and a sign that MAD Lions might have built a contender that can overcome its LEC inexperience.

It bodes well for MAD Lions that mid laner Marek “Humanoid” Brázda — the lone holdover from Splyce — might be the team’s weakest link. At their best, jungler Zhiqiang “Shadow” Zhao and bot laner Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság can compete with the anyone at their positions, with Carzzy leading the LEC in bot laner damage per minute (579, fifth among all bot laners in the three leagues considered for this ranking, per Oracle’s Elixir). At the Spring Split’s halfway point, MAD Lions find themselves firmly entrenched in the glut of top seven LEC teams within two games of each other, making upcoming matches with Team Vitality and Excel Esports all the more important. But if G2 can be beaten, anyone can, and space on the MAD Lions bandwagon is filling up fast.

— Yim

10. Rogue

Region: LEC | Record: 6-4 | Change: +2

Rogue has been an intriguing team to follow since their 2019 summer split roster changes, as they have been their own worst enemy whenever they felt pressured — and as they succeeded when relaxed. Against Fnatic, hints of pressure surfaced during the laning phase as it seemed the players second-guessed themselves, leading to minute early-game mistakes that spiraled out of control.

To their credit, they bounced back from conceding the first pentakill of the 2020 LEC season, as they snapped Misfits Gaming’s seven-game win streak, and they looked lethal despite an early-game deficit. Unlike their Fnatic loss, they proactively sought fights to buy themselves time, that they may scale with an Ezreal/Azir tandem of carries.

However, as they sit in an extremely precarious sixth place, they will be hard-pressed to secure their playoff berth, especially as Excel Esports are hot on their trail.

— Chouadria

The rest of the world11. Afreeca 12. FlyQuest13. Damwon14. Hanwha 15. Team SoloMid 16. Excel Esports 17. Dignitas 18. SANDBOX 19. Griffin 20. Immortals 21. KT Rolster 22. Evil Geniuses 23. Team Liquid 24. Golden Guardians 25. 100 Thieves 26. APK Prince 27. FC Schalke 04 28. Team Vitality 29. SK Gaming 30. Counter Logic Gaming

Read this article from its source at http://www.espn.com/esports/story/_/id/28772742/league-legends-global-power-rankings-feb-23