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Week 2 -- done. With it's conclusion comes a substantial amount of shuffling in the League of Legends global power rankings as teams figure out what works and what doesn't.
Nos. 1-10: World contenders
Nos. 11-20: Playoff contenders
Nos. 21-30: Middle of the pack
Nos. 31-40: Struggling
Nos. 41-52: Bottom of the barrel
1. Royal Never Give Up
Record: 3-1 | League: LPL | +/-: +5
Last week, we gavea 1-1 Royal Never Give Up a bit of a pass coming in from the 2018 Mid-Season Invitational, Demacia Cup, and Yan "Letme" Jun-Ze, Liu "Mlxg" Shi-Yu, Jian "Uzi" Zi-Hao, and Shi "Ming" Sen-Ming's participation in the 2018 Asian Games East Asia Qualifier. This week, RNG proved why they're still the best team in China with two more sweeps over Suning Gaming and Bilibili Gaming. RNG's week included an Uzi Vayne sighting, although that particular victory over BLG was more on the back of Li "Xiaohu" Yuan-Hao's Zoe. This is the scariest part of facing RNG: it's not Uzi that you necessarily have to worry about. RNG is still a team that continues to have a good understanding of map pressure despite a few early-game slip-ups, how to execute team compositions that suit whatever lineup RNG chooses to play, and strong teamfighting.
2. Kingzone DragonX
Record: 4-1 | League: LCK | +/-: +5
Kingzone DragonX are back at the top of South Korea, for now, but not at the top of the power rankings. Despite a strong win over KT Rolster to kick off the week, this Kingzone still had a shaky start to the season. This isn't the Kingzone of 2018 LoL Champions Korea Spring, where the team was by far and away the best team in South Korea and the best team in the world. This is a Kingzone that is still somewhat recovering from a Mid-Season Invitational finals loss to Royal Never Give Up, and still trying to find its place in the current metagame. With AD carry Kim "PraY" Jong-in back on his signature Ezreal and a few Nidalee sightings from jungler Han "Peanut" Wang-ho, Kingzone looked far more at ease on the Rift this week, finding comfortable compositions and champion choices that fit the team.
3. Invictus Gaming
Record: 3-0 | League: LPL | +/-: -1
Despite an undefeated series record, Invictus Gaming is on a bit of a precipice. When it comes to mid and late game transitions, iG still struggles, especially against superior teamfighting teams and compositions. iG still start strong and draft winning, pushing lanes to facilitate the team, but the team should already know that still won't be enough to stay at the top of China. If we had seen even stronger play from teams like the Afreeca Freecs, Gen.G, KT Rolster, or Rogue Warriors, iG would have slipped more in these rankings. As it stands, iG will continue to fall if the team continues to make mistakes like the ones we saw in their most recent series against Suning Gaming.
Record: 4-1 | League: LCK | +/-: -1
From the start of the summer split, and the volatile 8.11 patch, Gen.G knew who its players were and what they could do best as a team. After one loss with a juggermaw composition against Kingzone DragonX, Gen.G settled on standard compositions that starred AD carry Park "Ruler" Jae-hyuk, proving that AD carries are still very much viable. Despite an 0-2 to KT Rolster this past week -- that included one of the better-seen counter setups against a gold-funnel composition -- Gen.G still seem well aware of who the team wants to start and how it wants to play. Much of this relies on mid laner Song "Fly" Yong-jun's champion pool, which is not only wide but somewhat odd in a standard metagame. Now, with so many more viable champion picks, Fly can play Lulu to help Ruler, Zoe to carry the team with dangerous poke, Braum in a less-standard setup, or default to his signature Aurelion Sol. Gen.G have made the most of Fly's flexibility, using this to continue to play a more standard style when other teams were still experimenting with bruiser bottom lane compositions.
5. Afreeca Freecs
Record: 3-2 | League: LCK | +/-: -4
While 5-0 challenger upstart Griffin has had the easiest schedule to start the 2018 LoL Champions Korea Summer split, the Afreeca Freecs, alongside KT Rolster, have had one of the tougher ones (depending on how you feel about Hanwha Life Esports). In a developing meta Afreeca has been a part of some of this split's best and most interesting series in South Korea thus far. Even in a 1-2 loss to Kingzone DragonX, Afreeca still looked flexible and comfortable. It's the Hanwha Life Esports loss that Afreeca should return to and address before moving forward. In that series, a late teamfight inside Afreeca's base pushed the series to Game 3, despite HLE's Game 2 lead. While Game 3 was closer than the first two, Afreeca have some cracks to address, especially when playing against more standard setups while going for non-standard compositions themselves.
6. Rogue Warriors
Record: 4-0 | League: LPL | +/-: +3
Much like Snake Esports, Rogue Warriors established itself as a team capable of starting strong and fully exploiting the ins and outs of a meta. Against Snake, Rogue Warriors also showcased superior execution when it came to some of these more creative compositions, like Rogue Warriors Game 2 Heimerdinger composition to stop Snake's Taric/Yi. This is a strong meta for mid laner Kim "Doinb" Tae-sang, who has been known internationally for his oddball champion pool even more than Gen.G's Fly. With Doinb as a pivot point, Rogue Warriors can be creative while also covering up team weaknesses. This is a slight departure from Rogue Warriors' prior tendencies to feed AD carry Han "Smlz" Jin or bust, although Rogue Warriors have also played that style, albeit with Smlz on Vladimir and Karthus rather than scaling AD hypercarries.
7. KT Rolster
Record: 3-2 | League: LCK | +/-: -3
Several times in a season, KT Rolster remind us and the team's dedicated, often exhausted, fans that "Rolster" is a portmanteau of roller coaster. Week 2 of 2018 LCK Summer marks the first, but certainly not the last, time that KT will live up to their apt naming scheme. Last week we praised KT for having a fairly good handle on how the team wanted to play in the new meta. This week, KT fell apart against Kingzone DragonX, looked dismal against one of the worst teams in the LCK, bbq Olivers, and finished out the week with a strong 2-0 over the previously undefeated Gen.G. We would be remiss not to mention that KT looks a lot more organized with Go "Score" Dong-bin starting in the jungle over Lee "Rush" Yoon-jae. Even if certain compositions would do better with a more aggressive approach that suits Rush's style, Score continues to be the person who seems to bring the team together. Support Cho "Mata" Se-hyeong is quietly having a strong start to the summer season, and KT also looks best when he is unlocked from the bottom lane early.
8. EDward Gaming
Record: 3-0 | League: LPL | +/-: +3
Hu "iBoy" Xian-Zhao is an AD carry who should have already been on the international radar for his brief flashes of brilliance in an otherwise disappointing EDG showing at the 2017 World Championship. iBoy's Lucian play and duels with Jin "Mystic" Seong-jun against WE in Game 2 were a joy to watch. Tian "Meiko" Ye and iBoy once again made a strong case for themselves as the best bot lane in China, even in a volatile meta like that of 8.11. This isn't to say that EDG doesn't still have major decision-making issues. The WE series was far closer than EDG would have liked, with plenty of mistakes coming from the EDG side against an improving WE. In the coming week, EDG have three matches, including important series against Snake Esports and West Region leader Rogue Warriors. EDG will have to clean up their in-game execution in order to claim the top spot in the West.
9. JD Gaming
Record: 3-1 | League: LPL | +/-: -1
With wins over Suning Gaming and, most recently, LGD Gaming, JD Gaming got a bit of a shaft in these power rankings, dropping one spot due to how much better other Chinese and South Korean teams looked as the meta stabilized a bit in Week 2. Zeng "YaGao" Qi continues to shine alongside top laner Zhang "Zoom" Xing-Ran and JDG appear to be on an upward trajectory that started back with a somewhat unexpected playoff appearance in 2018 LPL Spring. Much like Suning, JDG still need to shore up team decision-making, map pressure, and vision control if they want to contend with other East Region teams like Invictus Gaming and Royal Never Give Up.
Record: 5-0 | League: LCK | +/-: +2
The only team to remain undefeated in South Korea this split, Griffin are relatively low compared to the team's 5-0 win rate. A beneficiary of the easiest schedule to start the 2018 LCK Summer split, Griffin's one quality win came in the team's first series of the split against Hanwha Life Esports. That 2-1 victory was more of an HLE loss than a Griffin win, although it did showcase what Griffin has come to be known for: strong 5v5 teamfighting. Are Griffin the real deal? Due to early game macro misplays and suspect objective trading, we're holding off on Griffin for one more week. With series against Kingzone DragonX and KT Rolster this week, Griffin's time to truly impress is now.
11. Hanwha Life
Record: 3-2 | League: LCK | +/-: +3
Last split's ROX TIgers became Hanwha Life Esports over the mid season and with a new non-endemic sponsor came better training facilities and, according to AD carry Gwon "Sangyoon" Sang-yun, high-quality team dinners, even after losses. Yet, the current HLE still look a lot like last split's Tigers, especially when it comes to the team's ups and downs. HLE's first series loss against Griffin was much more on HLE than Griffin, and throughout the series HLE looked like it had a stronger understanding of map pressure. This week, HLE impressed with a 2-1 victory over the Afreeca Freecs that could have easily been a 2-0, minus a few crucial teamfight losses. HLE has carried over last split's strong understanding of what each player's champion pool is and what they're capable of -- a crucial component of doing well in the current meta -- but still stumbles before the finish line at times. Last split, this cost HLE a playoff spot. This split, HLE will need to be cleaner.
12. Flash Wolves
Record: 1-0 | League: LMS | +/-: +1
The LMS kicked off last weekend and it's no surprise that Flash Wolves is still on top despite the relatively long post-MSI break. Flash Wolves only played one opponent this week -- ahq eSports Club -- and looked dominant, completely outdoing ahq on an individual and macro level. The rise of early game champions and fall of crit-based AD carries didn't bother Lu "Betty" Yu-Hung, either, as he performed admirably on Vladimir this week.
13. Snake Esports
Record: 2-2 | League: LPL | +/-: -8
Last week, we praised Snake Esports for recognizing team weaknesses (AD carries on the roster) and starting both supports (Liu "Hudie" Yan-Zhu and Hu "Maestro" Jian-Xin) to run compositions that further focused on team strengths (top laner Li "Flandre" Xuan-jun and jungler Lê "SofM" Quang Duy. While teams like Kingzone DragonX and EDward Gaming in both South Korea and China looked steadier this past week, Snake fell 2-0 to Rogue Warriors. Snake has a habit of setting the tone for an initial meta before falling off towards the middle or end of a split due to a meta shift or teams figuring out how to counter Snake's playstyle. This split, Snake will have to tighten up the team's in-game execution and find different ways to take pressure off of SofM and Flandre, especially if they're going to trend more towards certain gold funneling compositions. With many teams shifting back to a more standard style, this could hurt Snake in the long run.
14. G2 Esports
Record: 4-0 | League: EU LCS | +/-: +1
A funnel is a tool that is used to easily channel resources into a much smaller container, maximizing time and efficiency, and G2 showed that the concept applies pretty well to League of Legends in the current meta. Luke "Perkz" Perkovic is the star mid laner of G2 and when given funneled gold on both Kai'Sa and Lucian this week, he delivered on every level. The team's application of the strategy is not necessarily perfect, but it is clear that the team is perfectly comfortable putting the game in Perkz' hands.
Record: 4-0 | League: EU LCS | +/-: +1
Misfits were tasked with a weak schedule last week, facing off against Splyce and Giants, but that doesn't take away from its continued dominance in Europe. Misfits, at its core, was always a more aggressive team and its conversion upon early-game leads continues to show that the current meta was made for this team. Steven "Hans Sama" Liv, especially, has proven that he can still perform in a meta filled with early game pressure.
16. Suning Gaming
Record: 3-2 | League: LPL | +/-: -6
A few more advantageous teamfights and Suning Gaming becomes the first team to take out Invictus Gaming this split. Although the closeness of the 1-2 loss was due more to iG mistakes than strong map pressure from Suning, Suning are a team to look out for in the East Region, much like fellow e-commerce brethren JD Gaming. Unfortunately, mid laner Huang "fenfen" Chen is not Zhuo "Knight" Ding. fenfen has performed well on Irelia, but Suning still miss the strong playmaking and wider champion pool of their spring mid laner. AD carry Lee "Fury" Jin-yong has not looked bad on the likes of Vladimir and Swain in the new meta, but this team currently is more about how the team spreads pressure outside of laning phase and whether fenfen or top laner Xie "XiaoAL" Zhen-Ying can carry.
17. Team Liquid
Record: 3-1 | League: NA LCS | +/-: +5
The North American champion is a comfortable position following the first two weeks of the season. Although TL would prefer a meta where its star player Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng could play more to his strengths, the option of carrying on Kai'sa is still very much a real threat and Liquid used the combo to great effect over the weekend. In a league where every team has at least one win and one loss, being at 3-1 with a comfortable win over Team SoloMid is not a bad start for a club looking towards Worlds in South Korea.
18. Echo Fox
Record: 3-1 | League: NA LCS | +/-: -1
In Echo Fox's four games this season, Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon has played in the bottom lane, mid lane, top lane, and even in the jungle. The only position he hasn't played is the support position, and that might be next up for the dynamic ace of Echo Fox. For the team itself, although it dropped a game to open the week, it had a decent comeback against the improved Golden Guardians to keep itself alongside Team Liquid atop of the NA LCS standings.
Record: 3-3 | League: LCK | +/-: +8
Back in 2016, MVP was in Griffin's shoes as a young upstart team, fresh off of a strong showing in Challengers Korea, that qualified for the summer split. Since then, the team has had many ups and downs, including a playoff berth in 2017 LCK Spring, and facing relegation as recently as last split. From the start of 2018 LCK Summer, MVP appeared to know how the team wanted to play which, again, goes a long way in this meta which is far more focused on player-specific strengths rather than a set champion pool designed for that role in a standard metagame. Recognizing this, MVP has gone all-in on funnel compositions around jungler Kim "Yondu" Kyu-seok, but also run Ezreal compositions for AD carry Na "Pilot" Woo-hyung. MVP may fall in the standings if a lagging SK Telecom T1 catches up, but currently MVP are looking better than the team has in a while.
Record: 3-1 | League: EU LCS | +/-: +10
Fnatic did the unthinkable last week and benched one of Europe's most famous players, Martin "Rekkles" Larsson. Benching a franchise player is vastly unpopular, as has been witnessed with Cloud9's own roster decisions, but it can occasionally bear fruit for a team.This time around, the decision to have Gabriel "Bwipo" Rau start in the bottom lane worked to great success and gave Fnatic more flexibility in its compositions, resulting in more controlled map play.