With the 2020 League of Legends World Championship closed, it is time to begin specializing in 2021.
Groups world wide are making ready at no cost company and taking a look at methods to come back after the Summoner’s Cup subsequent 12 months, and though the offseason image would possibly change with massive strikes within the month to come back, there is a fairly clear image proper now of who the contenders and pretenders shall be come January.
With all that in thoughts, and the caveat that so much can change between now and the brand new season, here is a have a look at the most effective groups on the planet going into 2021.
How we rank: We weigh the groups’ energy of schedule, wins, losses and general efficiency for the week and have our panelists submit a rating of 1 by way of 10 for every workforce, with 10 being the strongest and 1 being the weakest. We then common the scores to create our preliminary rating and focus on any adjustments wanted.
There are 5 general tiers. Here is what they imply:
Tier 1: No. 1-10 — These are world championship quarterfinalist (and past) contenders. The farther down you go within the high 10 the much less seemingly that workforce might win all of it, however it’s not out of the realm of chance.
Tier 2: No. 11-20 — These are the groups we might anticipate to make it to the world championship group stage, with a chance for quarterfinals. They’re seemingly sturdy regional contenders of their respective leagues.
Tier 3: No. 21-30 — It is a lengthy shot, so do not anticipate to see these groups within the quarterfinals, however just a few will make it to teams at worlds. They’re most likely center of the pack of their area.
Tier 4: No. 31-40 — These groups have a tricky street forward of them in the event that they need to see something postseason associated.
Tier 5: No. 41-46 — Fortunately, relegation is not a factor anymore.
1. DAMWON Gaming
The scariest factor about DAMWON Gaming is that their core is simply hitting their prime. As a five-man unit, DWG would possibly someway develop into even scarier in 2021, however that each one hinges on if they will carry again the aspect that dusted off G2 Esports within the current world championship within the quickest sport within the match’s 10-year historical past.
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Whereas talisman Heo “Showmaker” Su, mountainous jungler Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu and stalwart AD carry Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun are all underneath contract till 2021, two of their starters see their contracts come up this offseason in Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon and Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee. If they will preserve their famous person high laner and shotcaller help, there isn’t any cause why DAMWON should not be topping our energy rankings. However with a slew of LoL Professional League groups at all times prepared to make massive strikes and North America’s pockets looming within the background, can DAMWON Gaming preserve the band collectively for a minimum of another 12 months?
— Tyler Erzberger
Our worlds runner-up are a bit excessive on this listing in my view, however with their League of Legends World Championship remaining look and dominion over the present metagame, it is not an egregious placement both.
The LoL Professional League has made three straight finals appearances and gained two of the previous three world championships as a result of their groups have match the meta like a figurative glove, and the identical goes for jungler Lê “SofM” Quang Duy and Suning. Trying forward, Suning have locked up the vast majority of their 2020 roster by way of 2021 with the notable exceptions of SofM and help Hu “SwordArt” Shuo-Chieh, two instrumental items of their worlds run. If Suning lose these two, their pre-ranking will drop considerably in my eyes, even with monster rookies Chen “Bin” Ze-Bin and Tang “huanfeng” Huan-Feng contracted by way of 2022.
— Emily Rand
3. Prime Esports
The one upcoming expiring contract on this Prime Esports squad is for substitute help Zhang “QiuQiu” Ming, which is sweet information for TES followers offered that none of their gamers are purchased out.
Though Suning ended up because the extra snug workforce on this meta, significantly with how they performed across the jungle place, TES are a robust workforce that characteristic one other fascinating mixture of youthful gamers like high laner Bai “369” Jia-Hao, bot laner Yu “JackeyLove” Wen-Bo and help Liang “yuyanjia” Jia-Yuan. They not solely made it far at worlds however appeared in two home finals this 12 months, profitable one in all them.
What shall be fascinating to see is whether or not TES search one other help possibility. Regardless of seen enhancements, yuyanjia was inconsistent from sport to sport at worlds.
4. JD Gaming
JD Gaming are one other workforce, like TES, that noticed home success however had been eradicated by fellow LPL brethren Suning a bit earlier at worlds than anticipated. Jungler Search engine marketing “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok, one of many major stars on this workforce, is a participant that JDG most likely shall be seeking to preserve and shall be an vital individual to regulate throughout this offseason. Bot laner Lee “LokeN” Dong-wook had a profession 12 months and like Kanavi, his contract can also be purportedly up on the finish of this 12 months. Most vital for JDG is the truth that their two solo laners, Zhang “Zoom” Xing-Ran and Zeng “Yagao” Qi, together with help Zuo “LvMao” Ming-Hao are contracted by way of 2022.
5. G2 Esports
Luka “Perkz” Perković has been fanning these flames fairly properly on social media, hasn’t he?
After G2 misplaced to the revenge-seeking DAMWON within the League of Legends World Championship semifinals, individuals had been questioning what could be subsequent for the European juggernaut; there aren’t any contracts expiring on the beginning roster, however the elephant within the room is at all times the lane place of Perkz and his mid lane counterpart, Rasmus “Caps” Winther.
Each pure mid laners, they’ve swapped positions a few instances. Now the query of who performs the place will come up once more. However this time, there are much more questions: Will Caps stick with the workforce or search for a brand new residence? Perkz has had a aggravating 12 months, with household tragedy and potential hints of stress and burnout; what does he do subsequent? Do we all know if he’s even prepared to play a full 12 months subsequent season?
And what about different positions? G2 CEO Carlos “ocelote” Rodriguez hasn’t been shy about making adjustments to higher the workforce (see Caps). Are there ideas of different strikes on the horizon?
Whether or not G2 stays intact to run it again for one more 12 months or whether or not this workforce seems vastly completely different subsequent season, will probably be a significant speaking level. No less than we will take pleasure in Perkz trolling everybody on Twitter alongside the way in which.
— Arda Ocal
6. Invictus Gaming
Ah, Invictus Gaming. One of many extra enjoyable elements of this 12 months’s world championship was listening to iG high laner Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok lose his thoughts whereas watching Suning and TES play one another whereas South Korean caster Lee “CloudTemplar” Hyun-woo valiantly tried to make TheShy admit that he does comparable issues in iG video games.
TheShy is on everybody’s radar as soon as once more regardless of inconsistent performances this 12 months and technically being contracted to iG by way of 2021. On that worlds stream, TheShy stated he’ll proceed to play with iG mid laner Track “Rookie” Eui-jin till he retires, and we’ll see how true that’s this offseason with groups courting him once more. All of iG save trainee/substitute help Peng “Reheal” Jun-Jie are contracted by way of 2021, however iG at all times appear to have some type of offseason hiccup (and nonetheless do a minimum of considerably properly within the LPL both as a result of or despite it).
7. FunPlus Phoenix
Oddly, one of many groups whose roster I am least anxious about is FunPlus Phoenix.
Maybe my discuss with mid laner Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang about how the workforce got here collectively for the 2019 season nonetheless sticks in my mind, however their 2019 world championship roster is one which works rather well collectively and was created particularly as a unit. That unit was examined this 12 months with the workforce’s struggles in attempting to combine high laner Kim “Khan” Dong-ha into their system, and Kim “Gimgoon” Han-saem ended up nonetheless being the higher possibility for the workforce, regardless of being weaker in 1-v-1 laning. In the end, I hope FPX keep collectively as a result of I really like how this workforce performs once they’re on and the meta favors them and have not heard something to opposite about their roster.
We’ll be trustworthy with you: It is a dangerous guess placing DRX so excessive up on these rankings. Certain, they carried out properly on the world championship and domestically in South Korea, however the workforce’s three finest gamers, most notably Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon, are free brokers. Chovy stunned everybody, together with DRX themselves, when he turned down a multimillion-dollar deal from North America’s Evil Geniuses and organizations in China to play for much less cash underneath the tutelage of his longtime mentor Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho. Chovy turned down the bag final time, signing a one-year take care of DRX to try to win the Summoner’s Cup with cvMax, however will he prepared to do it a second time with murmurs of Chinese language groups seeing Chovy as a high goal this offseason to place them excessive.
In a world the place DRX run it again, this rating appears smart, however all it takes is Chovy wanting towards (literal) greener pastures for DRX’s placement to tumble down this listing.
9. Staff Liquid
We’re nonetheless removed from the Nov. 17 free company open date, however in good previous trend, we’re already very a lot conscious of what Staff Liquid is doing this offseason. Previously week, the workforce has come to phrases with former Origen high laner Barney “Alphari” Morris, to the tune of greater than $1 million per 12 months, and signed mid laner Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen to a whopping three-year, $4.2 million extension. The one place left open for Liquid is jungle. Their No. 1 goal is FlyQuest jungler Lucas “Santorin” Tao Kilmer Larsen, who had a breakout 12 months in 2019, however Liquid will not have the ability to discuss to him till Nov. 17, so it is unclear what is going to occur. Both method, with Alphari and Jensen in tow, Liquid look to be North America’s finest workforce to date.
— Jacob Wolf
Fnatic at tenth appears truthful, particularly for those who seemed solely on the workforce’s quarterfinal exit from worlds solely on paper. At first look, it seems like a decent 3-2 loss towards the workforce most individuals picked to win your complete match in Prime Esports.
However then you definitely dig deeper and discover a completely heartbreaking reverse-sweep, the primary in worlds historical past, and it stings just a bit extra. Fnatic made back-to-back finals in 2020’s League European Championship playoffs however acquired swept each instances by G2, who nonetheless maintain onto the title of finest within the West. That makes you surprise: May this workforce might look so much completely different in 2021, particularly their bot lane, with expiring contracts?
Assist Zdravets Iliev “Hylissang” Galabov is a free agent, and so is the workforce’s franchise participant, bot laner Martin “Rekkles” Larsson. It is laborious to think about the black and orange with out the sleeved Swede, who first wore that jersey in 2012. Whether or not Fnatic determine to run it again with this similar group or make some appreciable adjustments to the roster shall be a significant storyline in Europe this free company interval. And in the event that they do half methods with Rekkles, which jersey he’ll put on subsequent will garner appreciable consideration.