League of Legends 2017 World Championship is just around the corner, and so is the Play-In Group stage! Of course, it’s hard to get accustomed with every team here, but it’s still important to know how they match up against each other. Especially, if you’re looking to get in on some betting action.
So without further ado, here are our 2017 Worlds Play-In Power Rankings!
1. Team WE
League: LPL (China)
Roster: 957 (Top), Condi (Jungle), Xiye (Mid), Mystic (ADC), Ben (Support)
By all means, Team WE should’ve hit a home run in the LPL. After all, they spent the entire season battling for the 1st spot in their group with formidable showings against other top-tier teams. And even though they fell short in the playoffs against Royal Never Give Up, it was by the slimmest of margins.
This lineup thrives on aggression. Teamfighting is the name of the game for WE as they use a mix of great synergy and natural talent to come out on top of every skirmish. Once they get ahead, they don’t hesitate to push their advantage, leaving their opponents no room to breathe. It also helps that the duo of Ben and Condi is exceptional at controlling vision and setting up play, so WE always have different options to get the snowball going.
Of course, they aren’t without a fault. Xiye doesn’t get a lot of attention in the mid lane, which makes him susceptible to enemy power plays, Condi can get a bit brash with his invades, and the Team WE’s aggression often borders on the side of recklessness. But even with these shortcomings, they look like the clear-cut favorites in the Play-In stage.
League: EU LCS (Europe)
Roster: sOAZ (Top), Broxah (Jungle), Caps (Mid), Rekkles (ADC), Jesiz (Support)
Fnatic are a team of many strengths. Every single laner of theirs is world-class, making it all too easy for Fnatic to take over the early game. And once they do that, they can break the match open through a combination of explosive teamfighting and exceptional splitpushing. Combine that with the early aggression from Broxah, the engage-heavy playstyle from sOAZ, and the immaculate play from Rekkles—and it’s no wonder that Fnatic spend the majority of their games in the driver’s seat.
But even though these strengths brought them one of the most dominant regular splits to date, they still broke down in the playoffs. A part of it was due to Broxah’s limited champion pool and Fnatic’s obvious tendency to play around the top side of the map, which made them entirely too predictable. Still, Fnatic are no strangers to changing their playstyle—and we have no doubt that they’re going to enter the Play-In stage stronger than ever.
League: NA LCS (North America)
Roster: Impact/Ray (Top), Contractz (Jungle), Jensen (Mid), Sneaky (ADC), Smoothie (Support)
Cloud9 are a team of contrasts. On one hand, they have the lineup that could easily make them the #1 team in the NA LCS. On the other, it never actually happened. A lot of this is because their players haven’t been playing up to their standard.
The only exception is Jensen, Cloud9’s mid lane ace. He always stands at the vanguard of C9’s offensive as his team invests a ton of resources and jungle attention into getting him going. But this approach is a double-edged sword since most adversaries will expect Contractz to babysit Jensen’s lane and will be prepared to counter him.
But this is the least of Cloud9’s worries. The truth is their early game macro is a mess, and the team struggles to secure advantages unless its laners find leads on their own. Things get a bit better in the mid/late game thanks to their stellar teamfighting, but don’t expect C9 to blow you away with well-times rotations and smart objective play.
4. Hong Kong Attitude
League: LMS (Hong Kong)
Roster: Riris (Top), GodKwai (Jungle), M1ssion (Mid), Unified (ADC), Kaiwing (Support)
If we only saw the first half of their split, we would be very surprised that Hong Kong Attitude have made it this far. But after going 1-6 in the LMS, they bounced back with a 6-1 run, taking down teams like Flash Wolves and AHQ. It’s clear that HKA are doing something right, and that something is their slow and methodical macro play.
They are well-versed in the art of playing to their win conditions and using their farm-oriented jungler to stay in the game. At times, this can lead to HKA giving up vision control, but they gradually start taking over the map as the game unfolds. Of course, World Championship is a different beast, and the lull in the early game may very well prove to be too big of a weakness against more aggressive teams.
5. 1907 Fenerbahçe
League: TCL (Turkey)
Roster: Thaldrin (Top), Move (Jungle), Frozen (Mid), Padden (ADC), Japone (Support)
Even though we’ve ranked 1907 Fenerbahçe fifth, the gap between them and HKA isn’t that large. The main reason for that is Frozen. Coming from Longzhu Gaming where he was a part of a 10-man roster, Frozen is a mid lane monster that routinely takes over one game after another. It helps that the jungler—Move—also hails from the LCK and can communicate with Frozen to set up countless 2-man plays.
That being said, their early game isn’t that great. Their bottom lane often finds itself on the losing end of the matchups and the top lane is equally uninspiring. But thanks to solid teamwork and vision control, Fenerbahçe always find a way to bring their side lanes back into the game. Even so, this makes it very hard for 1907 Fenerbahçe to play around Dragon or Baron, which might very well spell the beginning of their downfall.
6. Dire Wolves
League: OPL (Australia)
Roster: Chippys (Top), Shernfire (Jungle), Phantiks (Mid), k1ng (ADC), Destiny (Support)
Dire Wolves are all about momentum. They use a combination of gank-heavy jungling and aggressive laning to find leads in the early game and translate those into a skirmish-heavy mid game. If given the opportunity, Dire Wolves would never stop fighting, but their macro play is surprisingly decent, and you can see glimpses of brilliance in their shot calling.
The drawback is that this playstyle leaves them wide open to teams that can read their aggression. But ultimately, Dire Wolves are trying their best to copy top-tier LCK teams—and that’s more than enough to place them at the upper end of our rankings.
7. Gambit Gaming
League: LCL (CIS)
Roster: PvPStejos (Top), Diamondprox (Jungle), Kira (Mid), Blasting (ADC), Edward (Support)
When you look at the lineup of Moscow Five legends and Albus Nox Luna starters, you can’t help thinking they might take the whole thing. Hell, even the Gambit Gaming name still brings fond memories to many fans in the West. Unfortunately, this team is but a shadow of its former self.
The current iteration of Gambit relies on its aggressive laners and Diamondprox’s invades to get ahead in the game. Diamond still has his unnatural knack for reading the enemy jungler, and Edward continues being the clutch playmaker everyone knows and loves. And even though their solo laners aren’t exactly top-tier, they tedn to pull their own weight—and then some.
But once the mid game hits, Gambit start looking painfully unrefined. They can keep the snowball going, but their sloppy macro definitely shows when they’re playing without a significant advantage.
8. Lyon Gaming
League: LNN (Latin America)
Roster: Jirall (Top), Oddie (Jungle), Seiya (Mid), WhiteLotus (ADC), Genthix (Support)
Lyon Gaming have always been a force to be reckoned with in their home region but never quite made it to the international stage. They tend to experiment with different playstyles almost to a fault. And while their aggression is on point, they fall short when it comes to executing slow, scaling compositions.
Another glaring hole in their play is their blatant disregard of global cooldowns. Whether it’s Galio’s Hero Entrance, Shen’s Stand United, or even Destiny from a stray Twisted Fate, you can count on Lyon Gaming to get blindsided by these abilities. But perhaps that’s just a symptom of an even bigger issue—a complete lack of vision control and basic macro fundamentals.
9. Team ONE Esports
League: CBLoL (Brazil)
Roster: Vert (Top), 4LaN (Jungle), Marf (Mid), Absolut (ADC), RedBert (Support)
Team ONE are a textbook Cinderella story. Going all the way from the Challenger league to the World Championship in a single split, this team looks hopeful for what’s to come. Unfortunately, fairy tales just don’t last long in the real world.
Team ONE’s slow, methodical playstyle might’ve caught other Brazilian lineups by surprise, but everyone at Worlds will be well-accustomed to this strategy. Solid macro and good vision control won’t be enough to make up for ONE’s shaky teamfighting and passive laning—and we fully expect their fairy tale to come to a swift end.
League: LJL (Japan)
Roster: Evi (Top), Tussle (Jungle), Ramune (Mid), YutoriMoyashi (ADC), Dara (Support)
Rampage are another team that takes likes to take it slow. But just like their name suggests, they turn things up to eleven once they hit their powerspikes. By the time mid game comes, Rampage are forcing fights left, right, and center with little regard to whether they can win them or not.
As a result, it’s easy for them to roll through inferior opponents and get rolled by stronger teams. It goes without saying that things like macro, vision, and even basic teamwork suffer because of this skirmish-heavy playstyle. But—perhaps—this approach is one thing that separates Rampage from other Play-In teams.
11. Young Generation
League: GPL (Vietnam)
Roster: Ren (Top), Venus (Jungle), Naul (Mid), Bigkoro (ADC), Palete (Support)
When you look at GPL, you instantly think of Gigabyte Marines that made a splash at this year’s MSI. How much worse could a #2 team in their league really be? Turns out, a lot. Young Generation play a very measured early game, relying on their strong jungler to keep them from falling too far behind. Once the mid game comes, they hit the go button and start picking their foes apart through a mix of good macro and reactionary plays.
Unfortunately, the non-existent synergy between their support and jungler opens up quite a few holes in their vision game and leaves them vulnerable to counter ganks. Not only that, but their teamfighting isn’t that great, and Young Generation often struggle to find their way back into the game.
12. Kaos Latin Gamers
League: CLS (Chile)
Roster: MANTARRAYA (Top), Tierwulf (Jungle), Plugo (Mid), Fix (ADC), Slow (Support)
Kaos Latin Gamers are the League of Legends warmongers. From the very beginning of the game, they look for ways to pull off clutch plays and get their snowball going, and once they find an opening, they turn the game into an absolute bloodbath.
This would all sound very exciting if KLG were a team filled with superstars and world-class players. But their laners are drastically mediocre. Combine that with their uneven vision control and blatant displays of overaggression, and we don’t see Kaos Latin Gamers advancing from the Play-In stage.
That’s it for our 2017 Worlds Play-In Power Rankings. Hopefully, this list will help you get familiar with the participating teams, and—as always—we’ll see you on the Rift!