A lot of professional League of Legends is being played around the world. How do the major regions stack up?
The Spring Split has officially ended across all major regions following JDG’s clutch victory over TOP Esports in the League of Legends Pro League finals. With the Mid-Season Invitational officially cancelled for 2020, however, we won’t have a chance to see how the best teams from around the world match up against each other in an official match.
North America’s Cloud9, Europe’s G2 Esports, and South Korea’s T1 all dominated their finals and were the clear best team in their respective leagues. While the LPL had multiple teams in the running, JDG was still a team that many saw as a clear contender to take the split.
At the end of the day, a region is only as strong as its weakest team. Even though we won’t get a chance these top teams face off before the 2020 World Championship, we can get a good sense of how the major regions stack up against one another by taking a look at their competition.
LoL Power Rankings - #1 LPL
It’s no surprise that the same region that’s won the last two World Championships sits at the top of this list. Despite having a rocky start to the Spring Split due to emergency responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, once the league was back in full swing, the LPL reminded the world just how strong (and crazy) it actually is.
The region’s top four consisted of two World Champions in FunPlus Phoenix and Invictus Gaming, and two powerhouse teams in TES and JDG. The strength of the LPL in part comes from the best teams’ willingness to play fast and take risk after risk to take what they want on the map.
Their final was the only major region final that wasn’t a 3-0, and it makes sense. The best teams are constantly pushing for an opening even when from behind.
LoL Power Rankings - #2 LEC
2 grabbed a hold of the League of Legends European Championship back in the 2019 Spring Split and never let go. Even though this split felt like one of their shakier ones, they still ended with a 15-3 record.
Europe as a region is surging with young talent. Two rosters made up of almost entirely rookies (Misfits and MAD Lions) slotted into playoffs in spring, and MAD shocked the world by handing G2 their first domestic best-of-five loss.
The top teams in Europe are pretty clearly tiered: G2, Fnatic, MAD, and Origen, but the other teams have demonstrated that they aren’t too far behind. It helps that they have powerful practice partners, but the LEC has some of the most parity out of the major regions.
LoL Power Rankings - #3 LCK
South Korea’s League of Legends Champions Korea has failed to match up to the high expectations set for them at every international event since 2018. They’re one of the most consistent regions at scouting and developing young talent, and in some cases turning them into super stars. So what happened in 2020?
Aside from one of the most exciting young lineups in modern LCK history breaking up (and recently being relegated) in Griffin, many skilled players moved around in the offseason roster shuffle, turning teams like GenG and DRX into legit challengers for T1’s throne.
Despite standings heating up toward the end of the regular season (there was a three-way tie for first place between T1, DRX, and GenG), T1 cleanswept GenG in the finals 3-0. They even received a loss-of-ban penalty in game one due to lateness.
Ultimately, LCK may be strong as ever, but it’ll be hard to rank them above China or Europe until they produce some international results for themselves again.
LoL Power Rankings - #4 LCS
In Spring 2020, Cloud9 put on the most dominant domestic performance of any team in modern LCS history and nearly completed a perfect regular season. Unfortunately for them, this was also quite possibly the worst ever LCS split in terms of the overall level of competition and parity throughout the league.
The only team able to take a game off of Cloud9 in the regular season was TSM, the most inconsistent team in the league. Teams were constantly jumping throughout the seasons week by week, and things ended with FlyQuest, a team predicted by most analysts to miss playoffs entirely, reaching the finals. To top it all off, the region’s four-time back-to-back champion Team Liquid missed playoffs and ended spring with an unprecedented ninth place finish.
The 2020 Spring Split was basically one big practice match for C9. Their 3-0 sweep over FLY in the finals even looked like a complete slaughter. There wasn’t really a team that consistently challenged them throughout spring, and they took the title without any objection. Despite Cloud9 looking like one of the best NA teams of all time, they don’t hold a candle to their counterparts in the LPL, LEC, and LCK.
Images courtesy of Riot Games