World Domination: Counting down each regions best team and their most fearsome rivals
With the 2019 competitive season revving up its action, teams from all around the world have big-time aspirations as they look to once again lay their sights on the Summoners Cup. Both Europe and North America have assembled fearsome squads to dominate their regions. China and South Korea have also made dramatic changes in order to shake up the power of balance in their respective regions.
As the competitions start to unfold, only the strongest rosters and coaching staffs will survive another season of high-stakes competition en route to the next World Championship. With that in mind, it’s time to countdown the most dominant team in each major region and highlight the potential competition that could disrupt an otherwise prosperous 2019 campaign.
Europe – G2 Esports
No surprise here for the newly renovated European League of Legends scene. With Rasmus “Caps” Winther making the switch from Fnatic, G2 ESports catapulted themselves into first place as the most mechanically gifted team in Europe.
From a carry perspective, G2 Esports have legitimate threats in all lanes with Caps, Martin “Wunder” Hansen and Luka “Perkz” Perkovic all remaining key players in clutch moments. Last year at Worlds, Perkz and Caps gave slight glimpses of their brilliance on separate teams. Together, they seem virtually unstoppable.
Of course, no title in League of Legends is won without its fair share of competition. Both Misfits and Fnatic look to make a serious run for the title as their new players acclimate to their roles. For now, the clear front runner in Europe is undoubtedly G2 Esports and they will likely regain championship winning form this coming season.
North America – Team Liquid
Team Liquid put themselves in pole position for first place from the very first day of free agency with their roster moves this offseason. Picking up Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen and Yong-in “CoreJJ” Jo could be considered formidable upgrades in each position. Not only that, but having Eon-young “Impact” Jung and Jensen as naturalized citizens in the Summer will give them plenty of flexibility for seasons to come.
After Cloud9, the playoff picture for third and fourth best teams in the league get a bit more dicey. 100 Thieves have a legitimate claim to fame this year with the acquisition of Jun-sik “Bang” Bae and more importantly, retaining Chan-ho “Ssumday” Kim. If all goes well for their new ADC, 100 Thieves may even eclipse Cloud9 with their abundance of veteran talent.
Team Solo Mid remain a major question mark for “Baylife” hopefuls looking for a return to their championship winning norms. Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg is still a pivotal player for his team but TSM as a whole need much more than just a solid mid laner to secure wins at a playoff ready pace.
South Korea – Griffin
South Korea as a whole will spend 2019 licking their wounds and biding their time until they can exact revenge for their regions mishaps at last years World Championship. No other team will have more to prove as Griffin look to make Spring and Summer one big boot camp until they reach the ultimate prize.
Griffin remain pivotal in all their games by forcing teams to bend to their playstyle and bait fights with high impact players like Ji-hoon “Chovy” Jeong and Seung-yong “Tarzan” Lee leading the charge.
Looming in the midst is SK Telecom T1 with their newly revamped ‘super team’ and Sang-hyeok “Faker” Lee at the helm. SK Telecom have all year to build to that critical point where they dominate the opposition, and quality in all roles and the jungle will help their chances mightily.
Elsewhere in the LCK, kT Rolster and Afreeca Freecs look to improve off their promising end of 2018 run even with slightly adjusted rosters. Korea has always been a region dictated by monster solo lane players and both of these teams have adequate star players in both mid and top to ensure their potential remains sky high.
China – Invictus Gaming
Little has changed for the 2018 World Champions this offseason, and with good reason. Invictus Gaming absolutely dominated the entire tournament and had a plethora of talent still remaining on the sidelines as they achieved their goal with relative ease.
This year, the plot has once again thickened in LPL and Invictus have not one, but two, legitimate contenders to usurp their winning formula. The traditional favourite for China will always be Royal Never GiveUp and their perennial AD carry Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao, but hardcore fans of the LPL have whispered for a while that its actually Topsports Gaming with the highest potential to upset in 2019.
Topsports have been under the radar after just missing out on last years World Championships. The loss didn’t deter their organization from chasing the ultimate prize though. Topsports Gaming acquires the services of Zhuo “Knight” Ding this offseason and many fans have claimed this to be the best ‘under the radar’ signing of 2018. Look for both RNG and Topsports to pull off heroic feats as Invictus Gaming hope to retain their crown for the second year running.
Rest of World – Flash Wolves, Gambit Gaming
On the international circuit, regions like CIS, Turkey, Vietnam and Southeast Asia are regularly on the prowl to maintain their most stacked teams in order to compete with the other behemoths on the Worlds Stage.
Flash Wolves disappointed mightily after their last run, and desperate times called for desperate changes this offseason. For being a team based off consistency and long-term relationships with their players. FW shook up their blueprint and imported Griffin’s secondary mid laner Hyeong-seop “Rather” Shin in an attempt to change their play.
Gambit Gaming were one game shy of once again making it to Worlds after a Play-in loss to Cloud9 last year. This time around, the song remains the same for Danil “Diamondprox” Reshetnikov as he looks to carry his squad to the promised land in another year of hope for his team and the CIS region as a whole.