View of the League of Legends World Championship 2021 final stage from the stands of the stadium
View of the League of Legends World Championship 2021 final stage from the stands of the stadium

League of Legends World Championship 2021 Power Rankings

by Xander Torres

It’s that time of year. The League of Legends World Championship kicks off Tuesday in Reykjavík, Iceland, with Hanwha Life Esports and LNG Esports facing off in the play-in stage. Every team will be fighting for their chance to hoist the Summoner’s Cup, but some squads are more suited for a deeper tournament run than others. Check out our Worlds Power Rankings to learn how the teams stack up at League of Legends’ premier international event!

22. RED Canids

RED Canids have gone to the Mid-Season Invitational, but this will be the organization’s first bid at the world championship. The CBLoL has often struggled to produce competitive teams at the international level, but RED Canids represent a new wave of talent in Brazil, as most of the team has never played internationally. Alexandre “TitaN” Lima dos Santos will lead the team in play-in Group A, with PEACE and Infinity Esports both being beatable opponents.

21. PEACE

Oceania’s Pentanet.GG showed that the region had plenty of fight at the Mid-Season Invitational this year after defeating Unicorns of Love to advance to the group stage and eventually upset Cloud9, but Worlds will be more difficult for PEACE. Due to visa issues, PEACE’s starting top laner, Yao “Apii” Jian-Jing, and jungler, Thomas “LeeSA” Ma, will be unable to participate at the international event. European top laner Kiss “Vizicsacsi” Tamás is set to join the team as a substitute, but losing two starter players may just be too difficult to overcome.

20. Infinity Esports

Latin American teams haven’t exactly leveled up on an international scale, but the region remains competitive with numerous teams vying for champion status. Infinity Esports managed to capture their second domestic title in a row, largely thanks to Cristian Sebastián “cody” Quispe Yampara’s continued dominance in the mid lane. Fans joke that cody is the “Faker” of Latin America, but Infinity Esports needs a lot more than standout performances to ensure that they defeat PEACE and Red Canids in play-in Group A.

19. Galatasaray Esports

Turkey never fails to produce strong minor region teams, and Galatasaray Esports are no different. This is the team’s first appearance at the world championship, but mid laner Onur “Bolulu” Can Demirol is no stranger to the international stage, taking part in last year’s world championship on SuperMassive. Realistically, Galatasaray Esports are just as strong as Unicorns of Love and DetonatioN FocusMe, so the competition will be fierce in play-in Group B.

18. Detonation FocusMe

DetonatioN FocusMe have slowly built themselves up as one of the strongest minor region teams to look out for at international events. With arguably the strongest minor region player of all time in Shunsuke “Evi” Murase and the upstart Korean mid laner Lee “Aria” Ga-eul, DetonatioN FocusMe have plenty of firepower to challenge teams like Unicorns of Love and even Cloud9. DetonatioN FocusMe’s biggest issues tend to be in the draft phase, so as long as they build reasonable compositions, expect close games from the Japanese side.

17. Unicorns of Love

Unicorns of Love are truly the juggernauts of the minor region scene, consistently representing the CIS region at international events and even making it to the group stage at last year’s world championship. Unicorns of Love are often known for playing a controlled game around bot lane, but we can expect a slightly different look with Andrey “Argonavt” Yakovlev slotting into the team this time around. Kirill “AHaHaCiK” Skvortsov remains one of the most important parts of the team in the jungle, though, and will surely be a consistent force in the play-in stage.

16. Beyond Gaming

Beyond Gaming have the mechanical talent to set themselves apart from most minor region teams but will struggle to compete against most, if not all, major region seeds later on in the tournament. Chiu “Doggo” Tzu-Chuan is a bona fide star in the making in the bot lane, but his heroics can only take the team so far. Luckily, though, Beyond Gaming are the type of team that loves playing without expectations and will certainly be ready to fight it out, win or lose.

Photo credit: Riot Games

15. Rogue

Rogue benefited from an early qualification in the LEC playoffs this year but struggled to match Fnatic and MAD Lions later on in the bracket. The talent is clearly there with players like Steven “Hans Sama” Liv resurging, but the team looked lost when it came to most mid-game transitions. Couple that together with Rogue’s exceptionally difficult group featuring FunPlus Phoenix and DWG KIA, and it’s unlikely that this team is going anywhere but home after the group stage.

14. Hanwha Life Esports

It’s not often that an LCK team is ranked this low, but Hanwha Life Esports truly captured lightning in a bottle to win out in their regional qualifier before pushing T1 to five games in the seed-deciding final. Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon is one of the best mid laners at the tournament, but top laner Park “Morgan” Gi-tae’s struggles in the top lane might outweigh any star-level performances from his teammates. It will be exciting to see Chovy return to the international stage, but that is probably the most that Hanwha Life Esports has to offer barring another miracle run.

Photo credit: Riot Games

13. Cloud9

Every year, it feels like Cloud9’s world championship journey starts in the play-in stage, where the team has to overcome the best that minor regions have to offer before challenging the world’s best. Cloud9 are in rough shape and will be facing off against teams like DetonatioN FocusMe -- who defeated them at the Mid-Season Invitational -- but are still a healthy cut above some of the weaker teams at the tournament. Expect Cloud9 to level up throughout the tournament and cause some grief for a higher ranked team in the group stage.

Photo credit: Riot Games

12. PSG Talon

Much like 100 Thieves or Team Liquid, realistic expectations for PSG Talon would be getting a quarterfinal berth as opposed to hoisting the Summoner’s Cup at the end of the tournament. PSG Talon dominated the Pacific Championship Series (PCS) for most of the season, but faced a bit of late-season adversity, losing to Beyond Gaming in the upper bracket of the PCS playoffs before eventually defeating them in the final. Early game aggression is the name of the game for PSG Talon and it will certainly buy them a few wins, but probably not enough to be the first PCS team to advance from the group stage since 2015.

11. Team Liquid

Team Liquid just fell short of taking home another League Championship Series (LCS) title in the summer, but the team’s early game potential and mid game snowballing was still abundantly clear during their entire playoff run. Team Liquid scored an easier group than 100 Thieves, but may still fall prey to their own lack of strategic diversity. Even so, specializing in the early game and funneling top laner Barney “Alphari” Morris might be just enough for Team Liquid to score a few wins and make it out of the group stage.

Photo credit: Riot Games

10. 100 Thieves

North America’s finest often struggle to make an impact at Worlds and 100 Thieves will be working hard to prove that reputation does not apply. Can “Closer” Celik is one of the most exciting junglers at the event and he’ll certainly make things happen in the early game, but it will take more than his individual impact for the team to make a solid run. 100 Thieves lives and dies by Closer’s synergy with Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun, but with T1 and EDward Gaming in their group, advancing to the quarterfinals is unlikely.

9. Gen.G

Every year, it seems like Gen.G have the talent to push forward and be one of the best teams in the world, but they often fall short of even being the best within South Korea. Gen.G still have the killer mid and jungle combination of Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong and Kim “Clid” Tae-min, but the team has a tendency to fall apart when it matters most. Gen.G will still be a cut above most teams and is likely to make it out of groups, but is the line between quarterfinal teams and serious contenders.

8. Fnatic

The former kings of Europe are playing second fiddle to MAD Lions, but Fnatic still profile as an outside contender looking in. Gabriel “Bwipo” Rau’s transition to jungle was bumpy at first, but by the end of the season, he looked like one of the best junglers in the LEC. The international stage will be a different test for Fnatic and Bwipo, but they’ll be in the mix for a deeper bracket run.

Photo credit: Riot Games

7. T1

The early game is always key in League of Legends, and T1 are arguably among the best when it comes to developing early game leads. Mid laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok is still the undeniable star of T1, but lately Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong has been the difference-maker down in the bot lane. In a meta where bot lane remains key to control of the early game, T1 are looking good to challenge the top teams as a potential contender.

6. LNG Esports

LNG Esports are the true “dark horse” of the world championship this year, rising through the LPL summer playoff bracket before eventually claiming the final LPL seed in regional qualifiers. It means the team will have to make it out of the play-in stage first. LNG Esports have plenty of talent and are never afraid to go for broke, especially around the bot lane. LNG Esports don’t have the same year-long results as teams like T1 or Fnatic, but the team’s ceiling with Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong at the helm is undeniable.

5. Royal Never Give Up

This year’s Mid-Season Invitational champions weren’t able to repeat as LPL champions this summer, but the team couldn’t have looked better in the final regional qualifying matches. Despite being ranked fifth, Royal Never Give Up have the potential to beat teams like FunPlus Phoenix or DWG KIA on any given day. The only question is if top laner Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-hao will be able to get the most out of his teammates at yet another international event.

Photo credit: Riot Games

4. MAD Lions

MAD Lions suffered an embarrassing loss in the play-in stage of last year’s world championship, but this time they’re back as two-time champions of the League of Legends European Championship (LEC), ready to follow in the footsteps of G2 Esports and Fnatic. MAD Lions don’t exhibit the raw strength of teams like FunPlus Phoenix or EDward Gaming, but they have the ability to turn games and series on their head in an instant. As a potent bot lane-focused team, they surely have the potential to upend the rankings and knock any contender down a peg.

Photo credit: Riot Games

3. DWG KIA

It’s not often that reigning champions maintain their elite status in back-to-back years, but DWG KIA are here to defend their title as one of the best teams in the world. Mid laner Heo “Showmaker” Su remains the lifeblood of the team, putting together star performance after star performance in the League of Legends Championship Korea (LCK). DWG KIA are still one of the scariest teams in the world when it comes to raw teamfighting, but more decisive LPL teams will surely give them trouble this tournament.

2. EDward Gaming

EDward Gaming managed to upset FunPlus Phoenix in the LPL summer final last month to stand atop the world’s most competitive region, but there is still more work to be done. Lee “Scout” Ye-Chan’s ability to match Doinb in the mid lane was key to EDward Gaming’s win, but a more aggressive bot lane-focused team might give them more trouble. Even so, EDward Gaming knows how to position around neutral objectives and has the teamfighting skill to back it up. Sometimes, that’s all you really need to win an international event.

Photo credit: Riot Games

1. FunPlus Phoenix

FunPlus Phoenix may have fallen just short of taking another League of Legends Pro League (LPL) title this year, but there is little doubt that the team is on track to be one of the best at the world championship. Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang was always one of the best mid laners in the world, but his performances this summer featured far more lane dominance than usual. Doinb’s newfound dominance in the mid lane is yet another angle that FunPlus Phoenix has to abuse against their opponents as the arguable favorite to win it all.

Lead photo credit: Riot Games

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