The 10 best LoL esports pros to have competed in three major regions

by Nick Geracie

Competing at the highest level of a major region in League of Legends esports puts a professional player in exclusive company. Since the midway point of the 2014 season, players leaving their home region to compete elsewhere -- primarily, players from South Korea -- has become a more and more common occurrence.

Some players have played in four or more regions throughout their competitive career, but a very short list of pros have competed in the premiere competitive circuits of at least three of the four major regions: South Korea’s League of Legends Champions Korea, China’s League of Legends Pro League, Europe’s League of Legends European Championship and North America’s League Championship Series.

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Let’s rank the top 10 LoL esports pro players to have competed in the premiere circuits of at three major regions based on their career accomplishments across those regions.

10. Park “Summit” Woo-tae

Summit only recently began the globetrotting phase of his career. After competing for Liiv SANDBOX in the LCK for three seasons, Summit crossed the Pacific Ocean to compete in the 2022 LCS spring split with Cloud9. Summit won the MVP award in his first LCS split, but after his lack of dimension was exposed in the playoffs, Cloud9 decided to move on and Summit found himself in China on FunPlus Phoenix for the 2022 LPL summer split.

Summit has shown high peaks in all three regions he has competed in, but he has yet to win a domestic title or attend an international event.

9. Jeon "Ray" Ji-won

Ray is from South Korea, but actually made his major region debut with Apex Gaming in the LCS back in 2016 and was signed by Cloud9 to platoon with Jeong “Impact” Eon-young in 2017. Ray was left off of the Cloud9 roster for Worlds 2017 in order to focus on his mental health, but after moving to the LPL to play for EDward Gaming in 2018, he qualified for Worlds. While Ray failed to win a title in NA or China, he made it to the finals with Cloud9 and EDG in their respective regions.

Ray took another break in the second half of 2019 and finally made his debut in his home country of South Korea with KT Rolster in the spring of 2020. A domestic title has continued to elude him throughout his career.

8. Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun

Photo credit: Riot Games

After spending two splits in the LCK on Incredible Miracle in the summer of 2015 and KT Rolster in the spring of 2016, IgNar joined up-and-coming EU Challenger Series squad Misfits in Europe. Misfits were promoted to the EU LCS for the 2017 season, and after a summer surge, IgNar & Co. reached Worlds and finished in the top eight. IgNar bounced back and forth between Korea and Europe for the next couple years, playing for the LCK’s bbq Olivers in 2018 and the LEC’s FC Schalke 04 Esports in 2019. IgNar crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 2020 to play in the LCS with FlyQuest, where he made back-to-back North American finals and qualified for another world championship.

IgNar has maintained a competitive level of play throughout his career in every region he’s played in, but he has yet to finish first in a split.

7. Ryu "Ryu" Sang-wook

He’s mostly known as “the other Zed” by longtime LoL esports fans who saw Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok’s famous play against him, but Ryu actually enjoyed quite a career after that infamous moment. Ryu was one of the best mid laners in South Korea throughout 2013 and 2014, and he left his mark on Europe with H2k-Gaming when the squad finished in the top four at Worlds 2016.

Ryu played for Phoenix1 in North America in 2017 before joining 100 Thieves, where he qualified for the finals of the 2018 NA LCS spring playoffs and qualified for another world championship. Few players have accomplished as much in Ryu has in as many regions without winning a single domestic title.

Read more: Why ‘Players’ is a crowd-pleaser for League of Legends fans and those outside esports

6. Lee "Spirit" Da-yoon

Spirit was part of the most dominant South Korean lineups of all time with Samsung Blue, who won a domestic title in the spring of 2014. After coming in as a favorite to win Worlds that year, they finished third after being eliminated by eventual champion and sister team Samsung White.

The bulk of Spirit’s best accomplishments came in the early phases of his career. His time in the LPL with Team WE in 2015 was less than kind. WE finished outside the top four in the spring playoffs and missed the postseason entirely in summer. Hype was at an all-time high when Spirit joined Fnatic for the 2016 EU LCS season, but it ended up being one of the more underwhelming years in the decorated organization’s history.

Despite middling results in China and Europe, few players in history have matched the peaks of what Spirit was able to accomplish on Samsung Blue.

5. Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin

Photo credit: Riot Games

After struggling with the Incredible Miracle organization at the start of his career in South Korea, Reignover reinvented himself as a cerebral jungling maestro on Fnatic in 2015. Fnatic won back-to-back EU LCS titles that season, went 18-0 in the Summer Split, and finished in the top four at the Mid-Season Invitational and Worlds.

Read more: Burn it all down: How CLG rose from the ashes to be competitive in the LCS again

Reignover would not qualify for another Worlds in his playing career, but Immortals’ dominance in North America throughout the majority of 2016 earned him MVP honors in the NA LCS Spring Split. Reignover struggled to find the same success on Team Liquid and Counter Logic Gaming in the following seasons, but few players have maintained a level of elite play in two premiere regions as consistently as Reignover.

4. Lee "KaKAO" Byung-kwon

The peak of KaKAO’s career came in the summer of 2014, when his KT Arrows squad completed the ultimate underdog story and stole the domestic title from Samsung Blue in arguably the most epic series in LoL esports history. The following year, KaKAO moved to China with his KTA mid laner Song “Rookie” Eui-jin to play for Invictus Gaming. IG qualified for Worlds 2015, but a weak bot lane hamstrung the team and the squad failed to make it out of the group stage.

After Worlds 2015, KaKAO struggled to maintain a consistent presence at the top competitive level of LoL esports. KaKAO competed in his third major region when joining Misfits in the spring of 2017, but he has not played in the LEC since.

3. Lee "Flame" Ho-jong

Photo credit: Riot Games

Flame was considered by many to be the best top laner in the world in 2013, but he was one of many talented players to end with results below their individual potential on CJ Entus Blaze. In 2015, Flame took his talents to China to play in a platoon on LGD Gaming with Choi "Acorn" Cheon-ju, who had played for Samsung Blue the previous season. With LGD, Flame won the LPL in the summer of 2015, but the squad disappointed massively as China’s No. 1 seed at Worlds that year despite Flame’s adequate level of individual play.

After returning to South Korea to play for Longzhu Gaming in 2016, Flame crossed the Pacific Ocean to play for Immortals. After a seventh-place finish in spring, Immortals made it all the way to the summer final and attended Worlds 2017 as the LCS’ second seed. Flame found less success with FlyQuest the following year and ended his career after his final season in 2019 as a top lane substitute for DAMWON Gaming in the LCK.

2. Jang "Looper" Hyeong-seok

Looper has one thing that no other player on this list has -- a world championship. Looper was the starting top laner on Samsung White, the winners of Worlds 2014. After a forgettable 2015 LPL season with Masters 3, Looper proved he could play at an elite level in more than one region on Royal Never Give Up. RNG won the 2016 LPL spring playoffs and attended MSI as the Chinese representative, settled for second in the summer playoffs after being swept by EDward Gaming in the finals, but finished outside of the top four at Worlds that fall.

Looper ended his career in North America, competing with Echo Fox in the 2017 NA LCS season. Looper’s time in the LCS was rather forgettable, but few players can boast the elite level of competition he maintained in the two most difficult regions on the planet in South Korea and China.

1. Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon

Photo credit: Riot Games

Who else would be at the top of this list? Huni began his career alongside Reignover with Fnatic, winning two domestic titles and finishing in the top four at MSI 2015 and Worlds 2015. He moved to North America with Reignover to play for Immortals where the team lost only three matches across two regular season splits.

After narrowly missing out on Worlds 2016, Huni set his sights sky high and joined SK Telecom T1 to play alongside Faker, the greatest League of Legends player of all time. On T1, Huni finished first in the 2017 LCK spring split, won the subsequent spring playoffs, and then won MSI 2017. Huni and the rest of T1 made another domestic final that summer but finished second. The lower seeding didn’t stop them from qualifying for the final of Worlds 2017 that year -- a matchup they lost to the LCK third seed Samsung Galaxy.

Read more: His playing days might be over, but Huni is not going far from the Rift

Huni returned to the LCS where he competed for the next five seasons, including another Worlds appearance with Clutch Gaming in 2019, but wrist problems cut his 2022 summer split short and ultimately forced him to retire. Although he never was able to win an LCS title, his stellar rookie season in 2015 and dominant 2017 with T1 that culminated in an appearance in the League of Legends World Championship final are the highlights of what make his three-major region career second to none.

Lead photo credit: Riot Games

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