The 2018 League of Legends World Championship begins its Main Event soon, which means the top 16 teams in the world will battle for their chance at the Summoner Cup. Every team has its own narrative, its own strengths and weaknesses, its own win conditions. Each of these teams has its own share of rookies, stars and legends.
While every organization brings its own set of weapons, some are better than others. As the saying goes, “Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.” As we breach the top 20 players at Worlds 2018, we begin to transition to the guns, and away from the knives. These players are central to their teams. They will receive the most praise or castigation, depending on how well their organizations fare. We still have not reached the cream of the crop, but these five players are A-tier on a global scale.
#20 – Doublelift – Team Liquid – Bottom Lane
Our second player from a western league, Doublelift represents Team Liquid in their first Worlds appearance. He enters the tournament coming off a spectacular year, showing up strong at MSI and earning Most Valuable Player in the LCS Summer Split. This is Doublelift’s fifth Worlds appearance on his third unique team, which is a testament to his individual strength and flexibility. As one of the few LCS players on our Top 30, fans will look to Doublelift to leave his mark internationally for North America.
Comment: “Is he NA’s only hope? Probably. Team Liquid was unquestionably the best team in NA this year and it was in major part because of DL. He has acknowledged that TL can’t be too confident going in because Worlds is a completely different animal. Doublelift deserves to be ranked here because he truly is the superstar for this team and if they want a chance to end the “NA LuL” meme once and for all he will have to make it happen.”–Robert Hanes
#19 – iBoy – Edward Gaming – Bottom Lane
In iBoy’s second year of professional play, he enters his second World Championship. Touted as a prodigy coming into 2017 Worlds, iBoy came across as a young-and-hungry AD carry that would reignite EDG’s fire. That did not really pan out last year on the international stage, but with another full year of experience, iBoy returns as China’s third best bottom laner on our list. Expect his scrappy style to draw gasps of surprise, both impressive and questionable.
Comment: “While Meiko has become the face of EDG for western fans, iBoy is still the star of the show. When EDG wins it’ll usually off the back of iBoy’s play. For me iBoy is the ADC that is leading the new group of world-class ADCs in China. In my opinion, while he’s still somewhat inconsistent, his carry potential lands him at 19th.”–
#18 – TheShy – Invictus Gaming – Top Lane
Similar to iBoy, TheShy is topping off his second year of pro play with a trip to Worlds. Pairing with Rookie as a dominant laner, IG’s top laner has been an integral part of their success in 2018. This will be his first major international tournament, but TheShy had decent performances at Rift Rivals this year and Demacia Cup last year. He comes through as our fourth highest rated top laner, and Invictus’ third highest individual.
Comment: “Go to YouTube, type in “TheShy outplay” and watch the first video. Yep, that’s theShy. A former streamer known for his god-like Riven, TheShy joined IG in 2017 Summer and proved to be their final missing piece. Despite only being 18, he has grown into an all around talent. When at his best, he has one of the highest mechanical skill ceilings, shining on carries like Ryze and Irelia. We have to see which version we are getting because of his recovery from a bad hand injury, but if he’s in good form, expect him to own the top lane.”–Taylor Damaschi
#17 – Spirit – Afreeca Freecs – Jungle
Afreeca’s central figure makes it onto our list as the third highest jungler, and for good reason. The LCK is considered the strongest region; Afreeca Freecs is their second seed at Worlds; and Spirit is the biggest catalyst for the team. Despite being considered a talented jungler across multiple regions for the past five years, Spirit has only made it to Worlds once. In 2014, he jungled for Samsung Blue and finished third-fourth. 2018 marks his return to the international stage, where Spirit hopes to make a deep run, like he did years ago.
Comment: “Spirit has had an up and down career, but at his best you won’t find a more creative jungler. This guy is a mad inventor, playing Lulu jungle, popularizing predator Gragas, and being one of the first adopters of Camille jungle. We have always been able to count on Spirit as a farmed up monster in late game teamfights but Spirit has played a more aggressive early style this year to lots of success. With so many jungle champions being viable, expect Spirit to flex in the draft and in game. (P.S. will he bring out the dark harvest Ezreal?)”–Taylor Damaschi
#16 – Scout – Edward Gaming – Mid Lane
EDG’s mid laner is one of the most polarizing players for these types of “Top X” lists. And while “skill ceiling” and “skill floor” frequently get thrown around by analysts, Scout is the perfect example for these terms. At his highest performance levels, Scout can beat anyone–an S-tier player. But at his lowest, Scout looks like a run-of-the-mill Korean mid. In one game he may destroy Faker, but in the next he loses lane to Guoguo. Some may place Scout higher; some may place him lower. But we slotted him in as the fifth best mid laner this year. 2018 makes his fifth World Championship appearance.
Comment: “EDG’s mid laner has had his ups and downs over his career, putting up memorable performances both good and bad. Scout has led EDG in some of their highest moments, while also failing under pressure at their lowest. 2018 has been great for him, though. While he rarely achieves All-Pro status in the LPL, Scout only earned one Player of the Game less than Rookie over this year. Scout has completely dominated the Play-In stage from the mid lane, and he will hope to bring that momentum into the Main event.”–Thomas Baker
Catch the rest of our rankings: 26-30, 21-25, 16-20, 11-15, 6-10, 1-5