It’s 2017 and the LPL is almost here. Last year we saw a lot of Korean imports leave their teams and move to other regions or return home to Korea. That will definitely bring shifts in power amongst the LPL squads. Here are our power rankings heading into the Spring Split of the LPL.
Tier A: Royal Never Give Up
Royal has lost its star players Looper and Mata and replaced them with LetMe and Ming. The former SHRC top laner played for RNG previously so while he is a downgrade in terms of pure skill, his synergy with mlxg should be somewhat beneficial for the team. Ming is not a very experienced player but playing with a veteran like Uzi should be helpful in developing him as a competitor. RNG reverting back to an all-Chinese team means their communication will definitely improve by at least a small amount. However, not having a very good shotcaller like Mata could hurt them. Still though, RNG should be expected to win Group A.
Tier B: Snake Esports
Snake showed a lot of improvement near the end of 2016. However it wasn’t enough for them to be at the top of the LPL. While Top 3 in playoffs is a possibility for them, a Top 2 finish in their group is more likely to happen. SofM didn’t have enough time to develop himself as a really good jungler and while he was still decent, having another split under his belt will show us if he will make enough of a difference to bring Snake to a higher placement in the league. Considering the relative strength of all the teams in Group A, 2nd place seems like a fair assessment of Snake.
Tier C: IMay, Invictus Gaming, OMG
All of these teams are going to be very close to each other. IMay and Invictus Gaming both suffer from a lack of stable players in certain roles. When you look at IMay, their players are fine for the LPL but none of them make you feel like they can carry IMay to a top finish. Invictus Gaming has RooKie who is an amazing mid laner and world champion Duke but the rest of their roster is nothing incredible. OMG is a similar case and while on paper they should be expected to do poorly, their roster remains unchanged and has had enough time to grow into a more stable team that can at least evade relegations if they manage to perform well enough.
Tier D: LGD Gaming
Unfortunately for LGD, while they do have some good players on paper, 2016 was an awful year for LGD. They have simply not shown us anything that makes us think they will play better. Coming into 2017 the only big move they’ve made is put Punished in the Top Lane after MaRin’s departure which is without a doubt a downgrade. All signs point towards LGD doing just as poorly as last year.
Tier A: Edward Gaming, Team WE
Normally I would comfortably say EDG is going to win their group but with the departures of Deft and PawN, Team WE actually has a decent chance at upsetting EDG and claiming 1st place. That being said, I still expect EDG to win the group but it’s going to be close between these teams. Team WE’s main roster remains unchanged but they’ve added a few players to increase their flexibility, meaning Zet’s performance as EDG’s new AD Carry will likely be a determining factor in the battle for first place.
Tier B: Newbee, Qiao Gu Reapers, Vici Gaming
The battle between Newbee and Qiao Gu Reapers is going to be an interesting one. Doinb will be facing off against his former teammates and after his problems with Swift, it’s clear we’ll get some great storylines in this group. Newbee showed very poor results in Summer of 2016 so considering their only big roster change is replacing Dade with Cool and CoCo, there shouldn’t be too much expectations for Newbee to perform that well. Qiao Gu Reapers like any other newly promoted LSPL will have to show how they perform in the LPL before they can judged properly but it can be assumed they will do okay at the very least just by looking at their LSPL performances.
Where does Vici Gaming coming into the mix? I would love to sit here and tell you Vici will do well but it doesn’t seem like that’s the case. Their bottom lane has been the weakest link for a while now and their bot duo remains the same. Loong and Easyhoon are good laners that rarely lose their lane but they will never dominate it hard enough to the point where they can carry Vici 2v5. Surely Bengi joining the team will be beneficial for Vici? It can be but it can also be a huge flop. In 2015 and 2016, DanDy was Vici’s jungler and even though he was a fantastic player in Korea and a former world champion, he wasn’t able to have enough impact on the team. So in that sense, Vici replacing their jungler with an even more passive jungler doesn’t seem like it’ll bring them any huge improvements in their results. If the Bengi clicks really well with his solo lanes and Vici’s bottom lane steps up, then maybe Vici will have a good shot at placing well in their group.
Tier C: Game Talents
Sadly for Game Talents, it just does not seem like they will be very competitive in this group. They barely made the Summer Playoffs last year in a weaker group. So in a stronger group this coming Spring Splits, it’ll be surprising if they can avoid relegations. Can they do it? Yes they can, but it’s going to take a good amount of effort on their part. Can they make playoffs? Unlikely. But considering how some of the teams in Group B might need some time to find their groove, Game Talents can surprise us if they can find some consistency in their play and their results.
Trying to predict the LPL is a tough task. While some teams show more promise than the others, ultimately what will matter most is teamwork and consistency. The LPL Spring Split begins on the 19th of January!