As the 2020 League of Legends World Championship looms closer with the opening ceremony on Sept. 25, ESPN released its annual power rankings for the teams competing this year, Wednesday.
Damwon Gaming, the top-seeded team coming out of LoL Champions Korea, placed second out of the 22 teams participating in the event, as ranked by the four ESPN analysts.
To no surprise, analysts of ESPN assessed China’s first seed Top Esports as the strongest team coming into the event, as did most other experts in the LoL scene. Chinese teams have won the championship the past two years in dominating fashion, and Top Esports winning the Mid-Season Cup, in which top Korean and Chinese teams participated in May, only supported the notion that they are the current best team in the world. China’s second seed JDG placed at No. 3 in the list.
LCK second seed DRX was ranked No. 8, while third seed Gen. G placed No. 5 as experts put more emphasis on the consistency of Gen. G players.
Meanwhile, no team from North America made the top 10, with NA first seed Team Solo Mid placing 11th. Europe’s first seed G2 Esports placed No. 4.
ESPN had already released individual player rankings on Sept. 12, putting TES player “knight” as top overall, with DRX’s “Chovy” in second and Damwon’s “ShowMaker” as third.
The group stage, in which the three representatives of LCK play, begins Oct. 3.
The 12 teams that qualified for the group stage were divided into four sections during the Worlds Draw Show on Tuesday, and one of the four teams that make it out of the play-in stage will be slotted to each group. The top two teams from each group will advance to the next round.
Results of the group draw showed the top Korean teams clashing against top Chinese teams.
Damwon will face Chinese second seed JDG in Group B while DRX will face Top Esports in Group D, in what experts call the “groups of death.”
“Our group is the most difficult,” said coach Lee Jae-min of Damwon Gaming. “If Team Liquid comes into our group from the play-in stage, it will be the worst possible scenario that we can think of. However, we will prepare well.”
Although some LCK fans worried that facing such strong teams early on in the tournament could risk one of the LCK teams failing to make it out of the group stage, the coaches of LCK expressed confidence.
“As we are Korean teams coming into the tournament, I think there is no ‘group of death,’” said head coach Kim Dae-ho of DRX.
“We are not scared to play any team. If we play well, we can beat anyone,” said Gen. G coach Ju Yeong-dal.
The LCK teams will look to restore their status as the best region over China, the defending champions, and topple ESPN’s power rankings.
By Lim Jang-won (email@example.com