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State of Competitive League: Top teams of note in each region

It's been a busy start to December, with hundreds of tournament matches played already amongst the top professional League of Legends teams. As we start the pre-season for season 3 in earnest, let's take a step back and look at the landscape of the top 25 teams in the world.

Asia

Teams in Asia retain their overall dominance, occupying 13 of the 25 spots, and an impressive 6 of the top 7.

Korea in particular has grown to become a major powerhouse (as expected), boasting 9 teams in the top 25 borne out of the crucible that is the Korean competitive e-sports scene. With the new teams of KT Rolster doing so well, the increasing popularity of LoL in Korea, and rumors of other major names in e-sports (SK Telecom) looking to sponsor League squads, the state of competitive League of Legends in Korea looks to be set for success for season 3 and beyond.

China, too, has grown in competitiveness, with many of the major organizations picking up secondary teams. Royal Club has ascended in form to start legitimately challenge the perennial Team WE/Invictus Gaming dominance that we saw throughout Season 2 (see below). Meanwhile, Southeast Asia still really only features the Taipei Assassins as a legitimate threat to the world's top teams.

Teams of Note

  • Team WE - Has been unstoppable since the World Championships in October. They've won every single tournament that they've entered, and haven't dropped a single set out of 34 played. Their overall record since then is an astounding 60-8(!) against almost every top opponent from across three continents. At the moment, they can lay claim to being the best League of Legends team in the world.

  • KT Rolster B - After exploding onto the scene in the last month by going 6-0 in the Olympus Champions Winter against Azubu Blaze, NaJin Sword, and MVP Blue, the upstart team finally lost a match last week in their 1:1 draw against Azubu Frost. If they can keep up their momentum, they'll be one of the favorites going into the Champions Winter playoffs, and season 3. In particular, their AD carry Score looks to be a star in the making with his amazing team-fight positioning that he has showcased in their matches.

  • Azubu Blaze - By Blaze's standard, they're in a slump. Since the IPL 5 qualifiers, their record is only 13-9, including a shock early departure from IPL 5, with their new top laner Flame struggling throughout the tournament. Their struggles have dropped them from the number 1 spot to number 4 on the rating list.

  • Najin Sword - The Maknoon show struggled with consistency after the World Championships, with their patented tower diving aggression winning them just as many games as it lost them. However, in their most recent Champions Winter showing against Team OP last week, they debuted a poke comp strategy and played it with discipline and restraint, steadily taking towers and inhibitors for a 2-0 victory. If this is the new look of Sword, they'll be pleasing their fans if they can continue to rack up the victories, as well as reducing their chances of heart attacks.

  • Taipei Assassins - The reigning Season Two champions haven't had much stiff competition to test themselves against recently outside of IPL 5. There, they continued their dominance of Moscow Five, but they disappointed themselves with a 0-4 showing against an ascendant Fnatic. Their relative lack of strong foreign competition didn't hurt them for the Season Two World Championships. However, it remains to be seen how they'll fare in Season Three if their only source of regular competition is the Garena ProLeague.

  • Royal Club - For the longest time, the competitive LoL scene in China consisted of Invictus Gaming playing a consistent second fiddle to Team WE, with a big gap between those two and everyone else. Recently, however, Royal Club has ascended into the conversation, separating themselves from the rest of the pack. They've beaten IG in the Tencent Grand Prix Winter, and are one of the few teams to take a game off of Team WE in the past few months. They looked absolutely dominant in the IEM Katowice Asian Qualifier, sweeping through the tournament 8-0 with amazing team fights. Fun fact: Royal Club's Uzi is one of the few AD carries to play Varus competitively.

  • Eat Sleep Game - Former Azubu Blaze star top-laner Reapered is back with a new team that just qualified for IEM Cologne. Their jungler, H0R0, a fixture in the Korean scene, demonstrated his aim-bot like skill shots recently in the Cologne qualifier, landing seemingly almost every single crazy Amumu bandage toss that he attempted. However, their 2-1 wins over CJ Entus and Team OP during the qualifier were not the most convincing, and their mid-laner MighTiLy struggled mightily in most of their games. If they can iron out the kinks in their gameplay though, they have a chance to legitimately vault into the top echelon of Korean teams.

Europe

For a good while in Season Two, Europe mirrored China's competitive landscape, with two teams (Moscow Five and CLG EU) at the top. Now, however, Fnatic, the Season One champions, have surged back into the picture and have been looking absolutely dominant in the European scene.

Europe occupies 7 of the top 25 spots in the rating list. Currently, there's still quite a large gap between the top 3 (Fnatic, M5, CLG EU) and the rest. While the other four (Eclypsia, Meet Your Makers, IWantCookie, Curse EU) have shown that they can beat the top 3 at times in the last few months, consistency remains an issue, as they often then turn around and lose to mid-tier European teams at the next tournament.

Teams of Note

  • Fnatic - Fnatic has shot up the charts to the number 2 spot based on their recent form, thanks especially to an astounding performance at IPL 5 where they 4-0'ed the reigning world champions, Taipei Assassins. They have been one of the few teams to give Team WE a challenge, taking two games off of them in Las Vegas. They've continued their amazing run by racking up 11 straight wins after IPL 5. If they can find a good enough AD carry to replace Rekkles for Season 3 (who cannot compete due to his age), they'll enter the season as the top dog in Europe.

  • Moscow Five - The Taipei Assassins continue to be their nemesis, having won their last 5 games against them. Besides losses to TPA, and Team WE, however, they look to have recovered from their pre-IPL 5 slump. Most recently, they convincingly stomped Curse EU 4-0 in the Siege finals.

  • Counter Logic Gaming Europe - Their recent failure to qualify for IEM Katowice in January was a disappointment, even if it was against top form teams in Fnatic and Moscow Five. The always steady CLG EU are still solidly one of the top dogs in Europe, and their recent losses to TPA and M5 have been close affairs.

North America

The consensus of the North American scene being behind the others is borne out in the ratings: they occupy 5 of the top 25 spots, with only Counter Logic Gaming Prime able to give the top teams in other regions a challenge. The turmoil in the rosters of CLG Prime and Dignitas is also worrying, although it could also be a great opportunity to find and nurture an up-and-coming talent for Season 3. Promisingly, Team SoloMid seems to have snapped out of their month-long slump, returning to form in the most recent TSM Series weekly tournament.

Teams of Note

  • Counter Logic Gaming Prime - Since the World Championships, CLG Prime have been by far the best North American team, winning almost every set they've played against a fellow North American team, whether in an online or LAN tournament. However, they have yet to win a single set against a non-North American team (they boast a 3-9 record). And with the departure of their support player Locodoco, their results may be inconsistent until their roster is more settled.

  • Curse NA - Fairly consistently second-best to CLG Prime in the North American scene for a while now, Curse has been equally consistent in their losses to top teams in other regions. With the unsettled rosters of several North American teams, this may be their best chance to vault ahead in the North American scene, if a resurgent Team SoloMid doesn't do so first.

  • Team SoloMid - TSM fans were worried throughout November, watching their team go through a month-long slump, boasting only a 33% win record (9 wins, 18 losses) in tournament play. They were even losing to mid-tier North American teams with some frequency. They then flamed out at IPL 5 despite having the fortune of being placed in one of the easier groups. However, they swept through the competition in their most recent TSM Series appearance this past weekend, including two sets against Curse NA. The TSM Series finals this weekend should prove whether they're back on form.

  • Dignitas - The worrisome form of late for Dignitas, who have steadily dropped in the ratings to 24th place, is compounded by the recent loss of their jungler IWillDominate. It may be a while before they can repeat the same results that we saw from them early on in season two.

What are your thoughts? Who are you rooting for in Season 3? Let me know in the comments!

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