We now know all of the teams participating in China. With just two weeks to go until the Paly In Stage begins we take a look at some of the players to watch out for.
Some will always steal the spotlight with their mechanical genius. Others make great team plays and quietly win the game by absorbing pressure. Still others, make the plays that let others make the kills and win games.
This is not a list of the “best players.” It’s a list of those we think can make a real difference for their team.
Top Laners To Watch Out For At Worlds
Khan – Longzhu Gaming
Khan is part of the Longzhu Gaming team that took the LCK championship away from STK this year. He was also a huge part of its success. In the Finals, he played Jayce and snowballed the champion in a way that European and North American leagues have been unable to replicate.
He has the highest kill participation rate of any of the Korean top laners that we will see at Worlds. He also has the highest number of assists from the same group. The LCK has a very different style to what we often see in some of the other leagues. They’re at the top of
They’re at the top of the world for a reason, and Khan is riding high with all of the momentum fighting for him. Expect to see a Jayce and expect to see Khan draw a lot of pressure no matter who they fight against.
sOAZ – Fnatic
Fnatic has a long and storied history within League of Legends. This year hasn’t seen their best performances but when they’re on form sOAZ is always making waves. He’s a top laner that is brimming with confidence, and able to give anyone a run for their money.
He usually edges his lane in terms of gold earned but if he wants to shine at Worlds he’ll have to stop dying quite as much. He has the best KDA of any top laner in Europe but MIS showed they are a little behind the rest of the world.
For Fnatic to make it at worlds they need to step up. Having sOAZ take responsibility and lead by example will go a long way to doing so. Keep an eye on this one; often where he goes, Fnatic follows.
Mid Laners To Watch Out For At Worlds
Faker – SKTelecom T1
Faker used to be the name on everybody’s lips when they thought of the worlds best mid laner. Longzhu Gaming took the LCK crown from SKT this year, and some people argue that Fakers mediocre performances are partly to blame.
Faker lives for the big stages and mechanically he’s a genius. Expect him to steal the spotlight at Worlds on more than one occasion as he and his team look to eclipse a Korean season they’d best like to forget.
In a lot of ways, his stats reflect the reality of his season. He’s down in the weeds, with BDD completely outdoing his accomplishments. He’ll need to do something about that if he hopes to lift a trophy on the last day of Worlds.
Bjergsen – Team SoloMid
The reason I’ve put Bjergsen here ahead of BDD is that we expect BDD to showcase his amazing skill set. Whether Bjergsen can do just as well at worlds as he has all season in the NA LCS is another question. Historically he and his team have struggled.
Bjergsen is hot off receiving NA LCS’s MPV for the fourth time, showing just how dominant he is in the North American league. For years fans have hoped TSM will do just as well at Worlds as the have in the regular season. They’re disappointed again and again.
TSM’s do not build their entire team around Bjergsen in quite the same way as Cloud9 do around Jensen. It’s still fair to say though, that if he struggles, the team struggles. The World will wait with bated breath to see if this time around he can make the stars of Korea and the rest of the world.
Junglers To Watch Out For At Worlds
Xmithie – Immortals
Xmithie won’t have the most jungle kills. He won’t have the best KDA. What he brings to Immortals is much more than that. A large part of Immortals surprise success this year has been credited to Xmithie.
He brings a sense of purpose and direction to the game that Immortals were previously lacking. Upsetting Xmithie’s game will upset the team. Opponents will need to find a way into his head and think the way he thinks.
Xmithie has been to worlds before, he understands the pressure. This time around he’ll need to bring to the big stage the same sense of control and calm that has led Immortals to so many victories.
ClearLove7 – Edward Gaming
ClearLove7 is no stranger to winning. This year he has been absolutely incredible for Edward Gaming. He is a jungler that makes things happen every single time they need him to.
ClearLove has the highest KDA of any jungler in China. He has the highest number of kills and a kill participation rate of over 70%. Where he goes, action follows. If Edward Gaming wants to succeed they need ClearLove to succeed.
For his part, ClearLove will be eager to once again take his unique style of play to Worlds. There’s bound to be plenty of action, as Edward Gaming will be facing SKT in the group stage. It’s enough to make you feel sorry for AHQ, the third guaranteed team in group A.
Supports To Watch Out For At Worlds
Sya – Gigabyte Marines
We think that Gigabyte Marines may surprise this year, but to do so they’ll need their bottom duo to be at peak performance. There are some world class supports out there and if Sya steps up his game he could really stand out.
In the 2017 MSI they won games against TSM and Team WE, proving they have what it takes to perform on the big stage. They still have their doubters and Sya would love to play a part in proving them wrong.
Time will tell if he has what it takes, but one thing is for sure, he should never be underestimated.
CoreJJ – Samsung Galaxy
CoreJJ has teamed up well with his ADC Ruler this year. He’s been around for several years and is no stranger to winning, but does not have many seasons under his belt in the support position.
If CoreJJ has anything to prove, it’s that he can play support as a playmaker and help push his team further than they’ve ever been. He used to be an ADC and this brings him some great experience of what his lane partner will be expecting.
CoreJJ rarely dies but he’ll need to improve his read of the game if he wants to lift a trophy at Worlds.
ADCs To Watch Out For AT Worlds
Bang – SK Telecom T1
Bang is arguably the best ADC in the world. He’s therefore, an easy placement in this list, because he needs to be right on point for SK Telecom to beat Longzhu and win at Worlds.
His positioning is virtually unrivalled throughout any region. He’s been involved in getting first blood for nearly 30% of the games he’s played this season. Out of SKT’s long list of stars he’s perhaps second only to Faker in name recognition.
Expect Bang to be explosive, the only real question is whether he will be the best of the best, or if defeat to Longzhu Gaming will outshine him.
Rekkles – Fnatic
Yes, we’ve included two Fnatic players on this list. Perhaps because they’re going to need a multitude of players at their very best if they want to do well at this year’s Worlds. Rekkles is a name that anyone who’s followed League for any amount of time will be very familiar with.
He consistently has the best KDA in Europe, bags plenty of kills and leads his team to victory. Europe, though, is a very different scene to Worlds. He will face ADC’s every bit as good as Rekkles, if not better.
What Rekkles needs to do, is not just kill, but help his team make the right calls at the right times.
There are plenty names we didn’t mention. BDD and PraY both play for Longzhu gaming and there’s no doubt they will make a big splash at Worlds. Team SoloMid’s ADC, Doublelift as something to prove, and China is full of players that can and will make a difference.
At worlds, every player in every position matters. There are too many great players out there to be included in this list, but we are sure these are players that could make the difference for their team, and just maybe help them finish better than expected, or even bring home the World Championship.