North American Position Rankings Week 1
Posted with permission from Robert Jerome
Hi, I love League of Legends and as such I decided to start a ranking that rates the strength of each player in comparison to those of his fellow competitors that play the same position.
Before I get started, I want to say that these rankings will only count to how the players are performing THIS SPLIT. All games that took place prior to this split will not be measured.
For instance, a player such as Quas has been a historically good top laner, performing at a level well above the resources he received. So far this year, however, his performances have not been up to his usual standards and as such his ranking will reflect that. Also, in the case of two players swapping out for one position on the same team I will rank the player who has played the most games. For instance, Moon has played three games as the jungler for Team Liquid whereas Dardoch has only played one. Therefore, Moon will be ranked instead of Dardoch. These rankings will fluctuate throughout the season, especially early on. So without further ado here we go:
Coming into season 6 top lane was considered by many as the weakest position in North America by a wide margin. However, with a few key imports and rapid growth from multiple players, the position has now turned into a position of strength. These players can play a variety of roles: glass cannon (Huni), split-pusher (Darshan), hard-initiation tanks (Impact), I-have-no-idea-what-an-effective-teleport-looks-like (Lourlo) and carry (Hauntzer). This variety can make ranking these players difficult, making it necessary to reflect the strength of each top laner on this patch.
1. Hauntzer (TSM)
This one was easy. Hauntzer easily outclassed both Darshan and Lourlo this week en route to a 17/4/27 score line good for an 11.0 KDA. His Ekko play in game two against CLG was probably the single best individual performance by any player last week. His Ekko looks like it has earned permanent ban status. Despite his mechanics, champion pool depth may prove to be Hauntzer’s greatest strength as he played exceptionally on an old favorite (Maokai) as well as the new patch’s flavor of the month (Swain). Hauntzer looked the best of the three elite top laners from week one.
2. Seraph (NV)
The gap between two and three was extremely small, but Seraph, the man leading NA top laners in Kill participation and second in KDA, just edged the player beneath him – Huni - at least for week one. Since his time on CLG, Seraph has blossomed into one of North America’s best players. With a team willing to give him adequate resources and a competent jungler, Seraph has shown the propensity to become a reliable carry in the top lane.
His value increases further due to his role as primary shot caller responsible for helping Team EnvyUs jump out to its early 2-0 start. He has proven adept at playing tanks, mages and bruisers which makes banning him out difficult. If Seraph wishes to keep this position he will have to continue performing against the upper tier teams, like he did against NRG and TL.
3. Huni (IMT)
A lot of people are going to laugh at the fact that Huni is rated beneath Seraph. However, before you grab you torches and pitchforks – and copy and paste the previous sentence on reddit – please give me a chance to explain. Last week Huni, who has shown a rather unique champion pool, played full AP Ekko 3 times and full AD Riven 2 twice. I’m not arguing that you’re supposed to build Riven differently, I’m asking if Riven was the right champion to choose.... in this meta.
Plus, after just watching Hauntzer go Super Saiyan mode against CLG less than 24 hours earlier on tank Ekko, Huni decided that it wasn’t his style. This is the same player who unleashed top lane Lucian in the playoffs against TSM. The player on the team who came out and announced that they misread meta which cost them their chance at MSI. Then, on the very first week of the season, the team decided to repeat its mistakes. Yes, they went 2-0 this week. But, who did they beat? A Cloud 9 team that just hired its first real coach. If Huni pulls out a pocket pick Riven in game three in a few weeks you can bet Reapered will have taught the boys in blue how to shut him down. Then he went out and dumpstered the soon-to-be-relegated Phoenix1 team with the very same picks. Last split TSM proved what happens when you shut down Huni. You shut down Immortals to a tune of 3-0. His champion selections/builds led to seventeen deaths in five games compared to Seraph’s seven.
Don’t get me wrong, Huni is a phenomenal player. He has the best mechanics of any top laner in the region. He came up huge all of last year for FNC and the entire spring regular season for IMT. But, when Fnatic made the semifinals at worlds it was in a top lane carry meta. Immortals can’t depend on Riot to implement an out-of-nowhere patch right before worlds that perfectly suits Huni’s playstyle again. If the meta shifts back to hard carry tops then Huni will be the best top laner, this is fact. However, in the patch we live in, Huni needs to adapt. If he does then he has the tools to stand head and shoulder above every other top laner in North America.
4. Impact (C9)
Unlike the top three, the next four top laners showed some definite weaknesses in their games last week. These players are still good, but are not performing at that upper echelon. If Huni is too aggressive and selfish with his champion pool/builds then Impact is the polar opposite, receiving the fourth fewest gold share of any top laner so far. A consummate team player, he is more than thrilled to play tanks in this tank-heavy meta.
His game two performance on Maokai against Immortals fell just short of Hauntzer’s earlier feat. Impact shows a great game sense as well as understanding where he needs to position in team fights. His Maokai has shown the ability to carry a game and may be the target of some future bans. Impact has shown that he is rather weak in the laning phase, though this may have been caused by his team picking Maokai in eighty percent of them. He was outplayed by Kfo in game three of Ekko Fox and his opponent almost snowballed enough to carry the game.
Despite that mistake, Impact was a very valuable asset to his team that game and every other game this week, helping push him past the next three names on this list. His tank play is definitely up to par, the only question facing him now is how will he perform when placed on a carry champion?
5. Ray (APEX)
One week into the summer split and Ray looks like an early competitor for Rookie of the Split. He displayed massive carry potential this week, even against the player many would have ranked the best top laner in NA coming into the season (Darshan). His Fizz is a must ban for the next few weeks until Riot curb stomps it American History X style.
Ray’s massive highs can only be equaled by his equally enormous lows. Last week he displayed a pure feast or famine attack. In the former he proved capable of single-handedly carrying games. Unfortunately, Ray can become quite irrelevant in games that he isn’t carrying. So far this split, it looks like the odds are fifty-fifty in regards to his performances. This may lead many an Apex fan to hold their breath throughout the split.
6. Kfo (EFX)
The former Korean solo queue star played exceptionally well in Echo Fox’s first series, a quick 2-0 against P1. His Maokai did tanky things and contributed greatly to his team’s victory. Kfo’s Fiora, though… That game was a thing of beauty as he and Froggen combined to outduel Slooshi to bring Echo Fox the series victory. He then used that same champion to outduel Impact’s Maokai and kill him in a 1v1. The Cloud 9 series brought forth a few doubts, however. Game one looked like Kfo and his teammates may have gotten a bit of a lucky break as his team won one team fight less than thirty minutes into the game and then proceeded to destroy Cloud 9’s nexus. Game 2, in comparison, was an oddity. Echo Fox picked Vladimir for him, but chose to send him mid. The decision might have tilted him the rest of the series, because his performances in this game and the next were below par. Still EFX is 3-1 overall when he goes top so there’s quite a bit of room for optimism.
The question facing Kfo isn’t in the quality of his play, rather it’s the quantity that causes uncertainty. He’s certainly shown the required mastery to play certain champs at a high level – Malphite, Kayle and Fiora to name a few. But, is his champion pool truly big enough to sustain Echo Fox for a grueling playoff run?
7. Darshan (CLG)
Oh, how the mighty have fallen! It took Darshan less time to plummet down these rankings than it does to kill a full tank Maokai when he forgets to press R. Yes, CLG took a page out of G2’s book and decided a little R&R was warranted after MSI, but he looked better back when he was a member of the infamous GGU. Darshan was completely outshined in four out of the five games he played this week, and the other game was rather pedestrian. He was the single biggest letdown of the entire first week of the split. One of the main issues is that Darshan, one of the spring split’s greediest top laners, received less than 20% of his team’s available resources. Still, with twice as many deaths as kills and a KP below 50% his week one outing was nothing short of forgettable. If CLG wishes to go somewhere the Miami Heat have never gone before and three-peat they will need their star top laner to return to form.
8. Quas (NRG)
These next three top laners look like they may not even belong in the first round of the open qualifier so far this split. Quas’s performance was terrible. He, along with the rest of his team, looked way too timid. His playstyle with Liquid was of a top laner who performed well with few resources, but asking a top laner to perform with borderline support level gold may be asking a bit too much. Quas received the lowest gold share of any top laner in week one with 18.7%. “Earning” the NRG top laner a spot above the remaining two top laners.
9. Lourlo (TL)
I’m not sure if Lourlo has an online dating profile, but if he does I imagine it looks something like this: “Hi! I’m Lourlo! And I’m really friendly! Some things I enjoy doing are walking aimlessly around grass pastures, cooking food for random people and then popping up in random places throughout the world and feeding them; earning me the nickname Chef Lourlo. You could definitely consider me PETA-friendly as there are these adorable little creatures called minions that walk around where I live and every other top laner kills more of those little buggers than I do.”
In all seriousness, Lourlo seriously disappointed this week. His GS was the second lowest of all top laners, but it was actually higher than last split when he steadily grew into one of the better top laners in the league. Lourlo has shown flashes of promise in the past and I fully expect him to recover from his abysmal play last week. The return of Dardoch will definitely help his teleports and laning phase which could give him the confidence needed to catapult up this ranking. Lourlo didn’t have a performance to write home about last week, but last split was the exact same. The question is, can he recover once more?
10. Zig (P1)
Received a higher gold share than Darshan, Quas and Lourlo, yet somehow found a way to play worse than all three. In fact, he had a higher GS than Seraph AND Impact. Unfortunately, it looks like investing in Zig is equivalent to investing your life savings with Bernie Madoff. The bright side is that this was only his first showing on stage, and jitters most likely played at least a small role. Hopefully, he can bounce back and prove that P1 was right to have faith in him, but it may need to begin to start scouting that legendary Diamond 2 top lane solo queue talent.