Record: 10-0 | League: LCK | +/-: --
The middle of the season is typically where we see dominant top teams' potential to slip. Maybe they underestimate an opponent or two. Maybe they try out a new strategy that doesn't work out and costs them a game, or a match. We've seen this happen with Invictus Gaming in the LoL Pro League, G2 Esports in the League of Legends European Championship and Team Liquid in the League of Legends Championship Series. Yet, Griffin have seemingly approached every match with care, giving the same weight to the lower-tier teams in South Korea as they would another playoff contender like SK Telecom T1. The caveat for this week is that Griffin didn't play a single match, but their upcoming series with SKT is a must-watch between the two best teams in the LCK, and will be a good indication of whether another LCK team can think of catching Griffin by surprise before what seems to be their inevitable Mid-Season Invitational qualification.
2. FunPlus Phoenix
Record: 8-0 | League: LPL | +/-: --
We've kept our eye on FunPlus Phoenix since the season began. Not only are they a fun team to watch, with all of the foibles that a team with mid laner Kim "Doinb" Tae-sang will have. He brings laning priority on champions like Lissandra or even Renekton before joining up with jungler Gao "Tian" Tian-Liang or solo roaming to side lanes for added map pressure. His control over the mid lane is a staple and has also allowed for Tian's resurgence in the jungle. That being said, we were surprised when they beat iG. It was the first real test for FPX since a pre-Lunar New Year matchup against Suning, and they passed. Now they face two more important challenges in Royal Never Give Up and Topsports Gaming.
3. Invictus Gaming
Record: 6-3 | League: LPL | +/-: --
Invictus Gaming started the week strong by quickly dispatching the struggling Suning Gaming, but that win was more "business as usual" than anything. Invictus Gaming's true test of the week was in its next challenger -- Doinb's FPX. Unfortunately for Invictus Gaming, it failed that test as FunPlus continued its climb to the top of the power rankings with a 2-1 victory. For Invictus Gaming, the series was competitive and the loss was against a strong opponent. Moving forward, the team will have to focus on plugging up its mid game holes if it wants to contest for its first LPL title.
4. Topsports Gaming
Record: 6-2 | League: LPL | +/-: --
Last week, Topsports Gaming faltered against Sinodragon in a 1-2 series loss. This week, they went about erasing any memory of that loss with a one-sided 2-0 victory over Snake Esports. Much of this was due to Zhuo "Knight" Ding manhandling Snake mid laner Yang "Mala" Hyeon-jong. It's another reminder that against many teams, Topsports can win off of individual playmaking alone. That's not to say that they are winning only by Knight, rookie top laner Bai "369" Jia-Hao, or bot lane duo Lee "LokeN" Dong-wook and Nam "Ben" Dong-hyun outplays, they're also impressive as a unit and will never stop taking chances (even if they're behind). This upcoming week they have a headlining matchup against FunPlus Phoenix, which should further establish just how far they've come since this roster initially burst onto the scene in the Demacia Cup.
5. Royal Never Give Up
Record: 5-2 | League: LPL | +/-: --
RNG has maintained strong performances with its current lineup, featuring Shek "AmazingJ" Wai Ho, in addition to the return of Jian "Uzi" Zi-Hao. Still, RNG spent the last week knocking down some of the weakest teams in the LPL for little overall credit in the power rankings. Wins against Victory Five and Team WE don't count for a lot, but they do still build up momentum for RNG's future. Considering that mid laner Li "Xiaohu" Yuan-Hao has arguably been the team's top performer, things are looking good for the team's rebound from a poor world championship performance.
6. SK Telecom T1
Record: 9-3 | League: LCK | +/-: +2
It's not a 1:1 comparison, but SK Telecom T1's recent trajectory through LoL Champions Korea has reminded us a bit of the organization's run through the inaugural LCK split of 2015 Spring. While they're overshadowed by a team with complete dominion over the regular season -- in 2015, the GE Tigers and in this case, Griffin -- SKT steadily improve despite looking shaky in certain areas. Again, it's not a 1:1 comparison, and SKT's struggles haven't been from swapping their mid laners constantly, but from attempting to jel as a team of fairly experienced, veteran players. SKT's recent victory over Kingzone DragonX was one of the more promising wins that the team has had this split, pointing to this roster's growth as a unit. They completely shut down Kingzone's bot lane-centric style, and there was even room for a few flashy highlights from Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok.
Record: 6-2 | League: LPL | +/-: +10
Yeah, this is for real. Bilibili Gaming is really in the top 10 of the power rankings for the first time. It sounds crazy, but we can explain. The Misaka Mikoto inspired Chinese team has been one of the most consistent teams in the LPL, albeit with a weak schedule, while other top teams across the world faltered. Even domestically, there are teams that project to be stronger, but have failed to deliver as consistently. Still, Korean mid laner Lee "Kuro" Seo-Haeng, along with former MVP top laner Kang "ADD" Geon-mo, have really buoyed the team as a fringe contender making a run for the top. BiliBili isn't to be underestimated.
8. G2 Esports
Record: 12-2 | League: LEC | +/-: -1
Finally, G2 Esports moves in the power rankings -- but the wrong direction. G2 was stuck at sixth place for weeks, largely due to the caliber of the LEC, but losing to a middling SK Gaming is enough to knock the team down a smidge this week. There is no doubt that G2 is the strongest team in Europe, and that will undoubtedly lead to domestic slip-ups as the team looks further into the future. Giving away Rek'Sai isn't the greatest idea nowadays, and that's probably something G2 will want to key in on for this week's matches.
9. Team Liquid
Record: 11-1 | League: LCS | +/-: +1
When you're at the top of your league, as mentioned with iG, Griffin and G2, it can be easy to grow complacent and slip. Team Liquid know this all too well, especially after their Week 4 slip-ups against Golden Guardians (a near loss) and Team SoloMid (an actual loss). Over the past two weeks, the team has regrouped and looked more like the dominant powerhouse we expected from this lineup. Most importantly, we saw TL try out a new look against Counter Logic Gaming, opting for a 4-1 split-push setup centered around top laner Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong's Jayce. It's not a revolutionary new playstyle, but it's good to see TL trying out new things and expanding their style repertoire -- a necessity if their ambitions lie outside of North America.
Record: 9-3 | League: LCK | +/-: +2
This past week, with wins over the Afreeca Freecs and Jin Air Green Wings, SANDBOX became one of three teams automatically qualified for 2019 LoL Champions Korea Summer. Although their position wasn't really in doubt, seeing them already qualify serves as another reminder that the winds of change are still sweeping through South Korean League of Legends. SANDBOX's inclusion likely means that yet another existing LCK staple will likely have to fight in the promotion tournament to keep their spot. As for SANDBOX themselves, they've righted their ship after their Week 5 losses to Afreeca and Kingzone. We're still on the fence as to whether SANDBOX is a better team than Kingzone -- Kingzone has a more cohesive gameplan, while SANDBOX could still potentially have a higher ceiling -- but part of being a playoff team is beating the teams that you're "supposed to" beat, and this past week SANDBOX did exactly that with back-to-back sweeps.