The League of Legends 2020 World Championship is almost here and all eyes are on the LEC and LPL teams, the two best-performing regions internationally in the past couple of years.
For years, the LCK was considered the best regional league in the world. That perception changed in 2018 when a European team faced a Chinese squad in finals. Invictus Gaming versus Fnatic would only be the beginning of the new order in competitive League of Legends. The following year, the LEC’s G2 Esports claimed the Mid-Season Invitational title and made it to Worlds’ finals where the LPL’s FunPlus Phoenix would end up taking the victory.
In both years, the LPL teams had an edge over their European opponents and played a better overall game. In 2020, the gap might be even greater between the two regions and it’s all because of the jungle difference.
The junglers representing the LPL are a mix of veterans and new faces. The junglers returning to the Worlds stage are Top Esports’ Hung “Karsa” Hao-Hsuan and LGD Gaming’s Han “Peanut” Wang-ho. JD Gaming’s Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok and Suning’s Lê “SofM” Quang Duy are attending the event for the first time.
All four junglers share a similar style in the sense that they all prioritize team fighting and can play carry champions. Kanavi is regarded as the best jungler in the world right now, and he’s a fundamental piece of the JDG puzzle as well as the main reason why the team made it to the event.
Karsa and Peanut are both having outstanding seasons and these two players are back in form, giving fans flashbacks to their glory days. SofM is the first ever non-Korean import in the LPL. This Vietnamese jungler has combined the aggressive style from both regions and became a core member of his team.
The current meta fits the style of these junglers and on top of that, they’re all having incredible performances. The LPL teams have the responsibility of keeping the LPL domination going at Worlds.
LEC junglers are going through a rough patch this year. In the regular season, G2’s Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski and Fnatic’s Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek struggled. The underperformance by both junglers affected the overall results for each team. By the end of the regular season, G2 had been in danger of missing playoffs even though the team would end up winning the split. Fnatic would struggle even more.
Perhaps the jungler best equipped to face the LPL teams is MAD Lions’ Zhiqiang “Shadow” Zhao. Shadow’s style is fast and the team plays well around him. Out of the four Europeans representatives, MAD plays the quickest games. However, MAD had a drop in form by the end of the split, so it’s unclear which version of the team will show up at Worlds.
Rogue is not a team that should but underestimated, but it’s a disadvantage. Rogue plays the slowest game while going for safer plays. The team needs to adapt to its opponents if it wants to stand a fighting chance.
The current state of the meta favors the aggressive junglers that can carry games. This year, the tournament is all about the junglers and how much can they do for their teams.
On paper, the LPL has the upper hand, but the LEC might be able to pull a miraculous upset through the tournament. On the LEC’s side, Shadow is the jungler to watch. When it comes to the LPL, all eyes should be on Kanavi.
The 2020 World Championship starts on September 25.