Worlds 2020: Ranking and Rating the Best Top Laners at Worlds

Photo by Michal Konkol/Riot Games.
Photo by Michal Konkol/Riot Games. /
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Worlds 2019, League of Legends
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

We break down all the top laners that you will see at Worlds 2020.

We’ve already broken down who the best support players in the world are ahead of Worlds 2020, so today it’s time to examine the best top laners attending the World Championship. Not only will we grade and rank each top laner at Worlds, we will also give some ratings for the best players in the top lane who are not going to Worlds.

We will be using the same rating system that I used throughout the LCS season, I have pulled data for every player in the four major leagues (LCS, LEC, LPL, and LCK) as well as data from all the teams and players appearing from the PCS and Wildcard regions. I’ve compared each player’s statistics against the baseline for their position and adjusted their rating for their region (that is to say, a player in the LPL will be rated higher than a player in his role with similar stats who is in the LEC, who would be higher than a similar player in LCS, etc.) to grade the worst and best players by position.

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The rankings are based on 22 different statistics that include KDA, kill participation, damage and gold outputs, vision scores, and laning stats. These stats are judged relative to other players in that role and weighted given how strongly they correlate to a team’s overall performance. Although in some cases I may disagree with how a player is ranked due to certain context not captured by the player’s statistics, the ratings will be purely based on a player’s statistical performance, with the best top laners being the players who had the overall strongest season statistically against the strongest competition.

We will start with some of the most notable and best top laners that will not be appearing at Worlds 2020. I will not be going into the same depth that I will for the Worlds top laners, but just giving my pure ranking so that fans know where players fit relative to others in their role.

The Best of the Rest

  • Li “Flandre” Xuan-Jun (LNG Esports) – 88 OVR
  • Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok (Invictus Gaming) – 87 OVR
  • Kim “Canna” Chang-dong (T1) – 85 OVR
  • Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho (100 Thieves) – 82 OVR
  • Barney “Alphari” Morris (Origen) – 81 OVR
  • Kim “Khan” Dong-ha (FunPlus Pheonix) – 81 OVR
  • Eric “Licorice” Ritchie (Cloud9) – 80 OVR

22. Shirou “Paz” Sasaki (V3 Esports) – 67 OVR

After his teammate Raina was rated the worst support attending Worlds, it’s certainly not great for V3 that their top laner is rated even lower in his position. Paz is a player very much in the mold of Team Liquid’s Impact in that he tends to play more supportive, tanky picks like Renekton, Ornn, and Aatrox rather than carry picks.

As a result, Paz has among the lowest kill share of any top laner at Worlds 2020, along with one of the highest death shares (over 27% during the regular season) despite dying around 2 times per game. That’s an encouraging sign, that he’s not dying an inordinate amount, but constantly being the team’s sacrificial lamb and made to play tank champions makes me a bit wary about how he will fare against better top laners at Worlds. Even in his defensive style, there are players who have done it better and against stiffer competition.

21. Rodrigo “Tay” Panisa (INTZ) – 69 OVR

Tay, at least, has been able to pull out some of the more carry-oriented picks in 2020, including Camille, Wukong, Gangplank, and Kayle. The problem is that he doesn’t really seem to have a great level of success on any of those picks.

He has played 18 unique champions in 44 games this season and has played five or more games on three picks: Renekton, Sett, and Camille. He does not have a KDA above 3.5 on any of those champions and only one (Sett) does he have a KDA above 3.0.

While KDA isn’t a cut-and-dry measure of a player’s skill on a champion, it’s quite telling that his deaths are much higher when he plays carry champions compared to tanks. He’s also a mediocre laner in the CBLOL, averaging a gold and XP advantage of 100 during the regular season. That’s pretty good, but not being able to out-perform top laners in a fairly weak region does not inspire much confidence that he can out-play the worlds’ best.