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The Top Lane Names of Groups Stage to Date

By Jackie Shelton in Sports
| October 18, 2017 12:00 am PDT
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Worlds is in full swing and fans have never been more excited for what the tournament has shown us and is showing us to this day. Of course, with talents ranging from Huni to Bjergsen, there’s no shortage of action as the weeks progress.

One change that has shocked yet at the same time, made fans more excited than ever is the top lane. Once a desolate place of hopelessness and boredom for the League of Legends viewing audience, the top lane has now shifted into a more vibrant area where the players are the stars. Because of this, we’ll be taking a look at some of the top players in the top lane. What are we waiting for? Let’s get started!

G2 Expect

G2 Expect has been an up and down player of sorts. He may not be the strongest player on the team, considering his mediocre Kill Death ratio and feeble presence in the early game. However, G2 Expect has been delivering for the past few games, especially on champions like Cho’gath, Maokai, and Shen.

Originating from the Korean servers, Expect has a strong background from the game and is one of the only European top laners whose experience has come from across the world. While he may not be an outstanding player, he’s been doing his job well and we can see it so far.

IMT Flame

IMT Flame has been a big brand name to those around him. He’s been present on the Immortals team and isn’t afraid to show he’s willing to take risks in fights. This was apparent at the beginning of Worlds when he helped take down Fnatic with a shocking Jayce pick followed by solid performances on Shen and Maokai.

However, with IMT struggling, Flame hasn’t been playing the best game so far. His death count has been increasing on signature champions that he once helped carry his team with. Now that IMT is against the ropes and could be facing elimination, Flame will have to step up his game if he wants to give Immortals a chance into the playoffs.

AHQ Ziv

While they haven’t been seen as an especially outstanding team, AHQ Esports Club is known for its consistent appearance at Worlds. One player that’s been alongside AHQ Esports Club is Ziv. He’s been with the team since their strong debut in 2015 where they were a present threat to every team in their group.

A large part of this is thanks to Ziv. His off-meta picks like Jax and Kled have led to the enemy teams playing around him rather than playing around their carries. If Ziv can work his way into a strong lead, then we’re definitely going to see AHQ as a bigger threat than ever.

EDG Mouse

It’s rare to ever see a Chinese team do so poorly. While a large part of it has been de-synchronized communication, the individual performance has been a large part of this as well. Mouse can be the change for this.

Though the team has been lacking in all terms of the game, Mouse’s Rumble, Shen, and Cho’gath have been showing up and bringing results. Like IMT Flame, Edward Gaming’s Mouse will be critical when it comes time for judgment. He could be a key point in bringing EDG into the Knockout Rounds if he manages to hone in on his skill and take down their opposing opponents.

FNC Soaz

Soaz has been a veteran to both Fnatic and the game itself. Originally starting the Groups Stage shaky, the team has managed to come back and show that they’re not out in the running just yet. Boasting strong performances against their opponents Gigabyte Marines and Immortals, Soaz has gone head-to-head against names like Khan and Flame.

Like AHQ Ziv, Soaz can boast off-meta picks ranging from Camille to Gnar, each of which focuses on building the carry potential of the top-laner rather than the carry potential of the team itself. However, that doesn’t mean Soaz can’t play tanks either. He recently had a strong two games on Chogath against IMT and Gigabyte Marines.

In the past few days, Fnatic has been coming back from their win-loss deficit and are showing that they aren’t out of the Knockout Rounds just yet. Soaz is a large part of this. Alongside his teammates Rekkles and Caps, Soaz has been outperforming his last week and proving just why he has become one of the most respected names in the EU LCS.

Flash Wolves MMD

Like Edward Gaming, Flash Wolves has been struggling throughout the past few days. They’ve lost to Team WE, TSM, and Misfits, all of which are household names. The team has been performing well as a whole but when it comes down to the key points, it’s the opponents which come out victorious.

MMD can change this. In the past, he’s performed tremendously well against powerhouse teams like SKT and G2 Esports. He’s un-killable on off-meta tank Fizz and is an enormous threat when he pulls out the Nautilus pick.

MMD may not be having the hottest season right now but he knows how to turn things around. He’s outperformed countless times against names who should take him down with ease and can do it again. Don’t be surprised if Flash Wolves comes out strong, especially with MMD leading the charge.

MSF Alphari

A rookie outperforming their veteran opponents is usually very rare. However, in this instance, Alphari proved us wrong. He took down Flash Wolves on a long-forsaken Trundle pick and then proceeded to upset fan favorites TSM with his Shen.

MSF is a rookie team going onto the International Stage. Leading the team are two people…Alphari and PowerOfEvil. Alphari has yet to bring out his pocket picks Gnar and Jarvan which he is notorious on. Expect to see big things from this man. He’s proven it already.

Cloud9 Impact

When you think of Cloud9, you think of many things. Do they have a chance at Worlds? Can they upset the crowd, considering they have SKT and Edward Gaming in their Group? Can they be the first to bring home a trophy?

One man has the power to do that. No, it’s not Jensen or Sneaky. Though their mechanical skill is superb, they do not have the experience of Cloud9 Impact. He’s digressed from his usual Jax picks which helped grab SKT a World Championship in 2013 and has now adopted a more tanky playstyle.

Now, he’s known for his Shen mechanics and can even host a strongly contested Gnar pick which, in Impact’s hands, can be the reason Cloud9 wins the match. Cloud9 Impact can dominate his lane and when he does that, the match is practically over. With Impact at the steering wheel, we’ve already seen results brewing and we can expect more to come as the Groups Stage continues.

TSM Hauntzer

It’s rare that a newcomer to Team Solo Mid ever performs so well at Worlds. With Hauntzer having to live up to his predecessor Dyrus, Hauntzer had a lot on his plate, especially the pressure of the International Stage.

He’s played every single champ in his arsenal perfectly, taking down renowned names in both the American region and International stage. He’s not afraid to switch from playing someone like Cho’gath to a carry top laner like Gnar.

In fact, in the past few days of Groups Stage, it’s been Hauntzer’s performance on these champions that have brought them past teams like Team WE and Flash Wolves. We can expect much more from him than just a mediocre performance. In fact, we can expect him to be a top contender at Worlds when it comes to lane presence.

SKT T1 Huni

SKT has always been the biggest name for League of Legends since its creation and debut in 2013. With the legendary Faker in the mid lane, the notorious bot lane duo of Bang and Wolf controlling their area of the map, it only left one lane to be dominated, the top lane.

As time passed, names like Duke, Marin, and Impact have come and gone. Now, with Huni on the team, South Korea Telecom has never looked better. Starting out his debut on SKT, Huni began with solo killing several top Korean players in the region and then proceeding to bring out non-meta picks like Camille and Singed.

He’s shown his dominance on Cho’gath, Gnar, and even Fiora, all of which are terrifying if Huni manages to get his hands on it. Lately, in Worlds, he’s been showing strong results and won’t back down from any challenge, no matter how large the threat.

You can expect a lot of things from Huni, ranging from a solo-kill here and there to a large scale play which can be the deciding moment in a team fight. Huni’s had experience from across the globe and you can expect it to transition into his performance in Worlds.

SSG Cuvee

Cuvee’s the name. Cuvee’s the game. Cuvee was a large reason to Samsung Galaxy making It to Worlds and is a big factor in their success in the current stage of the Groups. He can pull out his Camille which he used to bring SSG into the Regional Qualifiers and is also deadly on his Cho’gath if need be.

You can expect Samsung Galaxy’s Cuvee to be a key decider in what they do. His ability to range from soaking damage in the front line to becoming the damage dealer himself will make him a strong factor no matter what his role is for the team.

RNG LetMe

Royal Never Give Up has always been a strong face at Worlds. Like the others behind him, LetMe is strong on all top lane tanks ranging from Maokai to Chogath but he’s not afraid to pick out old names like Kennen or Trundle.

Royal Never Give Up always centers around the damage dealers and LetMe is perfect for the team’s strategy. He’s been considered one of the best in engaging team fights with champions like Maokai, Rumble, and Chogath in his arsenal.

If RNG is in a tight spot and needs to come back, you can expect RNG LetMe to be the perfect man for this scenario. His perfected team fighting and engage is essential to peeling his team’s backline while his laning phase is equally as strong.

Longzhu Gaming Khan

Considered the best player of the LCK Split, Khan came from nothing and then made himself a legend. His Fiora and Jayce were key to defeating SKT in the Summer Split and he has been one of the only few to out-duel the SKT team by himself.

Alongside his teammates like Pray and Gorilla, Khan has proved himself worthy of the number one spot for the top lane power rankings. He doesn’t care who he’s facing. As long as he can get his pocket pick, anyone standing in his way is going to be in for a load of trouble.

He’s already been showing his prowess on champions that he isn’t as familiar with like Shen and Jarvan IV. He even pulled out a Nasus pick which he used to take down Fnatic with quick ease. Currently, 5-0 in the Groups Stage, Longzhu Gaming’s success is largely due to Khan’s performance so far in the top lane.

Conclusion:

The Groups Stage is slowly inching towards the Knockout Rounds. With such strong names battling to keep their team’s hope alive, the stakes are higher than ever. Everything is at stake and when it comes down to it, the individual will be key in the success of the team.

Names like Khan and LetMe have already shown their worth to the team and are almost guaranteed a spot in the Knockout Rounds but teams ranging from Team Solo Mid to Fnatic still have a lot to prove before they can get anywhere.

The top laner will be key to the survival of the team. The presence of some tank, bruiser, or carry which can propel the team’s momentum into another stage will be vital and every single name on this list will be essential when it comes down to the final seconds.

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