10. Kang “Haru” Min-seung, Samsung Galaxy
Haru is far from the jungler he was in his debut Spring split. After a season of jubilation and excitement over Korea’s newest young star, Haru suddenly vanished from the spotlight, falling back to the sub position to serve under veteran jungler Ambition.
While Haru has not received as much playing time this split, Samsung are still committed to him as an option. Just a few weeks ago, he featured prominently in his team’s gauntlet run. If Ambition cannot carry the team to another finals appearance, we could see the promising rookie Haru we saw in Spring return for another chance to show his skill against the world’s best.
9. Do “Levi” Duy Khanh, Gigabyte Marines
Placing 9th, Levi brings Vietnam back into the center of attention. At MSI, Levi shocked the world by bringing his country all the way to through the play-in stage and into the main tournament. His aggressive style brought unsuspecting opponents to their knees, surprised by the strength of such a small region.
Despite finishing last overall in groups, Levi was one of the best junglers at the tournament, and the key to his team unforeseen success. If he can bring the same fire he brought to his last international tournament, we could see another shocker from Southeast Asia’s strongest team.
8. Moon “Cuzz” Woo-chan, Longzhu Gaming
Out of this entire list, Cuzz receives the least amount of recognition. He rarely outshines his excellent teammates on Longzhu Gaming, playing more of a supportive role within the team. Despite his lack of recognition, Cuzz has thrived in the most competitive environment in pro League of Legends.
He may not see the spotlight in the way that Score or Peanut do, but Cuzz can go toe-to-toe with nearly any jungler in the world. To prove his worth to the rest of the scene, he must overcome the pressure, and exceed expectations. As a rookie in his first ever international event, Cuzz has a lot to live up to in China.
7. Ming “Clearlove7 Kai, EDward Gaming
Clearlove is easily one of the most controversial players on this list. Everyone has seen Clearlove at his peak, but it is impossible to tell whether or not he will reach it again this event. Since his return in the Summer split, Clearlove has lacked true consistency, constantly flip-flopping between his old top-of-the-world stardom, and his modern lack of reliability.
EDG play heavily around their jungler-mid combo to carry the team, making Clearlove one of the decisive factors for the tournament. The question remains: Will we see Clearlove or Clearlove7 at Worlds 2017?
6. Jake “Xmithie” Puchero, Immortals
Last split, Xmithie quietly became one of NA’s best junglers, seemingly out of the blue. While not as flashy as Dardoch or Akaadian, Xmithie did his best to make a massive impact early on in the game.
Without his presence, Flame and Cody Sun would not have made such immense improvements throughout the split, bringing Immortals from a mediocre afterthought to a top tier in NA. In addition, his synergy with support Olleh has created a dynamic duo to be feared across the world. Xmithie represents North America as the best jungler from his home region.
5. Han “Peanut” Wang-ho, SK Telecom T1
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. A year ago, Peanut was the undisputed king of the jungle. Four months ago, he rose to the throne again, blasting through the competition to win MVP at MSI. Now, he is desperately trying to hold onto his job. Peanut’s unexpected decline temporarily crippled his team, and threw SK Telecom’s world championship run into a flux.
Everyone knows the level that Peanut can achieve. Time and time again we have seen him rise to the occasion, standing tall and proud as he leads his team to victory. But after several months of uncertainty, will Peanut wither, crumbling again into his shell as the pressure surmounts his talent? Or will he rise, taller than ever before, taking back his rightful reign as the king of the rift?
4. Xiang “Condi” Rea-Jie, Team WE
Condi is another MSI star who has come to play on a larger stage. At the Mid Season invitational, Condi was the only jungler able to withstand the incredible pressure of Peanut, the MVP of the entire event.
Back at home, Condi has consistently been one of the best, if not the top overall jungler in the LPL. Condi expertly creates plays around the map, giving his stars the light to shine without sacrificing his own potential. Starring in his first international event on home soil, Condi looks to unleash the unstoppable energy he has put forth for the majority of the season.
3. Hung “Karsa” Hau-Hsuan, Flash Wolves
Karsa is the heart & soul of Garena’s garnet. Since the beginning of the LMS, Flash Wolves have consistently established themselves as the crown jewel of the region. Karsa’s prowess in the jungle has taken his team through countless international events, and he could do it again here.
He battled his way into playoffs at MSI, and he could do it again in China. His group is relatively weak in the jungle capacity, and Karsa could dominate with his perfectionist pathing and stifling early pressure. Look out for Karsa to lead Flash Wolves to victory in group D.
2. Kang “Ambition” Chan-yong, Samsung Galaxy
Ambition’s return is another story of Korean redemption. After a split on the bench, many assumed that the Samsung veteran’s career was over. Instead, he roared back into action as the Summer split began, picking up where he left off as the team’s primary jungler.
All split, Ambition showed his Worlds-level form, dueling head-to-head with the best of Korea. In regional finals, Ambition was especially crucial, subbing in for Haru to reverse sweep the Afreeca Freecs. If Ambition was not on the team, Samsung Galaxy likely would not be here.
1. Kang “Blank” Sun-gu, South Korea, SK Telecom T1
For years, fans have cast Blank as the source of SKT’s failures. While Bengi received praise as one of the jungle’s best known inhabitants, Blank found scorn as the scapegoat for SK Telecom’s missteps. This season, however, Blank has turned his negative reputation on it head.
While Peanut struggled to live up to his ROX Tigers glory, Blank thrived as a sub, resuscitating the legendary Korean superteam at their lowest point. His performance late in the season saved SKT from a potentially disastrous losing streak, and secured them a spot at Worlds. Blank will come into the championships with his head held high.