It’s crazy to think that we are already at the quarterfinals stage of Worlds 2018. It feels like just yesterday, we were talking about who could win the Play-ins. Now, we are discussing who could be the possible World Champion. On our journey here, we would experience some of the most riveting matches in Worlds history. The group stage would fill with the shouts of joy and silent sounds of heartbreak and disappointment. Could we see the first Western semifinals showdown in Worlds history between Cloud9 and Fnatic? Will the juggernauts of the League world, KT Rolster, and Royal Never Give Up, meet each other for the first time?
Let’s hop into the four storylines to watch for at Worlds Quarterfinals.
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Death, taxes, and Cloud9 being the last hope for North America. It was a gargantuan mountain for Cloud9 to climb in the group stage, but here they are. They were able to scratch and claw their way to the quarterfinals of Worlds 2018. For Cloud9 fans and North American fans, you might have experienced heart palpitations during the group stage when the boys were on the Rift. Cloud9 was once the worst team in the NA LCS. However, they now stand at the precipice of a semifinals berth.
The only problem is that Korea’s Afreeca Freecs stand in their way. This will be another close matchup, with Afreeca Freecs bringing a much more controlled style to their game. Meanwhile, facing off against Cloud9’s freestyling kind of fighting should be a great series to watch for fans. For Cloud9, the X-factor has to be top laner Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen, who has been playing great through the group stage. His ability to affect the game with aggressive champions like Galio and LeBlanc was key to the team’s success.
For Afreeca Freecs, their catalyst for victory would have to be top laner Kim “Kiin” Gi-in, and how he improves for the quarterfinals. Like many fans are saying, Kiin has been underperforming throughout Worlds. He has not shown the dominant carry style of play that would push Afreeca to new heights in the LCK. Meanwhile, his counterpart Eric “Licorice” Ritchie has been playing very well. For example, in their game against Team Vitality, he would seal their fate with an amazing performance on Singed. Licorice’s laning, as well as great team fighting has been a huge boon on Cloud9’s efforts. Therefore, Kiin will need to step his game up for Afreeca Freecs to have a chance to contain the fire that is Cloud9.
Prediction: Cloud9 Wins 3-2
Europe’s best team may have just gotten the best chance at a Worlds Finals berth. After their dominant run through the group stage, Fnatic is looking like the best team in the West by far. Superstar Rasmus “Caps” Winther has shown that he may be a top-five midlaner in the world, with mechanics that dazzle spectators and competitors alike. He would end up sharing the spotlight with his jungler Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen, who has shown his mechanical prowess throughout Worlds. Both players would end up sharing MVP honors across the group stage, with Caps winning two and Broxah winning three.
Meanwhile, if we look at the path given to them, it is easy to think that Europe could be heading for the grandest stage of them all. However, we cannot underestimate any of these teams, as they have made the top eight for a reason. As we look at the team opposite the stage, Edward Gaming has the potential to surprise Fnatic like they did RNG. Former Cloud9 top laner Jeon “Ray” Ji-won is really stepping up for his team when it matters most, with great performances on Urgot and Shen. Yes, Fnatic may be the favorite heading into this matchup, but let’s not forget: Worlds is Home of the Upset.
Prediction: Fnatic Wins 3-2
This has been the best year of League of Legends for China and RNG. This team has won it all, from back to back LPL Finals, the Mid-Season Invitational, and even Rift Rivals. The only thing missing from their 2018 trophy case in the prestigious Summoner’s Cup. At the heart of the RNG, freight train is Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao, who many are calling the best player in the world. This year, he has been trying to prove his case, even with a break in the summer. Uzi’s mechanics are team fighting skills are some of the best the world has seen. The firepower he brings to the table ensures that he will win bottom lane, no matter what.
For G2 Esports, this will be their greatest test of the year. They would not face a team like this, throughout the EU LCS or the group stage. However, could G2 possibly make their dreams a reality? This matchup is truly a David vs. Goliath moment, but Worlds is a very unpredictable place. G2 needs to muster up the same magic they found in the European Regional Gauntlet, as well as the group stage to have a chance. Granted, there aren’t many teams that could possibly match RNG’s aggression, macro skills, and team play.
Prediction: RNG Wins 3-0
As we said, there aren’t many teams that can match RNG. However, there is one team that can match RNG, and possibly go even further beyond. Korean superteam KT Rolster has had their share of disappointments over the past few years. This year, they finally made the climb up the mountain that is the LCK. KT Rolster’s longtime jungler Go “Score” Dong-bin finally gets to lift the trophy himself, instead of watching from the sidelines. Now, as Korea’s best team, they look up towards the one goal every League team in the world aims for. World Champions.
KT Rolster boasts one of the most star-studded lineups of any team. Unlike RNG, KT would stay dominant throughout their group stage. The only stumble they would suffer would be against Edward Gaming, and that game was one of the best performances by EDG this Worlds. It is hard to see KT Rolster not adapting after a loss, as they have shown that their individual skill is just as good as their team play. I can say with confidence that KT Rolster is the best team in the world right now. Korea’s legacy as best region lies squarely on their shoulders, and I have no doubt that they will answer the call.
Prediction: KT Rolster Wins 3-1
What are your thoughts on this year’s Worlds quarterfinals? Let us know what you think in the comments below! If you want more Worlds coverage, check us out here!
Born and raised in Toronto. Sometimes a writer. Sometimes a creative director. Sometimes bored. Catch me with hundreds of unplayed games in my Steam library.