This year’s League of Legends Worlds main event starts in just two days. Following the Play-Ins, we now know exactly which teams will be participating at the main event. With that said, it’s about time we make some predictions on how we think each group will play out.
The reigning MSI champions are looking to end their near-perfect season with a good Worlds placement. Every single player on their roster could make the top 5 in their role argument. Plus, their play style is extremely hard to predict, as they pick any champion they see fit. With their having a home-turf advantage, I wouldn’t even be surprised if they went 6-0 in their group. However, as we have seen many times before, G2 like to experiment with crazy picks when a game doesn’t matter, so them dropping a game is entirely possible.
The South Korean representatives in group A have a tough challenge ahead of them. After nearly missing out on Worlds last year, they qualified for the main event as the second seed this year. Being placed in group A means they’ll have to show their last year’s form if they want to make it through to the knockout stage. Griffin noticeably struggled in both LCK spring and summer splits. This was mostly due to the problems they had in the topside of the map. Furthermore, Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon’s performances weren’t nearly on the level they were last season, which doesn’t help either.
How they perform will mostly depend upon how well Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon and Choi “Sword” Sung-won can keep up with the pressure. Unfortunately, playing against talents such as Eric “Licorice” Ritchie and Martin “Wunder” Hansen won’t make their job easy at all. I can see Griffin dropping both games to G2, and possibly even a game against Cloud9.
As a team with the most Worlds experience out of any in this group, North America’s legacy team Cloud9 has always been a hard team to predict. They are usually seen as the underdog in their group, yet they somehow always manage to get out of groups. With a powerful seven-man roster, Cloud9 also have the potential to swap out players at will, like they have done in the LCS this season.
Their weak point lies in their bottom lane, which will have a hard time holding up against the other powerful bottom lanes in this group. Cloud9 is the definite dark horse of this group, and them taking the second seed from Griffin wouldn’t be much of a surprise either.
Last but not least, we have the team coming in from the Play-Ins, Hong Kong Attitude. It’s honestly hard for me to see how they could win a game in this group. Their play in the Play-Ins wasn’t anything impressive, and their players are much weaker than players from other teams in the group. I really don’t see them winning a game unless a team with nothing to lose decides to give them one. (I’m looking at you, G2.)
When I was talking about upsets in this group, I certainly wasn’t talking about FunPlus Phoenix. The favorites of the tournament have a stellar season behind them. They finished first in both spring and summer but unfortunately failed to qualify for MSI after losing in the semis. However, they came back stronger and destroyed RNG in the summer finals. With a roster led by none other than Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang, we don’t think this team will miss a beat. Subsequently, FunPlus Phoenix won’t drop a single game in the group stage.
Splyce had to fight their way through the Play-Ins to qualify for the Worlds main event. While they are still a strong team, their struggles against the Unicorns of Love have shown some weaknesses in their play. How well they perform will depend a lot on their star bottom lane carry Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup and his performance. Furthermore, we can’t say for sure how well their rookie mid-laner Marek “Humanoid” Brázda can handle the pressure of the international stage. I do still believe Splyce will make it through, but it won’t be as easy as some might think.
GAM Esports (formerly GIGABYTE Marines) made a name for themselves back in 2016, where they performed exceptionally at MSI. They also played well at Worlds that year, nearly making it out of groups. After that, their roster fell apart as players moved to other regions. However, their roster came back together in the break between summer and spring 2019. With Đỗ “Levi” Duy Khánh and Nguyễn “Slay” Ngọc Hùng back on board, GAM will be a tough, unpredictable opponent to beat. That is why I believe they will give Splyce a run for their money.
It’s sad to see how the Taiwanese region fell from League of Legends World champions to bottom of their group level in just a few years. After most domestic talent left for higher-paying regions, the LMS became one of the weakest regions at Worlds. Even though J Team are the strongest team from the region, I just don’t see them winning a game in this relatively tough group.
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Vince Koyle is an esports writer, tech nerd and future CompSci student. He often likes to compare traditional sports to esports, showing his love for both kinds. Also tends to sometimes try too hard with explaining what esports is and how it isn’t any different than traditional sports. He mainly covers the League of Legends scene, with an emphasis on European and Asian leagues.