Each year, the Knockout Stage of the League of Legends World Championship is when it starts to truly matter. Bad drafts, 20-minute stomps, or wildcard region upsets from the past don’t matter anymore. It’s all about who can best adapt throughout the series and deliver the greatest performance. A defeat in the group stage isn’t always the end of the line. A defeat in the quarterfinals is. With all matchups finally drawn, let’s see what this year’s Worlds quarterfinals have in store!
Prediction: Griffin 3 – 2 Invictus Gaming
The LCK’s third seed faces off against the reigning world champions in this matchup. While one might say this is the reason Invictus are the favorites in this matchup, it is no longer the case. The team struggled throughout the regular season and still hasn’t gotten back to its old form yet. Yu “JackeyLove” Wen-Bo’s performance simply hasn’t been on par with that of his teammates. On the other hand, Griffin is coming out of the group stages swinging. With strong laners as well as team play, I can clearly see them exploiting Invictus Gaming’s weak link the way they have done in the past. Make the jungler camp bottom lane while other lanes stay even and eventually roll over iG. Really, it’s that simple. However, I still see Invictus Gaming fighting back hard, hence the 3-2 prediction for this series.
Prediction: SK Telecom T1 3 – 0 Splyce
I’m not going to waste your time on this prediction. SK Telecom T1 have looked monstrous in the group stage, and unfortunately, we can’t say the same for Splyce. Struggling in a relatively easy group, Europe’s third seed just doesn’t have the horsepower to beat the likes of SKT. The South Koreans are better in every single role and there’s just no denying that. While I don’t doubt Splyce will put up a fight, I don’t think this series will see more than three games.
Prediction: Fnatic 3 – 2 FunPlus Phoenix
FunPlus Phoenix undoubtedly deserves this year’s “dade award,” especially if they lose in the Worlds quarters. I know it’s usually given to a player, but FunPlus Phoenix has so far been such a letdown that it fits them perfectly. Having a hard time in a group that should have been easy for them, the only shining light was their mid laner Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang.
While this series is extremely difficult to predict, I have to give it to Fnatic. Their second week of groups was stellar and I even dare to say they outclass FunPlus Phoenix in all but one position. And even there, I can confidentially say Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek can hold his own against Doinb. However, FunPlus Phoenix shouldn’t be underestimated. This will be a close fight, but Fnatic’s lane superiority, along with home turf advantage, gives them the edge in this matchup.
Prediction: G2 Esports 3 – 2 DAMWON Gaming
The European kings are certainly favored in this Worlds matchup. However, DAMWON should be given more credit than they currently get. They were the best team in their Worlds group, only losing a single game to Invictus Gaming in the group stages. What is more, although G2 Esports did have a phenomenal season behind them, their last two defeats to Griffin have revealed some weaknesses in their play.
Exposing Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski seemed to work for them, so why wouldn’t Griffin do the same? Well, at least compared to their encounters with Griffin, DAMWON doesn’t have laners that could match G2’s laners. While Griffin’s players could hold lanes on their own, Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu will have to focus on his lanes much more. I also believe G2 Esports’ bottom lane is far superior to that of DAMWON, creating another small, yet significant advantage. Add a home turf advantage to it and you have yourself a G2 Esports victory in five close games.
Do you agree with our predictions? Let us know in the comment below!
The League of Legends World Championship Knockout sStage starts Oct. 27. Catch the action live on Twitch.
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