This week marks the start of the 2020 League of Legends World Championship’s main event. The world’s top 16 teams will fight to make it out of the group stage in the top 8 to advance to the quarterfinals. Due to the global pandemic, we have no clue how good each region is because of the cancelling of MSI, so, this Worlds will surely be the most interesting. Will the LPL dominate once again? Will the LCK rise to become champions again? Or will the West finally take the thrown?
For the first time in the LEC history, they were given four spots for Worlds. The four teams sent to the tournament this year: Rogue, MAD Lions, G2, and FNATIC (FNC) fought through the most competitive LEC regular season ever; unsurprisingly, G2 eSports came out on top, and FNC qualified to finals. After MAD Lions’ shocking exit from play-ins, it is unclear whether Europe as a region is lacking or just the MAD Lions are the region’s weak link. Regardless, G2 and FNC have always been known to pull it together when it matters, and both will go in as top contenders to make it out of their respective groups. On the other hand, Rogue got dealt the short end of the stick in the group draw. Advancing to the knockout stage would be a miracle for the organization’s first worlds run.
After the fall of DragonX (DRX), LCK’s new kings in Damwon Gaming (DWG) came to dominate the league; a standout from the typical slow LCK style, DWG, was fast and explosive and took over the game. LCK is coming into this world’s with DWG as a favourite, and arguably 3 of the world’s top 5 midlaners in BDD, Chovy, and Showmaker. Their strength in their mid-jungle 2v2 will allow them to be competitive in their matchups against the LPL, something that the LCS and LEC lack. The other major factor that could win one of these teams a world championship is their bot lanes. Ruler and Life, Deft and Keria, and Ghost and Beryl are among the best bot lanes in the world currently. The biggest weakness of the LCK is in their top laners. Although Nuguri is mechanically one of the best, he often gets solo killed in lane multiple times before carrying and killing everyone. This can be much more heavily punished by top laners like 369 or Zoom rather than Doran or Rascal, who lack the mechanical prowess to deal with Nuguri.
Over the past couple of years, the LPL has risen to become the most dominant region in the world. As the champion of the last 2 worlds, the LPL has created and fostered mechanical gods that are hailed as the best in the world. People like Tian, Rookie, TheShy, Jackeylove, and now new up and coming players such as Kanavi and Knight, all got their starts here. Similar to Europe the LPL also has 4 seeds coming into this tournament: Top Esports, JD Gaming, Suning, and LGD Gaming. To the world’s surprise, the last 2 world champions in Invictus Gaming and FunPlus Phoenix, severely underperformed in both the regular season, playoffs, and regional qualifiers; both did not make it to worlds, IG eliminated in the qualifying match to LGD. LGD’s very shaky play-ins performance gives some hope to the rest of the world it maybe LPL’s year to fall, but it seems as if that was a fluke after they sailed through 2 best of 5s to groups. The gap between the top 2 seeds, JD Gaming and Top Esports, and the bottom 2 seeds, Suning and LGD appears to be quite large with the former being favourites to win the entire thing. The LPL will come into groups with the expectation to send 2 out of their 4 teams out of groups in 1st, and possibly create the first all LPL final.
Although NA may be more well known for being a retirement home for washed-up Korean and European pros than making it out of groups, NA’s hopes are far from gone this world’s. Their chances in group D are slim, but group A and C are looking relatively contestable. Team Liquid had a dominant play-ins stage and is looking relatively strong, but G2 and Suning will still be expected to beat them in Group A. TSM have the best chances at finally carrying NA to a quarterfinal, with Group C being a close battle they are NA’s largest hopes at making it out.
The Minor Regions
The Minor Regions had a massive breakthrough in play-ins, with SuperMassive taking down MAD Lions and LGD faltering in the play-ins group stage. 3 teams in groups, PSG Talon (PSG), Unicorns of Love (UOL), and Machi Esports look to prove that the gap truly is closing and that their home regions aren’t just the random wildcards in groups. Anything but a fourth-place finish in groups would already be a huge improvement.
Group A: “@ me, but this is the G2 group”
This is the year of Claps. Baby Faker, also know as G2 Caps has risen past every midlaner in the West, and looks to finally at his 4th worlds claim his title. After coming 2nd and being so close to the throne 2 years in a row, Caps is hungry to claim his glory once again alongside the rest of G2. Beating the LPL will be a story of revenge, as G2 hasn’t taken down an LPL team since RNG in 2018. Suning will be the only hurdle in front of them.
Who will make it out? It’s very likely to be G2 and Suning, whether G2 has a slight slump like last year against Griffin will be the difference in seeding to quarterfinals. There could be the possibility of upsets from Team Liquid if they are able to perform in their lanes, and if Broxah doesn’t fall behind Jankos’ proactivity, or SofM’s aggressive carry style jungling. Machi Esports will be the dark horse of this group and it won’t be surprising if they don’t manage to pick up a win.
Group B: “Brains, these teams have a lot of them”
Rogue really got the worst of it when it came to the group draw. Drawing 2 of the world’s top 3 teams definitely was not what the organization had in mind for a good group. I don’t think I can imagine a worse draw they could get. Besides from having mechanically gifted players like Showmaker, Nuguri, Kanavi, Hans Sama, and Zoom, the teams in this group also play incredibly smart. Rogue has had the best fundamentals and consistent performance in the LEC, always a team you can count on in best of 1s. But the question is: is their best good enough?
DWG and JDG are pretty safe bets to exit through smoothly. The way both teams play and wait for the perfect opportunity in fights is what sets them apart and is what makes them top contenders to win it all.
Group C: “Clash of the Toxic Fans”
If there’s one thing I learned about the LPL in play-ins, it’s that their fans are arguably even more toxic than TSM and FNC fans, and that says a lot. From twitter threads of hate to montages of players failing, this group’s fans have got a lot of toxicity in them waiting to lash out on their teams. This group has a lot of history between the organizations, and even the players. Boasting the most talented and storied players like Rekkles, Ruler, Peanut, and Doublelift, to rising international rookie junglers Spica and Selfmade, this group will for sure be spicy.
This one’s hard to predict, but who will be victorious in sending their teams to quarters? GenG still looks like the strongest team coming into this group, but this is certainly the closest and most competitive group. LGD doesn’t look like the same LPL monsters they were portrayed as, and it’s not that their player’s individual calibre is low, but they just don’t seem to play like a team. Especially in group stages, skill checking equally good players won’t get LGD out of this group, so they’ll likely be the only LPL seed to not make it out. TSM does have a chance to reverse the memes, and finally send Doublelift to a quarterfinal, the first time since season 2 he will make it out. However, we wouldn’t be surprised to see FNC tank the first week, tie with TSM at 3-3, only for TSM to lose yet another tiebreaker and get eliminated from the tournament.
Note: this Reddit is going to be the most hype ever, where the fans of teams in this group will also be vying for a title of “most toxic fanbase”
Group D: Doomsday for NA
FlyQuest did well this year, we’ll give them that. But this group looks like the end of the road for them. After qualifying to worlds and looking strong in NA, their chances are slim to none in this group. The same unfortunately goes for Unicorns of Love (UOL). They did exceptionally well at play-ins their lack of cohesive team play and reliance on skill checking opponents won’t work against Knight, Chovy, of JackeyLove. For all the UOL and Sea Quest Fans out there, we’re sorry but it just won’t be enough.
Our predictions? Pretty clearly going to be DRX and Top Esports. Although DRX may have faltered at the end of summer, they are still a good team, and considering their group the only challenge will be Top Esports and maybe some odd mage bot lane drafts from UOL. Top Esports might as well just 6-0 this group, they should have no issue getting out.
At this year’s Worlds, anything is possible. And although it may sound cliché, with no crowd to chant TSM or to back the hometown Chinese teams, or any sort of international competition to base predictions off on, we have no idea what will happen. The team that’s the quickest to adapt and stick to their own unique play style that works for them will rise, while those who are too slow will fall. Now it’s time to see who will take over?
Our Pick’em Predictions:
1. G2 Esports
3. Team Liquid
4. Machi Esports
1. JD Gaming
2. Damwon Gaming
4. PSG Talon
1. Top Esports
3. Unicorns of Love
Why don’t you take your try at the Worlds 2020 Pick’em as well? Check out our article on it to get started!