There are only a couple of days separating us from one of the most anticipated and prestigious tournaments in the eSports world, and that is League of Legends World Championship 2019. There, we will get to witness the elite 16 LoL teams setting their foot in the Summoner’s Rift where they will battle it out to determine which team deserves to be crowned as the 2019 World Champions.
The play-in stage came to a close on Tuesday, October 8 with the final draw, which revealed the seeding of 16 teams into four groups that will participate at the Worlds 2019. As revealed by Bae “Bang” Jun-sik, who conducted the draw, the Worlds group will look as follows:
Group A: G2 Esports, Griffin, Cloud9, Hong Kong Attitude
Group B: FunPlus Phoenix, J Team, GAM Esports, Splyce
Group C: SK Telecom T1, Fnatic, Royal Never Give Up, Clutch Gaming
Group D: Team Liquid, ahq e-Sports Club, Invictus Gaming, DAMWON
The presented 16 teams will begin their quest to earn the right to sit on the LoL throne this Saturday, October 12, with the opening fixtures of the group stage, which will be played at Vetri Music Hall in Berlin, Germany and conclude on Tuesday, October 15 at the same venue.
Teams will compete in four groups featuring a double Round Robin format, with all matches played in best-of-one (Bo1) series. Top two teams from each group will advance into the knockout stage, whereas the bottom two teams suffer immediate elimination from the tournament.
The Knockout stages will feature eight teams who will duke it out in quarter-finals between October 25-27 and semi-finals between November 2-3 at Palacio Vistalegre in Madrid Spain. The Grand Finals, however, will move to the Accorhotels Arena in France, Paris on November 10, 2019. All fixtures in the playoffs will be played in best-of-three (Bo3) series, with the sole exception being the Grand Finals where the traditional best-of-five (Bo5) series will be used to determine which team will be crowned the World Champions.
With that, we have covered the basics of Worlds 2019, meaning the only thing remaining for us to look at is the 16 participating teams, their strengths, weaknesses, and ultimately their chances to triumph and lift the Summoner's Cup.
As we dive into all 16 participating teams, we first have to look at the teams who fall into category of huge underdogs. While all strong teams in their own regard, there is a reason to believe the following teams for one reason or another do not stack up with the world's' elite.
Those teams are ahq e-Sports club ($301), Clutch Gaming ($251), Hong Kong Attitude ($251), GAM Esports ($151), Cloud9 ($126) and J Team ($101).
Before we move on, however, we have to address a few teams and their chances to leave a mark in Berlin. Hong Kong Attitude and Cloud9 have found themselves in a very tough group, with Griffin and G2 Esports, where their chances to advance are slim to say the least. That being said, C9 are a team many tend to sleep on. While their chances to qualify from the group are very small, seeing how they have to derail one of the two favourites, we can see C9 producing an upset win, especially in Bo1 scenario. Another team that deserves our attention is GAM Esports, who will compete with FunPlus Phoenix, J Team and Splyce in group B. They might not be a favourite to win the championship, however, GAM can be extremely unpredictable with their fast-paced and aggressive playstyle, which could turn them into a huge nuisance for all three teams involved in group B. As far as ahq e-Sports club and Clutch gaming are concerned, they have both landed in a group which won't be too kind to them.
Moving up the power rankings, we have Splyce ($51), Team Liquid ($24), Fnatic ($21), DAMWON Gaming ($11), Griffin ($10) and Royal Never Give Up ($6.00).
Fnatic and RNG have both landed in group C with SKT T1 and Clutch, meaning only one of them will get to advance into the knockout stage. Here we assume that SKT T1 will not drop the ball and finish below top two. When we put the two sides side by side, we have to side with Fnatic who are not only the stronger team in our eyes, but potentially a team that can give some of the top favourites a run for their money.
As far as Liquid and Splyce are concerned, they are solid teams, however, we have some concerns about Splyce's struggles in play-ins and overall consistency, or better yet, the lack of it in Team Liquid and their international appearances, which are both reasons that make us believe Team Liquid nor Splyce have what it takes to make it deep here. DAMWON are a team who are a huge enigma to everyone and especially to us. An incredibly gifted team, filled with young promising players, yet they seem like they are always playing with only 1/5 of their strength. There is no way of knowing whether they will shift into a higher gear and crush everyone, or not, meaning their Worlds campaign can really go either way. Last but not least, we have Griffin, who can make it very far. The only thing that could and most likely will hold them back is the lack of experience of playing on the big stage.
When it comes to the four favourites, we have got the reigning champions InvictusGaming ($8.00), European giants G2 Esports ($6.00), the dangerous and talented FunPlusPhoenix ($5.00) and the most successful LoL team in history, SK Telecom T1 ($4.00).
There is nothing to say that has not already been said about SKT T1, who will look to win their fourth Worlds title this November. And while they had their ups and downs this season, the Korean powerhouse remains one of the most respected teams in the LoL community, and for all the right reasons. They boast with incredibly gifted individuals, who, if they get into a winning rhythm can become nearly unstoppable. Talking about gifted individuals, we have got Invictus Gaming, who will look to claim the second Worlds title in a row, and while they failed to look too dominant this season, Invictus are still a team that can impress and will not shy away from doing so. FunPlus Phoenix, in our eyes, deserve to be ranked as the second favourite to claim the title due to their immense quality, aggressive playstyle and overall experience they bring to the table. This will be their first appearance at Worlds, however that should not trick anyone in thinking they are anything less that one of the strongest teams at the tournament. Last but not least, we have to address G2 Esports, who have a lot to prove on the international stage. After their impressive MSI 2019 run, this will be one last test for the European juggernauts who carry the burden of bringing the Summoner's cup back to the "Western world".
When it comes to picking out a winner, we either have to side with SKT T1 or G2. DAMWON are in our eyes a dark horse that could shock everyone, however, there are a lot of question marks surrounding this team. While we talk about the teams we don't know exactly what we can get from we have to mention G2. They are a team that come off as a squad bursting with potential and quality, yet they fail to use everything in their arsenal in LEC, where G2 look like they are having fun and not taking the matches seriously. In other words, G2 are so good, no one really knows how good they are. For that reason, we will side with the established and experienced SKT T1 to triumph on the Old Continent once more and cement themselves as the most successful team in the history of League of Legends.
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