With the conclusion of the Play-In stage, the final 16 teams playing in the League of Legends Worlds 2019 Group Stage are decided.
The qualified teams joining the fray are Clutch Gaming from the LCS, DAMWON Gaming from the LCK, Hong Kong Attitude from the LMS, and Splyce from the LEC.
While no wildcard regions made it out of Play-Ins this year, Unicorns of Love brought Splyce to a close game five before meeting the end of their run. Besides that, each major region experienced few problems solidifying their Group Stage spots.
The Group Draw took place shortly after Play-Ins concluded. Teams are now ready to duke it out between each other to take home the Summoners Cup.
- G2 Esports – LEC
- Griffin – LCK
- Cloud 9 – LCS
- Hong Kong Attitude – LMS
Group A barely changed after the drawing of Hong Kong Attitude. G2 and Griffin are still the likely favorites to advance. Cloud 9, as always, will be the potential upset threat.
G2 looked strong all year, even winning the Mid-Season Invitational. The meta also shifts to include mages in bot lane, amping up G2 Perkz’s array of champions to use.
Griffin recently lost their head coach after a dispute with management, so they will look shakier now in the back half of LCK. Coupled with this being the young squad’s first true international event, it could be a recipe for under-performance.
Cloud 9 managed to take Team Liquid to five games in the LCS finals, showing they have the skills to match with North America’s top seed. Cp’s reputation as international performers definitely bolsters their confidence going into the group.
Hong Kong Attitude comes in as a long shot to take any games at all. They dropped games here and there in Play-Ins. If playing to their full potential, they can put up a surprise fight against their unprepared group-mates.
- FunPlus Phoenix – LPL
- J Team – LMS
- GAM Esports – VCS
- Splyce – LEC
Group B comes in as the most controversial group at the event. Many are calling it one of the weakest, if not the weakest group in World’s history. FPX are the easy favorites to take the group, possibly in 6-0 fashion. The second seed is fairly wide open.
J Team are the strongest team from the weakest major region, so the expectations for them are up in the air. While they could be good enough to get out of the group comfortably, they are likely going to be fighting tooth and nail for it.
GAM Esports back in at the top seed for Vietnam that they earned for the region themselves. This year, they have their star jungler Levi back after his stints in North America and China. GAM have always been an unpredictable team, which could help them rise above their competition and advance.
Splyce’s drawing into the group comes as a controversy in itself. They barely came out of Play-ins after a close match against UoL, yet they have the easiest group of the lot. Fnatic also beat them in the EU seeding match, yet have a much harder group.
Regardless, Splyce’s performance hasn’t inspired much confidence thus far, but they could hit their stride and scrape by.
- SK Telecom T1 – LCK
- Fnatic – LEC
- Royal Never Give Up – LPL
- Clutch Gaming – LCS
Group C has been dubbed this year’s group of death. At first glance, SKT, Fnatic, and RNG all have the potential to win the entire event, let alone get out of groups. SKT are back after missing last year’s Worlds.
With a revamped roster ready to contest for their fourth world championship, SKT have come ready to brawl.
Fnatic have been on par with G2 for the back half of the year, showing themselves to be a real force to be reckoned with. While they do have some holes that G2 doesn’t, Fnatic are still a strong team that could get out of groups and match their second-place performance at Worlds 2018.
RNG have faltered slightly compared to their last year. Domestically, they don’t look as strong as we’re used to seeing. Even so, Uzi is still a surefire win condition for them to play off of and Ming is a top support at the event. If they can enable their bot lane, RNG are still a dangerous team.
Clutch Gaming unfortunately drew the short end of the stick. Despite looking strong in Play-ins, every other team in this group is good enough to not let any games slip against them. It might be dismissive, but avoiding going 0-6 should be their main goal.
- Team Liquid – LCS
- ahq e-Sports Club – LMS
- Invictus Gaming – LPL
- DAMWON Gaming – LCK
Group D’s landscape has changed the most out of any after the Play-ins draw. Team Liquid come in as NA’s top seed with high hopes, but they have many hurdles to overcome. Their second-place finish at MSI behind them, Doublelift and crew are hoping to finally break their Worlds Group Stage curse.
The second seed of ahq are in a tough situation. They are likely the weakest team in the group and are going to have to pull some major upsets to have a chance at advancing. Its not often a second seed has to worry about going 0-6.
Invictus Gaming are back and hoping to defend their title. While they did struggle in the LPL’s summer split, their run through the qualification gauntlet showed glints of their 2018 form. If IG play to their mechanical strengths as a team, they have the chance to outplay any team.
DAMWON are the team that no one wanted to be drawn into their group. They breezed through Play-ins only dropping one game.
Similar to Griffin, DAMWON is a young team with many strengths and playstyles. Any of their players has the possibility of carrying the game. Korean third seeds are nothing to scoff at, as evidenced by SSG’s Worlds win in 2017.
Group Stage begins on Oct 12 at 7:30 a.m. (1:30 p.m. CEST) on Riot’s Twitch Channel. Tune in to find out who will advance to top eight and make their region proud.
Written by Zakaria Almughrabi
Featured image via Riot Games
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