League of Legends Worlds 2019 Group Stage comes to a close and Worlds quarterfinals are here. This past week was full of exciting matches and surprising outcomes. The top eight teams who will battle it out in playoffs have finally been decided.
From Group A, Griffin came from behind to overtake G2 Esports as the top seed. G2 beat Griffin in their first meeting, but in the final game of the group, Griffin hit them right back. In the ensuing tiebreaker, Griffin destroyed G2. The Korean squad takes first seed with only one loss, while G2 settles for second.
As for Cloud9 and Hong Kong Attitude, both teams performed to fans’ expectations. HKA couldn’t avoid the 0-6 while C9 only managed to beat the Chinese LMS squad for a 2-4 finish. Unfortunately for C9, this is the first year since 2015 that they failed to make it out of groups.
Group B held the biggest surprise of Group Stage. Europe’s third seed Splyce qualified behind FunPlus Phoenix. FPX, hailed as the most mechanically gifted team in the world, struggled quite a bit, dropping games to J Team and Splyce. However, they got back on track by clinching the top spot after a tiebreaker victory.
Another surprise was the lackluster performance of GAM Esports, the Vietnamese squad that famously performed well at past World Championships. Their 1-5 finish doesn’t bode well for the future of Vietnam’s bonus seed at Worlds. Also from the LMS, J Team performed admirably, but their 3-3 record was just outside the requirement to advance.
SK Telecom T1
This year’s group of death was spectacular to watch. SK Telecom T1 took the top seed while Fnatic edged out Royal Never Give Up in a do-or-die final match for the second seed. For SKT who failed to qualify for Worlds last year, a 5-1 return shows that this new roster is here to compete. After a rough start, last year’s runner-up in Fnatic barely made the cut by going undefeated in their final three games.
With Royal Never Give Up’s final loss to Fnatic, they will be exiting Worlds early. This is their first World Championship where they haven’t made it out of groups.
Group C wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Clutch Gaming. Despite being the first NA team to go 0-6 at Worlds, CG put up good games and could have taken wins in a different group.
Group D played out nearly identically to Group C. DAMWON Gaming earned first seed after a 5-1 performance while Invictus Gaming won their elimination match against Team Liquid to take the final quarterfinals spot. DAMWON come into quarterfinals looking the strongest they have ever been. As the defending world champions, IG also gets the chance to defend their crown.
With Team Liquid’s elimination, for the first time since 2015, no North American team advances to Worlds quarterfinals. Doublelift now has three wins and failed to get out of groups for the past four years. As for ahq e-Sports Club, they are now the fourth LMS team to go 0-6 at Worlds. Hopefully, the upcoming LMS/LST merger can help the region become more competitive internationally.
For the first time since 2016, every Korean team took the first seed in their respective groups. Europe also comes in stronger than expected, with every one of their teams earning a second seed in quarterfinals. China takes the final two spots, making for a three-region bracket. This World Championship also features the most 0-6 teams ever at three teams losing every game.
The quarterfinals draw was held after the Group Stage concluded. On October 26, Griffin faces off against Invictus Gaming and FunPlus Phoenix challenges Fnatic. The next day on October 27, SK Telecom T1 battles Splyce and DAMWON Gaming plays G2 Esports.
The Griffin versus IG matchup starts the quarterfinals with a stylistic clash. Griffin has been a much more controlled team as of late, but IG’s playmakers could spell trouble. FPX versus Fnatic will go either way with FPX’s shaky form thus far. The final match of DAMWON versus G2 looks exciting, as both teams look to be of relatively equal skill level.
The next page of the 2019 World Championship story will be written in a week’s time. Be sure to stay updated for all the exciting League of Legends to come.
Written by Zakaria Almughrabi
Featured image by Riot Games