The biggest League of Legends tournament in the world, the World Championships, gets underway Oct. 1. Twelve teams compete in the Play In: Round 1 to open the tournament.
The dozen teams are divided into four seeded groups of three. Here, they will play a double round-robin format over best-of-one games to decide which two teams will make it through to the Play-In: Round 2 beginning Oct. 6.
The team finishing bottom of each group is eliminated from the tournament.
The four groups for the Play-In: Round 1 are as follows:
- A – Dire Wolves, EDward Gaming, Infinity eSports
- B – Ascension Gaming, G2 Esports, SuperMassive eSports
- C – Cloud9, DetoniatioN FocusMe, KaBuM! e-Sports
- D – G-Rex, Gambit Esports, Kaos Latin Gamers
Due to the nature of how teams are awarded places in the Play-In rounds, there are a number of high-profile teams among those hoping to earn a name for themselves in the same way Fenerbahce 1907 did 12 months ago.
The likes of Cloud9, G2 Esports, Gambit Esports, and EDward Gaming are expected to at least make it through their groups relatively comfortably. Then, for teams like Infinity eSports, SuperMassive eSports, and DetonatioN FocusMe, the tournament offers a superb opportunity to raise their profiles.
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Our Tips for the Play-In: Round 1
I think this is perhaps the most competitive of the four. It contains two very talented teams in Dire Wolves and EDward Gaming, both of which have experience at Worlds. That said, Australia’s Dire Wolves wasn’t great last year. They went out at this stage, losing a crucial tie-break match to Team oNe eSports after they both finished with 1-3 records.
EDward Gaming finished 5th-8th in all of the 2014, 2015, and 2016 World Championships, earning a grand total of $352,800 in the process. Then, last year, they went out in 12th-13th spot, earning $80,440 for their efforts.
That makes South America’s Infinity eSports the massive underdogs in this group, especially after their delayed entry into the tournament. I’d expect EDward Gaming to dominate Group A and qualify undefeated. Then, Dire Wolves should use their experience to come through as the No. 2 seed.
Group B should be dominated by the Madrid-based G2 Esports. They have competed in two prior World Championships, finishing 13-16th in 2016 and then improving to a 9-11th finish in 2017. They are up against two teams making their first appearance in a World Championship in Ascension Gaming and SuperMassive eSports.
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It will be the matches between the two underdogs that will decide who follows G2 Esports through into the Play-In: Round 2. These could be two hotly contested games with little to choose between the Thai and Turkish teams. But after Fenerbahce’s success in this tournament last year, I feel Turkish countrymates SuperMassive eSports may just get the wins they need to progress, though it could take a tie-break to separate the teams.
As I write, Cloud9 have already claimed their first win with a victory over KaBuM! eSports. I feel that will be the first of four wins in this phase of the tournament for the NA LCS team who are regular qualifiers for Worlds. They’ve appeared in every event since 2013 and achieved a 5th-8th finish in four out of their five appearances in the event.
Japan’s DetonatioN FocusMe and the Brazilian KaBuM! will battle it out for second spot. As with Group B, I feel these teams are well matched and that the games between them could well be shared. We’ll see if a tiebreaker is needed.
I feel Group D is the most open of all the groups. Gambit Esports (who last appeared at Worlds back in 2013) and Kaos Latin Gamers (who went out of last year’s tournament at this stage) could really be tested by the Taiwanese team G-Rex.
None of the teams have a massive LoL Worlds pedigree. As such, I think this could be the group that sees the most twists and turns. Each team is capable of beating the others. I do feel G-Rex have the quality to earn one qualifying spot in this group, but I think they’ll finish second to Gambit Esports, who have dominated both the LCL Spring 2018 and LCL Summer 2018 tournaments.