The eight playoff teams at the League of Legends World Championship are known. And despite some exciting matches and the occasional single game upset, the eight are precisely the octet we expected at the start of the stage.
Still, there were enough ripples along the way to suggest the eventual winners may no longer be a foregone conclusion. Let’s recap.
Group B results
In our last article, we broke down the three-way tiebreaker in Group B. At the start of the second round of group games, Longzhu Gaming led the group with a 3-0 record, and they wrapped up the top seed to finish undefeated.
The real drama unfolded in the race for the second spot. To force a three-way playoff, Fnatic needed to win their two games against Immortals and GIGABYTE Marines. Then, GIGABYTE needed to beat Immortals in their game and despite the reverse results happening in the first week of games, that is precisely what happened.
In the opening tiebreaker, Fnatic played a flat and uninspired Immortals and took the victory to progress into the final. They then defeated GIGABYTE to become the first team ever to start 0-3 in the World Championship Group Stage and still make it into the quarterfinals.
Group C results
Group C began with two strong favorites in Royal Never Give Up and Samsung Galaxy. Despite a small hiccup along the way, the two favorites made it out of the group relatively unscathed.
Royal Never Give Up qualified as the top seeds but only after they were shocked in the opening game of the day by G2 Esports. That potentially opened the door for Samsung Galaxy, who took advantage, winning both their games against G2 Esports and Fenerbahce. Royal Never Give Up beating Fenerbahce (who finished 0-6) set up an intriguing battle between the Chinese and Korean frontrunners.
With both squads at 4-1, Royal Never Give Up claimed the top spot in the group, and Samsung took second. They will be the Korean sides’ biggest threat to a fourth successive world title.
Group D results
Group D proved to be the most evenly contested group. Without a Korean giant and with solid teams from North America, Europe, and China, the group hosted playoff spots genuinely up for grabs.
The opening week saw three teams finish with 2-1 records: Team SoloMid (US), Team WE (China), and Misfits (Europe). Flash Wolves was unable to win a game in the opening round of league fixtures.
This week, Team WE made no mistake, winning all three of their games to claim the top spot in the group and move into the quarterfinals. But what happened behind them will haunt Team SoloMid in particular for a long time to come.
With Team WE winning all three of their games this week, Misfits defeated Flash Wolves in their opener before what appeared to be the crucial matchup between Misfits and Team SoloMid in the fourth game of the group.
Team SoloMid prevailed in this game, with only a game against the group’s bottom team Flash Wolves (who were 0-5 at that point) to come. Yet somehow, despite only needing a win to qualify, Team SoloMid struggled, and Flash Wolves earned their only win of the group stage to ensure another tiebreaker for a No. 2 spot.
In that tiebreaker, Team SoloMid once again capitulated with some awful play early in the game to hand Misfits the last playoff spot.
Group A results
In Group A, current champs SK Telecom T1 were expected to show their class. While the Korean side and three-time World Champions did progress as the top seed, their play was downright poor at times.
They lost the first match of the second round of group games to ahq eSports. And while they won their next two games to claim top spot, they did so unconvincingly.
Cloud9 clinched the second spot after their victory over ahq e-Sports game them three wins. Edward Gaming were the big losers. After a dismal first round, where they lost all three matches, they won twice in the second round and almost defeated SK Telecom T1 in the final game to force a tiebreaker. Despite the push, they fell just short of qualifying.
The quarterfinals draw and betting odds
With the four top and second seeds from each group now known, the draw for the quarterfinals creates an intriguing set of matches.
- Royal Never Give Up vs. Fnatic (Oct. 21)
- SK Telecom T1 vs. Misfits (Oct. 20)
- Team WE vs. Cloud9 (Oct. 22)
- Longzhu Gaming vs. Samsung Galaxy (Oct. 19)
Despite SK Telecom T1’s less-than-stellar performances, they remain the 6/4 favourites to win the title outright with Bet365. Longzhu Gaming are now a shorter price at 13/8, following their perfect Group Stage performance, with Royal Never Give Up’s odds shortening further to 6/1.
Team WE and Samsung Galaxy stand at 14/1, and the latter has much longer odds following an unimpressive group stage. Fnatic are 80/1 alongside Cloud9, with Misfits the 150/1 outsiders to win the trophy.