The League of Legends World Championships 2018 final will be between LPL’s Invictus Gaming and the EU LCS’ Fnatic.
There is no doubt both teams fully deserve their places in the best-of-five matchup on Nov. 3. However, Korean LCK teams are conspicuously absent from the final. In an earlier article, we noted the normally powerhouse Korean sides were struggling in the group stage.
Indeed, the first massive shock came when Gen.G, the team that sprung up from the remnants of last year’s World Champions Samsung Galaxy, managed to win just one of their six games in Group B. They were not only eliminated but also finished bottom of their group.
Only KT Rolster, who finished with a 5-1 record in the groups, showed the dominance many have come to expect from Korean teams.
Group Stage final positions
The teams highlighted in bold qualified for the playoffs:
- Afreeca Freecs – 4-2
- G2 Esports – 3-3
- Flash Wolves – 3-3
- Phong Vu Buffalo – 2-4
- Royal Never Give Up – 4-2
- Cloud9 – 4-2
- Team Vitality – 3-3
- G – 1-5
- KT Rolster – 5-1
- EDward Gaming – 4-2
- Team Liquid – 3-3
- MAD Team – 0-6
- Fnatic – 5-1
- Invictus Gaming – 5-1
- 100 Thieves – 2-4
- G-Rex – 0-6
Particularly notable in this year’s Group Stage was that three of the four teams that qualified via the Play-In, made it through into the playoffs (G2 Esports, Cloud9 and EDward Gaming). Only G-Rex failed that hurdle. That was yet another indicator of a large-scale leveling of the playing field.
- Afreeca Freecs 0-3 Cloud9
- Fnatic 3-1 EDward Gaming
- Royal Never Give Up 2-3 G2 Esports
- KT Rolster 2-3 Invictus Gaming
In the results seen above, many early predictions were outright incorrect. The quarterfinal stage produced shock after shock, beginning with G2 Esports’ stunning win over the formidable Chinese outfit Royal Never Give Up, a team tipped by many to go all the way in this year’s competition.
A few hours later, KT Rolster no doubt cursed the fact that Invictus Gaming finished second in their group. The powerful Chinese team came through to win the decider in a superb 3-2 victory.
Korean teams’ misery was completed 24 hours later when Afreeca Freecs, who had struggled somewhat in the group phase, were completely outclassed by Cloud9.
In the other game, EDward Gaming were the slight favorites, but Fnatic, a former World Champion, came through with a superb performance and a 3-1 win to clinch the semifinal spot.
- Cloud9 0-3 Fnatic
- G2 Esports 0-3 Invictus Gaming
The closeness of the quarterfinals was in sharp contrast to the two semifinals. In the first game, G2 Esports had no answer to the skill and strategy employed by Invictus Gaming. The Chinese team raced to an impressive 3-0 win to earn their spot in the final.
That performance was echoed by EU LCS side Fnatic, who made light work of Cloud9 in the second semifinal. They recorded a surprisingly straightforward 3-0 victory to earn that coveted final spot.
Fnatic vs. Invictus Gaming
What is interesting about this final is that both the teams have already met twice in this tournament. Both were drawn into Group D initially. In the first match on Oct. 12, Invictus Gaming claimed the 1-0 win, but in the second group match a few days later, Fnatic secured a 1-0 win.
Those single-map defeats are the only time either team has lost during this tournament, Fnatic dropping just one game and Invictus Gaming just two on their ways through the playoffs.
The bookies have Invictus Gaming as the likely winners. Betway has them as short as 13/20 and is offering a tempting 11/10 on Fnatic to claim their second World Championship title.
Who will win the LoL Worlds 2018?
Who is our tip? I think the price on Invictus Gaming is a little too short as Fnatic are certainly more than capable of getting the win.
However, I think the longer format of the best-of-five will likely suit the Chinese team a little more than the European squad. Invictus have been one of the strong favorites to win this event from the start. Their consistent performances may ultimately see them claim the title.
That said, I am expecting a very close final, and I do feel it may require a fifth and deciding map to determine who becomes the first non-Korean champ since 2012.