The group stages for Worlds 2020 have been finalized after Unicorns of Love and LGD Gaming routed their way through the knockout stages.
LGD Gaming struggled throughout the play-in group stage, but two consecutive clean sweeps have given them much needed confidence as they head into a stacked Group C containing the likes of Fnatic, TSM, and Gen.G.
Unicorns of Love looked promising in their round-robin series, and made short work of SuperMassive Esports who were coming of a monumental upset after taking out Europe’s fourth seed MAD Lions.
In this recap, we will take a look at the most telling moments of the Worlds 2020 play-in stage, and what those highlights mean for the future.
A tournament of upsets?
If the League of Legends 2020 World Championship has taught us anything so far, it’s that regional teams across the world have vastly improved.
MAD Lions was a team that, alongside Team Liquid, was pegged to walk out of its play-in group with relative ease. The LEC’s fourth seed was eliminated early, as SuperMassive Esports shocked the world and delivered an impressive performance over a nail-biting five-game series. For the first time in Worlds history we witnessed a TCL team eliminate a team from one of League’s major regions.
SuperMassive’s accomplishment on the World’s stage was however short-lived. Although players like KaKAO and Armut made an impact in their series against MAD Lions through KaKAO’s repeated ganking of the top lane, the same strategy could not be employed against Unicorns of Love. The CIS champion proved to be too powerful to overcome individually across all three lanes.
Gadget was the standout player for Unicorns, with his KDA regularly being higher than that of his support and jungler throughout the majority of their series against SuperMassive. His versatility in the bot lane was seen as a breath of fresh air, as the 21-year-old Belarusian found success on Ziggs, Twitch, and Jhin throughout the series with his flexible playstyle.
When it comes to the team’s chances in Group D, UOL has the capacity to compete against FlyQuest and possibly even give DRX a run for its money.
LGD’s consistent inconsistency
LGD Gaming gave their fans a scare in the early group stages as they dropped games to Unicorns of Love, PSG Talon, and Rainbow7, but finally managed to steer the ship in the right direction during their knockout games. While the team’s dominant 3-0 performances did well to boost the stock of certain veteran players that came under fire (Peanut and Kramer), LGD will have their work cut out for them as they try to find a way out of the group of death.
Although LGD has its fair share of weaknesses, their mid lane 2v2 jungle synergy did receive praise for the way they were able to dispatch their OPL and LLA opponents. In order to get ahead during the rest of the tournament, both LGD’s Peanut and Xiye will need to be at their best in order to overcome the likes of TSM’s Bjergsen and Spica, Fnatic’s Nemesis and Selfmade, and especially Gen.G’s Bdd and Clid in their head-to-head matchups.
Across the rest of the Group Stage teams, PSG Talon showed immense heart in their play-in games, overcoming the odds and achieving first place despite its roster changes. Talon’s victory has landed them a spot in Group B with the likes of JD Gaming and DAMWON Gaming, which leaves their hope of escaping groups rather dim.
Team Liquid on the other hand has a chance to overcome doubters and give North America a fighting chance at this year’s World Championship. The team dominated its way through the play-ins, dropping only one game to INTZ.
Liquid’s chances of survival in the group stage will depend solely on their performance against all other teams not named G2 Esports, as the reigning European champions look to make quick work of Group A in preparation for their own Worlds title run.