How the Group Stage is organized
Each of the four groups contains four teams from different qualification zones. This weekend, each team will play the other teams in its group once. Next weekend, the action repeats to decide the stage’s results.
At that point, all teams will have played six matches in the group, and the top two teams in each group will progress into the playoffs. There will be a tiebreaker between any two teams that need to be separated (either for the top or second spot in a group).
Groups and fixtures
Each of the groups, together with the fixtures for this weekend, are outlined below:
- EDward Gaming
- SK Telecom T1
- Ahq e-Sports Club
Oct. 5 fixtures – SK Telecom T1 vs. Cloud9, EDward Gaming vs. ahq e-Sports Club
Oct. 6 fixtures – ahq e-Sports Club vs. Cloud9, EDward Gaming vs. SK Telecom T1
Oct. 7 fixtures – SK Telecom T1 vs. ahq e-Sports Club, Cloud9 vs. EDward Gaming
Group A looks very much like being a question of which team will finish behind SK Telecom T1. The Korean team are the favourites to win the event for the fourth time.
Assuming SK Telecom T1 get off to a flying start here, I’d expect EDward Gaming to be pushing them hard. The Chinese teams have made real progress in the Premier events in recent years, and I predict them to edge out Cloud9 in this first week. However, Cloud9’s sharpness from taking part in the Play-In may serve them well in a tough group.
- Longzhu Gaming
- GIGABYTE Marines
Oct. 5 fixtures – Longzhu Gaming vs. Immortals, Fnatic vs. GIGABYTE
Oct. 6 fixtures – Immortals vs. Fnatic vs. Longzhu Gaming vs. GIGABYTE
Oct. 8 fixtures – GIGABYTE vs. Immortals, Fnatic vs. Longzhu Gaming
I think Longzhu Gaming should come through this first week with three wins and the top spot in the bag. The Korean side were the top qualifying team in their section, and this is not the strongest group of the tournament.
It is more difficult making a case for who will be second. Fnatic have had some Play-In games to warm up, but EU teams have struggled at the Worlds in recent years. Immortals have had a few issues, but I think it will be between them and GIGABYTE Marines for second spot. That said, it would not surprise me if these three teams all win one game against each other and lose their matchup with Longzhu. That would make for a very interesting second set of group games next weekend.
- Samsung Galaxy
- Royal Never Give Up
- G2 Esports
- 1907 Fenerbahce
Oct. 5 fixtures – Royal Never Give Up vs. Fenerbahce, G2 Esports vs. Samsung Galaxy
Oct. 7 fixtures – G2 Esports vs. Fenerbahce, Samsung Galaxy vs. Royal Never Give Up
Oct. 8 fixtures – Fenerbahce vs. Samsung Galaxy, Royal Never Give Up vs. G2 Esports
Group C is likely to be a close one between Royal Never Give Up and G2 Esports for the second spot behind Samsung Galaxy. The Korean team has won Worlds before and ought to land atop the group.
With Fenerbahce likely to lose all their games (they are just not yet at the level of these opponents), the two matches between Royal Never Give Up and G2 Esports will likely decide who claims that vital second spot. My money would be on the Chinese team Royal Never Give Up just edging it.
- Flash Wolves
- Team SoloMid
- Team WE
Oct. 6 fixtures – Flash Wolves vs. Team SoloMid, Team WE vs. Misfits
Oct. 7 fixtures – Team SoloMid vs. Team WE, Flash Wolves vs. Misfits
Oct. 8 fixtures – Team WE vs. Flash Wolves, Misfits vs. Team SoloMid
Group D looks to be the most evenly contested group. All four teams will feel they stand a chance of qualifying. I think the China’s Team WE are arguably the strongest, just ahead of Flash Wolves and TeamSoloMid. Misfits is a slight fourth.
However, I could see a few twists before the final places are confirmed. It would not surprise me if a tiebreaker was needed for a winner or runner-up. I think Team WE will get through, and Team SoloMid will just scrape through with them.
Group Stage betting
Bet365 is offering a number of betting markets on this stage, including on group winners and runners-up. There’s also the chance to bet on each of the Group Stage matches in the Match Winner 2-Way market, as well as In Play betting available for all the Group Stage games.