LoL Worlds Predictions 2020 – China Rises as EU Loses Dominance
Making bold predictions is always tricky business, and that’s especially true for the 2020 LoL World Championship. This is the first of its kind that’ll be played in an NBA-style “bubble system,” with all participating teams duking it out in Shanghai, China. COVID-19 certainly upended things to the extreme, but fortunately, Riot was able to come up with a fairly acceptable solution. With no live audience, this is bound to be a slightly less bombastic experience, but given the current state of the world, it’s quite amazing we’re even getting a World Championship in the first place!
The fact that most of this year’s Worlds will happen in an online-only environment should in no way diminish its hype or entertainment value.
We have a lot of ground to cover, so let’s begin!
Europe Will Regress
A lot of people are high on European teams and there’s a very good reason why that’s the case. After all, they’ve found a ton of success over the last two years and have earned everyone’s trust time and time again.
2020, however, feels a bit different. We’re not talking about anything huge or easily perceptible, but rather about the more nuanced, layered complexities of the region as a whole. G2 Esports and Fnatic — the two perennial “Kings of Europe” — just don’t seem quite as dangerous as they were in the past. G2 is noticeably slower to punish and they haven’t been all that clean either. Granted, they weren’t pushed to their limit as often as everyone had hoped, but their play still left a lot to be desired. Luka “Perkz” Perković, in particular, was far less impactful than when he first decided to transition from mid to bottom lane. Whether that’s because of the many things he had to deal with in his personal life (the biggest of which was well-documented) or for some other reason is less important at this point in time.
G2 Esports was able to dominate so much in 2019 precisely because they had threats in every single lane. Perkz, while still bafflingly talented and dangerous, is nowhere near as consistent as he needs to be for G2 to repeat their success from last year. Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski and Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle also had noticeably lower lows throughout the year as well, which could end up being a problem against the best teams in the world.
Obviously, this is G2 Esports were talking about, and they’re one of the few teams in the world that can pivot and adjust in a blink of an eye. Who knows — maybe they’ve slacked off throughout the year, only to kick things into high gear and blow everyone’s minds now when it matters most?
Fnatic, on the other hand, have been both amazing and downright abysmal throughout the year with exceptional highs and dreadful lows — sometimes all in the span of just a single week. They’ve definitely improved as the season progressed, but without a true hard carry in the mid lane (and with Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau and Zdravets “Hylissang” Iliev Galabov being more coin-flip than ever), Fnatic should not be favored whatsoever, even though they’ve been slotted into a somewhat favorable group. They still have lots to prove, and the odds are definitely not on their side — especially not if they end up making the same mistakes they’ve made throughout Summer Split.
With the LPL sending four talented teams and DAMWON looking like a bona fide LCK giant, LEC teams will face an uphill battle from the very start. Heck, maybe that’s even an understatement.
North America Will Leave a Mark
Wait — put your pitchforks down! There’s an explanation coming! No one’s saying that NA will win the whole thing. No one’s that naive. Instead, we’re talking about something else entirely here: it legitimately feels like North America might be able to do some damage on the international stage for the first time in a while. “Might” is the key word here. With that in mind, if we consider the historical success of the North American region (or lack thereof, rather), it’s fair to say that any kind of shift towards the positive end of the spectrum would be quite an improvement.
Team SoloMid, FlyQuest, and Team Liquid won’t upset the long-established status quo. They won’t get showered in confetti nor will they take down an LPL giant any time soon (at least not in a Best of 5). They will, however, bring their A game, and if their recent performances are any indication, they actually stand a chance of leaving a mark.
Team SoloMid, in particular, have impressed us in all the right ways. They’re once again at the top of the region and they had to go through thick and thin to reclaim their long-lost throne. No, really — it did not come easy. They came so close on so many occasions throughout the past, but they were never able to get the job done, for a wide variety of reasons. If this were any other team, their spirits would rightfully be crushed.
But one could argue that years of hardships and tremendous failures made TSM into a far more resilient bunch than most expected. Playing for the most recognizable brand in NA — one that’s followed by a fairly toxic fanbase and immense expectations — and not ever getting out of groups does that to you. It hardens your skin. But the most important core of TSM was never broken. It might have bent slightly, but it didn’t break, and that’s the only thing that matters.
Players like Sergen “BrokenBlade” Çelik and Mingyi “Spica” Lu are also playing their hearts out without any evident pressure or burden. They don’t care much for the mistakes made by past TSM iterations.
This fascinating line-up won the LCS even though no one gave them much of a chance. They were considered as a Top 4 team, but not really championship-worthy. But boy did they prove us wrong! And they did so in such emphatic and decisive fashion that it might be possible for them to do the same but this time on the Worlds stage.
Again, temper your expectations, but there is a reason for optimism. Getting out of groups is not only plausible but also within reach, should they perform to the best of their ability.
But they’re not the only ones worth keeping an eye on. FlyQuest, in general, is much stronger than most people give them credit for, but at the same time, they were dealt the worst possible hand. The sheer fact that they’re slotted into group D with Top Esports and DRX means they’re all but locked in third place. That, in short, is quite a depressing result given just how hard this resilient roster fought throughout the year to earn their spot at Worlds. Still, if there was ever a North American team (not called Cloud9) that could pull off an upset, it has to be FlyQuest. Their flexibility, creativity, and sheer grit are mind-blowing, and they’ll surely once again embrace their inherent underdog status and impress on the biggest of stages.
Finally, there’s Team Liquid. Frankly speaking, don’t expect too much. The way their Summer Split run concluded wasn’t particularly impressive, and while they certainly have a stacked coaching staff, it’s hard to imagine this line-up trading blows with the best teams in the world, if only for stylistic reasons. Their avenues towards success are well-known, and if they don’t win on their own terms they don’t have much of a back-up plan.
Still, they’re a very capable bunch when it comes to Best of 1s, so they might pull off an upset or two given that they don’t fumble execution-wise.
Overall, North America didn’t improve all that much (if at all) when compared to previous years, but at least it’s sending two very fascinating teams, each of which will present a different kind of challenge. The current meta is also a solid fit for both Team SoloMid and FlyQuest and if they ignore the odds and put their best foot forward, they might stand a chance of getting a few unexpected wins on the board. That especially holds true for the boys in black and white as their seasoned mid laner has been playing out of his mind lately.
North American fans are still skeptical, and it’s easy to understand why. Still, there’s a reason for a bit of low-key optimism!
China Will Dominate
This is pretty much a no-brainer. Even the most hardcore Western fans go mute after witnessing the best LPL teams play League of Legends. They’re simply on a whole ‘nother level, and by the looks of it, they’re a shoo-in for winning the World Championship for the third year in a row. The way they play, the calculated aggression and picture-perfect execution is something that cannot be found in any other region at the moment.
To the uninitiated, it might seem like absolute chaos, but to the many LPL giants slated to compete, there’s a method to their madness, and they play their best when skillshots are flying everywhere and when the margin for error is non-existent. Well, they do tend to drop games at the most random of times, but once Best of 5s come along, they’re often immaculate.
Needless to say, if you’re after the best and most commanding League, then look no further than Top Esports and JD Gaming. Suning and LGD aren’t quite as strong, but they still have more than enough power and talent to go deep at this year’s Worlds (although LGD’s rough start did raise a couple of eyebrows).
Giving a prediction that the LPL will win it all at the 2020 LoL World Championship is by no means an earth-shattering take. Still, it seems as though China is prime and ready for its most dominant showing yet. And that, in short, is quite frightening if you’re a fan of any other region!
Someone’s Pulling Off an Upset
There are too many dark horses this time around, and that means that an upset is all but guaranteed. Where it’ll come from, however, is anyone’s guess. MAD Lions and Rogue are insanely talented, and while the prediction of most analysts is that they won’t accomplish much at the 2020 World Championship, the teams definitely have all the right tools (i.e. deep champion pools, mechanical prowess, and a boatload of grit) to pull off an upset. The same can be said for FlyQuest along with Papara Supermassive, PSG Talon, and the Unicorns of Love — three teams that are more than worthy of your attention during the Play-In stage.
Will we see a repeat of 2016 back when Albus Nox Luna blew the minds of many with their creative drafts and unrelenting aggression? Probably not, but something unexpected is bound to happen and we can’t wait to see it unfold!
The LCK Might Go Deep
There’s a lot of hype around DAMWON and basically all of it is well-deserved. The LCK champions will almost certainly leave a mark at the World Championship, but how high they’ll soar still remains to be seen. That, in short, is what everyone’s dying to find out. This is the first LCK team in years that actually stands a chance of trading blows with the LPL; if things pan out as expected, we could be in for the most competitive and mind-blowing Worlds yet!
Remember, even having a team ranked near the very top will be an improvement for Korea. The LCK’s fall from grace has been well-documented, and many of us felt that it was only a matter of time before they reclaimed their long-lost throne. Such a thing is still a ways off, but seeing a challenger worthy of mentioning from a region once revered for its unparalleled strength is definitely a step in the right direction.
By the time you’re reading this, the Play-In stage has already begun. Go to Riot’s official website to see when your favorite teams are scheduled to compete and make sure to have enough popcorn prepared!