By Petar Vukobrat
October 1, 2019
The 2019 LoL LoL World Championship group draw is finally over, which means we have a ton of information to go over. For those who love theorycrafting, the group draw presents one of the most peculiar and exciting moments of the year. You fully realize that a team’s chance of attaining success hangs in the air and is wholly dependent on how the draw unfolds.
You also know that many teams around the world sit down and eagerly await the result. No one wants to have an easy road through the World Championship, but not having the hardest one isn’t such a bad thing. Not in the slightest. And since the Group Stage is played in the Best of 1 format, having a little bit of extra luck can go a long way.
Once the deed is done, however, everyone starts weighing in. “Team X is doomed,” “this is the group of death,” “North America’s chances LUL,” and so on. It is an endless game of intrigue and everyone can chime in. It is a moment in which nothing and everything can happen; a moment when we can theorize to our heart’s content.
And even when that’s over, we still carry those narratives with us into the Group Stage. We still think of the many ways in which we expect things to unravel. The World Championship is, without a doubt, the most exciting moment of any competitive season, and with the LoL World Championship group draw behind us it’s fair to say that things cannot get any more exciting.
Finally, we will give the three Play-In favorites our benefit of the doubt and assume that they’ll advance into the Group Stage without much trouble. Simply put, there’s no reason to assume otherwise as there’s a huge skill gap between them and the rest of the wildcard teams.
So with that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at all four groups!
To say that Group A is brimming with potential and mechanical prowess would truly be an understatement. If Worlds was just these three teams fighting against each other we would still be entertained beyond our wildest dreams.
The 2019 Mid-Season Invitational champions are entering Worlds as one of the heavy favorites, and with good reason. That said, this is definitely an insanely hard group and getting out as the number one seed will be a tough task.
Despite this, even though G2 revels in a Best of 5 format, they’re also the kings of cheese and are insanely flexible. They’ll have to bring their A game in order to best the likes of Griffin and Cloud9, but the odds are definitely stacked in their favor.
This is an interesting one. Griffin was hyped beyond comprehension over the last two years and there’s a very good reason why. They truly are as insanely talented and aggressive as everyone says. Then again, they’re not synonymous with consistency — as evidenced by their regular season and playoff performances — and they’re also not the best when it comes to playing under pressure.
They’re all young players brimming with potential, but they’re not as experienced as most of their LCK peers. That’s not a knock on them either, but if a team lacks the experience that comes with playing on the biggest of stages, then they’re going to face an uphill battle when the going gets rough.
Being able to remain calm and thrive under pressure is a true hallmark of a champion, and Griffin simply isn’t there yet. That said, seeing how they’ll start off in the Best of 1 format, they’re poised to create a fair bit of chaos. There’s no ready made formula on how to counter their inherently aggressive playstyle, and teams will have to adapt on the fly.
If they play as well as most expect them to, they shouldn’t have too big of a problem in getting out of groups as the second seed.
Predicting how well Cloud9 will do is a pretty thankless endeavour. Historically speaking, they’ve always done better than anyone expected. That said, they’re entering this year’s World Championship without Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen within their ranks and that may or may not be a problem. The Danish mid laner was always able to throw down and compete regardless of opponent, and not having such a stable, consistent performer might affect their chances of attaining success.
It’s also important to note that this wasn’t Cloud9’s best year. Most members of the team underperformed on more than one occasion, and while that’s somewhat understandable seeing how they had a new player in their line-up, we still expected more consistency from the 2018 World Championship semifinalists.
How well they’ll perform this time around is anyone’s guess. They definitely have a puncher’s chance of attaining success, but with G2 Esports and Griffin in the same group, it’s hard giving Cloud9 our full benefit of the doubt. That said, whenever they get on the same page miracles tend to happen, so don’t write them off just yet.
The fourth team in group A cannot be Splyce, Damwon Gaming nor Clutch Gaming. So whoever slots in, they’re predicted to end up fourth almost by default.
As far as “groups of life” go, this is a solid one. Even though we have three champions, there’s only one that deserves your full and undivided attention. FunPlus Phoenix completely obliterated all opposition back in the LPL, and that wasn’t an expected sight, to say the least. To dominate to such a staggering degree in a region filled with mechanical prowess and sheer aggression, is to send a clear and succinct message: we’re one of the best teams in the world.
And the fact that — to the average League fan — they’re mostly complete unknowns only adds fuel to their frightening hype and momentum.
The LPL champions are, without a doubt, a powerhouse defined by mechanical talent, sheer aggression and astounding flexibility. They’re the G2 Esports of China, and are definitely poised to dominate on the World Championship stage.
But much like Griffin, this is their first showing internationally. That one fact could seriously affect their performance, regardless of opponent. Despite this, they’re the clear favorites to reach the Knockout Stage as the number one seed.
To not see the Flash Wolves at Worlds is a strange sight, and it comes mostly out of habit. But even though Taiwan isn’t sending its most recognizable challenger doesn’t mean it won’t be competitive. Not in the slightest. J Team completely annihilated all opposition back on home soil and are surely looking to leave a lasting mark once the Group Stage begins.
J Team is not exactly predicted to upset the established order, but that doesn’t mean they won’t make things at least somewhat competitive.
Formerly known as the Gigabyte Marines. We know what the Vietnamese champions bring to the table and we cannot wait to see it. Their creativity and willingness to skirmish from the moment they step foot on Summoner’s Rift are unrivaled. Now sure, they might not be perfect in execution but they live and die by the proverbial sword.
And that’s why we all love them.
They shouldn’t be able to do much this time around but they could definitely create a fair bit of chaos. In true GAM Esports fashion.
The fourth team in group B will be either Splyce or Damwon Gaming. If it’s Splyce, then they could very well end up second if they manage to contain J Team’s aggression (and survive GAM’s unhinged playstyle). If it’s Damwon Gaming, however, then they’re automatically predicted to end up in the Top 2. They’re deceptively strong and should not be underestimated.
Talk about a competitive group. Yeesh. Three teams, three (former or current) champions, three teams with the biggest fan bases in competitive League. Three teams that are synonymous with the regions they come from.
The LCK giants are as strong as ever, and they’re coming in with a metric ton of hype and momentum. They’ve adapted to the meta, they’re aggressive, in sync and more than capable of going the distance. How high they will eventually climb still remains to be seen, but they’re the favorites to get out the group as the number one seed. They have all the right tools to even win the whole thing, but they’re going to have to fight harder than ever to make that dream a reality.
Europe’s second seed isn’t getting as much respect as it should. Fnatic are, by all means, just slightly worse than G2 Esports. Now, being second-best isn’t exactly the greatest situation in the world, but if you’re right behind a team like G2, then there’s a reason to celebrate. They’re experienced, they’re hungry and they want to prove their worth yet again. The fact that they’re in such a hard group will definitely complicate things, but they’re well equipped for the task at hand. We expect a lot from Fnatic going forward, and they’re definitely a team that thrives under pressure. Fortunately for them, there’s a lot of it this time around.
Next up, we have RNGU, as if SKT T1 and Fnatic weren’t enough. Absolute insanity on all fronts. The LPL titan is still fairly strong, although they’re not exactly entering Worlds with a ton of hype. They’re solid and well-rounded, but their inherent weaknesses are still present, and their tendency to play through their bottom lane is still fairly exploitable at the highest of levels. Now, just because it’s easy to read doesn’t mean it’s easy to beat, but at least there’s a blueprint on how to take them down. Despite this, Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao and the rest of RNGU will try their hardest to leave a mark and get some redemption for last year’s surprising loss to G2 Esports in the quarterfinals.
The fourth team in group C will have to Clutch Gaming, given that they qualify through the Play-In stage. This is an interesting one, to say the least. Clutch Gaming aren’t a versatile team, but they’re so aggressive and willing to fight for every inch of the Summoner’s Rift that you really have to treat them with ultimate respect. When they’re on the same page they’re definitely a tough opponent, but they lack the versatility and flexibility which are necessary to actually beat any of the teams above. That said, they have a puncher’s chance and will definitely try their hardest to upset the status quo.
Finally, we have a fairly solid group to close things out; a group that is perhaps defined by balance.
As the number one seed we have the North American champions. No one really knows how well they’ll do, in true LCS fashion. The odds are definitely stacked in their favor, but whether or not they get the job done is completely up in the air. If anything, they’re at least favored to get out of groups, especially after their surprising performance at the most recent Mid-Season Invitational. That said, if Damwon Gaming slots in as the fourth team, Liquid is going to have to fight tooth and nail to get out.
Taiwan’s second seed. They’re good, but nowhere near as good as the rest of the teams competing at Worlds. They’re predicted to finish fourth, although they could play spoiler and make things a bit more competitive than expected.
The defending champions aren’t exactly entering the tournament as the favorites, but they have more than enough talent within their five-man roster to go for yet another solid run. Just because they were unable to dominate regionally doesn’t mean they don’t have the tools to once again leave a mark on the World Championship stage. They had more than enough time to get on the same page and acclimate to the meta. The sheer amount of talent within their line-up almost guarantees them a spot in the Knockout Stage.
The fourth team in group D will be either Splyce or Damwon Gaming. If it’s Splyce, then they’re probably sentenced to third place. If it’s Damwon, however, then things become a lot more interesting. The meta suits their playstyle (and their players), and even though they lack experience on the international stage they definitely have a chance of attaining success even in such a complicated group.
That’s it for our in-depth look at the 2019 LoL World Championship group draw results! The Play-In Stage begins in a matter of days and you can watch the action unfold on a wide variety of platforms — Twitch, YouTube, as well as the official League website!
Tags: League of Legends