2018 World Championship Group Draws Recap
Arguably the most exciting part between the League of Legends Championship Series regular season and the 2018 World Championship is the Worlds draw show. It doesn’t last long – around thirty minutes – and yet thousands are tuning in.
It’s an insanely tense moment for everyone – fans and players included. Depending on how the group draw develops, a team might have an easy or a tough path in the 2018 World Championship. There are always so-called “groups of life” as well as “groups of death,” and you never really know how things will pan out seeing how it’s all completely random.
Overall, we got four fascinating groups, and each one of them has a storyline just waiting to be told.
So, without any further ado, let’s take a closer look at how the groups panned out. Do note that this isn’t exactly a preview, but rather a short analysis on how things turned out, and what we can expect going forward.
There are still four spots left, and if things go “according to plan” the remaining four teams will be Cloud9 (North America’s third seed), G2 Esports (Europe’s third seed), Edward Gaming (Chinese third seed), and probably G-Rex (LMS third seed) or Gambit (LCL Champions) as the fourth and final team.
2018 World Championship Group A
- Flash Wolves – LMS Champions, 1st Seed
- Afreeca Freecs – LCK Second Seed
- Phong Vũ Buffalo – VCS Champions
So, the first group at Worlds isn’t exactly the one most people are going to want to watch, but it’s an exciting mix of teams regardless. We have the second seed from Korea’s LCK – Afreeca Freecs, and even though they’re entering Worlds thanks to their Championship Point tally throughout the year (second in Spring, third in Summer), they’re still a force to be reckoned with.
Their exhilarating Best of 5 against Griffin just a couple of weeks ago is perhaps one of the best matches you could have seen all year, and they’re entering Worlds with quite a substantial amount of hype. If there is one thing that you can be sure about regarding AFS it is the fact that they’re fearless and they can pull out any off-meta crazy pick that you can think of and make it work.
They also have one of the most hyped and respected top laners in the world right now – Kiin. He leads the LCK in kills and has some of the best laning stats around – and being that dominant in a region where top lane talent aplenty speaks volumes about his skill.
This is their first Worlds appearance, and you have to wonder just how well they’ll adapt on the biggest stage in the world. That said, they have the tools to make waves at the 2018 World Championship for sure.
As the number one seed though, we have Taiwan’s Flash Wolves. The Wolves are pretty much synonymous with the Taiwanese region, as they’ve won six LMS splits in a row. A staggering achievement no matter how you spin it. Historically, they’ve always been underestimated and yet they’ve always come through and played out of their minds – although with relative success.
Many thought that the loss of Karsa would finally make them a bit weaker and thus give other teams in the region a chance – but yet again the Flash Wolves proved everyone wrong. They’re still as strong as they ever were, and their Top 4 finish at this year’s Mid-Season Invitational proved that.
It’s still uncertain who’ll emerge at the top of the group as it could be a lot closer than most people expect.
The Vietnamese champions essentially got in a flexible group, but at the same time, they shouldn’t be able to compete at the highest level with the likes of AFS or Flash Wolves. That said, they could pull off an upset and make absolute chaos when it comes to the group standings.
2018 World Championship Group B
- Royal Never Give Up – LPL Champions, 1st Seed
- Gen.G – LCK 3rd Seed
- Team Vitality – EU LCS 3rd Seed
The second group is arguably the most exciting, and quite literally the most action-packed. We have the number one seed from China’s LPL – Royal Never Give Up that’s entering Worlds as the clear favorites. Especially after dominating at this year’s MSI as well as Rift Rivals. We also have the defending 2017 Worlds champions – Gen.G, formerly known as Samsung Galaxy. Lastly to top it all off the most insane and volatile team from Europe – Team Vitality.
This group will be the most exciting one to watch without a doubt, and it’ll also probably have the most insane, action-packed games you’ll see all month. The reason this group is called the “group of death” is because there’s almost zero chance that another team will be able to take one of the two spots. Especially against RNGU and Gen.G. Team Vitality have the tools to take a game perhaps since it’s a volatile best-of-one format, but in the end, things should pan out as expected.
If Cloud9 manage to win their Play-In matches, they’re probably getting slotted into this group, which would make it even more insane.
In short, if you’re a big fan of high-quality League of Legends, then this is the group you should keep an eye on.
2018 World Championship Group C
- KT Rolster – LPL Champions, 1st Seed
- MAD – LMS, 2nd Seed
- Team Liquid – NA LCS Champions, 1st Seed
After group B’s intensity, this is where things get a bit more subdued, but extremely interesting – especially if you’re an NA fan. So, at the top, we have KT Rolster – the LCK champions, a star-studded roster that was unable to reach anything resembling success even though they had the tools at their disposal the entire time. This year it’s different – they managed to win an LCK title, and they’re entering Worlds with a lot of hype and momentum. While it’s hard giving them the edge over RNGU, they’re at the very least projected as a Top two team.
MAD is coming in as the second LMS seed, but even though they had a somewhat solid Summer Split run, they were clean swept by Flash Wolves, so they’re not exactly entering with any expectations on their shoulders.
Finally, the last team in group C is North America’s Team Liquid. After having two exceptional clean sweeps in both the Spring and Summer Split finals, they’re entering Worlds as NA’s biggest hope. They’re a team filled with grizzled veterans, and they all have international experience. Whether or not they’ll be able to come out and play at their best remains to be seen.
Right now, they’re favored to get out the group, however, depending on the fourth team their path to quarterfinals could become a lot harder.
They can hope to get G2 Esports as they would be slightly favored over the former “Kings of Europe,” however, if China’s Edward Gaming gets in then Liquid’s road to the Knockout Stage becomes exceptionally hard.
2018 World Championship Group D
- Fnatic – EU LCS Champions, 1st Seed
- Invictus Gaming – LPL 2nd Seed
- 100 Thieves – NA LCS 2nd Seed
Lastly, we have group D. All things considered; this is a fun group that’s shouldn’t bring any surprises. We have LPL’s second seed – Invictus Gaming, and even though they failed to best RNGU throughout 2018, they were always incredibly close. You could argue that they’re a Top 3 team or Top 5 at worst. They went 18W-1L in both Spring and Summer, and they’re a force to be reckoned with.
Fnatic is also no slouch – far from it, they’re entering Worlds as the strongest Western team, and they’re fielding a roster that’s filled with veterans. They all not only have international experience, but they’ve also been able to dominate on the biggest of stages so they’re entering with quite a lot of hype and they’re looking to make Europe proud. It’s still hard giving them the benefit of the doubt against Invictus Gaming. However, if there’s a team that could pull off the upset, then it’s Fnatic.
Finally, we have North America’s second seed, 100 Thieves. They secured their ticket to Worlds through championship points, but they failed to leave a mark on home soil throughout 2018. They’re not that strong of a team right now, and even though they have a very solid roster, they shouldn’t be able to achieve much even in such an “open” group.