The Play-In stage of The Worlds 2019 has concluded and the final 16 teams have finally qualified for playing in the Group Stage.
The Number 1 seeds advancing from the Knockout Stage are Clutch Gaming(LCS), DAMWON Gamin(LCK), Hong Kong Attitude(LMS), and Splyce(LEC). They will be joining the sixteen-team field to fight it out till the end for the Summoners Cup.
Consisting of G2 Esports, Griffin, Cloud9 and Hong Kong Attitude, the group has had little changes since the drawing of Hong Kong attitude. While G2 and Griffin are the crowd favourites set to advance, Cloud9 poses the potential threat of a major upset.
Despite winning the Mid-Season Invitational and having had a strong year in general, G2 appear to be a bit lacking in self-confidence and have vexed the fans with a series of reticent comments.
“After scrimming against Damwon, I’m not as confident” said Jankos, in an interview with Red Bull. This may prove to be troublesome for G2, since Damwon are the third Korean seed and the European squad are grouped with stronger second seed- Griffin.
A recent dispute with the management saw Griffin parting ways with their head coach. This may be a reason behind their erratic performance of late. This also being the young squad’s first true experience of an international event, could result in under-performance.
Cloud9 put up a strong fight against Team Liquid in LCS finals, taking the match to five rounds. They have certainly proven their mettle and have proven to be a tough competition to America’s top team.
Hong Kong Attitude barely managed to secure a spot in the group. Their performance has been erratic at best, dropping games here and there during the Play-ins. They may prove to be the underdogs, however, other teams shouldn’t let their guard down against HKA as the team could put up a surprise fight against their unsuspecting opponents.
Consisting of FunPlus Phoenix(LPL), J Team(LMS), GAM Esports(VCS) and Splyce(LEC), Group B has not inspired confidence amongst fans in the Teams’ capabilities and is being regarded by many to be the weakest amongst all groups.
Funplus Phoenix are the clear favourites to take the group by a huge margin, with 2nd seed being wide open.
J Team have emerged as the strongest from the weakest major region and expectations of them are high. They may get out of the group successfully but will have to fight for it with all they’ve got for it.
GAM Esports have returned to being Vietnam’s top seed. GAM’s unpredictability as a team may help them beat the competition and advance. Their star jungler Levi has returned after his impressive stints in NA and China.
Splyce has had a lack lustre performance so far. They barely managed to come out of Play-ins after a close bout against Unicorns of Love(UOL) and secured a spot in the easiest group.
This is the Group of death in Worlds 2019 group stage. Fnatic, SKT and RNG, all look like they could potentially win the whole event, let alone get out of the groups, while Clutch Gaming has drawn the short end of the stick.
SKT have returned after having missed Worlds 2018, having the biggest point to prove: Could this be the year when SKT reclaim their former glory? They look all set to come back stronger than ever with a completely revamped roster and a combination of new talents and old veterans.
Fnatic are on the same level as G2 (atleast for the first half of the year). They are a formidable team. Despite having a few shortcomings which are absent in G2, they are still a strong favourite to advance out of the groups and repeat the performance which we saw at Worlds 2018.
RNG have had a shaky performance, compared to how they fared in Worlds 2018. They might not be playing at their full potential, however, Uzi is in great condition to help secure the team a spot beyond the play offs and Ming is one of the better supports of the tournament. If they can control the bot lane, RNG will be a force to be reckoned with.
Clutch Gaming appear to be the more vulnerable of the one seeds. They lost to UOL not once, but twice. Winning the first place tiebreaker, they advanced to the group stages after destroying Royal Youth 3-0. CG will need to up their game and avoid goof-ups if they expect to win against the stronger teams of the group.
The teams finding themselves in this group look very promising.
Team Liquid are an obvious crowd favourite and are NA’s top seed. High hopes ride on their performance in the group stage. They still need to overcome a lot of obstacles in their path to World 2019 glory. Doublelift and gang are hopeful of finally breaking their group stage curse once and for all, this time.
AHQ find themselves in a precarious situation. They seem to be the weakest in the group and will need nothing less than their best performance inorder to advance beyond the play offs.
Invictus Gaming, the current defending champions, are in good form and will fight hard to defend their title. After a dismal performance in LPL Summer Split, IG are back in form and their run through qualification gauntlet was reminiscent of their stellar performance in The Worlds 2018. IG need to play to their strengths and also not succumb to the pressure of defending their title if they want to best the other teams this year as well
DAMWON have struck fear in the hearts of their competitors with their dominating performance so far in the tournament. So much so that the other teams dread being drawn into the same group as DAMWON. They cruised the play-ins, having lost just 1 game.
DAMWON, not unlike Griffin, is also a team consisting of young players with a variety of strengths and styles of play. Many of the team members have the capability of carrying the team to victory in a game.
The Group Stage is set to commence on October 12th, 2019 at 07:30am UTC on Riot’s Twitch Channel.