2017 World Championship
The 2017 World Championship will be played out in China.
The event will be played in four cities.
The Play-In and Group Stage will be played in Wuhan at the Sports Center Gymnasium.
Quarterfinals will be played in a Guangzhou at the Guangzhou Gymnasium.
The Semifinals are played in Shanghai at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center.
The Grand Final will be played in Beijing at the Bejing National Stadium also known as the Bird's Nest from the 2008 Summer Olympics.
The World Championship is the most prestigious tournament in League of Legends. In it, the best teams from around the world will face-off to claim the championship title and the lion's share of the prize money.
2017 World Championship Betting Odds
2017 World Championship Betting Tips
Royal Never Give Up (-1.5)
SK Telecom T1
Royal Never Give Up
Royal Never Give Up
Gigabyte Adonis Marines
Gigabyte Adonis Marines
SK Telecom T1
SK Telecom T1
Royal Never Give Up
With the Play-In stage behind us, there are a couple of things that we learned that should impact our predictions for the Group Stage going forward. Regardless of how well teams performed during the regular season or the playoffs, major regions are coming in as the favorites and with good reason.
Teams like Cloud9 and Fnatic looked extremely dominant in their matches against Lyon Gaming and Hong Kong Attitude. Now while that was somewhat expected, these two teams are coming into the group stage warmed up and ready to prove themselves. They should not be counted out and have the potential to do some serious damage.
1907 Fenerbache had the luck of the draw in the end, however they had the skill to back it up, at least so far. While their play-in opponents weren’t of the highest caliber, their achievement shouldn’t be disrespected. Sadly for them, it looks like this is the end of the road as they got placed in the absolute worst group out of all four.
And lastly, Team WE is looking as strong as they ever did, however we have to note the opposition they’ve faced in the Play-In stage as well.
Before going into each group individually, let’s take a short overview of each region that is competing.
As a region, Europe is entering Worlds on a weird, somewhat unstable note. After a phenomenal showing from G2 at this year’s Mid-Season Invitational, Europe was dismantled completely at Rift Rivals. They didn’t just lose, they were outclassed in almost every element of the game. North America had a better grasp on the meta and better execution. It didn’t help that almost every team Europe had was underperforming to a certain degree. G2 needed weeks to get back into shape, Fnatic were looking for an identity after the Rift Rivals debacle and the Unicorns of Love never got back to their 2017 Spring form.
One thing is for sure however - Europe improved as time went by. G2 managed to outclass both H2K and Misfits in the playoffs and Fnatic took their loss against Misfits and improved immensely. The only team left with a question mark is Misfits. They “clicked” in the playoffs, however their hype was shut down after only two weeks after they were dealt a 0:3 loss against G2 eSports in the Finals.
In the end, we cannot realistically gauge how well Europe will perform at the moment. We know that teams like G2 and Fnatic are highly capable, however only time will tell if they will go blow-for-blow against other top regions or crumble under the pressure.
NA is coming into Worlds with a lot of hype. After dismantling Europe at Rift Rivals, North America is sending their three top teams looking for redemption after last year’s debacle.
It is important to note that this isn’t the first time North America looked strong. Last year’s Worlds was a similar case of hype and yet it all fell through. TSM failed to advance out of their hard group with a 3-3 record, CLG failed to advance and was essentially denied a quarterfinal spot by Albus Nox Luna. Cloud9 was the only team that advanced from their group, however they failed to leave an impact on the tournament.
Does NA have a better chance this year? They do, but perhaps mainly due to easier groups draws. TSM are favorites in group D and should at the very least finish second and Immortals have very strong chances to end second as well behind only Longzhu Gaming.
That leaves us with Cloud9. While they had a bit of trouble as the regular season came to a close, they looked like the most dominant team in the Play-In stage and are surely looking to take down EDG and advance to the quarters as well.
To the outside eye, China might seem like an enigmatic region. They have a different playstyle, and they’re abiding by it regardless of the opponent. They don’t care what others play, they have their own “chaotic”, skirmish-heavy style.
They make a chaotic playstyle look good and interesting, however that is mainly due to their amount of highly talented, mechanically sound players.
China as a region made incredible strides this year as a region - the teams started working together when facing a bigger, more dangerous opponent. Now while this might seem ignorable, it is by no means so. LPL coaches worked together, shared strategies and thoughts on the meta at this year’s Rift Rivals, and they’re doing it again for Worlds. Many players who aren’t even competing are helping out fellow players in their bootcamps in order to better their chances of taking Korea down.
However in a competitive sense, China had little to no international success ever since their win at the 2015 Mid-Season Invitational, when EDG managed to best SKT T1 in the Finals. While they did manage to dominate at this year’s innaugural Rift Rivals, it is a tournament that holds little competitive integrity so you should take their victory with a grain of salt.
Many people are overrating China, and many are underrating them as well. However they are the deadliest in a Best of 1 format where their hyper-aggressive playstyle manages to shine the brightest.
Much like every year prior, Korea is entering the World Championship as the clear cut favorites. Almost every analyst will tell you that the three top teams competing are Korean ones - and with good reason. They are the most sound, most practiced, best to adapt in a Best of series and they have (arguable in some cases) the best players (and coaches) in the world.
This year has been a bit surprising however as we saw a very mild fall of SKT and the meteoric rise of Longzhu Gaming. Bdd became the most talked midlaner as he managed to have consistent high DPS numbers along with the most insane KDAs, Gorilla and Pray performed at the highest possible level and Khan, a top laner not a lot of people talked about became one of the strongest and flashiest of players in his region.
While SKT did finish second, they should by no means be ignored. They have the tools and the determination to win their third Worlds trophy in a row, which is exactly what makes this tournament so exciting.
Lastly, we have Samsung Galaxy who didn’t have the most consistent regular season, but managed to make up for it in the regional qualifier where they dismantled a hyped up KT Rolster. Out of all the LCK divinity, they look like the most mortal ones. While that is a strong statement, they are rightfully ranked as the third strongest team competing.
In the end, this year’s main storyline is the same as it always was. Does any other region stand a chance? Is the gap closing, or will this just be another Korea vs. Korea final?
LMS and GPL
The only two regions with less than three representatives. LMS is entering Worlds with their two staple teams - ahq e-Sports and Flash Wolves, while GPL only has a single representative - Gigabyte Marines.
The Marines had a phenomenal run at this year’s Mid-Season Invitational, where they managed to not only dominate in the Play-In stage but also take games off of every region expect Korea. Furthermore, their high level play and numerous upsets meant that not only do they get a direct seeding into Worlds group stage, but also deny North America their number one seed. While they didn’t advance into Top 4 at MSI, they showed the world some insane, high quality play.
Their play was a revelation to everyone watching. It seemed like chaos but it was not. They had a very specific playstyle, a hyper-aggressive one, and they knew what they were doing in every stage of the game. Packed with insane individual skill as well, they went toe-to-toe with some of the best teams in the world. The jungle/mid duo of Levi and Optimus especially hardcarried whenever possible.
Now, the Gigabyte Marines we will see at Worlds is not the same roster. Archie, who was once their support is now their top laner, and they have a new bottom lane. They didn’t look that good at Rift Rivals, so it will be tough assesing their skill level this time around. Luckily for them, they got slotted in one of the more open groups - group B. While they don’t stand a chance against Longzhu, the second spot is up in the air. They have “X” factor and no one really knows what they will bring out.
LMS on the other hand is a repeat of last year’s Worlds. Flash Wolves as the number one seed, and ahq e-Sports as the second. Much like GPL, we cannot realistically gauge their level right now as Flash Wolves had really high highs and awful lows. They looked incredible at this year’s IEM Katowice, but failed to play up to their level at the Mid-Season Invitational. They don’t have a lot of competition on home soil, which is an important factor going into Worlds, but they’re also prone to scrim every LPL team almost exclusively so that’s a big advantage. They’re a team full of experienced players, they’ve played on the biggest stages and it’s only a matter of which Flash Wolves show up on a given day.
In general, people aren’t expecting a lot out of these regions this time around, however they have the ability to upset - and probably will.
It is also important to note that essentially every region had a lot of turmoil at the top. There wasn’t a clear cut winner expect for NA and LCK. EDG won a close series against RNG however many are predicting Team WE as the strongest LPL team, while G2 dominated in the playoffs however they had a very inconsistent regular season.
With that said, let’s take a closer look at every group!
Edward Gaming (1st seed from LPL)
SKT T1 (2nd seed from LCK)
Ahq e-Sports (2nd seed from LMS)
Cloud9 (3rd seed from NA LCS)
No one wants to be in a group with the three time World’s winner SKT T1, but the reality is that someone has to. China’s EDG, LMS’ ahq e-Sports and NA’s Cloud9 were dealt the short end of the stick. Much like group B, this one seems rather set in terms of the number one seed, however the second spot is ripe for the taking.
Ahq e-Sports isn’t entering with a lot of hype. They failed to beat the Flash Wolves during the whole year (at least not when it mattered), and were always the second best team that didn’t achieve anything realistically. In fact, many touted Hong Kong Attitude as the second best LMS team, and they failed to qualify for the Group Stage after losing to Fnatic 3-0 a couple of days ago.
That leaves us with just two teams - Edward Gaming from the Chinese region, and Cloud9 from North America. Now this is a very interesting matchup as EDG is coming in with a lot of hype as the first LPL seed, however they failed to have any international success for quite some time now. They failed to qualify for this year’s MSI, and they went out of their group last year as the second seed, eventually succumbing to the ROX Tiger in the quarters.
While they shouldn’t be taken lightly, they’re widely regarded as the third strongest team from China (even if the differences are small and nuanced), and they’re not exactly a shoe-in for the second spot.
Longzhu Gaming (1st seed from LCK)
Immortals (2nd seed from NA LCS)
Gigabyte Marines (1st seed from GPL)
Fnatic (3rd seed from EU LCS)
One of the more “open” groups in the tournament. While all eyes are set on the tournament favorites Longzhu Gaming to take first place, we have a couple of teams that are all on a somewhat even playing field.
Immortals are being looked at as the sure second placed team, however things aren’t set in stone - far from it. While they looked like a really well-rounded team, they failed to endure the pressure in the NA LCS finals in Boston against TSM. The fourth game of the series serves as a prime example. They had an astonishing 10k gold lead, and were on the verge of taking TSM to game five, and yet they lost it. A couple of badly initiated fights later, they were even, and it was only a matter of time until TSM emerged victorious. You could see in their play that the nerves got to them, it affected their performance too heavily.
If handling the Boston Arena was too much, how will they fare on the biggest stage in the world?
A secret weapon that not a lot of people are talking about is their substitute jungler - AnDa. At the moment he is the highest ranked westerner in the Korean solo-queue ladder. To be fair he doesn’t scrim a lot with the team however his achievement (Top 15 in three weeks) should not be undervalued. He showed incredible game knowledge and mechanical prowess, and while he does lack in the experience department he is a young, playmaking jungler - something that Xmithie isn’t. AnDa is focused more on shutting the opposing jungler completely, and depending on the opposing jungler, that might be a big asset. As the meta shifted more towards carry junglers like Nidalee and the notorious Ezreal jungle, Immortals have two very capable junglers to swap around.
While they’re entering with a solid amount of hype, Fnatic simply don’t look that strong. They’re a tough team to analyze, as they have incredible plays and rookie mistakes in the same games. Essentially, they need more time to build up cohesion. They have two complete rookies and Jesiz who took a break from competitive play. While they do have two veterans guiding them, it might not be enough in those clutch moments.
They’re prone to underestimate their opponents, Caps especially. He is often trying to capitalize, to go for a flashy outplay and it rarely pans out. He constantly underestimates his opposition and is on the receiving end of things more often than not. That said, he has a phenomenal ability to carry - however even with that on the table Fnatic are rarely giving him the resources to do so. Rekkles, while a phenomenal and consistent player in his own right, get’s the majority of post laning phase farm and resources.
They’re also not a team that adapts too fast to the meta, something that we had the opportunity to witness at both Rift Rivals and the Summer playoffs when they lost very convincingly against Misfits.
That said, if they were ever to have a chance to get out of groups this year, this would be it. Group B is considered as the “group of life”, as the second spot below Longzhu is up in the air.
When we go over both Fnatic and Immortals, they stack up really well against each other. A great mix of rookies and veterans, and the will to improve and dominate. This will be the clash to watch in this group because on it depends the second seed.
As for Gigabyte Marines, they have the ability to upset but it’s hard envisioning them doing so once again after MSI. They’re playing with a weaker roster, and perhaps most alarmingly - they have Archie in the top lane. He didn’t play that well during the Summer Split and was more the shotcaller and initiator than a carry player. If we look at his opposition, you start to get worried.
Flame, Khan - arguably the best top laner in the world and sOAZ. All either veterans or players that hit their peak. Regardless, you shouldn’t sleep on them as they will try their hardest. If Immortals or Fnatic lose a game or two, they might be out of the running for that second spot.
G2 eSports (1st seed from EU LCS)
Samsung Galaxy (3rd seed from LCK)
Royal Never Give Up (2nd seed from LPL)
1907 Fenerbache (1st seed from TCL)
This group is where things get very interesting, very quickly. Arguably the hardest group to predict, as things can resolve in a plethora of ways. You have three teams that deserve to advance further, and yet only two will get the opportunity to do so. With the format being so volatile, a single win/loss can mean so much.
To make matters even more complicated, you have some of the best players in the world in this group, and most of them are stacked in the mid and bottom lane.
Xiaohu, Crown and Perkz; Zven, Uzi and Ruler. Watching these three teams compete will be a spectacular sight, and predicting anything with certainty is almost impossible.
If there is anything concrete to go by, it is the fact that G2 have an abysmal track record in a Best of 1 format. To make matters more complicated, RNGU - much like any LPL team - is at their strongest when they can overwhelm their opponents quickly. While G2 eSports managed to answer and beat Team WE 3-1 at this year’s Mid-Season Invitational, it is also important to note that they lost both games to Team WE in the group stage which was a Best of 1 double round robin - just like this time. It’s tough seeing G2 besting the likes of CuVee, Uzi, Ruler, Crown, Xiahu, etc.
With the assumtion being that Samsung Galaxy will take first place, then it will be a case of G2 vs. RNGU. While the Chinese team looked great in the playoffs (succumbing to EDG in the finals however), they aren’t always the most consistent team. European fans might remember that even Splyce - the third best EU team last year - managed to go 1-1 with RNG in the hardest group that year. It is not impossible for G2 to best RNGU for that second place spot and advance to the quartefinals.
The meta suits Samsung Galaxy, and they have some of the best players in the world in their roster, so it’s tough not seeing them as a clear cut favorite. They know what they have to do in order to survive the early onslaught from Royal Never Give Up, and they shouldn’t have too much trouble handling the macro-oriented playstyle from G2.
A lot of it is still in the air, and you have to wonder - which versions of these players will show up? Perkz from 2016 Worlds or 2017 MSI? 2017 Spring MVP Crown or the Summer version which got completely outclassed by Faker? Will Xiaohu perform up to his level (also the only LPL player to get ranked in the Top 20 list by Riot casters Jatt, Deficio and PapaSmithy) and show the world that he belongs among the greatest midlaners?
Sadly for 1907 Fenerbache, this is almost certainly where the road stops. Regardless, going against some of the best teams in the world is an incredibly valuable experience, and there is no doubt that it will do wonders for them when they back to their region.
Flash Wolves (1st seed from LMS)
TSM (2nd seed from NA LCS)
Misfits (2nd seed from EU LCS)
Team WE (3rd seed from LPL)
Finally, group D is a mystery for itself. While it seems somewhat clear-cut, it’s far from it. Flash Wolves are arguably the weakest number one seed competing at the tournament, which leaves the number one spot up for grabs. We have the best team from North America, a team many are predicting as the best team from China, and a team that realistically no one can assess from Europe.
Flash Wolves surely want to end the year on a high note, seeing how they failed to do much on the international stage. While their regional dominance is impressive, it’s worth noting that they don’t have any real competition.
TSM is entering with a lot of hype after a dominant run in the Summer Split. All eyes are set on Doublelift - will he be able to get redemption for that single misplay against RNG last year? Will they play as well as they did on home soil and at Rift Rivals? They have the tools and the experience, but whether or not they will perform remains unknown. That said, they are the group favorites, along with Team WE.
Speaking of WE, they’re entering the Group Stage after a dominant showing in the Play-In stage. Many League analysts are saying that WE are the best LPL team, and there is some logic to it. While they did lose to RNG in the playoffs, they are the most dangerous team come late game. Xiye, Mystic and Condi are at the top of their game, and the meta suits them great as well - Condi especially. They are a very dangerous team, especially in a Best of 1 format.
That leaves us with Misfits.
They have the most incredible story, as they have succeeded in reaching Worlds within just a single year after qualifying for the EU LCS. They ended Spring Split as the fourth best team, and Summer as the second best. However their result in Summer should have a small asterisk above it. They didn’t look like the second best team in Europe for the entirety of Summer. While their success shouldn’t be undervalued, we don’t have a realistic idea of how well they will play.
What we do know is that this is their first international competition, and the first time they will play on the big stage. It’s hard seeing them recreating their playoff magic in front of tens of thousands of screaming fans. They do have the “X” factor though. While it’s hard seeing them getting out of groups, they have the tools to upset and will likely do so. They’re all young, talented players that will be getting a share of the biggest spotlight, and if we were to judge them from their bootcamp performance, they’re hungry to represent themselves and Europe in the best way possible.
More information about the format will be added once it is released.