2018 World Championship

01 October, 2018 - 03 November, 2018 Offline, South Korea

The League of Legends World Championship is the biggest esports event in the world, consistently breaking records in regards to viewership. For the 2018 Championships, Worlds returns to South Korea, stopping to play in four major Korean cities.

The best League of Legends teams in the world have been competing for a year across multiple circuits and events globally to prove themselves and earn a spot at the World Championship stage.

2018 World Championship Betting Tips

FnaticvsEdward Gaming2018 World Championship
2018-10-21 08:00:00
Win

Fnatic (-1.5)

2.20

bijoBoy

FnaticvsEdward Gaming2018 World Championship
2018-10-21 08:00:00
Win

Fnatic (-1.5)

2.20

JeanClaudeVanDamme

Afreeca FreecsvsCloud92018 World Championship
2018-10-21 04:00:00
Loss

Afreeca Freecs (-2.5)

2.75

Galaktikos

Royal Never Give UpvsG2 Esports2018 World Championship
2018-10-20 09:10:00
Loss

Royal Never Give Up

1.08

Petar

KT RolstervsInvictus Gaming2018 World Championship
2018-10-20 04:05:00
Win

Invictus Gaming

3.50

adrian

KT RolstervsInvictus Gaming2018 World Championship
2018-10-20 04:05:00
Loss

KT Rolster

1.33

Petar

Invictus GamingvsFnatic2018 World Championship
2018-10-17 13:00:00
Win

Fnatic

2.70

rainpainter

Invictus GamingvsFnatic2018 World Championship
2018-10-17 13:00:00
Win

Fnatic

2.70

Galaktikos

Invictus GamingvsFnatic2018 World Championship
2018-10-17 13:00:00
Win

Fnatic

3.00

apogio3

G-RexvsInvictus Gaming2018 World Championship
2018-10-17 09:10:00
Loss

G-Rex

5.85

pashaBiceps_

Fnaticvs100 Thieves2018 World Championship
2018-10-17 08:10:00
Win

Fnatic

1.26

Petar

Edward GamingvsTeam Liquid2018 World Championship
2018-10-16 12:00:00
Loss

Edward Gaming

1.42

Galaktikos

Edward GamingvsTeam Liquid2018 World Championship
2018-10-16 12:00:00
Win

Team Liquid

3.00

Ellegant

Edward GamingvsKT Rolster2018 World Championship
2018-10-16 11:00:00
Win

Edward Gaming

3.25

Ellegant

Edward GamingvsKT Rolster2018 World Championship
2018-10-16 11:00:00
Win

Edward Gaming

3.25

Galaktikos

MAD TeamvsTeam Liquid2018 World Championship
2018-10-16 10:00:00
Loss

MAD Team

3.25

pashaBiceps_

MAD TeamvsTeam Liquid2018 World Championship
2018-10-16 10:00:00
Win

Team Liquid

1.33

rainpainter

MAD TeamvsTeam Liquid2018 World Championship
2018-10-16 10:00:00
Win

Team Liquid

1.33

Ellegant

MAD TeamvsTeam Liquid2018 World Championship
2018-10-16 10:00:00
Loss

MAD Team

3.25

Galaktikos

MAD TeamvsEdward Gaming2018 World Championship
2018-10-16 09:00:00
Win

Edward Gaming

1.16

rainpainter

MAD TeamvsEdward Gaming2018 World Championship
2018-10-16 09:00:00
Win

Edward Gaming

1.19

Galaktikos

Team LiquidvsKT Rolster2018 World Championship
2018-10-16 08:10:00
Loss

Team Liquid

4.50

Galaktikos

G2 EsportsvsAfreeca Freecs2018 World Championship
2018-10-15 13:25:00
Loss

G2 Esports

3.00

Ellegant

Phong Vu BuffalovsAfreeca Freecs2018 World Championship
2018-10-15 11:25:00
Loss

Phong Vu Buffalo

6.00

Galaktikos

Flash WolvesvsG2 Esports2018 World Championship
2018-10-15 10:20:00
Loss

G2 Esports

2.75

Galaktikos

Flash WolvesvsG2 Esports2018 World Championship
2018-10-15 10:20:00
Win

Flash Wolves

1.41

rainpainter

Flash WolvesvsG2 Esports2018 World Championship
2018-10-15 10:20:00
Loss

G2 Esports

2.75

adrian

Flash WolvesvsG2 Esports2018 World Championship
2018-10-15 10:20:00
Loss

G2 Esports

2.75

Ellegant

G2 EsportsvsPhong Vu Buffalo2018 World Championship
2018-10-15 09:00:00
Win

G2 Esports

1.41

Galaktikos

G2 EsportsvsPhong Vu Buffalo2018 World Championship
2018-10-15 09:00:00
Win

G2 Esports

1.41

rainpainter

G2 EsportsvsPhong Vu Buffalo2018 World Championship
2018-10-15 09:00:00
Win

G2 Esports

1.41

Ellegant

Afreeca FreecsvsFlash Wolves2018 World Championship
2018-10-15 08:05:00
Loss

Flash Wolves

2.00

apogio3

Afreeca FreecsvsFlash Wolves2018 World Championship
2018-10-15 08:05:00
Win

Afreeca Freecs

1.88

Galaktikos

Afreeca FreecsvsFlash Wolves2018 World Championship
2018-10-15 08:05:00
Loss

Flash Wolves

1.85

rainpainter

Afreeca FreecsvsFlash Wolves2018 World Championship
2018-10-15 08:05:00
Loss

Flash Wolves

1.85

Ellegant

Team VitalityvsGen.G esports2018 World Championship
2018-10-14 10:00:00
Win

Team Vitality

3.80

apogio3

Gen.G esportsvsCloud92018 World Championship
2018-10-14 09:00:00
Win

Cloud9

4.00

rainpainter

Team VitalityvsRoyal Never Give Up2018 World Championship
2018-10-14 08:10:00
Win

Team Vitality

6.50

rainpainter

KT RolstervsEdward Gaming2018 World Championship
2018-10-13 13:00:00
Loss

Edward Gaming

2.75

rainpainter

Cloud9vsGen.G esports2018 World Championship
2018-10-12 12:30:00
Loss

Cloud9

4.33

rainpainter

100 ThievesvsG-Rex2018 World Championship
2018-10-12 10:45:00
Loss

G-Rex

1.75

adrian

FnaticvsInvictus Gaming2018 World Championship
2018-10-12 10:00:00
Loss

Fnatic

3.00

rainpainter

Team VitalityvsCloud92018 World Championship
2018-10-11 12:10:00
Loss

Team Vitality

1.70

rainpainter

Invictus GamingvsG-Rex2018 World Championship
2018-10-11 11:15:00
Loss

G-Rex

4.50

rainpainter

Phong Vu BuffalovsG2 Esports2018 World Championship
2018-10-11 09:15:00
Loss

G2 Esports

1.48

adrian

Phong Vu BuffalovsG2 Esports2018 World Championship
2018-10-11 09:15:00
Loss

G2 Esports

1.42

rainpainter

Flash WolvesvsAfreeca Freecs2018 World Championship
2018-10-11 08:05:00
Win

Flash Wolves

2.25

Petar

Edward GamingvsMAD Team2018 World Championship
2018-10-10 09:20:00
Win

Edward Gaming

1.22

xX_HaxorBet_Xx

KT RolstervsTeam Liquid2018 World Championship
2018-10-10 08:20:00
Win

KT Rolster

1.22

adrian

KT RolstervsTeam Liquid2018 World Championship
2018-10-10 08:20:00
Win

KT Rolster

1.22

Petar

G2 EsportsvsInfinity eSports2018 World Championship
2018-10-07 04:10:00
Loss

G2 Esports (-2.5)

1.90

rainpainter

Cloud9vsGambit Esports2018 World Championship
2018-10-06 04:10:00
Loss

Gambit Esports

9.20

adrian

Cloud9vsGambit Esports2018 World Championship
2018-10-06 04:10:00
Loss

Gambit Esports

9.97

rainpainter

Cloud9vsGambit Esports2018 World Championship
2018-10-06 04:10:00
Loss

Gambit Esports

9.97

cheerslove

Kaos Latin GamersvsGambit Esports2018 World Championship
2018-10-03 10:00:00
Win

Gambit Esports

1.33

shamalamadingdong

G-RexvsGambit Esports2018 World Championship
2018-10-03 08:05:00
Loss

Gambit Esports

3.00

rainpainter

Ascension GamingvsSuperMassive eSports2018 World Championship
2018-10-02 11:00:00
Loss

Ascension Gaming

5.50

rainpainter

LG Dire WolvesvsInfinity eSports2018 World Championship
2018-10-02 10:00:00
Win

LG Dire Wolves

1.93

rainpainter

G2 EsportsvsSuperMassive eSports2018 World Championship
2018-10-02 09:10:00
Loss

G2 Esports

1.31

Forg1ven

G2 EsportsvsSuperMassive eSports2018 World Championship
2018-10-02 09:10:00
Loss

G2 Esports

1.28

adrian

G2 EsportsvsSuperMassive eSports2018 World Championship
2018-10-02 09:10:00
Loss

G2 Esports

1.32

rainpainter

Edward GamingvsInfinity eSports2018 World Championship
2018-10-02 08:15:00
Win

Edward Gaming

1.09

rainpainter

Gambit EsportsvsKaos Latin Gamers2018 World Championship
2018-10-01 13:15:00
Loss

Kaos Latin Gamers

3.25

rainpainter

DetonatioN GamingvsCloud92018 World Championship
2018-10-01 12:10:00
Win

Cloud9

1.10

rainpainter

G-RexvsKaos Latin Gamers2018 World Championship
2018-10-01 11:15:00
Loss

Kaos Latin Gamers

4.17

rainpainter

DetonatioN GamingvsKabum E-Sports2018 World Championship
2018-10-01 10:15:00
Win

DetonatioN Gaming

2.63

rainpainter

Gambit EsportsvsG-Rex2018 World Championship
2018-10-01 09:10:00
Loss

Gambit Esports

2.59

rainpainter

Cloud9vsKabum E-Sports2018 World Championship
2018-10-01 08:10:00
Win

Cloud9

1.17

rainpainter

Preview

It’s that time of the year again. Throughout the next couple of weeks, we’ll have the opportunity to witness the very best teams in the world duke it out on the Summoner’s Rift. There’s a lot on the line - bragging rights, a ton of money, as well as regional pride. This is what it all comes down to. Months, even years of practicing, grinding, VOD analysis, etc. All the sacrifices that they’ve made can finally amount to something. Players are trying to forge their own legacies, and each and every single game matters. 

We already know how the groups panned out, so we can talk about the upcoming matches with at least some confidence. In the end, Worlds always turns out to be absolute insanity. The Group Stage is a double-round robin Best of 1, so essentially any team can emerge victorious. And you can never really count out “wildcard” teams and regions either, especially seeing how they’re improving with each passing each year. For example, Vietnam is currently a fairly strong region, albeit insanely inconsistent. 

You should also let go of any preconceived notions regarding which team has the biggest chance to win the whole thing. Longzhu Gaming was hyped up beyond reason last year and yet they were completely obliterated by Samsung Galaxy - a turn of events no one really saw coming. Likewise, ROX Tigers faced the exact same fate in 2016. 

Right now, this is a preliminary Top 5:

  1. Royal Never Give Up - LPL Champions
  2. KT Rolster - LCK Champions
  3. Invictus Gaming - LPL 2nd Seed
  4. Afreeca Freecs - LCK 2nd Seed
  5. Gen.G - LCK 3rd Seed

This would be the logical power ranking pre-Worlds just based off of how well each team looked throughout the year and especially at the very end of the regular season. This list is essentially from best to “worst”, but in reality any one of these five teams has what it takes to upset and - at the very least - reach the finals. What’ll happen in the end remains to be seen, but it’ll all come down to how fast teams will adapt to the evolving patch 8.19 meta.

In recent history, it was LPL and LCK that adapted the fastest, so obviously they’re the heavy favorites coming into Worlds as well. They play the game at a much faster pace and they’re incredible at all stages of the game. Western teams aren’t trailing that much behind, but they do lack in certain areas. They’re either somewhat one-dimensional, or they’re not that good at executing in the current meta. When you’re up against the very cream of the crop, just a single mistake in-game can make the difference between victory and defeat. It’s an ungrateful position to be in - just knowing that every step you make could lose you the game. 

Furthermore, this is a preview based just on the twelve teams that are already seeded into their respective groups. When the remaining four teams finish their Play-In matches, we will update the preview so expect an even more detailed analysis this Sunday when the Play-In stage ends!

So without any further ado, let’s focus on the Group Stage. 

GROUP A

  1. Flash Wolves - LMS Champions
  2. Afreeca Freecs - LCK Second Seed
  3. Phong Vũ Buffalo - VCS Champions

To start things off, we have a very interesting group A. This is not exactly the most competitive, nor the most feared group, but it’s not lacking in any way, shape, or form. We have the LMS champions - the Flash Wolves, and they’re entering Worlds after an incredibly solid showing at this year’s Mid-Season Invitational. They’ve managed to absolutely dominate their region - and that’s pretty much a given these days. 

They've pretty much been unbeatable ever since 2016 Spring, and they've managed to win six LMS titles in a row. You'd think that losing their star jungler Karsa (who moved to LPL's Royal Never Give Up) would hinder their play and make them into a less competitive team - but that was far from the truth. They're just as strong and as competitive as they ever were, and we've seen just how strong and threatening this team can be when they started dominating at MSI.

They ended the group stage with the same 70% (7W-3L) win ratio as RNGU, and even though they faltered in the Best of 5 playoffs, they were still able to showcase their potential. Their AD carry in particular was one of the stand-out performers of the tournament, and if he manages to have a repeat performance for Worlds as well then this group should be insanely close. He managed to steal the spotlight even though everyone focused on Pray, Uzi, Doublelift, and Rekkles - and that’s quite the opposition to go up against.

Next up, we have LCK’s Afreeca Freecs - the second best team from Korea. Now, they’re not literally the second best team from Korea, but thanks for a very solid showing in 2018, they were able to accrue the highest number of Championship Points and thus secure their ticket to Worlds. 

They ended the 2018 Summer Split ranked fifth, behind KT Rolster, Griffin, Kingzone DragonX, and Gen.G. That’s not exactly a sensational achievement, but they did manage to step up considerably when they entered the playoffs. They were almost able to complete the miracle run - they outclassed both Gen.G and Kingzone but were unable to best Griffin in an insanely competitive Best of 5 scrap. 

This will be their first Worlds appearance, and stage jitters might be an issue but they have a fairly stacked roster. Their top laner Kiin in particular is entering Worlds with a ton of hype and is considered one of the best top laners in the world right now - if not the best. They’re a very capable team, that’s for sure, but at the same time they’re an unknown quantity coming into the Group Stage. Regardless, they’re favored for the moment. They’re also very dangerous in a Best of 1 format seeing how they’re incredibly flexible when it comes to the pick and ban phase - they’re known for pulling out insane pocket picks and playing them out at a fairly high level, and in a double round robin that could give them quite a big edge over the competition.

Historically, the LMS has always been LCK’s kryptonite. Perhaps it’s the fact that they’ve been scrimming LPL teams for years - in other words, they’re playing much like your run-of-the-mill LPL team. That said, it’s hard giving Flash Wolves the benefit of the doubt, even against Afreeca. 

When it comes to PVB, they don’t have any recognizable names if you’ve been following Vietnam’s recent international stints. They’re an emerging region and they shouldn’t be taken lightly - we’ve seen teams drop games to the Gigabyte Marines and EVOS Esports over the last two years. Vietnam has a very specific, hyper-aggressive playstyle, and unlike the LPL they often don’t really have a clear goal in mind. With the VCS things often go into absolute chaos - but they revel in it, they know their way around a hectic five-on-five team fight.

That said, Vietnam simply isn’t on a high enough level to compete with the likes of LMS and LCK. The best PVB can hope for is to take a couple of games off of their opponents. They’re playing spoiler in this group, and they’ll surely embrace their role much like Vietnam’s representatives did in years prior. 

So this is our prediction for how the group will pan out. Essentially you could reverse the first two spots but in the end there shouldn’t be any big surprises when all is said and done. 

If, however, Edward Gaming manages to win their Play-In matches and get into this group, that would complicate things considerably. In any case, while this might not seem like the most exciting group at Worlds, it will surely be insanely competitive and close. 

GROUP B

  1. Royal Never Give Up - LPL Champions 
  2. Gen.G - LCK Third Seed
  3. Team Vitality - EU LCS Second Seed

This is where things get incredibly interesting almost immediately. Just like with every Worlds, things always pan out in such a way that we get at least one “group of death”. This time around, that’s group B. However, what does that title really mean? With so many talented rosters and top-tier teams, you often get a group with two teams that are so strong that the remaining two don’t really have a chance to get out and advance into the Knockout Stage.

That’s the case with group B. Royal Never Give Up are coming into Worlds as the tournament favorites, whereas Gen.G (formerly known as Samsung Galaxy) are the defending champions from 2017. While their 2018 record isn’t that sensational, they’re still a force to be reckoned with, and they always manage to find a way to win those incredibly important matches which is the main reason why they even managed to qualify for Worlds even though the odds were stacked against them.

First up, let’s take a look at RNGU. They’re predicted as the strongest team in the world right now, and with good reason. They’re an absolute powerhouse, and that might even be an understatement.

They’re the best team fighting team in the world, and yet they also have some of the best laners in the world as well. How do you even go up against such a strong and versatile team? Even if they manage to lose in the early game, they’re have insane dexterity. They’re one of the only teams in the world that need just a single team fight win in order to turn things around completely. They can be down in gold and objectives and still escape the jaws of defeat through incredible team fighting and team cohesion. Their LPL finals against Invictus Gaming will surely go down in history as one of the best, most insane Best of 5 matches.

They’re also entering Worlds with an insanely talented six-man roster. They’re have two jungling titans - MLXG and Karsa (of Flash Wolves fame). MLXG is a mad genius when it comes to the Best of 1 format with his unpredictable pathing and decision making, whereas Karsa is the more aggressive and arguably more mechanically gifted player that’s always up to the task when it comes to those clutch Best of 5 deciding moments. He thrives in high pressure situations and the fact that RNGU can simply swap out two insanely impactful junglers depending on the situation is an insane advantage.

You have to rank RNGU as the number one team - not just in this group but in general.

Coming in second, we have Gen.G - formerly known as Samsung Galaxy. They’re entering Worlds with a fair amount of hype, as even though they didn’t play that well throughout the 2018 regular season, they stepped up immensely when it mattered the most - the LCK regional qualifier. 

They outclassed SKT T1, then proceeded to upset Griffin in an insane Best of 5 brawl, and then closed things out with a clean 3-0 sweep against Kingzone DragonX - formerly known as Longzhu Gaming. They deserve their spot at Worlds, and their path towards the biggest international stage wasn’t an easy one. 

Gen.G step up when it matters - and that’s one of the reasons why they’re somewhat unpredictable, especially in a Best of 1 format. Right now, Cuvee and Ruler are playing like Top 3 or at worst Top 5 players in their respective roles, and Crown seems to be back in form - just in time for Worlds. Generally they’re not predicted as a Top 3 team this year, but you never really know for sure with Gen.G. They have a very capable veteran roster with a ton of talent and they have the ability to surprise any team in the tournament.

Finally, we have Team Vitality - the second best team from Europe. Now, if you’ve been watching even just a little bit of Vitality play over the 2018 regular season, you could have deduced that they’re pretty much the most insane team in the region. They play what they want and how they want, they also have an incredibly strong early game - although if they don’t manage to impose their will their will often crumble under pressure and start brute forcing things - and against top-tier opposition that isn’t going to work.

To be fair, ever since Kikis joined the line-up near the end of the summer Split they looked like a completely different team - more mature, more calculated and capable. That said, even though they matured quite a lot they still cannot change their “DNA”, and their carnivorous “kill or be killed” playstyle is still their default “go-to” style of play.

If we go lane-by-lane, they’re quite a strong team, with some fantastic laners and players all-around. Cabochard was always their rock in the top lane, and he held his own against some of the best top laners in the region, Kikis is a seasoned veteran with a very flexible champion pool,.Attila is one of the best young AD carries in the region, and Jactroll is pretty good as well - although he does have a tendency to be out of position.

Oh, and their midlaner - Jiizuke? Well, he was the 2018 Spring Split Rookie of the Split for a reason. The guy is an absolute madman if he plays with confidence and if he gets his hands on a pick he’s comfortable on. He doesn’t really have a champion ocean, but he doesn’t need one - he’s really strong on picks like Ryze, Zoe, and Galio. 

Vitality are far stronger than people give them credit, and they’re also incredibly flexible when it comes to the pick and ban phase. Perhaps even a bit too flexible, as that often gets in their way.

If there is one thing that you can be certain of, it is the fact that they’re not scared of neither Royal Never Give Up nor Gen.G. They want to face the best in the world and they’re not afraid of going blow-for-blow (or at least trying to) against the titans of LPL and LCK. Whether or not they’ll be able to attain any success remains to be seen, but they’re not going to be afraid to go all-out.

This is an insanely strong group, and if you’re big on high octane top-tier League of Legends, then this group is an absolute must-watch. If Cloud9 manage to win their Play-In matches, they will probably be seeded into this group, thus making it that much more competitive and close.

GROUP C

  1. KT Rolster - LCK Champions
  2. MAD - LMS Second Seed
  3. Team Liquid - NA LCS Champions

After such a hectic group B, this is where things get a bit more relaxed. That doesn’t mean that high-quality League of Legends will be lacking - far from it. This is just a bit more straightforward of a group.

As our number one seed, we have Korea’s KT Rolster. This is the first time the organization managed to get to Worlds (and even win an LCK title), and even though they had an incredibly stacked roster with some of the best Korean talent available, they were unable to capitalize and play up to expectations when it mattered the most. 

This time around, they’re coming in with a lot of hype after an incredibly strong showing throughout the year. They were able to secure the number one spot in the LCK Summer Split with a very solid 13W-5L record, and were seeded directly into the LCK Playoff Finals where they were able to best a highly hyped up Griffin roster in an insane 3-2 brawl.

They have some of the best players in the entire world, they’re all veterans with Worlds experience (and a World Champion in Mata, of Samsung White fame). They’re the favorites to take up the number one spot in the group (regardless of which team joins as the fourth seed), and are predicted to be at the very least a Top 3 team in the tournament. They’re incredibly strong on an individual level, they’re lane dominant and highly cohesive as a five-man unit but you still can’t shake off the fact that they weren’t able to click for so long.

Did their time finally come? Are we finally getting the KT Rolster super team that we’ve been anticipating for so long? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure - they shouldn’t have too big of a problem in securing the first spot in group C.

The second team in the group is MAD - the second seed from Taiwan. When it comes to LMS as a region, you don’t really hear a lot about their teams other than the Flash Wolves - and with good reason. The Flash Wolves are synonymous with Taiwanese League of Legends. MAD were able to have a pretty solid 10W-4L record in the Summer Split but when they faced the Flash Wolves they were clean swept in pretty clean fashion.

Overall, they’re somewhat of a dark horse, but at the same time if you’ve been following the Play-In stage, Taiwan’s third seed G-Rex is performing way better than anyone expected, so MAD might be able to create quite a bit of chaos when the Group Stage begins. While they’re not favored to advance further into the tournament, they have the potential to upset. 

Finally, we have Team Liquid - the NA titan that managed to get two clean sweeps in both the Spring and Summer Split finals this year. They have a beastly line-up, and they’re all seasoned veterans. Does that mean they have what it takes to perform up to expectations? Well, it’s not that simple with NA as a whole, Liquid included.

Even though their 2018 regular season wasn’t without fault, they are definitely the best and most cohesive team that North America has to offer. They have a world champion in the top lane - Impact, a jungler that’s been playing since what feels like the dawn of time and has yet been immune to all meta shifts - Xmithie, an NA mid laner that can go blow-for-blow with the best in the world if he’s at the top of his game - Pobelter, and one of the best and most potent bottom lanes at Worlds - Doublelift (recently crowned the MVP of the 2018 Summer Split) and Olleh.

They’re a very strong team, however, they’re also fairly one-dimensional. They play a very standard style, they don’t throw any curveballs nor do they draft with surprises - you can always anticipate what they’re going to do, and such a lack of creativity and flexibility could come back to punish them at Worlds - much like it did at every other international tournament in the recent past that they’ve attended.

To be fair, they’re incredibly good at that one style, but if you pit them against the very best teams in the world, their chances fall off drastically. A good portion of this roster completely failed last year at Worlds under the Immortals brand, they failed at this year’s Mid-Season invitational, and they didn’t do that well at Rift Rivals either.

Now, sure, they’re probably going to be able to take two wins off of MAD, but when you face them off against KT Rolster, they’re essentially outclassed in every way, shape, and form. Smeb is stronger than Impact, Score - a jungler that many are ranking as the best jungler in the world right now - is essentially an upgraded Xmithie, 

Team Liquid’s win condition is basically the bottom lane, and yet depending on the fourth team in group C, they might be up against Deft and Mata and iBoy and Meko. Do they have the edge? Right now, we’re inclined to say no. Pobelter also has to hold his own and survive the laning phase. He was pretty outspoken about his confidence issues throughout 2018, but whenever he didn’t have the bravado to face up against the best mid laners in the world Team Liquid was basically playing 4v5. That puts additional pressure on the bottom lane to carry and to perform at an incredibly high level. 

KT plays in a fairly similar way, but they’re more flexible, and they have better players, so giving them the edge is pretty much a no-brainer. Depending on which team joins group C after the Play-Ins conclude will further define whether or not Team Liquid have an easy or hard path towards the Knockout Stage.

Either way, regardless if it’s EDG or G2 Esports, they’re going to have to fight way harder than they did in the past.

GROUP D

  1. Fnatic - EU LCS Champions 
  2. Invictus Gaming - LPL Second Seed
  3. 100 Thieves - NA LCS Second Seed

And finally, we have a pretty “easy” group - “easy” in the sense that there probably won’t any hardcore surprises. First up, we have the EU LCS champions, the former and current “Kings of Europe” that were able to dominate on home soil throughout 2018. 

Much like the Flash Wolves, Fnatic represents European League of Legends. They’re the best, most flexible and capable team that Europe has to offer. Fnatic are currently regarded as the absolute best Western team in the world - and with good reason. They have some of the best players in each and every role, in addition to a fantastic coaching staff with a lot of depth. 

Fnatic is everyone’s favorite not just to advance into the Knockout Stage but perhaps even reach the semifinals. It’s been three years since Europe had a representative in the Top 4, and this time around a more experienced, highly capable Fnatic roster definitely has what it takes to perform up to expectations and reach Top 4. They’re all seasoned veterans, and even newer additions to their roster like Broxah (who went to Worlds in 2017 with Fnatic as well) and Bwipo have more than enough international experience in order to go blow-for-blow with the very best teams around.

They’re a multi-threat team, they have a fantastic, highly versatile six-man roster, and perhaps most importantly they have two incredibly potent threats - Caps in the mid lane and Rekkles in the bottom lane. Even if they put Rekkles on a late game scaling pick like Sivir or Tristana, Caps proved to be more than capable enough of hard carrying - as we’ve seen at this year’s Mid-Season Invitational. 

Many are predicting Fnatic to do incredibly well this year at Worlds. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen, but the definitely have the tools at their disposal to make waves.

Next up, we have Invictus Gaming, or often just abbreviated IG. They’re entering Worlds after an insane five-game series against Royal Never Give Up, and they’re without a doubt one of the strongest teams at the tournament. How strong they really are is still perhaps a bit up in the air.

We do have some facts though. They went 18W-1L in both the Spring and Summer Split in 2018, they only lost to Royal Never Give Up both times, their mid laner Rookie was voted the LPL MVP (and is currently regarded as quite the force to be reckoned with), and they have one of the best top laners in the world - TheShy. The guy is an absolute monster in the top lane, and IG remain one of the few teams at Worlds that can fully play through top lane - even in an ADC-centric meta. 

They have an insanely strong early game, they’re all incredibly dominant laners and when you take a look at their statistics it’s hard not to be blown away by just how strong and powerful they are.

The fact that they lost to RNGU doesn’t mean that they don’t have the tools that are necessary in order to compete with the very best teams in the world - and even beat them. They also play faster than your average Chinese team - and that tells you a lot.

Even though they’re obviously not as good as RNGU seeing how they lost both times, they were never outclassed nor dominated. Had they played a Best of 7, maybe they would have even won - we will never know. What we do know is that they’re surely a Top 3 team at the tournament, at least based on just how strong the LPL has been throughout 2018.

And finally, we have North America’s 100 Thieves. 

They’re entering Worlds with absolutely zero hype or momentum. Even though they were able to place second in the 2018 Spring Split, they were far from a strong, cohesive team throughout the Summer Split when they were barely able to reach Top 4. Their play didn’t instill any confidence overall, and even though they have some pretty solid talent on their roster, they were simply unable to sync up in time and actually make a statement in the latter half of 2018.

However, thanks to their Championship Points from Spring, and the way the playoffs developed in Summer, they booked their ticket to Worlds as the team with the most points - which left quite a big number of fans rather unhappy seeing how they’re sending a pretty underwhelming team to compete with the very best and represent their region.

If anything, they could potentially be a bit better than most people expect. Ssumday is still a beast of a top laner, Ryu is a grizzled veteran with Worlds experience, and their bottom lane is pretty sufficient. How well AnDa (their latest jungler) will perform remains to be seen, and even though he’s been touted as a solo queue beast those mechanics and dominance never transferred over to the stage. 

In the end, who’ll come out on top is completely up in the air. IG is an incredibly strong team, perhaps even underrated, whereas Fnatic is as strong of a Western team as they come. It’ll be a nuanced game of inches, and it could go either way for sure. 

Whichever team joins the fray won’t have a chance, along with 100 Thieves. While they might be able to upset here or there, it won’t be enough in the end.

Verdict

To summarize, this is mainly just a preview of the teams competing, and their predicted power level based on their performance throughout the 2018 regular season. As such, it’s not a perfect list and teams adapt and grow during their Worlds bootcamps. They develop different, unique strategies in hopes to bring an additional element of surprise to the volatile Best of 1 format. 

As with every Worlds, there are always surprises - that’s a given. Chinese teams underperformed in the past, tournament favorites were often eliminated even before the semifinals, and there was always at least one team that no one really saw coming - the Albus Nox Lunas and Gigabyte Marines of the world. 

And as always, make sure to watch as many games as possible in order to see how well each team is performing so that you can come up with a betting strategy on a daily/weekly basis. Regardless of which team manages to win in the end, this is shaping up to be one of the most competitive World Championships in history.

Tournament Format

Play-In Stage:

Twelve teams are seeded into four double round robin groups of three teams each. The top two teams from each group advance to the second round. For round two the first place team of each group are seeded against a second place team to face off in a Best-of-Five. The winner of the series advance to the main event.

Main Event, Group Stage:

The sixteen participating teams are split into four double round robin groups of four teams each. Matches are Best-of-One, and the top two teams from each group advance to the knockout stage.

Main Event, Knockout Stage:

Single elimination bracket with Best-of-Five matches.