The Play-in Stage of the League of Legends World Championship is nearly upon us, with a myriad of teams looking to progress to the Group Stage.
Cloud9 were dominant in last year’s Play-in Stage, cruising to qualification. By most accounts, this squad far surpasses last year’s, especially given the flexibility of the roster, something that was lacking last season.
A team willing to roll the dice with unique champion selections, Cloud9 are ripe with talent and a savvy that makes them a threat at this event. The player to watch is Licorice as he looks to continue the form that earned him a place on the 2nd NA LCS All-Pro Team, pipped by just two points by Ssumday for the top spot.
G2 warrant respect
G2 Esports are an interesting squad. After a solid showing throughout the regular season, a disastrous performance in the play-offs left many wondering about the state of the squad moving forward.
Showing resilience and grit, G2 were able to recover from their 3-0 loss to Misfits Gaming in the quarter-finals and defeat both Splyce and FC Schalke 04 in the Regional Qualifier to earn their spot here.
PerkZ continues to be the team’s standout performer, continuing his status as one of the best players in the entire region. The question becomes whether or not the Bottom lane will be able to hold firm, given their up-and-down performances this year.
EDG back again
EDward Gaming are playing in their fifth straight World Championship, although they have tailed off compared to the likes of Royal Never Give Up (RNGU) and Invictus Gaming (IG).
EDG’s Top-laner Ray is a player well known for his time as a substitute Top-laner for Cloud9 in previous years. Otherwise the team continue to have a similar roster to their previous showings at the Worlds, with iBoy still hoping to emerge as one of the game’s greats.
Stitch key for G-Rex
The third seeded team from the League of Legends Masters Series (LMS) are G-Rex. The most prominent member of this squad is Bottom-laner Stitch, previously known for his time within the LCK and specifically the Samsung, later Gen.G, organisation.
A decent team all year, G-Rex were able to qualify for this event with back-to-back, best-of-five victories over Hong Kong Attitude and J Team, and they will now be hopeful that they can find their way to the Group Stage.
Gambit best of the rest
Gambit Esports have legendary players in Diamondprox and Edward, who were at the top of the game many moons ago when they flew under the Moscow 5 banner. Kira and PvPStejos will also be familiar faces to those who watched previous World Championships, with Lodik being the only fresh face.
Gambit are the type of team who can be incredibly dangerous in best-of-one scenarios, especially given Kira’s affinity for picking whacky champions to keep their opponents off guard.
Another team with recognisable players are SuperMassive eSports, with the likes of GBM and SnowFlower in their line-up. SuperMassive asserted themselves as the best team within the Turkish Championship League (TCL) when they took down Royal Bandits, a squad including both Freeze and Dumbledoge.
GBM is a player with similar flair to the likes of Kira, as he is well known for playing a wide variety of champions. This is also the same exact line-up that was able to attend MSI earlier in the year, giving them all some international experience.
They could go well and are 3.570 with Dafabet to take down G2 on the opening day.
RNGU title favourites
The 12 teams that have currently qualified for the Group Stage await the four late arrivals from this event who will be added, one each to the groups that have already been drawn.
The qualifiers will hope to avoid a nasty Group C that already includes both kt Rolster and Team Liquid, along with MAD Team.
The Play-in action starts on October 1 with the Group Stage getting under way on October 10.
RNGU are currently the outright title favourites with Dafabet, who go 2.750 about their chances. Kt Rolster (3.760) and IG (3.860) come next in the betting.
Of the teams involved in the Play-in Stage, EDG are rated most likely to go on to lift the title. They can be backed at 13.120.