The League of Legends All-Star event descends upon Las Vegas on Thursday with the highlight match-ups being North America v Europe (Thursday, 2359 GMT), and world champions China v South Korea (Sunday, 0420 GMT).
It is important to note, however, that not only are there a few assorted all-stars throughout each squad, but also fan favourite personalities alongside them, at times leading to players within the same role being on the same squad, with one having to play an off-role.
NA will have style issues
The North American squad is led by the all-star trio of Licorice, Sneaky and Doublelift, with one of the latter two in all likelihood heading into the Mid lane given the presence of three Bottom-laners on the squad, including Imaqtpie. It will be interesting to see how this squad adapts to the play of Doublelift, who plays in a very resource-intense style.
Caps one to watch for Europe
Europe have their own trio of Caps, Jiizuke and Broxah, with the latter coming in after Rekkles declined. The possibility of Caps playing Bottom lane is incredibly ironic, given he recently was acquired by G2 Esports, with their star Mid-laner Perkz moving into the Bottom lane to accommodate him.
Caps truly is the player to watch, given his star performances throughout his time in the EULCS and his ability to help Fnatic into the finals of World Championship. He is also regarded as a player with one of the most diverse champion pools in the world. Given the current unknown state of the meta on this kind of level, he is sure to bring out some unexpected selections.
Europe have been installed as Dafabet’s 1.588 favourites for this one, with North America at 2.270.
Uzi and Rookie lead China
China have brought out all the stops, with Uzi and Rookie in particular being a cut above the rest. Both considered to be among the top three players in the world, alongside Korea’s Faker, the sheer skill on the Chinese squad from these players is absolutely immense.
China also have the advantage that of a five-man roster of players who will be participating in their main role, the only such team of these four.
China are coming off an incredible year that saw them take every possible international event, including having one of their representatives, Invictus Gaming led by Rookie, take home the World Championship.
One key player of this squad could end up being Jungler Mlxg, known for his incredibly aggressive play style which should produce a fabulous match-up with the equally-aggressive Peanut.
Korea have cohesion
South Korea have an advantage in that three of their players played together on SK Telecom T1, although Peanut was only on the roster for a year.
Bang, who found a home in the off-season on the North American squad of 100 Thieves, will be linking up with long-time team-mate and legend of the game Faker as they look to return some honour and pride to the South Korean side.
Whether Watch or Peanut ends up in the Top lane is certainly worth looking out for, although that could be a wash versus retired Top-laner GodLike, previously known as ackerman.
Classic battle awaits
However, most eyes in this match-up, deservedly so, will be on the Mid-lane duel between Faker and Rookie. Both titans of the game for an incredible period of time, Faker missed out on his chance to face off against Rookie at Worlds, given SKT’s inability to qualify.
There are some ever-so-slowly-building concerns about the play of Faker, given he was benched for a multiple matches during the LCK Summer Split in favour of Pirean. That is more than likely more to do about SKT than Faker, but it is something to track.