Clutch, Splyce among teams in LoL Worlds 2019 play-in stage
The 2019 LoL World Championship is right around the corner. The best teams in the world are ready to fight for the most important title in competitive League of Legends.
It all starts with the play-in stage, where 12 teams will compete for one of the four spots available in the main event. The teams come from emerging and major regions alike. For the first time, the LCK’s third seed will go through the play-in stage, instead of the LPL’s third seed.
In previous LoL Worlds events, the meta was either defined before the event or completely changed after one patch. In 2017, Ardent Censer was all the rage, and the support that completed the item first had a marked advantage.
This year, the meta is all over the place. European teams are creative and don’t follow an established set of rules like most other teams do. The first taste of the LoL Worlds meta already showed itself at EU Masters. The teams are not shying away from the unexpected picks and are embracing their own unique styles.
That flexibility will make for an interesting event, since the western and eastern teams are coming into the competition with very different visions.
The play-in stage will offer a better look at the main event and what is to be expected. The 2019 LoL World Championship will kick off on October 2. Here are the teams who will open the event.
Clutch Gaming, LCS
No other team in the play-in stage has a story quite like Clutch Gaming. The team overcame every obstacle in their way and made it to Worlds with one convincing performance after another. In the regional qualifiers, they took down FlyQuest, Counter Logic Gaming, and Team SoloMid.
North America is rooting for Clutch Gaming to make it far in the competition. Through the summer, the team made important changes that completely changed the squad’s identity. By the end of the split, Clutch wasn’t a team that played a fiesta type of game, but instead an organized roster with a clear game plan.
Top laner Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon and bot laner Sun "Cody Sun" Li-Yu are Worlds veterans. Huni is the first player to qualify to Worlds from three different regions. Cody Sun is also back at Worlds for the third time with a third different team. They will be in charge of guiding the rest of the side through the event.
DAMWON Gaming, LCK
DAMWON Gaming is concluding its first year in the LCK with an appearance at Worlds. Since its inception in the league in spring, DAMWON has stood out from other teams, not an easy feat considering how competitive the LCK is.
In the regional qualifiers, DAMWON was out for blood. The squad took down Kingzone DragonX and punched its tickets to Worlds.
For the first time, the third seed from the LCK must go through the play-in stage. DAMWON is likely the most difficult opponent here, led by LCK MVP Kim "Canyon" Geon-bu and top laner powerhouse Jang "Nuguri" Ha-gwon. DAMWON might be a third seed, but that doesn’t make it a weak team.
Splyce deserved to be the LEC’s third seed. The team fought hard to finish the regular season in third place and qualify to playoffs. Unfortunately, Splyce fell against Rogue in the first round. The team earned enough points to make it to the regional qualifiers where they had to fight their way up.
Splyce took down Origen and FC Schalke 04 Esports before facing Fnatic. The final match was not as one-sided as one would expect. Splyce put up a good fight and had moments where they could’ve won games.
The team showed their ability to adapt quickly to their opponents, something that will be extremely helpful in a fast-paced tournament like Worlds. Jungler Andrei "Xerxe" Dragomir is in good shape and could make the difference for the team.
Splyce might not be G2 Esports or Fnatic, but they still are a solid LEC team. The European squads are some of the most creatives when it comes to strategy.
Hong Kong Attitude, LMS
Hong Kong Attitude qualified to Worlds through the LMS regional qualifiers. The team had an up and down season as they finished in third place and fell in the playoffs in round two. Their match versus ahq e-Sports Club was a close series that went to five games.
Hong Kong Attitude earned enough points to make it to the regional qualifiers. They knocked down Flash Wolves in the first round of the qualifiers. In the final series versus G-Rex, Hong Kong Attitude took the win with a clean 3-0.
Lowkey Esports, VCS
The road to Worlds was not easy for this young organization. Lowkey finished the regular season in third place and had to face GAM Esports in semifinals, where they were stomped. The team took that result as motivation to improve and were more than ready to play in the loser’s bracket.
Lowkey rolled over Dashing Buffalo and got one last chance to get a place at Worlds. Lowkey took the series versus Team Flash in four games with a convincing performance from jungler Đỗ "DNK" Ngọc Khải.
Vietnam was considered the best performing emerging region in previous years. Due to the consistent performance from the Vietnamese teams, Riot Games decided to give Vietnam a second seed at the event. Lowkey is looking to prove out the wisdom of that move.
The results at the Mid-Season Invitational were far from ideal for MEGA, as the team failed to make it out of the play-in stage. Ahead of the summer season, MEGA made the necessary changes to establish themselves as the best team in the LST.
The team signed bot laner Kim "DeuL" Deul, who would end up earning five MVP points through the season. Juckkirsts "Lloyd" Kongubon moved back to the jungle to complete the roster that gave MEGA its second title in a row. Three out of the five starting players attended Worlds in 2018 with the now-disbanded Ascension Gaming.
Royal Youth, TCL
Royal Youth is representing Turkey, and this is one of the youngest organizations in that league, being founded in 2018.
The summer was amazing for Royal Youth and making it to Worlds is the cherry on top. The team finished the regular season in first place with only two defeats through the season. In playoffs, Royal Youth rolled over Team AURORA and went on to beat SuperMassive in the finals.
Led by jungler Can "Closer" Çelik, Royal Youth is a promising team that took over the TCL in the summer. Closer received the MVP award and was listed with other three Royal Youth players in the TCL All-Pro team. This is the first time Royal Youth and its players are attending a World Championship event.
Unicorns of Love, LCL
Unicorns of Love is back in competitive League of Legends. After declining to apply to the newly franchised LEC, the team decided to take their business elsewhere, more specifically to Russia. Unicorns of Love acquire Team Just’s slot and build up what would become the new powerhouse in the LCL.
The team went on a shopping spree and signed three players and the head coach from Vega Squadron. Unicorns of Love only dropped two games in the regular season and dominated early in the playoffs. In the finals, the team played against a Vega side that was out for blood, but the Unicorns prevailed again.
Unicorns of Love made it to Worlds in its first split in the LCL. This is a new and exciting chapter for the beloved organization.
DetonatioN FM, LJL
Detonation FocusMe is well acquainted with the international stage. The team earned back-to-back titles and will represent Japan at Worlds.
This squad has been together for over two years and continues to be consistent and dominant in the LJL. Every week of the regular season, at least one player from DetonatioN FM was on the MVP list. Top laner Shunsuke "Evi" Murase and mid laner Kyohei "Ceros" Yoshida received the most MVP points of the season.
DetonatioN FM was one game away from making it out groups in the play-in stage at MSI. At Worlds, the team will look to get their revenge and make it to the knockout round.
Flamengo eSports, CBLOL
Flamengo eSports is getting its first chance at Worlds this year. The team earned its place at the CBLOL back in 2018 when they qualified to compete in Split 2, the equivalent of a summer split. Since then, the team has always come close to the CBLOL title, finishing in second place twice in a row.
Flamengo finally got its hands on the title after a successful Split 2 in 2019. Mid laner Bruno "Goku" Miyaguchi, jungler Lee "Shrimp" Byeong-hoon, and support Han "Luci" Chang-hoon collectively earned five MVP points in playoffs.
Despite a lack of international experience, the squad is ready to take on this new challenge. Brazil as a region is really hit or miss in these international events. They could either bring something new and exciting, or simply be an easy win for their oppoonents.
Isurus Gaming, LLA
Isurus Gaming won both splits of the LLA inaugural season. The team didn’t have the expected result at the Mid-Season Invitational and they’re ready for another attempt at the international stage here at Worlds.
Isurus signed star mid laner Édgar Ali "Seiya" Bracamontes and built a team around him. Seiya is the player that cannot miss Worlds, as he has represented Latin America on several occasions, with Lyon Gaming and later with Rainbow7. Seiya is currently the most successful player in Latin America and he is looking to finally make it out the play-in stage.
Isurus needs a good result at Worlds to consolidate themselves as a team with a real international impact. The team is currently boot camping in Korea, unlike other western teams that are chosing to prepare in Europe.
MAMMOTH Esports is part of the wave of new teams taking over regional leagues around the world. The organization was founded in 2018 and joined the OPL later that year. One year into the league and MAMMOTH has already earned a spot at Worlds.
The team consists mostly of former Dire Wolves players, with a few international appearances to their credit. It’s a young squad that is hungry for a win. After finishing second in Split 2, MAMMOTH waited in the semifinals for their opponents. The squad obliterated ORDER with a clean 3-0 and moved on to do the same to Chiefs Esports Club in the finals.
The play-in stage begins October 2 live from Berlin.
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