Melany M. September 24, 2019
The 2019 LoL Worlds Championship starts on October 2 with the play-in stage where 12 teams will compete for a spot in the main event.
The LoL Worlds main event is packed with the best of the best. Not a single team should be underestimated because the current state of the game could make it anyone's day.
The closing gap between eastern and western LoL pro teams makes this the most exciting and unpredictable World Championship tournament yet. While fans have long been able to count on Korean teams to trample all challengers, each competing region and organization brings its own style into the event this year.
The days of a rigid meta with teams actively trying to copy one another appear to be over. Each organization is bringing its own approach to LoL to the event, with different champion preferences and different approaches to each phase of the game. Even when these styles seem to align in a match, teams find ways to show off their own unique strengths.
The meta is not defined by an item as it happened in 2017 with the Ardent Censer. This year, the meta is flexible and can be modified from one game to the next. Every team that made it to the main event is bringing something new and exciting to the table.
G2 Esports, LEC
G2 Esports needs no introduction. The 2019 Mid-Season Invitational champion is going to Worlds as Europe’s first seed. G2 completely demolished the competition in the summer with their aggressive and inventive style.
Throughout the summer season, G2 showed off how flexible its players are as their lineup regularly played different positions and off-meta champions. The possibilities are endless for G2, as the team can adapt to any situation quickly and that makes them one of the most difficult opponents to face at Worlds. It’s almost impossible to predict what they’re going do to next.
G2 is looking to win an LoL Worlds title.
Fnatic is heading to Worlds with a chip on its shoulder. They’re the second-best team in Europe and they want to climb to the top.
They nearly did that last year, advancing to the finals at LoL Worlds 2018 before being run over by Invictus Gaming. This season, Origen stole their chance to make it to the spring finals while G2 beat them in the summer in the most frustrating way possible. While G2 basked in the glory, Martin "Rekkles" Larsson sat in his chair and held back the tears, shaking and defeated.
Fnatic wants to end G2’s legacy before it even begins. They are not a team that will settle for second and Worlds is the best opportunity to claim their place as the kings of Europe. This year, the competition is stronger than ever, so Fnatic has a challenge ahead of them.
SK Telecom T1, LCK
After having the worst year in the organization’s history in 2018, SK Telecom T1 went through an extreme makeover. The team released its starting roster with the exception of Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok and proceeded to build a new team around the star mid laner.
SKT won the spring final and represented the LCK at MSI. The team made it to semifinals where they fell to G2. The result was due in part to the poor performance from jungler Kim “Clid” Tae-min. Clid and SKT returned to Korea wounded and started the summer season with a five-game losing streak.
In the end, SKT managed to make it to playoffs and became the first team to complete the full playoff gauntlet run and win the split. SKT is back in form and in a good position to win its fourth LoL Worlds title.
Griffin has been on everyone’s radar for the past year. The rookie team has looked excellent in the LCK and sparked a major overhaul of the region, but haven't been able to convert that into success at international events.
Still, many expect Griffin to be the team that reestablishes Korea as the undisputed king of League. That theory is yet to be tested because the LCK has had teams like this fail in the past, such as Longzhu Gaming.
If there’s one team in the LCK that can keep up with the ever-changing state of the game and the looming European threat, it's Griffin. They’re young and confident, going for wild plays and taking risks no other team would consider.
Griffin is the perfect opponent for the European teams, and they likely won't settle for less than the championship.
FunPlus Phoenix, LPL
FunPlus Phoenix earned the LPL’s first seed after winning the LPL Summer Split. Like Griffin, they’re a team that has shown flashes of greatness on many occasions but have had a number of major stumbles along the way. Unlike Griffin, FunPlus managed to actually win a title by taking down Royal Never Give Up.
Mid laner Kim "Doinb" Tae-sang and jungler Gao "Tian" Tian-Liang are the leaders of the team. Doinb is known in the LPL for his off-meta picks and unorthodox builds.
This is a team that likes to fight and takes risks, and can be counted on to give their all on the summoner’s rift. From the loud cheers to the inventive drafts, FunPlus is a team to watch from China this year.
Royal Never Give Up, LPL
Royal Never Give Up's legacy is undeniable. Jian "Uzi" Zi-Hao continues to be the star of the team and RNG puts more focus on their bottom laner now than ever before. The team enters LoL Worlds as the second seed after losing in the LPL grand finals versus FunPlus Phoenix.
A Worlds title is the only thing missing in RNG’s trophy case at this point. The team conquered MSI in 2018 and earned back-to-back LPL titles that same year. They were on the golden road, but fell in the quarterfinals versus G2. RNG would undoubtedly like to get revenge on their European rivals at Worlds.
RNG is one of the few teams at Worlds that still play through the bottom lane. That strategy could prove to be their demise, or their key to winning the title this year.
Invictus Gaming, LPL
Invictus Gaming are the defending champions, but the road to Worlds has been a long one. The team barely made it to the LPL playoffs, where they were quickly eliminated by LNG Esports.
Thanks to the championship points earned in the spring, Invictus made it to the regional qualifiers where they had to face JD Gaming and Top Esports. Both matches were all over the place with incomprehensible plays and questionable decision-making.
Invictus ultimately made it to the 2019 LoL World Championship, but they'll be facing some stiff competition. They face very long odds when it comes to becoming back-to-back champions.
Team Liquid, LCS
Whether you love them or hate them, Team Liquid is the best team in North America. No other roster in the region comes close to Liquid’s level.
This year, they have had their sights set on becoming something more than a big fish in a small pond. They already made it to the MSI finals and will look to do one better at Worlds. Team Liquid is the type of team that can play through any lane to get a win, although their main carry is bot laner Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng. The biggest challenge for them will be countering the unorthodox compositions other teams will throw at them and pulling out some surprises of their own.
Considering their track record so far, it’s hard to write Team Liquid off. Fans around the globe will have their eyes on the team.
For the first time since 2016, Cloud9 is skipping the play-in stage and seeding directly into the main event.
C9 is a tricky team to pin down for analysts, fans, and opponents. They can play aggressive or passive styles, and draft both standard and unorthodox compositions. C9 is also the team that always finishes in second place in the LCS, but has a successful international record. C9's domestic performance is not a real indicator of the team’s current level internationally.
C9’s style and success largely depends on its jungler, Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen. If Svenskeren is doing well, the team will thrive. C9 is trusting the LCS Summer MVP to guide them beyond the group stage.
J Team, LMS
J Team is making its first LoL Worlds appearance as the LMS’ first seed. The team finished the regular season undefeated and only dropped one game in playoffs.
Mid laner Chu "FoFo" Chun-Lan, bot laner Chen "Lilv" Chin-Han, and top laner Hsu "Rest" Shih-Chieh collectively earned eighteen MVP points during the season. J Team is not a flashy team, but they play to their strengths and do a good job of it.
Though J Team isn't coming from a larger region, one cannot underestimate the LMS. They will look to continue down the overachieving path previously carved by Flash Wolves.
Ahq e-Sports Club, LMS
Ahq e-Sports Club is back at Worlds after a misstep in 2018 that kept them off the international stage.
Ahq and the LMS are going through a bit of an identity crisis. The region’s most notorious team, Flash Wolves, is going through a rough patch and that has left it to Ahq, J Team, and Hong Kong Attitude to represent the region internationally.
The team is relying on jungler and Summer MVP Chen "Alex" Yu-Ming to take them deep into the event. While they lack the name value of most of the other teams competing, Ahq has real potential to upset some big teams.
GAM Esports, VCS
Don't be fooled, the GIGABYTE Marines are alive and thriving under a new name as GAM Esports. GAM took over the VCS with the return of prodigious talent and summer MVP Đỗ "Levi" Duy Khánh.
The team has many similarities to G2 Esports, particularly in their ability to draft seemingly absurd compositions. Garen and Yuumi bot with Tristana in the mid lane? That's no problem for GAM. They can take it even further with picks like Kled roaming the map.
The current state of the game benefits GAM and their aggressive style. Underestimating the Vietnamese side would be a big mistake for any opponent.
The main event kicks off on October 12.