With the play-in stage now complete, the 16 teams that will compete under League’s brightest spotlight have been decided. The groups have been seeded and fans can get a feeling for what sort of odds their favorites are facing.
As with past years, Riot Games is encouraging fans to keep up with the action with the Worlds Pick’em. Players can predict the outcomes of each stage of the Worlds 2019 main event in order to win prizes ranging from Blue Essence, to a Summoner Icon, to a five-pack of Ultimate skins that includes Spirit Guard Udyr, Gun Goddess Miss Fortune, DJ Sona, and more.
The Pick’em will open on October 9, which gives fans more than enough time to lock in their predictions for the group stage.
Still, there is only so much time that can be dedicated to watching League of Legends, tracking meta developments, and weighing the strengths and weaknesses of each team. WIN.gg is here to help anyone that is agonizing over the 2019 Worlds main event group stage picks.
Group A likely leaving Cloud9 behind as G2 Esports, Griffin advance
Group A is stacked with three of the most creative teams in competitive League of Legends. G2 Esports, Griffin, and Cloud9 are all inventive, flexible, and unafraid when it comes to testing the limits of their individual players with unorthodox picks.
From a stylistic point of view, these teams match up perfectly since they all rely heavily on their junglers to get ahead. Each team has had a unique journey to LoL Worlds 2019 that makes them both fun to watch, and difficult to bet against.
G2 is the favorite to win the tournament, courtesy of their victory at the Mid-Season Invitational and two LEC titles. Griffin is the Korean wunderkind looking to prove itself. Cloud9 is the team that always performs at Worlds, even if their domestic season wasn’t that great. It’s tough to pick against any of them, but G2 and Griffin are the favorites to get out of the group stage.
G2’s strength comes Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski. The jungler is ranked in second place on WIN.gg’s Top 10 players at Worlds list and if he can perform at the same level he has in the LEC, G2 will completely destroy the competition. That said, the team will need to keep it simple and not get too experimental with their drafts.
Meanwhile, Griffin cut ties with its head coach just weeks before the start of Worlds. Any other team might collapse after that change but in Griffin’s case, it could be exactly what the players need. Without the strong personality of Kim "cvMax" Dae-ho in the background, Griffin will be able to play freely for the first time. Griffin is the type of team that can dominate in best-of-ones and in a meta that favors the team fights, the rookie team is likely to succeed.
Cloud9 has the potential to cut ahead of either Griffin or G2 given their tendency to over-achieve at Worlds each year, but the team hasn’t really looked dominant during this season in a way where they can be confidently picked over two teams that are cemented among League’s best. They might have it in them, but it would stand as a fairly large upset.
Bringing up the rear is Hong Kong Attitude. The team is solid and performed reasonably well during the play-in stage, but had the misfortune of being seeded into one of the strongest groups in the Worlds 2019 main event. Landing anywhere other than fourth place would be a surprise, but advancing to the knockout stage feels almost impossible.
Group B likely to be dominated by FunPlus Phoenix and Splyce
FunPlus Phoenix and Splyce are the obvious picks in Group B. Not only do they come from major regions, but these teams also proved during the regular season that opponents who take them lightly do so at their own peril.
FunPlus set itself apart from the rest of the LPL, with its ability to work as a unit and willingness to give up resources to the carries. Kim "Doinb" Tae-sang is the heart of the team, and his playful personality and creative approach to the game make it fun to watch FunPlus compete. He’s the type of player that can bring out pocket picks to upset or surprise enemy teams.
Considering the opponents of the group, it’s possible that FunPlus will play a by-the-numbers game in the group stage and save some of its pocket strategies for later in the tournament.
Splyce is coming off an outstanding performance in the play-ins that saw the team dominate its group and move into the knockout stage as the favorite. In the series versus Unicorns of Love, Splyce showed some weaknesses when it cames to neutral objectives. Despite that, they should have a good time in the group stage after warming up and getting an early taste of the Worlds 2019 meta.
GAM Esports is the team that could potentially upset this group. In the VCS, GAM rolls with unorthodox picks and plays an aggressive style led by jungler Đỗ "Levi" Duy Khánh. GAM is more than used to the current meta, which many teams are just now starting to learn. This is a team that, while capable of dominance, still has flaws that smart teams like FunPlus and Splyce will be able to exploit.
J Team is the underdog in Group B. This is a team that plays strongly through the solo lanes and knows how to leverage its strengths against opponents, despite not having a flashy style. This is J Team's first time attending the League World Championship and the nerves might get the better of them.
The Group C "Group of Death" likely to be survived by SK Telecom T1 and Royal Never Give Up
Group C is considered the group of death, and for a good reason. Every team in the group has something special to offer on the rift and a serious chance of making a deep run into the tournament. Ultimately, this will come down to the individual performances of the players, and how well their go-to approach fits into the emerging Worlds meta.
As it stands, junglers seem to be playing a leading role with top teams.
Kim “Clid” Tae-min is, without a doubt, the top jungler in this group and most likely the best in the entire tournament. In addition to his own talents, he has a particularly strong synergy with Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok. They are the best jungle-mid duo at Worlds 2019, which should carry them a long way in the tournament.
Royal Never Give Up is likely to be the second team to make it out of Group C. The team actively looks to play through its strongest member, Jian "Uzi" Zi-Hao, by funneling as many resources as possible into the bottom laner. This is shaping up to be a potentially winning strategy at Worlds 2019, as demonstrated by Damwon Gaming in the play-ins. Uzi also has an excellent rapport with support player Shi "Ming" Sen-Ming, with the two combining to be one of the best bottom lanes in League of Legends right now.
These two teams are frontrunners for the title and anyone that ranks them below their European rivals hasn’t been paying attention.
Fnatic is the second-strongest team from Europe this year, yet that’s unlikely to be enough to get them out of Group C. The jungle-mid duo of Tim "Nemesis" Lipovšek and Mads "Broxah" Brock-Pedersen is not as strong as SKT’s. At the same time, its bottom lane tends to be over-aggressive, a clear weakness against RNG.
They can still do damage and upset SKT and RNG since the European teams are known for having tricks up their sleeves, but that strategy likely won’t work more than once for them.
Clutch Gaming would have had a legitimate chance of advancing to the LoL Worlds knockout stage in any other group, but they have little hope here. They should enter as an underdog against all three of the teams in this group and while they might be able to sneak out some wins, their absolute ceiling is likely third place.
Group D likely to see Damwon cruise, Team Liquid survive groups for the first time
The players noted they are undefeated in scrims, a sentiment that was echoed by Western teams who agreed that Korea is on another level this year. Damwon will keep the momentum going and take Group D by storm with Jang "Nuguri" Ha-gwon and Heo "ShowMaker" Su on the frontline.
LCS fans will be delighted to see Team Liquid advancing out of groups for the first time in organization history. The North American champion has proven itself as a strong contender that can go head-to-head with Invictus Gaming and come out on top. Liquid’s season was overall a clean one, and even when the team had to play all five games they looked in control of the situation. Jo "CoreJJ" Yong's addition to the roster took the team to the next level and it showed multiple times.
Invictus Gaming is not the same beast that claimed the title in 2018. The team barely made it to Worlds after a series of scrappy games in the LPL that left fans worried about the state of the roster.
Song "Rookie" Eui-jin is out of form while Gao "Ning" Zhen-Ning is on the bench, which is forcing Invictus Gaming to rely on Kang "TheShy" Seung-lok and Yu "JackeyLove" Wen-Bo to take them to the next stage. That's an incredibly tall order against Damwon and Liquid, however.
Ahq e-Sports Club’s chances of advancing drastically decreased with the addition of Damwon. This is a team that plays through its jungler and he will have to work against Kim "Canyon" Geon-bu, Jake “Xmithie” Puchero, and the promising rookie Lu "Leyan" Jue. Group D is heavily stacked but, unlike Group C where there’s one team above the rest, all of the teams here are on a similar level.
Group D will come down to execution and the ability to exploit opponents' weaknesses. While early game domination continues to be a win condition at Worlds, these are teams that have proven themselves capable of recovering in the late game if they’re given even a small chance.
How to play the 2019 LoL Worlds Pick’em game
New League of Legends players might not know how to get in on the Worlds Pick’em action, but it isn’t hard.
All players need to do is visit the Pick’em page on the official League of Legends website. From there, players can sign in using the same name and password they use in the League of Legends game client. Once the page is activated by Riot Games on October 9, players simply need to lock in their predictions by dragging and dropping teams into place within their groups. Predictions will close on October 11.
Following the LoL Worlds main event group stage, there will also be a knockout stage Pick’em that functions like a traditional tournament bracket. Make sure to circle back to WIN.gg on October 20 if you need help setting your LoL Worlds 2019 bracket.