The groups for the 2020 League of Legends World Championship are decided. 22 teams were seeded into different groups and the favorites and underdogs are now clear. New rivalries and new faces will be present for Worlds 2020, meaning this could be the most competitive Worlds to date.
This year, the VCS won’t be participating in the event, so there’s a change of format. 10 teams will be split into two groups of five and each will play in a round-robin format. The team that ends in first place advances to the main event automatically. Teams that place third and fourth get to play a best-of-five to determine who plays against the second-place team from the opposite group. The team that wins that series advances to the main event.
Group A will see Team Liquid and MAD Lions lumped together for an early LCS vs. LEC match. The group is complete with Legacy Esports from the OPL, Papara SuperMassive from the TCL, and INTZ from the CBLOL.
Liquid and MAD are the easy picks for the winners of group A, but there might be some surprises along the way. Legacy, SuperMassive, and INTZ are teams that like to fight and this style might clash with Liquid’s more passive approach.
In recent times, the minor regions have adopted a more skirmish-heavy style inspired by the LEC and LPL. These are teams that tend to go headfirst into combat and force plays for the sake of it. MAD is likely to thrive in this group, as it’s a team that knows how to play fast thanks to jungler Zhiqiang “Shad0w” Zhao. On a mechanical and macro level Liquid might be a step ahead of the other teams, but victory is not completely guaranteed. The team must adapt to these teams and be ready to brawl.
Under normal circumstances, PSG Talon would be the picked as the second team coming out of this group alongside LGD. But due to visa issues, PSG will play with a substitute mid laner and jungler. While these players are on the same skill level as the previous duo, there might be some synergy issues with the rest of the squad. With PSG playing on crutches, it’s up to R7, UoL, and V3 to rise up to the occasion and snatch that final spot at the main event.
Out of the remaining teams, UoL is looking like the favorite to make it. UoL has been dominating the LCL for the past couple of seasons. The team had a solid showing domestically and is more than ready to take that success to an international level. V3, making its first international appearance, has something to prove. This team put an end to Detonation FocusMe’s legacy and it must show it’s a worthy representative of the LJL. Rainbow7 is all about jungler Brandon “Josedeodo” Villegas, who has been dominating the super server and recently reached Grand Master. R7’s hopes and dreams are in the hands of this young player who’s playing internationally for the first time.
The format remains the same with all teams playing a double round-robin, the top two teams from each group advance to the Knockout stage. In Knockouts, all matches are best-of-five.
G2 Esports got what seems to be a lucky draft. The 2019 World Championship finalist will face Suning from the LPL and Machi Esports from the PCS. Out of the three LPL teams starting in the main event, Suning might be the “easiest” one. On a skill level, all three teams should be close with G2 and Suning should be slightly ahead of Machi, who is not an opponent to be underestimated.
Assuming Liquid advances to the main event, it might end up in group A or B. Overall, group A should be a competitive group where all teams have a chance to advance to the next stage.
Group B is stacked with JD Gaming, DAMWON Gaming, and Rogue. JDG and DWG are two of the favorites at the event and Rogue is a young European upstart. Group B is the battle of the junglers with Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu, Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok, and Kacper “Inspired” Słoma all set to face off. These players are key for their squads’s success and are a big part of the reason why their teams succeeded domestically.
All three teams have different approaches to the game. JDG plays through its jungler, DWG plays through the solo lanes, and Rogue plays a combination of both. JDG and DWG like to accelerate the pace of the game, while Rogue prefers a slow and steady rhythm. Considering the outstanding season both JDG and DWG had, some might be writing Rogue off right away. European teams should never be underestimated on the international stage. Rogue faces an uphill battle but it’s likely to get some punches in, at the very least.
Team Liquid could end up in this group. If that’s the case, it will have a really hard time trying to making it out alive.
With Fnatic getting seeded into group C, the Rogue vs. TSM meme is dead. Instead, fans will get to watch two of the more iconic brands in competitive League of Legends clash. The group is complete with the LCK’s Gen.G.
Fnatic and TSM are similar in the sense that when they’re playing well, they look amazing. And when they’re playing bad, they look like the worst team in the world. These are very emotional rosters that seem to tilt easily and can lose control of the games if one thing goes wrong. On the positive side, both squads have proved that they can rise to the occasion and put in a good fight.
When it comes to group C, it’ll be a battle of bottom laners and Gen.G probably has the best bottom lane duo out of the three. It will be challenge for Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng and Martin “Rekkles” Larsson to attempt to slow down Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk. Ruler is in peak form, as showcased in the series against T1 where Gen.G completely destroyed the opponent through the bottom lane.
Assuming that LGD advances, it will directly be seeded into group C.
Last but not least is group D with TOP Esports, DRX, and FlyQuest. All three of these teams have been defined by the men in the mid lane. Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon, Zhuo “knight” Ding, and Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage are the undisputed stars of their teams.
The stories for these teams are similar, each was underestimated and rose up through hard work and resilience. All eyes are on the battle between Knight and Chovy, the two young prodigies that took over their respective leagues. PowerOfEvil is the veteran of the trio and it’s his job to prove that he’s not a washed-up mid laner and that he can be on the same level as these young stars.
It’s taken for granted that these players will perform, so the responsibility falls into the hands of their teammates. They all need to enable their mid laners and give them an edge over the opponent. The team that succeeds at this will take over group D.
The final team seeded into this group is likely to be MAD Lions, another team with a great mid laner.
The LoL Worlds 2020 starts on September 25.