The 2019 League of Legends World Championship play-in group stage is over and the teams are ready to compete in the Knockout Stage.
After four days of intense competition, upsets, and tiebreakers, the final seeding has been decided. 12 teams entered the play-in stage and only eight made it to the Knockout Stage. Now, the teams are moving to best-of-fives that will determine the final four teams that qualify for the LoL Worlds main event.
The matches were decided with a random, public draw. Eight teams were divided into two pools based on the final standings. As a rule, the teams cannot face the same opponents from the group stage.
Damwon Gaming is facing Lowkey Esports in the first series of the Knockout Stage. During the group stage Lowkey had an up and down performance, but managed to find its footing in the competition and score the necessary points to advance.
Damwon has been dominating the competition so far. Even when the Koreans stumble, they have consistently found ways to make up the difference and win. The team takes its time to complete items and once they reach the critical item breaking points, they go all in.
In a post-match interview, Heo “ShowMaker” Su surprised fans by saying he regretted Damwon’s poor performance so far. According to the mid laner, they’re only playing at 20% of their strength. That should scare everyone at LoL Worlds 2019, given how good they have looked thus far.
This has the Knockout Stage starting with a David vs. Goliath matchup. Lowkey might be able to win one game to score a moral victory, but an actual victory seems far out of reach.
The day will end with a match between Clutch Gaming and Royal Youth. Despite high expectations from fans, both teams have had a tumultuous run to this point that required surviving tiebreakers to advance out of the group stage.
Royal Youth certainly improved in the second half of the round-robin. The team refined its ability to work around its jungler and finally discovered serious win conditions. In its two games versus Flamengo eSports, Royal Youth was assertive and wasn’t afraid to go all-in. That’s exactly the attitude they will need versus Clutch.
The North American squad is the favorite in this match, which many are expecting to go all the way to five games. Even though Clutch was shaky in the group stage, the team brought it home in the final tiebreaker. Clutch is a different beast in best-of-fives, something Team SoloMid knows all too well.
This is possibly the closest matchup of the Knockout Stage. Hong Kong Attitude came into the event as one of the teams to watch. The squads from the LMS are highly ranked and the type of opponents that cannot be underestimated. Despite that, HKA’s Worlds 2019 run has been underwhelming at best.
HKA’s standing is a largely byproduct of MEGA’s collapse in the second half of the group stage. The team had a few good moments, but not enough to consider them a serious favorite against Isurus Gaming.
Isurus is another team that had high hopes pinned on them before the event. Considered a super-team in Latin America, Isurus was supposed to be one of the front-runners of the play-ins. Instead, it has struggled everywhere on the map except for the top lane, with the 63-minute game versus DetonatioN FocusMe standing as a strong indictment of its abilities.
The Knockout Stage will end with the most exciting match, Splyce versus Unicorns of Love. The match has high emotional stakes for both fans and the players, with Tamás “Vizicsacsi” Kiss and Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir taking on their former organization.
Splyce is the favorite in this match. So far, the team has had a smooth run in Worlds with the exception of a surprising upset loss to DFM. The LEC’s third seed is looking strong and ready to take on the teams at the main event. Funnily enough, Vizicsacsi and Xerxe are the best-performing members of the team at the moment.
Unicorns of Love made it to LoL Worlds 2019 in its first year in the LCL. Considered the super-team of Russia, the squad is proving to be worthy of the audience’s love. They are aggressive and not afraid to experiment with their compositions. Unicorns of Love has embraced the Worlds meta, can get early advantages, and are capable of closing the games in convincing fashion.
No matter who wins, Europe will have a team at the main event that they can appreciate and respect.