The 2019 League of Legends World Championship quarterfinals are ending on Sunday with two interesting matches. Three-time World Champions SK Telecom T1 will face Splyce and Mid-Season Invitational champion G2 Esports will go against rookie team Damwon Gaming.
The Knockout Stage is a single-elimination best-of-five disputed on October 26 and 27, live from Palacio Vistalegre in Madrid, Spain.
SKT is back! After a disastrous 2018, the team is back on its feet and ready to take its fourth Worlds’ title. The first opponent for SKT in the Knockout Stage is no other than Splyce, LEC’s third seed. Splyce’s journey through Worlds has been uneventful so far. In play-ins, the European squad was unchallenged until they got to the best-of-five where Unicorns of Love almost took the series.
Once in the main event, Splyce only dropped two games in the group stage. The team is looking good, but not good enough to be considered a contender against SKT. The LCK champion is unstoppable thus far in the tournament. The only flaw on its almost perfect Worlds run is one defeat versus Fnatic who took them by surprise in the final day of Group C.
Splyce has one opportunity to take SKT by surprise and probably take one game from them. To think that Splyce can accomplish more than that is unrealistic. The SKT players are better than Splyce’s roster and play the macro game better.
It should be a straightforward series with SKT as the winner. The chance of an upset is low, but still existent. Splyce would have to execute their drafts to perfection and neutralize both Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok and Kim “Clid” Tae-min. On top of that, they would have to outplay the side lanes and keep SKT from exiting those lanes early. If Splyce pulls it off, it will go down in history as the biggest upset in League of Legends.
The series between Damwon Gaming and G2 Esports could be closer than expected.
Damwon has made it this far after a start in the play-in stage. The team overcame early stage fright and are looking more comfortable with every game they play. Damwon has shown the ability to adapt and learn from the mistakes they commit. They learned how to counter early lane swaps and stopped Team Liquid from doing what Lowkey Esports did earlier in the tournament.
Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon and Heo “ShowMaker” Su are making names for themselves in this tournament. Nuguri has been criticized for his rune choices and overly aggressive play, but the top laner shut the haters up with outstanding performances versus opponents like Invictus Gaming. Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok had to publicly admit that while unorthodox, Nuguri’s methods are effective.
On the other side of the map is G2, who came into Worlds as the favorite to take it all. The community and analysts have high hopes for G2, and this explosive and creative team were supposed to take the tournament by storm. So far they’ve looked good, but a misstep versus Griffin raised some questions about the LEC champion.
Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski is the heart of G2 and at the moment, the jungler is struggling to play at the same level he showed domestically. It’s not nerves, as Jankos is an experienced player with several international appearances. Something in G2 is not fully clicking, and the team has been open about their struggles in scrims against Damwon in particular.
This is a series that will come down to the jungle and solo lane difference. If Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu continues to be the force behind Damwon, the rookie LCK team is likely to take the win on Sunday. G2 is far from out of the competition, and the team needs to play to their strengths and not get too crazy with its picks and bans. Going for the unexpected worked in Europe, but the Korean teams have shown an outstanding ability to learn fast and to read their opponents.