A preview of the League of Legends World Championship.
The World Championship (also known as Worlds) is the second of two yearly international tournaments in the League of Legends Esports scene, where players compete on franchised teams for fame, pride, a considerable salary, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash prizes.
22 teams from 12 regions (The Vietnam Championship Series couldn’t send their 2 teams due to covid travel restrictions) will compete for the ultimate prize in LoL esports, the 70-pound Summoner’s Cup. The tournament will start with the play-in stage starting October 5th, before advancing to the main stage groups which will take begin on October 11th before eventually ending with the finals on November 6th. As the teams prepare to do battle in Reykjavík, Iceland, let us look at our participants and how they got here.
This piece will preview Group B of the main event. It is another group with two similar teams and one odd one out. Two legacy organizations with history find themselves in the same group. Meanwhile, the new blood of NA looks to carve out their own legacy. The first team of the group and member of this “Old guard” is…
Name: Edward Gaming
Roster: Flandre (Top), Jiejie (Jungle), Scout (Mid), Viper (ADC), Meiko (Support)
Region/Seed: LPL (China) #1
Summary: The LPL juggernauts are finally back with some new faces
Edward Gaming are one of the most storied organizations in the LPL. Joining the scene in 2014, EDG have been a household name ever since. They are one of only two orgs to win the LPL more than once and hold the record for most LPL titles with 6 (Royal Never Give Up have 4). They have made 5 Worlds appearances and even won the 1st ever Mid-Season Invitational.
Despite this, EDG were in an unprecedented dark age going into 2021. They missed Worlds for the first time in their existence in 2019 and only got worse in 2020 when they missed the playoffs for the first time in the summer split. To remedy this, they picked up Flandre from LNG (formerly Snake Esports). He was seen as a huge upgrade as it was seen for a while that Snake Esports was wasting his talents and that he deserved to finally play for a real team. The big acquisition was picking up Viper.
Although he was technically coming from Hanwha Life Esports, everyone knew him from his days in Griffin. Only truly beginning his career in 2018, Viper alongside Tarzan and Chovy (who are also here at Worlds) made a name for themselves as some of the fastest rising talent in their positions. He helped take that team to Worlds in 2019 and even got a pentakill during the quarterfinals where he was knocked out by the defending champs Invictus Gaming 3-1.
Unfortunately, the Griffin organization was destroyed by a massive scandal and each player went their own separate way. To make a very long story short it involved the director firing and accusing the coach of verbal and physical abuse, and the coach revealing that Griffin’s contracts were incredibly immoral (can terminate contract if player experiences health issues. If this happens, they aren’t allowed to sign with other teams for a year). So immoral that even got a South Korean senator got legally involved in the investigation.
Away from all the legal drama and ready to take his new team back to their old glory alongside EDG staples like Scout (been with EDG since Summer 2015) and Meiko (with EDG his entire almost 7-year LPL career) and the new blood in Jiejie (promoted from EDG youth academy in 2019), Viper got to work reestablishing himself as one of the most skilled ADCs in the entire world. Considering he made 1st team All Pro in spring and summer and won LPL MVP in spring, it is safe to say he succeeded. The rest of EDG have turned the corner just as hard as he has. Flandre is finally free to thrive on a top team being top 5 in KDA, lowest average deaths, gold per minute of LPL top laners. Jiejie looks to be adjusting to the LPL well after a turbulent rookie season. And Scout and Meiko are as elite as ever with Meiko even winning 2nd team All Pro and winning lane with Viper in almost every matchup imaginable. (Don’t worry, Scout’s moment of glory comes later)
EDG cruised to a 12-4 record and 2nd place in the regular season. Despite losing on the final day to FPX to miss out on first place, EDG were still seen as one of the scarier teams in the world. The playoffs didn’t start well with them being almost swept by the 7th seed Team WE. A heroic effort from Scout and Viper would tie the series up but WE would run them over in game 5 to knock them to the loser’s bracket. There, the new additions would find some old faces as Viper met up with his former teammate Tarzan and Flandre came face to face with his former team LNG Esports. EDG would bounce back well with a commanding 3-1. Flandre turned around a dive topside to get Scout ahead who would end up dominating Game 1 despite being counterpicked. Jiejie an Meiko stopped a towerdive from Tarzan and Viper picked up the kill in game 2. An attempt to get something back by LNG was disastrous as Meiko hit a 2-man Rell W and the early power of Viper’s Ashe picked up double buffs and and a kill. This one 45 second event allowed EDG to set up Viper for a huge carry performance. Even though LNG stabilized, Viper was just too much. Unfortunately, Ale on Viego took over game 3 but game 4 was a complete stomp. Jiejie and Scout committed to a level 1 invade and got first blood onto Icon. Scout would dominate lane phase and take over the game alongside Jiejie to wrap up the series.
The next victim on EDG’s warpath was a rematch with Team WE. The two legacy LPL organizations would square off for a spot at Worlds. EDG would show the world that they got it together as they swept aside WE 3-0. Scout would take over another game on Leblanc thanks to working well with Jiejie’s Olaf in game 1 while Viper and Flandre had poke for days. In game 2, Jiejie’s Lee Sin and Scout’s Syndra would catch out beishang for 1st blood, but the true star of the show was Flandre on Jayce. Despite a slow early game, and WE having control for most of the game, Flandre would get a quadra kill in the game ending fight, go 6/1/2 and dealing 26.8 thousand damage. Almost 3 times the damage of his lane opponent. EDG would throw their early lead at a dragon fight in game 3, but good defense, a trade of baron for elder, and some heroics from Meiko would seal WE’s fate.
The final was set for a match between #1 vs #2. FPX vs EDG. Despite the lower bracket success, FPX were seen as the favorites, mostly because of just how dominant their upper bracket run was and that DoinB was having a career season. However, Edward Gaming would quickly turn the tables in game one as Scout and Jiejie outfought Tian and DoinB for first blood and Meiko roamed up to secure the 2nd kill. Jiejie on Lee Sin would completely run over Tian after that play for the rest of game 1 enabling his solo laners to carry the game alongside him (Flandre had a 2k gold lead on Lucian over Nuguri at 11 minutes!). EDG would completely stonewall FPX’s traditionally explosive early game, but FPX would fight back around key objectives. In the end Viper scaled too well into the late game, Scout and Flandre had good poke, and Jiejie would continue to get great kicks onto good members of FPX. In game 2, Scout would flip the script on DoinB as he would completely take over the game on Ryze after a crucial fight at Rift Herald. FPX had a good teamfighting comp late game that would make it hard for him to execute, but he was incredibly far ahead and stepped up in the crucial fights. His quadra kill at Baron would shut FPX out of game 2.
FPX would strike back in game 3, coming back after Scout and Jiejie got an early lead. LWX would do incredible amounts of poke damage and put FPX on the board. And game 4 looked to carry the momentum for FPX as they would stomp through the early and mid-game. However, a good base defense, and a beautiful Baron steal from Meiko and Jiejie would allow EDG to hang on. EDG would truly begin the comeback from a beautifully aggressive play from Viper’s Aphelios.
Viper was capable of oneshotting almost any member of FPX after that fight. FPX won a dragon fight and looked to end but Scout would kill off 2 members of FPX in the 1v2 while Viper would defend the base against the other 3. Viper would help secure infernal soul, baron, the final fight, and the title. Finally winning one after being denied on Griffin and watching his former org collapse. Scout was the key contributor to their victory. He was up against the current best player in the world, and he was better than him on the day. This was enough for him to win Finals MVP. EDG are finally back at Worlds and better than ever.
Expectations: One of the more common picks to win it all.
As the number 1 seed from the MSI winning region and the team that beat FPX in a best-of-5, EDG are one of 3 teams who almost everyone favors to win the World Championship. While there are many teams people don’t agree on, few would be surprised to see Edward Gaming lift the trophy when the dust settles. EDG is a team that just doesn’t lose when things go to plan. They tend to play it less explosive than the LPL is famous for, having the second lowest number of deaths per game in the LPL, (10.4) but their strong mechanics and game sense mean that they are more than capable of winning by playing as a team around key objectives. You can see their great objective play in their stats as they have the highest baron percentage (68.8%) and are the team with the lowest number of towers lost in the LPL (3.9). While EDG have been known for this style throughout the year and they were thought to be not as strong if a team could take things off the rails, their finals vs FPX showed that they are more than happy to skirmish early. As for individuals, Scout and Meiko are key staples of EDG who are looking to be as good as ever (Scout stepping up at the best possible time), Flandre is finally getting his shot at a Worlds berth, Jiejie leveled up over the course of the finals, and Viper is easily looking like the best ADC and one of the best players in the world. This should be the year they finally do more than bounce out at quarterfinals as has been tradition.
With such a formidable opponent, I would hate to be drawn in with them. Who had to bite the bullet?
Name: 100 Thieves
Roster: Ssumday (Top), Closer (Jungle), Abbedagge (Mid), FBI (ADC), Huhi (Support)
Region/Seed: LCS (North America) #1
Summary: Critical mid-season moves bring unprecedented success
100 Thieves are one of the fastest growing esports organizations in NA, frequently signing notable players and content creators, having a very profitable merch line, and they have been recently achieving unprecedented success in Riot Games esports titles (semifinals at Valorant Masters Berlin, 100T academy just won proving grounds).
100T joined the LCS when franchising rolled around back in 2018 and things have been hit or miss ever since. On one hand, they made it to the finals and to Worlds in their first year and brought out 4/5 members of a very promising Golden Guardians roster. On the other hand, they got smacked in the finals, the Worlds run was unremarkable and plagued by roster drama, they spent most of 2019 and 2020 in the LCS’s basement, and that roster finished in a distant 4th in Spring. Despite the number looking good, there looked to be little hope that 100T could contend with the best of the best.
100 Thieves knew this too and decided to make two big changes for the summer split. They let go of their coach Zikz and replaced him with Reapered. He was the genius behind 2018 Cloud 9, who climbed all the way from 10th place to a Worlds berth, escaping the group of death, and being the first LCS team to make it to Worlds semifinals. The other, bigger move was acquiring Abbedagge from Schalke 04 Esports. This was seen as a fantastic move all-around. The main weakness of 100T in 2020 was the mid lane as Damonte couldn’t quite keep up with the top of the table and his replacement Ry0ma wasn’t any better. Abbedagge has been known as a very talented EU mid for a while now, but he is most famous for being one of the key contributors to the “S04 miracle run”. In 2020 summer, he helped drag Schalke from 1-10 and all but dead, to 8-10, a playoff spot, and one series away from making it to Worlds. With a proven mid lane talent to supplement to patch up the weak point of a roster with a ton of potential, it seemed like a match made in heaven.
To say these changes paid dividends would be an understatement. 100 Thieves went from a distant 4th that couldn’t come close to keeping up with the top 3 to all but running the league while the big names collapsed around them. Abbedagge almost immediately proved he was worth the investment. After a week 1 of playing nothing but Karma, Abbedagge popped off on playmaking champions like Akali in week 2. He went deathless on the week and had an overall KDA of 14/0/17 and received Player of the Week. And he was doing this against established imports like PowerOfEvil and Jiizuke!
Over the 27-game split, 100T never dropped lower than their starting rank of tied 3rd and spent most of it contesting for 1st. When only taking summer records into account, after week 1, 100T was first or tied first for the entire split. The game times went from a staggering 35:40 minute average to just under 32 minutes and the 2nd fastest of the LCS. 100 Thieves would have the lowest deaths per game (10.2), fewest towers lost per game (4.3), highest 1st tower rate, and 2nd highest GD@15 (1082) out of all summer LCS teams. The individuals got much better too as FBI and Huhi were considered an elite LCS bot lane once again. FBI stomping Immortals one Lee Sin ADC to win PotW in week 4 was hard to forget. Closer was having an incredible split having the best KDA, most kills earned gold per minute, and was even in the running for LCS MVP up until the very end.
100 Thieves would finish 18-9 in Summer for an overall record of 29-16. This put them tied 1st if it was just summer and 2nd place overall, only missing first place by 1 game and h2h with TSM. FBI would be the 1st team All Pro ADC, while Abbedagge, Closer, and Huhi would all get 2nd team All Pro. Finishing in top 2 also meant that 100T got a 1st round bye, and only needed to win one series to make it to Worlds. That win would have to come against Evil Geniuses, the 3rd seed and one of the teams who tied 100T in summer records. With two teams who didn’t have much of a legacy in the LCS ready to square off, 100T and EG would put on a series to remember. The series would be a hard fought one that went the distance to 5 games. EG would have plenty of great moments but in the end, 100 Thieves were simply too much. The main man of the hour was Closer, who went deathless on Viego in game 1 while running EG over in the early game, crushed it on Viego again in game 3, and stealing the show on Lee Sin in the deciding match.
With a Worlds berth secured, the next match on the agenda was a semifinals showdown with the #5 seed Team Liquid. The super team finally got their full roster together and tore through Cloud 9 and TSM to meet the Thieves there. This series would also go 5 games. And although Abbedagge would carry game 2 alongside FBI’s Vayne, and Closer would have yet another carry performance on Viego to carry 100T over the finish line in game 3, Team Liquid would be the victors on the day, thanks to the new addition Alphari being the main man in the victories.
100 Thieves were left with a perilous task if they wanted to win a title. They would have to go through 2 of the big 3 and the 2 teams projected to win it all at the beginning of the season. To say they were up to the challenge would be an understatement. 100 Thieves went a combined 6-1 in their next two series against C9 in the semis and Team Liquid in the finals rematch. Against C9, the early game in game 1 wouldn’t net them much kills, but their time management and objective play would net them a large gold lead. Although Cloud 9 would pick up kills in the mid game, 100T’s early focus onto FBI’s Aphleios would pay off as he almost 1-shot 3 members of C9 with his ultimate to win a Baron fight and take over the game. Cloud 9 would have a good early and mid-game and would even take ocean soul after acing 100T. C9 had everything they needed to end game 2, but time and time again, Closer would always come up with a clutch Lee Sin kick. He got one to allow 100T to take Baron, he got one to stop the C9 baron siege and allow 100T to take elder, and he got 2 in the final fight to close out the 49-minute game. Huhi also put in work on the Braum to keep his team from dying and kicking off fights. Game 3 would be a bit of a slip up as Zven would take over in the final fights, but game 4 would seal the deal. FBI would get a massive lead on Varus early, he was 2k gold richer than the richest members of C9 at 15 minutes and this allowed him to tear through the C9 team comp from half a screen away. Closer’s Viego (practically his signature champ in the playoffs) would take over the early game. A sloppy baron attempt around 20 minutes in would allow Cloud 9 to somewhat get back in it, but FBI would slam the door shut with a triple kill.
And that finals rematch? The ones they were underdogs in? Team Liquid barely even showed up.
100T swept them in one of the most one-sided finals I’ve seen in a while. In game 1, a 5-man dive with rift herald at 10 minutes in that TL showed up late to, would all but end game 1 before it could begin. 100T would get all 5 turret plates, first tower gold, 2 kills onto Closer’s Viego and 2 onto FBI’s Varus would give 100T an incredible early lead. Abbedagge would also get in on the fun as almost every member of 100T were massively ahead of their TL counterparts. TL didn’t do their homework and decided to allow Closer to get Viego again in game 2. Even though TL got an early gold lead, it would prove to be a disastrous decision as Closer completely dictated the pace of the game. He got Ssumday very ahead of Alphari, who was supposed to be TL’s main win condition, while the man himself went 8/2/7 to dominate game 2. TL would learn their lesson and ban Viego in game 3, (Closer’s playoff stats in Viego come out to 6-2, KDA of 7, and 71% Kill Participation) but it wouldn’t matter at all. Closer’s Lee Sin was just as scary. He would get 2 early kills and dominate all parts of the game. 100T would have an over 6k gold lead at 20 minuites and end the series only 6 minutes and 59 seconds later.The final kill score would be 16-3 and Closer would go 8/0/6.
This series was the textbook definition of a stomp. EVERY 100T player played better than their counterparts. 100 Thieves would win their first ever LCS title. Ssumday would finally win an LCS title after 4 years of chasing. Closer and FBI would show the strength of the minor regions as they would stomp their way to a title, and Closer would get a much-deserved Finals MVP. Huhi would be the first player to win an LCS title in 2 different positions. Abbedagge would finally find glory and make it to Worlds after being denied on Schalke. And Reapered would get one over his former organization by knocking them out and winning a title elsewhere.
…So, if there are so many feel good stories and they won their finals in such dominant fashion, why do so many early predictions have the team in a distant 3rd in the group?
Expectations: Not impossible to get out of groups but an uphill battle.
Unfortunately, despite all the success and growth the roster and organization has had over summer, I find it hard to believe that this team will get out of the group. The fact of the matter is that no LCS team has gotten out of Worlds groups since 2018, the region is seen as, and has been proven to be behind the other 3 major regions in skill time and time again, and there is nothing special about this NA 1st seed that convinces me that they will be any different from the others. Many of their players are untested at the highest level. Closer and FBI have only had experience with the play-in stage of major events while they were playing in minor regions. Ssumday hasn’t been to worlds since the pretty mediocre 2-4 2018 100 Thieves squad. And Abbedagge has never attended an international event. I don’t know how this team is going to deal with pressure.
They aren’t bad per se, but I just don’t see how 100T is going to win games against the other teams in the group. Abbedagge may be a good mid laner in NA, but how will he match up to Scout and Faker? FBI may be a first team All Pro, but I wouldn’t favor him over Teddy/Gumayusi and especially Viper. Closer may be capable of carrying, but how will he do against the best of the best? The group isn’t an easy one and I don’t see much that makes 100 Thieves different from the many, many NA teams who have all failed in the past with bigger names, more hype, and easier groups.
I do not think it is impossible for 100 Thieves to get out of groups, if everyone performs at their peak a 2nd place finish could happen, I just wouldn’t bet on it. 100 Thieves are a good team, but it feels like anything they do, the other two teams do better.
…So, who is this mystery third team?
Roster: Canna (Top), Oner (Jungle), Faker (Mid), Gumayusi/Teddy (ADC), Keria (Support)
Region/Seed: LCK (South Korea) #3
Summary: The most storied organization in LoL is looking to reclaim their former glory
For those who follow LoL esports, T1 need no introduction.
For those who don’t, T1 was formerly known as SK Telecom T1 is the most storied and successful organization in LoL esports history. Name any metric you can think of and T1 will top that list. If we are going by brand recognition, they are one of the most popular teams in the world and their series at 2019 Worlds against Europe’s G2 Esports shattered records for peak viewership of an esports match. If we are going by tournament success, T1 have won 2 MSI’s, 9 LCK titles, and 3 World Championships. If we are going by individual players, the mid laner Faker is probably the single most recognizable and successful esports player on the planet, and that’s not even getting into the many other greats that have worn the SKT T1 jersey over the years.
Despite this, if you began watching T1 after the SKT dynasty ended via 3-0 sweep from Samsung Galaxy in 2017 and solely looked at how they performed, you might not get all the hype. Ever since that fateful moment T1 have never quite gotten back to the top of the mountain. Sure, they won the LCK in spring and summer 2019 and spring 2020, but they missed summer playoffs and Worlds in 2018. They got knocked out in semifinals of MSI and Worlds in 2019 by G2 Esports both times. 2020 MSI didn’t even happen, and they didn’t qualify for Worlds last year, losing in the regional qualifier to Gen G. To start of 2021, things looked like more of the same. They picked up Damwon’s coach and tried out an experimental 10-man roster of constantly rotating players and picked up Keria from DRX. The 10-man roster was famous for being a stressful environment, they only finished 11-7, and they got knocked aside by Gen G 3-0 in semifinals.
T1 decided to move away from the experiments and decided on a mostly stable roster for summer. Teddy and Cuzz would be swapped out for Gumayusi and Oner later in the split, but it was certainly more stable than the carousel of spring. T1 still wasn’t particularly great to start out. They were 3-3 and although they could sometimes challenge the top of the table teams, they weren’t considered to be one. That was when T1, hours before a rivalry match with KT Rolster, let go of their coaching staff. Head coach Daeny would go back to his old home in Damwon KIA, while Zefa is still a free agent. They promoted their assistant coach Stardust to interim head coach and called up coach Moment from academy. T1 actually won that series 2-1 and began to somewhat turn their season around. They would sweep the then 1st place Gen G. 2-0 in week 5 and finally break the 1-1 trend in week 6 by taking care of business in the rematch vs KT Rolster and taking out Damwon KIA 2-1 in a tightly contested series.
T1 would finish the 2nd half of the split 6-3, with the only losses being to 2 new faces to the top of the table in Nongshim Redforce and Liiv SANDBOX, and a loss on the final day of the season to fellow Worlds rep, Hanwha Life Esports. They would take care of business against the bottom feeders (mostly) and they would take down Gen. G again 2-1. Faker was looking the best he has in years, Keria was making a name for himself as one of the best supports in the LCK, if not the world. Both ADCs looked threatening, and Canna and Oner were adjusting to the pressure of playing on T1 well, despite not having many years of experience.
T1 would finish the split 11-7 in 4th place. Faker would tie for 3rd place in MVP points while Keria would make 1st team All Pro support. Not bad for someone in his 2nd year of being an LCK starter.
T1 would get the opportunity to play Liiv SANDBOX in the quarterfinals. There was quite a lot of buzz surrounding the game, but not because of anything that happened on the rift. On august 17th an episode SANDBOX’s behind-the-scenes series of videos would reveal that jungler Croco and his teammates mocked Faker for crying after losing the 2017 World Championship finals. Going so far as to say that those who cry on camera are only doing it for media attention and public approval. Considering that the image of him in tears is has become the textbook go to for “genuine agonizing defeat” and that he has practically lived under a magnifying glass of media attention for years, Faker having one of the largest fanbases of any esports athlete, his legacy of greatness and class, and the general poor sportsmanship of mocking someone for their lowest moment, to say this made fans of T1 livid would be the understatement of the century.
In a beautiful example of karmic justice, T1 would easily sweep aside SANBOX 3-0. The only surprise was that Teddy was playing after losing the starting role in the 2nd half of the season. Almost all the series was a complete stomp from start to finish. Faker being a massive key to their victory, doing much more than FATE over the course of the series. And Croco, the man who started it all would go a combined 2/10/10 over 3 games. Oner completely ran him over. The completely expected result playing out has never quite been so satisfying.
The true test would be their semifinals series with Gen. G. The stakes were simple for them. Win, and secure a Worlds berth. Teddy would start once more. Although game 1 would go Gen. G’s way off the backs of BDD and Ruler, the rest of the series was all T1. In game 2, Canna would get his undefeated Gwen, and completely run over the late game fights on it. Keria would show why he was so hyped up as he couldn’t miss on his Leona engages if he was actively trying to. Games 3 and 4 would be the Teddy show on two different champions. His Jinx would get caught out in a 1v2 dive at 8 minutes in. that would be his only death of the game as Game 3 would be a long one, clocking out at 51 minutes. Fortunately, late game is where Jinx shines. After a chaotic series of events, Teddy would hold on the T1 base defense and establish himself as the true threat of T1.
Teddy would go 8/1/6 that game, dealing 30 thousand damage. Game 4 would be even more of the same level of domination. He picked Ezreal this time and absolutely cleaned house on it. He was almost unkillable, did 26k damage, went 8/1/5, and had a memorable play where he chased 4 Gen. G members out of the Baron pit by himself. In a series full of standout T1 performances, Teddy’s stood above the rest.
As you may recall from the group A preview, the finals were an underwhelming 3-1 loss to Damwon KIA. Even with all the storylines heading in, Canyon and Khan bullied out Canna’s undefeated Gwen in games 1 and 2, and game 4 was lost off the back of some questionable decisions by Faker.
T1’s season wasn’t done yet however, as they had one last match in the regional qualifiers against Hanwha Life Esports. The stakes? A berth to the main stage and getting to dodge Play-ins. With T1 being the summer finalist and HLE running through the gauntlet with ease, it was sure to be a great series. Faker vs Chovy was also a nice touch. The series didn’t disappoint as it was a brutal 5-game series that T1 would eventually take 3-2. T1 would come out swinging in games 1 and 2. Canna’s Kennen and Faker’s Kassadin of all things would run over game 1 which was never even a contest. Game 2 would be slightly more even, especially in the early game, but Gumayusi’s Jinx with the frontline of Oner’s Xin Zhao would take over the game. A quick 3-0 wasn’t in the cards as HLE would fight back hard in games 3 and 4. Chovy and one of his lesser praised teammates would carry each game. It would be his Sylas and Willer’s Viego in game 3, while it would be Orianna for Chovy in game 4 with the main carry being Morgan’s Irelia. It would all come down to game 5. Despite giving up 1st blood, Oner would be the man of the match on Xin Zhao, being an unkillable, highly damaging frontline. HLE would fight back to the bitter end, but Canna would get a crucial pick onto Deft in the final fight thanks to an overextension and the rest of the fight was a wash. T1 would secure themselves the LCK 3rd seed.
Expectations: Not the favorite but have a real shot at the title.
Surprisingly enough considering the history of the organization, T1 are not quite the favorites to win it all. While the team is incredibly talented with Keria looking incredible, Canna and Oner really stepping up, both ADC’s looking great, and Faker looking like he’s returning to his old self, T1 have a few issues with consistency. It showed in their middle of the table finish and their finals against Damwon that their decision making can tend to be their downfall. Despite this, it would be foolish to write them off completely. It is entirely in the realm of possibility that T1 could win title number 4, but they would not be my first pick to do so. I do however expect them to get out of this group just fine. I would rate them higher than 100T and whoever comes out of the play-in stage shouldn’t match up to them. What I am really excited for, (aside from seeing Faker at Worlds again, it just isn’t the same without him) is their matches against Edward Gaming. Not only is it a match between some of the top teams at the tournament, these two teams have quite the history as some of the oldest organizations in their respective leagues. Both teams have one key moment where they one-upped the other. EDG won a hard fought 5-game finals at the first ever Mid-Season Invitational 3-2 in 2015, and ended Faker’s unbeaten streak on LeBlanc, creating a team comp specifically to counter it. Considering it was the first MSI ever and a rare moment of SKT losing on the international stage, it was quite a memorable series. EDG’s MSI title is one of the organizations crowning achievements as it would take until 2018 for an LPL rep to win any international trophies.
T1’s moment of glory comes when they met in group A of Worlds 2017. It was day 2, EDG were completely stomping SKT with a 9-0 kill lead and a 10k gold lead. It was a perfect bounce back game after coming out flat against the LMS’s AHQ eSports. With seemingly no hope for SKT, the support Wolf found a beautiful Rakan engage, Faker pressed Orianna’s ultimate…
…and the rest, as they say, is history. SKT would go 5-1 in that group only losing to AHQ, making it all the way to finals before being dethroned by Samsung Galaxy, while EDG would have their worst Worlds ever, going 2-4 and tying for dead last in the group with AHQ.
An exciting match on paper with significant history should be on any LoL fan’s must watch list.
The World Championship will kick off on October 5th with Korea’s Hanwha Life Esports vs China’s LNG Esports at 6am CST You can find the full schedule at https://lolesports.com/, and catch every match there, on the LoL Esports YouTube channel, or at https://www.twitch.tv/riotgames.