• Edward Brady

Worlds 2022: The Play-In Stage Itinerary

- By Edward Brady

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.


24 teams from 11 regions will compete for the ultimate prize in LoL esports, the Summoner’s Cup. The tournament will start with the play-in stage starting September 29th, before advancing to the main stage groups which will begin on October 7th before eventually ending with the finals on November 5th.


As the 1st phase is almost here, who will be leaving the play-in stage with their hopes and dreams intact? Who is going to be the biggest surprise? What are the duels that will shape the outcome of the groups? Here is every play-in team’s roster, expectations summed up in 30 words, along with key narratives, and my predictions.


Group A

#1 Evil Geniuses, LCS (North America)

Roster:

Top: Impact

Jungle: Inspired,

Mid: Jojopyun

ADC: Kaori (subbing for Danny)

Support: Vulcan

Ceiling: 5-0

Floor: 2-3

Prediction: 5-0



TLDR: Despite a substitute ADC in Kaori, Evil Geniuses’ MSI run proved that they handle opponents they should beat well (8-0 vs minor regions). A weak group should serve them wonders.


#2 Megabank Beyond Gaming PCS

Roster:

Top: Likai/Liang

Jungle: HuSha

Mid: Minji

ADC: Wako

Support: Kino

Ceiling: 4-1

Floor: 1-4

Prediction: 4-1


TLDR: An originally unexciting team can now feast on a weakened group. The group is almost anyone’s to win, but BYG is the least battered and might have the most solid floor.


#3 Fnatic, LEC (Europe)

Roster:

Top: Wunder

Jungle: Razork

Mid: Humanoid

ADC: BEAN (subbing for Upset)

Support: Rhuckz (subbing for Hylissang)

Ceiling: 5-0

Floor: 0-5

Prediction: 3-2

TLDR: An already incredibly volatile team will be playing with 2 subs. They could go undefeated or completely collapse. The former favorite is now an enigma. Good luck.


#4 Detonation FocusMe, LJL (Japan)

Roster:

Top: Evi

Jungle: Steal

Mid: Yaharong

ADC: Yutapon

Support: Harp

Ceiling: 5-0

Floor: 0-5

Prediction: 2-3

TLDR: Despite the breakthrough in 2021, losing Aria hurt. Although even their least favorable matches are 50/50, they don’t quite have the same guaranteed X-factor that will see them through.


#5 LOUD, CBLoL (Brazil)

Roster:

Top: Robo

Jungle: Croc

Mid: tinowns

ADC: Brance

Support: Ceos

Ceiling: 4-1

Floor: 0-5

Prediction: 1-4

TLDR: I want to believe in player experience and Brazil’s general improvement, but I can’t give them the benefit of the doubt. I would keep a close eye on them, however.


#6 Chiefs Esports Club, LCO (Oceania)

Roster:

Top: Topoon

Jungle: Arthur

Mid: Tally

ADC: Raes

Support: Aladoric

Ceiling: 2-3

Floor: 0-5

Prediction: 0-5

TLDR: Despite this being the LCO’s super team, the LCO is one of the worst regions for a reason. They are probably outmatched by large margins in all aspects by everyone.

Key narratives:


Highest chance to disappoint: Fnatic

Most exciting dark horse: LOUD

Most Important matches: FNC vs EG (day 1), DFM vs LLL (day 1), Winner of DFM/LLL vs FNC (days 2/3), BYG vs FNC (day 4)


Group B

#1 Royal Never Give Up, LPL (China)

Roster:

Top: Breathe

Jungle: Wei

Mid: Xiaohu

ADC: GALA

Support: Ming

Ceiling: 5-0

Floor: 4-1

Prediction: 5-0

TLDR: This is a team that can win the entire tournament. They are going to eat 80% of this group alive, DRX hasn’t shown enough for me to expect the upset.


#2 DRX, LCK (South Korea)

Roster:

Top: Kingen

Jungle: Pyosik/Juhan

Mid: Zeka

ADC: Deft

Support: BeryL

Ceiling: 5-0

Floor: 3-2

Prediction: 4-1

TLDR: Only 2 LCK teams have failed to make it out of groups over 11 years. RNG is a much better team, but they should annihilate everyone else with little effort.


#3 MAD Lions, LEC (Europe)

Roster:

Top: Armut

Jungle: Elyoya

Mid: Nisqy

ADC: UNF0RGIVEN

Support: Kaiser

Ceiling: 4-1

Floor: 0-5

Prediction: 3-2

TLDR: Mediocre international history + no bo5 victories in 2022 = very shaky confidence. Should be solid enough, but I am waiting for games to be played before I get excited.


#4 Saigon Buffalo, VCS (Vietnam)

Roster:

Top: Hasmed

Jungle: BeanJ

Mid: Froggy

ADC: Shogun

Support: Taki

Ceiling: 3-2

Floor: 2-3

Prediction: 2-3

TLDR: A decent MSI performance puts them well above their fellow wildcards. But the top 2 are simply too solid. They could snipe a spot via knockouts if everything breaks right.


#5 Isurus, LLA (Latin America)

Roster:

Top: ADD

Jungle: Grell

Mid: Seiya

ADC: Gavotto

Support: Jelly

Ceiling: 2-3

Floor: 0-5

Prediction: 1-4

TLDR: The LLA has taken a nosedive in international relevance over 2 years. With the strength of the other teams, there’s little room for them to sneak into a playoff spot.


#6 Istanbul Wildcats, TCL (Turkey)

Roster:

Top: StarScreen

Jungle: Ferret

Mid: Serin

ADC: HolyPhoenix

Support: Farfetch

Ceiling: 2-3

Floor: 0-5

Prediction: 0-5

TLDR: The TCL has had an unbelievably harsh fall from grace. Two terrible (1-5) MSI appearances leave little reason to have faith in the Wildcats. Please give HolyPhoenix a decent team.


Key narratives:

Highest chance to disappoint: MAD Lions

Most exciting dark horse: Saigon Buffalo

Most important games: DRX vs RNG (day 1), ISG vs MAD (day 1) SGB vs DRX (day 2), MAD vs SGB (day 3)


Knockout Round Predictions

Semifinals

#4A DFM 2-3 Fnatic #3A: Almost no practice time for the orange and black means this is a very losable series if DFM exceeds expectations. But Fnatic should have enough in the tank to survive.


#4B Saigon Buffalo 3-1 MAD Lions #3A: What can I say? I’m a fan of the underdog and am still skeptical about MAD. If they do pull off the upset, it will be through Shogun and Taki.


Finals

#4B Saigon Buffalo 3-1 Megabank Beyond Gaming #2A: The only reason I believe BYG will be the 2nd seed is because of Fnatic’s subs. I believe the VCS is better than the PCS currently and it will show here.

#3A Fnatic 0-3 DRX #2B: Even Fnatic on a good day would struggle here. A jetlagged Upset/Hyli at best or an ERL bot lane at worst? Yeah, no chance, the LCK is just too good.

The tournament will begin at 3 P.M. CST with Latin America’s Isurus vs Europe’s MAD Lions. You can catch all the action on https://lolesports.com/

If you want an in-depth breakdown of all these teams and daily coverage, you can find it here!

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