With the World Championship starting this weekend we’ll have the chance to see some massive upsets. The possibility of either of the teams dropping a few games could start off Worlds with a bang. Last year we got to witness the first upset of a Wildcard team in groups. Albus Nox Luna of the CIS region were able to take second in their group finishing 4-3 ahead of CLG and G2.
Instead of having a separate Wild Card tournament to determine who will play in Worlds from the non-major regions, we now have the play-in stage. The play-in stage allows for Wildcard teams the chance to face third place teams of the major regions with a chance to upset and qualify for the Group stage.
Will we have another Albus Nox play spoiler for one of the major regions? Let’s take a look at some teams that may have the best chance:
Gambit (1st place lcl)
Gambit Gaming represent the same region Albus Nox did last year, the LCL. They also have two former players in Alexander “PvPStejos” Glazkov and Michael “Kira” Garmash. Kira and PvPStejos were huge in Albus Nox’s Worlds run last year. Kira has shown the ability to have a wide champion pool.
They also have some legendary veterans in jungler Danil “Diamondprox” Reshetnikov and support Edward “Edward” Abgaryan. Diamond and Edward were longtime legends in the EULCS after dominating tournaments in Season 2 as Moscow 5. This will be a chance for them to add onto their legacy.
Rekkles also shed some light into Gambit calling them an EULCS caliber team in his 3rd place interview. Gambit definitely have the experience to do so. They’re a very much an early game team who can create leads through skirmishes. They’ll often go for these early baron calls despite not having proper vision setup. They’re a high risk, high reward team that can definitely shock some of these teams with weak early games such as Cloud 9.
Gigabyte Marines (1st place gpl)
Unlike the other teams on this list, Gigabyte Marines aren’t in the play-in stage as they earned their region a pool two seed at MSI. They are placed in Group B with Korean Powerhouse, Longzhu Gaming, and North American first timers, Immortals. For Gigabyte Marines this could be a hopeful group for them. Longzhu will most likely be favorites, but the second seed is up in the air. Immortals will be favorites, but let’s remember that Gigabyte Marines nearly beat TSM in a best of five at MSI.
The Marines played a lot through ganking the bot lane early at MSI. Star jungler Đỗ “Levi” Duy Khánh was instrumental in their MSI run and will look to put the team on his back once again. With carry junglers out of the meta now, it will be interesting to see how they decide to play. They built their own meta at MSI, with snowballing the early game through bot, so they have the ability to create their own meta.
1907 fenerbahce (1st place tcl)
1907 Fenerbahce come in with a ton of momentum after winning the TCL 3-0 against SuperMassive. Historically, we’ve seen teams from Turkey do well in Wildcard tournaments and even take games off some of the major regions. Fenerbahce have a mid-jungle korean duo in Kim “Frozen” Tae-il and Kang “Move” Min-su. Move spent some time in NA and EU having some solid seasons before coming over to the TCL. Top laner, Berke “Thaldrin” Demir, has had some international experience with previous Turkish teams.
Being placed in group D has to feel like a blessing. Hong Kong attitude are the 3rd place team out of LMS and finished 6th in the regular season before getting in through the regional qualifier. Fenerbahce have the disadvantage of coming to Worlds late without a bootcamp, but we’ve seen teams do well without scrims.
The mystery of developing your own meta brings an extra surprise factor especially in best of one’s. Albus Nox mentioned not being able to get scrims last year before going on their magical run.
Cover photo by Riot Esports
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