The four major regions in China, Korea, Europe and North America have finally determined the three teams representing their respective regions. Now it’s time to look at some questions a team in each region will have to answer. As Worlds slowly approaches, this will become a very interesting time as this will likely be the most competitive Worlds to date. With so many teams that will have a competitive chance at winning it all, how will some of these teams stack up?
China: Have the Old Kings returned?
After a convincing 3-1 victory against Rogue Warriors, the old kings of China, EDward Gaming have once again qualified for Worlds. The team has looked shaky throughout various stages of the season. But when it mattered most, everything came together. Now, the team travels to Korea as they prepare to play in the Play-In. While the core of the team has stayed mostly the same, the changes the team made has helped a lot this season, and is a big reason as to why they find themselves at Worlds once again.
A huge reason EDG find themselves at Worlds is thanks to their new jungler Chen “Haro” Wen-Lin. While Haro had big shoes to fill in Ming “Clearlove” Kai, he has proven his own worth. With his recent level of play, Haro has looked like a young Clearlove, as he completely controlled the early game. The second roster change that has brought the team to where they are is in the top lane. As EDG said goodbye to Chen “Mouse” Yu-Hao in the offseason, they brought on former Cloud 9 top laner Jeon “Ray” Ji-won. So far, Ray has developed into a top-level player, and it especially showed in the match against Rogue Warriors as he absolutely destroyed the player he replaced in the first place.
Overall, the team has been looking great, and a big part in this is their roster changes since the last Worlds. But now they must succeed where the team has always failed. Will EDG show that despite their seeding, the old kings still have a lot left? Will they be able to make a deep run at Worlds?
Korea: Will the title be defended?
After a dominating run through the Gauntlet once again, Gen.G find themselves at Worlds. As the second team in history with a chance to defend their title, a lot of pressure is now on them. Especially with the Chinese teams creeping up trying to take it. Despite a rough regular season and playoffs, Gen.G once again tore through an incredibly stacked gauntlet. But will their team be good enough to carry them to defend their title?
If the team wants to make a run, it’ll once again rely heavily on mid laner Lee “Crown” Min-ho to absolutely control the game. While he was missing for a majority of the season as Gen.G opted to run Song “Fly” Yong-jun instead, a change in the meta allowed Crown to return against SK Telecom in the gauntlet. From then on, Gen.G breezed through SKT, had a close series with Griffin then proceeded to absolutely decimate Kingzone DragonX. So, as long as Crown can return to the form fans saw at the last World Championships, Gen.G will remain a likely contender to win it all once again.
So far, Gen.G has proven that the gauntlet buff may be a real thing, but now the real challenge begins. With the recent strength of China, along with the potential for upset from some of the top western teams, Gen.G must prove that they’re able to remain consistent enough to defeat these teams. Otherwise, a very early exit from the tournament will be the only result the team will find as their dreams of defending their title fades away.
Europe: Can Vitality surprise us?
While Europe’s first seed, Fnatic,will likely make a huge run, the other European teams are rarely talked about. G2 Esports has looked weaker than usual for a majority of the final half of the season. Team Vitality has looked great. They have the exciting and aggressive playstyle that could reward them with some surprise victories against the top Asian teams at the tournament.
For the team to achieve a huge victory like that, Vitality will rely on jungler Mateusz “Kikis” Szkudlarek and mid laner Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauroto take over the game. While Kikis has proved his jungling prowess in Europe, he must now compete against the likes of Go “Score” Dong-bin and Jake “Xmithie” Puchero. If Kikis is able to keep up against these junglers that have absolutely dominated their regions, the team will surprise fans. On top of that, if Kikis can help Jiizuke get rolling, the team will become capable of winning any game. Of course, if Kikis will have a big task ahead of him against the other international junglers, Jiizuke will have an even bigger task ahead of him against the likes of Song “Rookie” Eui-jin and Son “Ucal” Woo-hyeon. But yet again, if he can take over these matchups, the team will win without a doubt.
After surprising their own region with their results in the Summer, Vitality will be looking to do the same at Worlds. While their chance to qualify for the quarterfinals as a second seeded team is fairly low, it doesn’t matter to them. For them, how far they make it will entirely be up to how well they can play. So while they’ll be able to surprise some teams, don’t be surprised yourself when it happens.
North America: Redemption for Liquid?
While North America’s international performance has not been great in recent memory, a solid result at Worlds can change all of that. The name of the game for the entire region will be redemption. No team displays this better than Team Liquid. With three former Immortals players in Jake “Xmithie” Puchero, Eugene “Pobelter” Park and Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung, they’ll be looking to redeem themselves and their performance in last year’s World Championship.
But for the team to succeed, it’ll depend heavily on ADC Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng to take over the game. Considering that Doublelift will also be looking to redeem himself, he’ll have to prove once again that he is a world-class ADC. Despite Pobelter showing once again that he’s capable of being a second carry for the team, a lot of that burden still falls on Doublelift. If he falls off, then Team Liquid lose. Will Doublelift be able to carry this burden further? Or will Liquid disappoint like the North American teams that came before them?
A lot will be riding on this years Worlds. One last chance for North America to prove they’re able to keep up against the best in the world on the international stage. Can they have a run to prove themselves? Or will more regions push past them as North America falls further into obscurity?
No matter what happens, this years Worlds will be an exciting one to watch. With multiple teams having a chance to win it all, this could prove to be the most competitive World Championship to date. Which teams will rise to the occasion? And which teams will fail to make a lasting legacy? We’ll find out soon enough.
To watch the Worlds, visit watch.na.lolesports.com. For more information on the split, teams, standings and players, visit www.lolesports.com. Recaps of former weeks and other LoL content can be found at https://thegamehaus.com/league-of-legends/.
Featured image courtesy of LoL Esports Twitter.
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