With many of the world’s League of Legends professional circuits crowning their domestic champions, the 2018 World Championship is around the corner. Like last year, this year’s Worlds will start with a Play-In stage, which will determine which four organizations get slotted into the Main Event against major regions’ top representatives.
The third seeds for China, Europe, North America, and Taiwan will compete against the best teams from minor regions, beginning on October 1. Here are six of the twelve teams that qualified for the Play-In stage this year.
LJL – Detonation FocusMe
Roster: Evi – Steal – Ceros – Yutapon – Vivid
Detonation FocusMe has had a stranglehold on Japan’s domestic league, the LJL. Looking through their match history, they rarely miss first place, and 2018 is no different. They won the Spring and Summer Split regular seasons, only dropping one series over both. PENTAGRAM upset them in spring finals, but DFM came back to ultimately win summer and make it to Worlds 2018.
DFM generally dominates other Japanese teams in the laning phase. Steal and Ceros maintain control over the middle of the map, Yutapon and Vivid handle bot lane, and Evi split-pushes to win. This roster averages over 2,000 gold ahead at 15 minutes, and have a 30:25 average game time. However, LJL representatives have never really left their mark internationally. DFM, specifically, holds 1-5, 2-4, and 3-4 round robin records from previous International Wildcard events. Rampage went 0-4 in the Play-In stage of Worlds 2017, and Pentagram went 1-5 at this year’s MSI Play-In.
TCL – SuperMassive
Roster: fabFabulous – Stomaged – GBM – Zeitnot – Snowflower
Turkish organizations generally perform well against other wildcard regions. The world last saw SuperMassive on a big stage in 2016, when they qualified to MSI as the only minor region participant. They took one game off CLG, but finished last at 1-9. SUP almost made it into the Main Event at last year’s MSI, but lost 1-3 to GIGABYTE Marines. They also won their group at this year’s MSI, but lost 1-3 to EVOS, missing the Main Event again.
SuperMassive’s bottom lane duo generally carries. Zeitnot and Snowflower consistently win lane and transition that power into teamfighting better than other TCL organizations. GBM, Stomaged, and fabFabulous all love to draft high-pressure match-ups, which sometimes pop off, but sometimes fall flat. This becomes a bigger hindrance on international stages, as major region representatives punish those over-steps. Their 1-3 loss to EVOS at MSI is a great example.
LMS – G-REX
Roster: PK – Empt2y/Raise – Candy/Wuji – Stitch – Koala
This is G-Rex’s first year in the LMS. They finished second in the Spring Split regular season, before losing 0-3 to Flash Wolves in the finals. G-Rex performed much poorer this summer, only securing fifth and missing playoffs altogether. They secured third seed by winning convincingly in the gauntlet over Hong Kong Attitude and J Team.
G-Rex’s performance completely depends on their mid-jungle duo. Throughout Summer Split, they rotated between three junglers and two mid laners. When they looked best, in the Regional Qualifier, G-Rex settled on pairing Empt2y with Candy and Raise with Wuji (which is counter-intuitive, since Raise and Candy are Korean, while Empt2y is Canadian and Wuji is Taiwanese). Raise and Wuji play more standard, broadly meta champions, like tank junglers and control mages. Empt2y and Candy add more assassination champions to their pool, like Skarner, Talon, Irelia, and Jax. Stitch is generally the more reliable carry, but the entire team suffers when the center of the map falls apart.
EU LCS – G2 Esports
Roster: Wunder – Jankos – Perkz – Hjarnan – Wadid
The first 15 minutes are green for Europe’s third seed, as G2′ solo laners often win out the early game. Wunder and Perkz have shown some of Europe’s best mid and top performances over the course of 2018. Jankos, Hjarnan, and Wadid have had a rockier year. G2’s bottom lane thrived during the Heimerdinger-Fiddlesticks meta, but has not held the same strength in standard marksman compositions. Similarly, Jankos has not felt quite as strong as when he was supporting Perkz via gold-funneling. However, Jankos was part of 2016 H2K, who finished top four at Worlds that year.
During 2016-2017, G2 was the most feared team in the EU LCS. However, their superstar bottom lane duo, Zven and Mithy, and their Korean top-jungle, Expect and Trick, left leading into 2018. With a wholly rebuilt roster around Perkz, G2 finished second in Spring Split to Fnatic, but fell to fifth-sixth in summer. The Spanish organization managed to win the Regional Qualifier over Schalke 04.
NA LCS – Cloud9
Roster: Licorice – Blaber/Svenskeren – Jensen/Goldenglue – Sneaky – Zeyzal
Cloud9 finally managed to find their footing this Summer Split, rising from tenth to second place in the NA LCS. Impact and Contractz left for new organizations at the beginning of the year, which left fans questioning the addition of rookie Licorice and veteran Svenskeren at the dawning of a franchised league. Jungler Blaber and support Zeyzal round out a seven-man roster, which also includes Goldenglue as Jensen’s substitute. They only fell short in the finals against Team Liquid, where a 0-3 loss sent them to the gauntlet. A convincing Regional Qualifier versus TSM earned Cloud9 North America’s third seed, with a 3-0 win of their own.
Cloud9’s sixth man will determine their style at Worlds. Since they will most likely use two junglers instead of two mid laners, expect Blaber to play more in-your-face junglers, like Kindred and Camille, while Svenskeren drafts more supportive options, like Gragas and Trundle. Zeyzal plays almost exclusively Braum, while Jensen and Sneaky put out the DPS. Licorice has been the only top-performing player over the course of the entire year, playing mostly split-pushers and tanks, as well as his pocket pick Kled.
LPL – Edward Gaming
Roster: Ray – Haro/Clearlove – Scout – iBoy – Meiko
2018 makes EDG’s fifth straight World Championship, representing the LPL. Clearlove has jungled from the start, while Meiko supported four out of five. Scout has been a part of EDG since 2016. These players have some of the most experience out of the pool at the tournament. iBoy, Haro, and Ray may be newer starters, but they have been making their mark on the LPL this year with strong carry performance of their own.
EDG had a stronger Spring Split this year, within two games of winning the finals versus Royal Never Give Up. They had a decent showing at Rift Rivals, helping the LPL win over the LCK and LMS teams. EDG had a similar regular season during Summer Split, but fell flat in playoffs against a JD Gaming that went on to finish third. The gauntlet allowed EDG to avenge themselves, winning 3-2 over JDG, and beating Rogue Warriors 3-1 for the third seed.
If you missed Part 1, check it out here.