The 2019 League of Legends World Championship progresses to the next stage, as the Play-In knockouts begin tomorrow. While every series has a favorite, the match-up between first seed Hong Kong Attitude and second seed Isurus Gaming is the most likely for an upset. These two teams will face off Tuesday, and the winner moves on to the Main Event. Here are three essential adjustments for Isurus to have the best chance at winning.
Pick or ban Lee Sin
Lee Sin has quickly proven to be a power pick in the Play-In stage. Considering he was played as many times on Day 4 as on Days 1, 2 and 3 combined, Lee Sin could very well make or break several of these knockout series. HKA’s Lee “Crash” Dong-woo played him in all three of their wins, while Sebastián “Oddie” Alonso Niño Zavaleta lost his one Lee Sin game. Junglers have fallen back on an old favorite, following disappointing results from Ekko, an expected jungle meta priority.
In both of Isurus’ wins, Oddie was playing Gragas, which Crash has yet to play. Both junglers prioritize Lee Sin and Gragas domestically, but Oddie prefers Skarner and Jarvan, while Crash goes for Elise and Sejuani. Adapting their draft around these champions throughout the course of the series will most likely become the deciding factor, especially considering both players have the highest kill participation on their teams.
Play compositions with mobility
A clear team identity is a crucial aspect of winning against Play-In stage teams. It is not enough to draft meta champions and deny the opponent’s win conditions. These teams also need to find a clear playstyle of their own and execute it, which, for Isurus, seems to be high-mobility compositions.
Although they lost it, Isurus’ best match of Play-Ins was their last one versus Splyce. They banned Qiyana, Xayah and Kai’Sa in round one, before locking in Jarvan, Braum and Lucian. In second phase, Isurus banned Ashe and Yasuo, further minimizing ADC and mid lane options. Quinn and Leblanc rounded out the composition, giving Isurus mobility on almost every champion.
They did not run away with an early lead, but Isurus were able to make plays around the map and keep Splyce on their toes. As a less disciplined, less skilled team, HKA could easily fall prey to the permanent rotations and skirmishing that comes with Behind Enemy Lines, “Flag and Drag”, Distortion, Relentless Pursuit and Stand Behind Me. Removing the safest marksmen and drafting this type of composition almost worked for Isurus against Splyce.
Get Seiya more involved
So far Édgar Ali “Seiya” Bracamontes Munguía has not been able to accomplish much at the World Championship. He only has 20 percent of the team’s gold, 20 percent of the damage and 40 percent kill participation. Compared to the Play-In field of mid laners, Seiya is bottom three in all three statistics. Getting picked off near Baron in their final game versus Splyce was also their losing point. Whether Isurus need to draft him more comfortable match-ups, adjust their gank focus or something else, Seiya will need to get more involved against HKA.
If Isurus are able to bring these three adjustments to the knockout series, then HKA just might get upset. Latin America’s representatives have not been a top minor region internationally for several years, so moving into the Main Event would be a huge success. It would also attest to the success of combining Latin America North and South into one region at the beginning of 2019.
Implications for the Main Event
Three Main Event group possibilities: Left-All first seeds qualify, Middle-Isurus upsets HKA, Right-Isurus and UOL upset.
Isurus in the Main Event might also change which group each Play-In team gets drafted into, but only if another upset happens. Assuming DAMWON, Clutch and Splyce win their series, Isurus or HKA would automatically join Group A, because it already has representatives from North America, Europe and Korea. Clutch would auto-draft into Group C, and DAMWON and Splyce would have a 50-50 chance in Groups B and D.
However, if Splyce loses to Unicorns of Love and HKA loses to Isurus, then DAMWON and Clutch have a 50 percent chance for Group B. If Clutch gets it, then DAMWON goes into Group D; if DAMWON gets in, then Clutch goes into Group C. UOL and Isurus would have a 50 percent chance for Group A, and whichever does not get that would fill in the final Group C or D.
Featured image from LoL Esports Flickr
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