Esports League of Legends

LPL: Hopefuls vs realities of Worlds 2018

This is part 3 of a miniseries of articles that will take a look at the teams that made Worlds compared to the teams I predicted in the Hopefuls for Worlds series. You can read part one here and part two here.

As the teams for the four major regions have been decided for Worlds 2018, it’s now time to look back. This time around, we’ll be taking a look at China. We’ll look at the hopefuls that hoped to make Worlds and the reality of the three teams representing the region. We’ll find out how the teams ended up, where they are, and how the future looks for them now.

Royal Never Give Up

Courtesy of: LoL Esports Flickr

It really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that RNG managed to get the first seed going into Worlds. Even without world-class ADC Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao in the lineup for a majority of the season, they ended the regular season 2nd. Upon Uzi’s return, the team became unstoppable once again. Pushing their way through the region with 3-1 victories over Topsports Gaming and Rogue Warriors, and finally a 3-2 victory over Invictus Gaming to defend the throne, now one more goal is in their way.

Leading their quest for a Worlds title is their ADC Uzi, widely considered the best player at Worlds this year. Uzi will finally be able to cement his legacy as one of the greatest players in the history of League of Legends. Supporting him is Shi “Ming” Sen-Ming, a player who has developed into the perfect support so complement Uzi’s aggressive play. Even when the bot lane fails, RNG can always rely on the steady play of mid laner Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao to save the day. In general, this roster has no clear weaknesses, so it’s easy to see how they dominated China.

Despite this, RNG will still face some heavy resistance on their way to the title. With teams like KT Rolster and Afreeca Freecs waiting for them on the road to the cup, they’ll still have to play some fantastic League of Legends if they want to win. Will Uzi be able to carry this team to the championship? Or will Korea stop them and dominate once again? We’ll find out soon enough. But for now, RNG will come into Worlds as the favorites to win it all.

Invictus Gaming

Courtesy of: Yong Woo ‘kenzi’ Kim Flickr

While IG was originally predicted to take the third seed, they’ve shown that their underperformance in the Spring Split was simply a rare underperformance. While they weren’t able to take down RNG, IG has shown they’re the clear second best team in China. With the second seed to show for it, the real battle has just begun as they make their way to Korea for Worlds.

Leading the team will be mid laner Song “Rookie” Eui-jin, considered the best mid laner at the tournament and arguably the world at the moment. With a place on the first all-pro team during the summer, Rookie now looks towards proving himself on the international stage. Helping him carry the team to victory is top laner Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok. Praised for his aggressive play, TheShy will have to prove that his spectacular performance domestically can be replicated internationally. Together with the support of yet another prodigy ADC in Yu “JackeyLove” Wen-Bo and the rest of the team, IG will be looking to make a deep run at Worlds.

While IG is still largely unproven on the international stage, they’ll be coming into Worlds as a huge threat. While the team can still be inconsistent at times, they’ve looked solid for most of the Summer and that should continue into Worlds. So, will IG make a run at Worlds? Can they prove to be the dark horse of the year and contend for the title itself? With a team as talented as this, anything is possible.

EDward Gaming

Courtesy of: LoL Esports Flickr

When we last took a look at EDG, the team was in a rough shape. While their playoff results didn’t help inspire any more confidence for fans, the team managed to pull it all together in time for a gauntlet push. And now, the old kings of China find themselves in the play-in stage.

Getting the team there has been thanks mainly to the bot lane tandem of prodigy ADC Hu “iBoy” Xian-Zhao and world-class support Tian “Meiko” Ye. When EDG wins, it’s usually off the back of this duo. While the bot lane duo are the stars of the show, the play of mid laner Lee “Scout” Ye-chan can’t be ignored. While he doesn’t always dominate games, he’s been consistent enough that he’s rarely the issue on the team. But filling the biggest shows on the team has to be jungler Chen “Haro” Wen-Lin, a player that has finally developed and taken the starting spot from Ming “Clearlove” Kai.

Together, this team has been through ups and downs but now they’ve made it to Worlds. With this roster, can EDG finally have a great showing at Worlds? With the competition getting stronger, it’ll be tough. But with the old guards of the team all gone, now may just be the time for them to do it.

While China has always been solid contenders at Worlds, they were never the clear favorites. After a great year from RNG, this year will be very different. Coming into Worlds as the favorites, the three Chinese teams will have a lot of expectations. Will they be able to live up to the hype? That’ll be up to their performance to decide.

To watch 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/.

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Featured image courtesy of LoL Esports Flickr.

Follow Rui on Twitter @ruixu38.

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