After eight days of intense competition, the teams and matchups for the quarterfinals of Worlds 2018 have been decided. Now the final push for the Summoner’s Cup begins. All these teams have the same goal in mind but for now, they must first defeat the team on the other side of the rift. Which teams will move on? Will we see any upsets? Let’s find out.
Afreeca Freecs (Group A 1st seed) vs Cloud9 (Group B 2nd seed)
Both teams had very different journeys so far this Worlds to reach their impending matchup. While Afreeca Freecs struggled in the first half of the group stage, they managed to adjust to the meta and fight their way back to the 1st seed. Meanwhile Cloud9’s struggles came from the Play-ins as they had a close match against Gambit Esports. However the team had a solid showing in the Main stage as they took Royal Never Give Up to a tiebreaker match for 1st in the group which they ended up losing. Now they find themselves on the rift against each other in the first round of the playoffs.
For Afreeca, the team’s success came primarily from their solo laners. Mid Laner Lee “Kuro” Seo-haeng showed his world-class prowess as he played a key role in helping Afreeca save their season with a 3-0 record in the second half of the season. Meanwhile top laner Kim “Kiin” Gi-in continued to show why he’s now in the conversation for best top laner in the world, as he completely dominated his fellow top laners in the group. Now they find themselves in the playoffs, will Afreeca continue their fantastic run or will they fall short?
Meanwhile for Cloud9 it’s been the rookies that have been impressing the most. Top laner Eric “Licorice” Ritchie and support Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam have both continued to impress fans as they fought their way through the group stages. Meanwhile mid laner Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen dominated the mid lane in a group filled with mid lane talent. Now the question is, will Cloud9 be able to continue their surprising run?
While Cloud9’s run has been great so far, this is likely where it ends. Although Licorice has shown that he can hang with some of the best top laners in the world, he has yet face someone of Kiin’s caliber. Along with that, Kuro has shown that he is capable of keeping up and even shutting down some of the best mid laners in the world, and this time around Jensen should be no different. While Afreeca have a slight weakness in the bot lane, it’s hard to see the Cloud9 bot laner of Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi and Zeyzal being able to fully abuse it.
While I see Cloud9 being able to take a game or two off Afreeca based on how the drafts may go, I’m giving the series to Afreeca Freecs 3-1.
Fnatic (Group D 1st seed) vs EDward Gaming (Group C 2nd seed)
In a matchup that could’ve been drastically different had the groups played out a bit differently. Now, both teams must prove they deserved their spot here. For Fnatic, a grueling second half of the group stage saw them scoring two wins against the group favorites Invictus Gaming. Meanwhile EDward Gaming secured their spot with an upset win against one of the tournament favorites in KT Rolster. In a matchup that could’ve been Invictus Gaming vs Team Liquid, the two teams played amazing to reserve their spot here instead.
For EDG, their success can be attributed to their amazing bot lane in ADC Hu “iBoy” Xian-Zhao and Tian “Meiko” Ye, showing that they’re easily one of the strongest bot lanes in the world. Even when they fall short, the team is able to rely on mid laner Lee “Scout” Ye-chan, who has developed into an amazing and consistent carry threat for the team. As the team has developed a nice system for using their junglers Ming “Clearlove” Kai (leadership and shotcalling) and Chen “Haro” Wen-Lin (Mechanical play and raw skill), EDG is looking like a dark horse team to win the whole tournament.
Meanwhile on the side of Fnatic, the team has looked dominant on all parts of the rift. Jungler Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen played a huge role in their 1st seed as he dominated iG for a large part of the game. At the same time mid laner Rasmus “Caps” Winther has shown the world why he deserves to be in the conversation for best mid laner at Worlds, as he held his outperformed his fellow mid laners in the group. Once again, Fnatic will be the western hope, will they be able to succeed?
While most fans are hoping for an easy Fnatic victory, this matchup will be a lot close than what most people are expecting. The matchup between Scout and Caps in mid will be interesting and a fairly close matchup as Scout has also shown his ability to hold his own against some of the best players in the world.While Fnatic has the advantage in top and jungle, I believe the Fnatic bot lane of Martin “Rekkles” Larsson and Zdravets “Hylissang” Iliev Galabov will have a rough time against iBoy and Meiko.
However, League of Legends isn’t just about individual matchups, which is where EDG may fall short. While they have looked fairly clean, they do have occasional plays that are questionable. Against a team like Fnatic that could prove to be their downfall.
As such, I’ll be giving this series to Fnatic with a score of 3-2.
Royal Never Give Up (Group B 1st seed) vs G2 Esports (Group A 2nd seed)
In what may be the most lopsided matchup of the quarterfinals, we have RNG going up against G2. For RNG, they had a rocky finish to their group stage as they suffered a loss to both Team Vitality and Cloud9. While they retained their 1st seed through a tiebreaker victory against Cloud9, the favorites of the tournament now looks vulnerable. Meanwhile G2 has constantly been fighting for their place in the playoffs from Play-ins to their group stage. With a tiebreaker victory against Flash Wolves, G2 now finds themselves facing off against RNG.
For RNG, despite all the great players all over the map, it’s still the Uzi show. ADC Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao has continued to be the best player at the tournament, absolutely dominating any bot lane duo with the help of his support Shi “Ming” Sen-Ming. Meanwhile, the jungle pairing of Hung “Karsa” Hau-Hsuan and Liu “Mlxg” Shi-Yu continue to be a deadly pairing that can be swapped in and out at any moment. While their group stage ended rough, RNG continue to be the heavy favorites to win it all and lift the Summoner’s Cup. But will they continue to struggle?
While RNG has been the Uzi show, G2 has been a collaborative effort led by top laner Martin “Wunder” Hansen and mid laner Luka “Perkz” Perković. Both players have been completely dominating their opponents as the team fought to their 2nd seed finish. However, the team has a glaring weakness in the bot lane. Petter “Hjarnan” Freyschuss has been underwhelming when not on Heimerdinger and has been a big weakness on the team. Despite this, will G2 be able to pull off a huge upset? Only time will tell.
This isn’t even a contest, Uzi is gonna have an easy time against Hjarnan and will easily gain an advantage from laning phase. While Perkz and Wunder will be able to hold their own and have a slight advantage against their opponents in Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao and Yan “Letme” Jun-Ze, it simply won’t be enough against Uzi’s ability to completely take over the game.
This series will be a clean 3-0 sweep for Uzi and RNG.
KT Rolster (Group C 1st Seed) vs Invictus Gaming (Group D 2nd seed)
What could’ve easily been a matchup in the Finals, KT and iG find themselves against each other in the quarterfinals instead. While KT had an easy time in their group, playing fairly clean in most of their games, a slip up against EDG saw them end the group 5-1, just barely missing out on the perfect group stage. Meanwhile iG had a similar experience until their final matches against Fnatic which saw them dropping both games and the 1st seed along with it. As a result, fans will now be treated to a series that can easily be the best series of the tournament.
For KT, their success comes from all parts of the map. However, two key players have been the most notable. For starters, there’s jungler Go “Score” Dong-bin, who has been the best jungler at the tournament thus far. Score continues to completely dominate the map during the early game. Meanwhile on the lower half of the map, support Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong has continued to be a key playmaker for the team. Along with that, his play in the early game has helped ADC Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu become a huge threat. Together these two have been key in creating plays for KT across the map.
Meanwhile for iG, their success has been coming from who else but mid laner Song “Rookie” Eui-jin. Rookie’s play so far this tournament has been fantastic, as he continues to show why he’s considered the best mid by many fans and analysts. Helping him carry some of the burden of the team will be ADC Yu “JackeyLove” Wen-Bo. Along with his fellow Chinese ADCs, JackeyLove has shown how strong the region’s ADCs are as he has also had an amazing tournament thus far.
No matter which team wins, this will be a great series to watch. However, it’s hard to bet against KT in this case. While Rookie is an amazing player, Son “Ucal” Woo-hyeon will definitely be able to keep up. Meanwhile, iG’s jungler Gao “Ning” Zhen-Ning simply won’t be able to keep up against Score. While I see JackeyLove and Rookie stealing a game or two for iG, I think this series is still KT’s to lose.
I give this series to KT with a score of 3-1
With that, you’re caught up in time for the quarterfinals to begin for Worlds. Which teams will move on and be one step closer to winning it all? Which teams will fall just short? All these questions will be answered this weekend.
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