LoL World Championship Group Stage: October 10 (Worlds)
Christopher Troeh guides you through the League of Legends North American (LCS) & European (LEC) World Championship Group Stages for esports DFS contests!
Group C closes out on Saturday with a 3-way tie between FNC, LGD, and GEN.G, meanwhile TSM is dead last in 0-6. TSM may be capable of picking up some wins, and while they’re likely dead in their group, it’s important to navigate away from the teams that are susceptible to upsets. Let’s get into it.
I’m not going to lie: I really thought LGD was dead in the water judging by their performances in play-ins. However, since they reached the qualification round, their rejuvenation has been something to behold. Gen.G may be the overall better team, but LGD do have some very real redeeming qualities to them, and you don’t need to look further than mid laner Xiye to behold one. The mid laner has a 9 KDA so far in groups, one of the highest at the entire event. Furthermore, he’s comfortable navigating between styles: Syndra, Orianna are analogues for each other, but Xiye is also capable of playing less sought after picks like Ekko in order to allow stylistic variation in draft. Xiye also doesn’t break the bank as captain, unlike some other picks, and mid lane is a sought after spot to double up in. All and all, Xiye makes a strong case for captain. If you want a different pick, I’d recommend picking up Peanut on the cheap and filling out more expensive players elsewhere. Surprising, I know, but the pick will be explained later on.
Alternatives to consider: Peanut ($10,500)
Rascal for $6,400 is highway robbery, and the player has been historically carried by superior bottom sides. Korea in general has been robbed from strong top laners at the event aside from Nuguri (no Kiin? no Canna?). LangX has revved up fast this tournament, I really thought he was a tier 1 flopper, but so far he’s shown his worth: a 6 KDA as he tops his position. I think China’s practice on Renekton has prepared the Chinese top laners very well for this worlds meta, as the pick has shown to be a potent pick into a variety of other meta picks. Furthermore, LangX has an astounding +33CSD across groups. I was very critical of LGD early in the event, but they’ve fit the pieces together absurdly well. Honestly, I really do not want to recommend any other top laner, but if I absolutely had to, I would recommend Bwipo. He’s cheap and probably the 3rd best top laner in his group: Rascal simply isn’t worth the money.
Alternatives to consider: Bwipo ($6,000)
Peanut’s current performance is a far cry from his abysmal play-in performances. Granted, once LGD chose the risky (but effective) strategy of “do not pick lee sin) their win rate suddenly exploded. Peanut historically has been a fantastic Kindred and Graves player, so once they got their hands on those picks, their stock soared through the roof, even when playing against “counters” to those champions: Lillia and Nidalee. Peanut faces some stiff competition though: junglers Clid and Selfmade, however, Peanut does hold tricks up his sleeve: he has a greatly superior top side, which has shown to be the key to victory so far in this tournament. Bwipo and Rascal have been push overs relative to LangX. If LGD can stick with their strategy of picking strong early game top laners (Renekton!) Peanut can continue his success in the terminal of group stage. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, I’d gamble on Selfmade, he gets a lot of resources compared to Clid and is a primary win condition for Fnatic.
Alternatives to consider: Selfmade ($6,600)
Our second mid laner pick will be Bdd. Nemesis has been surprisingly solid, but truthfully I do not think he will be capable of continuing his success. Realistically, he should never be allowed to acquire crutch picks like Lucian or even Orianna that allow him to bypass laning phase through either being extremely safe and stacked with utility (Orianna) or just being so overtuned that it’s impossible to punish his poor laning: quite ironic. On the other hand, while BDD hasn’t been on a hot streak, I don’t think he will continue picking Azir in the event considering Gen.G’s loss to Fnatic on the 6th, much to the benefit of BDD; the pick just isn’t strong enough right now. In my mind, I think we will finally see BDD’s Irelia again into Orianna, especially since Clid is capable of playing picks that synergize well with the pick: we’ve already seen the Gragas, and Sejuani isn’t out of the question. Furthermore, I expect Nemesis’s champion pool to finally be exploited, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Veigar pick at some point if he can’t default to Lucian/Orianna/Twisted Fate. Don’t choose Bjergsen though, his team is really bad, enough said.
Alternatives to consider: Nemesis ($7,000)
I said Peanut’s return to form was surprising, but truthfully I think Kramer’s return has been much more impressive: despite a relatively mediocre Summer, Kramer has seemed to step up after reaching the qualification matches. Kramer holds an advantage over the other teams in group C: he’s an early adopter of Miss Fortune, who has seemingly reentered the meta. Despite some weird choices in itemization (Infinity Edge on Senna…?) I don’t think Kramer will stick on the pick. Support is definitely weak in group C, but between Biofrost, Mark, and Life (and a support we’ll talk about later) I do think Mark has some redeeming qualities, but it should be pointed out that LGD is the only bilingual bottom lane, between the Korean Kramer and the Chinese Mark we can’t expect concise communication. In spite of this, that hasn’t stopped LGD so far, and I expect Kramer to continue his solid performance going into Saturday. Kramer is a gamble, so if you’re looking for a safer option, look no further than Rekkles. He will almost certainly not play the relatively low resource Senna considering he’s a primary win condition for FNC and he has the highest CSD out of ADCs in group C.
Alternatives to consider: Rekkles ($7,400)
Hylissang provides two things for our roster: one, he comes in cheap so he lets us pick up expensive players elsewhere. Additionally, he is the definition of a “wildcard”. 0-8, 8-0? No difference to Hylissang, he’ll post both score lines in the same day, against the same team, with the same exact compositions. This intense volatility is both good and awful, he’s the definition of a gamble. If you’re not used to gambling, I don’t even know why you’re here. Anyways, if you have money, you can unload on Life. Life definitely isn’t the best support in the group, but Gen.G’s willingness to play the safer enchanters relative to the explosive engage supports lends him a surprising benefit to his score line. I’d completely avoid Biofrost, since there’s the chance that TSM can sub in Treatz mid-way through the day once they’re mathematically eliminated in order to give him experience. Treatz is the future of TSM, and the organization knows that.
Alternatives to consider: Life ($5,600)
Gen.G or LGD is a toss up: I expect LGD to play bloody games that lend them high individual points, but I expect Gen.G to play cleaner, more controlled games that benefit their team score. That’s all there is to it, additionally, with four LGD players on our roster, picking LGD is out of the question due to the player limit. I’m not sweating over picking Gen.G since they’re a solid team that’s likely to advance. Otherwise, I’d pick up LGD due to their solo lane prowess.
Alternatives to consider: LGD Gaming ($5,000)
Rekkles & Hylissang
Rekkles is so irritating to watch. He’s clearly good at ADC, but he is very greedy and prioritizes himself over anyone else on his team. I guess it makes sense: he’s clearly one of the best players on his team, but historically this was at the detriment of some of his very talented teammates like Caps. I think Hylissang is a relatively solid pairing with him: Hylissang is an X-Factor, and if Rekkles is FNC’s win condition, it pays to have a support that can coinflip an instant win through snowballing their ADC.
LangX & Xiye
As stated before, LGD is a team based around their potent solo lanes. LangX’s power on picks like Camille and Renekton lends a tremendous advantage to LGD, and Xiye’s versatility allows him to effectively navigate the meta. It helps that he is literally the inventor of mid lane Lucian as far as competitive play is concerned. Both of these players effectively enable Peanut, and I feel strongly that LGD will advance into the play-in stage.
BDD & Life
I’d say these two are the only Gen.G players worth their high price tag. I think Gen.G is a good team and perhaps the most likely pick for first seed in group C, but how much better are their players compared to LGD? I mean, group C is stacked with ADC talent after all. BDD is capable of flipping the script at any point with his Akali, he’s an amazing Orianna player, he’s solid on Twisted Fate: he’s a complete package. On the other hand, I just like Life because he knows his place on the team: Ruler’s support. Ruler is the keystone of Gen.G, and the only reason he’s not on the list is he’s not worth that much more compared to Rekkles or Kramer. He’s great, but not great enough relative to his price. No need to complicate things.
Top Picks: LangX, Xiye, BDD
Chinese solo laners have proven their worth at this tournament, and their dominant performances have allowed their aggressive junglers to do what they’re best at. LangX and Xiye are head and shoulders above the competition (aside from BDD). Speaking of the Korean mid laner, Orianna being in meta has given him a strong blind pick option, alongside his ever present Twisted Fate.
Top Value: Hylissang, Rekkles, LangX
LangX being under Rascal makes him the most brain-dead option on the day, you can maybe argue it’s worth it to coinflip on Bwipo, but why bother when LangX is only $200 more expensive for what is in all likelihood a straight upgrade. Hylissang and Rekkles are a major win condition for FNC, and if you expect FNC to break out of their challenging group, it’ll be these two somehow finding the upper hand on their competition.