LoL World Championship Group Stage: October 24 (Worlds)
Christopher Troeh guides you through the North American (LCS) & European (LEC) World Championship Group Stages for esports DFS contests!
The semi-finals match embark on Saturday the 24th with two matches that are well deserving of the title “finals” in their own right: Chinese representatives SN and TES face off on one side, while 1st seed LCK DWG and top seed LEC G2 try to prove themselves worthy of facing off against the victorious Chinese squad. Let’s get into the picks.
Jungle is the most absolute stacked role on the day: Canyon, Karsa, and SofM are undoubtedly each deserving of being considered the “best” in one aspect or another; however, that leaves Jankos as the odd man out. Jankos is a fantastic player, but his favored style is just not conducive with the current meta which dominates the jungle. He’s gotten better at it, and while he showed up well against Gen.G’s Clid, Canyon has been on another level: DWG absolutely disintegrated DRX in semi-finals, and I think they were much steeper competition relative to the opponents G2 have faced aside from SN. Otherwise, TES’s bottom lane looks like a big, big downside for the squad, so I would recommend superstar Huanfeng as a secondary captain.
Alternatives to consider: Huanfeng ($10,800)
To be honest, I was really skeptical of Bin coming into the tournament. It’s not that Bin was bad, but he simply didn’t stand out to his competition of 369, Nuguri, and Zoom. While Bin hasn’t been the absolute best top laner in the world, he did show that he was not a liability at all against the much hyped Zoom in quarter finals. 369 played solid against Bwipo, but the gap was not as monstrous as was expected from the pedigree of the top laners; furthermore, 369 showed some issues dealing with Bwipo’s cheese. All and all, I’d take Bin on the day, as Nuguri versus Wunder leaves me skeptical. Between the two, however, I would begrudgingly select Nuguri over Wunder.
Alternatives to consider: Wunder ($6,600)
Karsa or SofM is impossibly hard: SofM has impossibly high highs, sporting an average of nearly +90 CSD, and a ~7 KDA, meanwhile Karsa has stellar KDAs: 8.4 in TES’s series against FNC, but due to his selected match-ups, he found himself continuously falling behind in CS. Karsa had to resort to the utilization of his superior mechanics in order for TES to triumph over FNC in their series. While Selfmade wasn’t bad, Karsa crushed him; in contrast however, SofM is a different beast. Karsa may be one of the best mechanical junglers in the world, but on the totem pole of Canyon and SofM, Karsa can’t even touch the Vietnamese legend that is SofM. Additionally, SofM is in his prime in this sort of jungle meta. Suning is primed to win worlds, and SofM is likely the jungler to lead them there. Pick up Canyon if you haven’t already, though.
Alternatives to consider: Canyon ($7,000)
Caps has been a perennial international powerhouse, but I think a large portion of his success in quarters was due to Caps being more than capable of punishing BDD’s tiny champion pool: his willingness to run back the TF versus Sylas match-up was embarrassing. Showmaker showed his talent against fellow mid lane prodigy Chovy, and Showmaker is much less likely to have an issue against Caps by virtue of his absurdly wide champion pool: this is the same player who reached challenger on the Korean server playing each champion at least once. This will be the match for the ages. On the other hand; Angel versus Knight is firmly in the favor of Knight. However, even Nemesis almost squeezed out a series win over Knight, and Suning is much more capable of a team as opposed to FNC, so I’m not confident in choosing what is strictly the “better player” in the match-up. Although, I do not think Angel is worth the SN slot. I’d choose Knight.
Alternatives to consider: Knight ($7,600)
I was skeptical about SN’s chances against JDG; the same team who reached five games against TES. I think SN has finally come into their own this worlds, and as the meta that was common in LPL play-offs washed away due to the patches favoring junglers in general; ameliorating Suning’s relative weakness in the mid lane, and weakening TES’s mid lane superstar in Knight. In addition, TES’s weakness against FNC featured Yuyanjia finally getting exposed in the bottom lane for his one dimensional play style and tendency to lose his mind in high pressure situations. On the other hand, SN’s bottom lane is star studded with ADC Huanfeng who held a remarkable 9.9 KDA over JDG in their quarter finals match. LvMao and Loken are not to be underestimated, and LvMao himself was a much better support than Yuyanjia, who has been the weak link on TES. I highly recommend picking up Huanfeng in an attempt to attack TES’s inferior bottom lane: in specific, their support. Otherwise, Ghost has been an absolute KDA monster despite not being an especially remarkable ADC.
Alternatives to consider: Ghost ($7,600)
As stated before, Yuyanjia is by far the weakest link on TES, and singlehandedly causes one of the best ADCs in the world- Jackeylove- to have a laning phase that’s pretty weak; and perhaps the weakest out of each of the semi-final teams. SwordArt has already gotten over what was potentially the best support in the world with LvMao in quarter-finals, and with DRX also eliminated, the only player that challenges his crown is Mikyx. SN are unlikely to face threat in the bottom lane unless Jackeylove really steps up to bat. The real eyes need to be fixated on the mid lane: will SwordArt be able to prevent Knight from rolling over Angel? Alongside SofM, I think it’s very likely.
Alternatives to consider: Mikyx ($5,000)
DAMWON Gaming ($5,400)
I don’t really care about the gamble on the teams: I think Damwon is more likely to win over G2 due to their strengths in top side. Bottom lane gap has never negatively impacted DWG so far, and it’s unlikely for Perkz and Mikyx to be the ones to change that, although I do perceive them as being superior. Showmaker is on another level, and Canyon has shown that this meta is his kingdom. Suning is similarly favored over TES in my eyes: SofM is likely to seize the opportunity at the world championship, and TES is just another competitor that stands in their way; they’ve already vanquished JDG, and TES barely crawled away from FNC in quarters.
Alternatives to consider: Suning ($4,600)
Canyon & Showmaker
While Caps is a tough player for Showmaker to knock down, DWG’s level headed nature is unlikely to be challenged by G2’s faster style. Canyon holds the match-up over Jankos solidly, and Canyon is absolutely in his element at this event. DWG’s weakness in bottom lane proves challenging to punish by opposing teams, as their reserved nature causes them to rack up their KDAs safely as they enjoy the free win provided to them by Canyon and Showmaker.
SwordArt & Huanfeng
Suning’s bottom lane is likely the best remaining at worlds. G2 may actually be better, but Huanfeng’s late game status is challenged only by Jackeylove, and his partner in SwordArt is far more complete as opposed to Yuyanjia, who was by far the weakest support in play-offs aside from Life. Look out for these two, Jackeylove is definitely going to have to go the extra mile if it means defeating SN.
Knight & Jackeylove
If TES are going to beat SN, they’ll have to rely on three main players: Karsa, Knight, and Jackeylove. I highlight the latter two as Karsa is the bridge TES utilize to transition their early game advantages onto their main carries in Knight and Jackeylove. The real issue here is SofM is an absolute jungle menace, and he is likely to snap Karsa, who has seemed to not mesh well with what’s considered the “best” junglers. Don’t underestimate these two though; they’re considered the best in the world for a reason…
Top Picks: Huanfeng, SwordArt, Canyon
I don’t want to underrate Jackey, but Yuyanjia is perhaps poor enough to allow Huanfeng to completely eclipse Jackeylove; while FNC faced weaknesses in their solo lanes just as SN likely will, Angel is a superior player relative to Nemesis, who often looked like a liability in their series. Canyon is a different case entirely: he is the only jungler left capable of standing up to Karsa and SofM, whereas Jankos is lacking behind the other three remaining junglers.
Top Value: Mikyx, SofM, Caps
G2 is certainly the underdog on the day, and while Caps may not be as powerful as Showmaker or Knight, he’s definitely within striking distance of both. Mikyx may very well be the best support left at the tournament; only contested by SwordArt. Both of them are cheap, but it is unfortunate that money is likely not an issue on the day. SofM hardly missed out on the top picks, but he comes in cheap as the second cheapest starting jungler on the day, and is likely the best out of each of them. He has an insanely high mechanical ceiling, and the powerful jungle champions are amongst his best, don’t miss out on him.