League of Legends Season 4 World Championships are coming. Earlier this week, the four groups for the preliminary stages were revealed along with how the seeds will feed into the bracket. So with that said, it's time to make my predictions!
I'm going to be practicing a more comedic, satirical style of writing in this blog, so...if any jokes feel forced, that will explain it.
Without further ado...
Group A: Edward Gaming, Samsung White, Dark Passage, and ahq eSports Club.
Let's be real here, Dark Passage are Thanksgiving dinner in this group. Samsung White are licking their chops and preparing to dig into the roast Turkey presented on a platter to them by Riot. EDG are leaning back in their seat and kicking their feet up onto this Ottoman Empire wannabe, knowing the poor five wild card players will give them about as much of a chase as Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
AHQ probably celebrated when they saw they were drawn into a group with an IWC team, but that Westdoor got slammed shut the moment White and EDG were roped into the party. Unfortunately, there's no sipping GreenTea for ahq – the #2 seed (and generally regarded as best all-around team) from Korea and #1 seed from China who have dominated the last two seasons of LPL will likely end AHQ's field trip to Taiwan prematurely and send them packing back home to Taiwan after Group A's dust settles.
The big question of Group A comes down to EDG versus White – and while most pundits are giving White the for-sure victory, I'm here to offer a dissenting opinion. And unlike the few voices that are saying “The fix is in.” and claiming White will throw the matches to avoid their abusive big brother Samsung Blue who've knocked them out of the last two OGN seasons...I'm here to say EDG will win the group legitimately.
White somewhat rely on their bot lane to succeed. Imp struggles when he plays against ADCs better than him; just look at his results against Piglet during SKT's hot streak (before Piglet lost his touch) and his results against Deft, who is stronger in lane and team fights. Namei is a better ADC than Imp. And although Mata and Dandy are fantastic at vision control; vision control's value is devalued if you're just being fought constantly. Your gold gets wasted if your opponents don't care you see them and engage anyway. Sometimes I wonder if the Chinese understanding of wards is “That's gold that isn't going toward my ability to tower dive.”
I think EDG's superior team fighting and stronger ADC (I won't say stronger bot lane; Mata is in my eyes the greatest Support player in the game of League of Legends.) will empower them to take first in a shocking upset of the group. I may be the only one with such a faith – but I also said OMG would take their first game off SK Telecom T1 K at Season 3 Worlds after certain analysts insisted China's meta was massively behind the rest of the world.
So, for Group A, my results:
- Edward Wong Hau Pipelu Tivruski IV Gaming
- Mind over Mata, Samsung White
- We're About as Good as a Team from the West-door, AHQ.
- Does DP stand for Double Penetration? Dark Passage
Group B: Team SoloMid, StarHorn Royal Club, Taipei Assassins, SK Gaming
This group has the best parity of any of the groups there are. But as far as displaying consistency over the course of the season, this group is a barrel of monkeys. It may end up fun, and if you leave them in Taiwan long enough, maybe they'll produce Shakespeare, but this is going to be the brawl group.
SK Gaming looked good at the European regionals, and despite getting 3-1'd by Alliance, they put up a strong fight in their first two games. But that doesn't change the fact that their ADC is literally one of those comically oversized magnets Wile E. Coyote uses after filling the Roadrunner full of metal pellets mixed into his bird food. CandyPanda's ability to dodge a skillshot is about equivalent to the mother in What's Eating Gilbert Grape's ability to get out of bed. When you're in a group with mechanical greats like Bjergsen and InSec, you simply can't afford to make those mistakes. And with nRated's Crucible allergy (is he a fucking vampire or something?), CandyPanda's positional and dodging woes are compounded further.
TPA aren't getting much respect either. And after their performance at All-Stars this past spring, not even Rodney Dangerfield can complain. Winds looked more like a leaf on the wind – so moving forward he may have a difficult time Washing that performance from his record. Winds may have channeled S3 Worlds Mata at All-Stars, he's still known for being a fantastic jungler in the GPL. Combine that with Bebe's innovation in the ADC spectrum – where he's popularized the Greased Up Deaf Guy Ezreal build (Fuck you Iceborn Gauntlet) and the Why-Can't-I-Hold-All-These-Blades BoRK+Ghostblade build (even before ADC itemization revamp) on Twitch, Lucian, and even Draaaaaaaaaven. If that's not enough, TPA will have throngs of hometown fans bringing the noise to give them that last little edge they may need to advance through the group.
Sometimes, regardless of what the current roster is, people say Dyrus is the glue that holds TSM's chances of winning together. He's consistent, he's solid... But he's totally going to get rattled by that TPA crowd. I mean, when you're used to everyone worshipping you for your globally mediocre play, then having a massive crowd chanting against you is a terrible thing for your mental game. Bjergsen and Amazing are known to tilt as well. Unless LustBoy can quickly implant his Korean Robotics into the rest of TSM before Worlds kicks off, TSM could be in trouble. Lord Loco must teach them how to steel their resolve. Crowd noise, even with noise-cancelling headphones, is a very serious thing.
I saved the best for last. Take one of the most notorious ADCs from Worlds last year. Give him a Korean jungler and a Korean support. Congratulations, you now have StarHorn Royal Club. Zero may have been just that with the KT Rolster organization, and InSec may have been short for InSecure Job...but the two have found success in securing a trip to Worlds in their new region. InSec's balls-out overaggressive playstyle is right at home in the land of “Go” (the verb to advance, not the board game). Royal Club will out-skill and out-play the teams of Group B with ease to earn their place as kings of the group.
I honestly think this group is hard to truly predict, since TPA will be underestimated and TSM are still growing their synergy with LustBoy, but my predictions from Group B are:
- KT Rolster Chu-ko-Nu, StarHorn Royal Club.
- HOMECROWDHYPE TPA TPA TPA TPA, Taipei Assassins
- “Why are they pronouncing S-M wrong in their chants?” Team SoloMid.
- Caught-With-Their-Underpants-Down, Schroet Kommando.
Group C: Samsung Blue, OMG, LMQ, Fnatic
Let's get one thing out of the way, Blue will likely run away with this group. And by likely, I mean they came into Worlds holding an Ace and King of Spades, and the flop revealed a same-suited Ten, Jack, and Queen. If Blue drops a game, I will be shocked.
For the rest of the group...it's not as easy to call. Let's start with LMQ. The LPL rejects that retreated to North America to pick on some easier competition and dragged down the former Worlds Semifinalists Godlike with them – dragged him down so much he lost the rights to the name Godlike and simply became Ackerman. Vasilii and XiaoWeiXiao treated their lanes all Summer Split as avenues to collect the US's debt back for Mother China. But all that said, even a mid-tier team from the LPL ended up unable to emerge atop the North American LCS, falling to third in Playoffs. They've got good team fighting and consistently good-not-great solo lanes, but compared to the Eastern regions, LMQ still don't show any sign of being able to compete with their former superiors.
Speaking of third place, OMG of LPL! Cool is still ridiculously good. Gogoing showed no fear in Chinese regionals. The two, combined with jungler Loveling, are a really great trio of players. And then you have this enormous anchor by the name of Dada7. If you think Kiwikid is good at getting caught alone and dying... Dada7 has perfected the art. At this point, I'm pretty sure his coach has mandated him to get the Nike Swoosh as a tattoo across his face so he will forever be known as “The Facecheck” – his penchant for dying for no reason leaves his otherwise perfectly fine ADC unable to get his job done.
And if your bot lane's weak, that gives an opening to a team whose solo lanes are nothing special, but whose bot lane is getting vastly underrated on the global scale – Fnatic. Rekkles is the real deal. This team of mostly Caucasian Adonises (disregarding sOAZ) managed to draw themselves into the best pool for their chances of making the playoffs. Rekkles is proof that Swedish genetic engineering is a booming industry – as his mechanical prowess from the ADC position is unmatched in the west. If Fnatic decide to play Benny Hill and give the Chinese teams the runaround with multiple teleports across their team, they can live to fight another round. If they take the Chinese bait of team fights, it will spell their tournament demise.
This group depends entirely on what playstyles the teams decide to exhibit...but if the teams play to their own strengths, rather than to the meta, my picks for the group...
- Don't be Sad, Samsung Blue
- ratdoto is best doto, Fnatic
- OMG it's OMG
- “Time for a roster change, oh wait, we can only pick up Americans RIP” LMQ
Group D: NaJin White Shield, Cloud 9, KaBuM! e-Sports, Alliance
I don't think a team could be more aptly named than KaBuM. They're going to get blown up in this group. Obliterated. They'll be lucky to escape the event as anything more than a smoldering mess of eviscerated body parts. Their ADC may be named for the Roman goddess of wisdom and war, but they're more likely to be a display of her birth – a split skull. Seriously, the only wisdom they'll bring to this tournament is the acceptance that they'll be truly blessed by gods to take even a single victory.
Cloud 9...known for Meteos' jungling and Lemon's notebook. The notebook will do them wonders against NaJin Shield, since Ggoong only plays 3 champions ever, but how do you prepare against a Froggen? Cloud 9's chances aren't abysmal. They know how to close out games and get vision control after taking a lead – a talent SK Gaming lacked that cost them in two games against Alliance in the European regionals. On paper, Cloud 9 actually have a decent chance in match-ups against both Alliance and NaJin White Shield. In practice, however, their questionable mechanical prowess in the lanes will probably spell a few sad doodles in the LemonNote.
Alliance have been begging Riot to introduce a new map with only a single lane all season – so the deadweight of Wickd gets mitigated and Tabzz/Nyph can realize they don't really contribute that much to Froggen's victories. A large part of Alliance's success in the latter half of the season was strictly off Shook using AoE CC while Froggen did burst damage with Xerath ultimate from off-screen. Set 'em up, knock 'em down. If Wickd can avoid becoming the star of his very own snuff film laning against Balls and Save, and if Alliance can get enough defensive wards to keep Meteos and Watch from placing deep wards, Alliance can set up Froggen to shine. Tabzz isn't a pushover bot lane, and he+Nyph'll have a good match-up against C9's bot lane (if C9 doesn't lane swap), so having pressure taken off of him by the Threat of Froggen will play into Alliance's favor.
Shield are the favorites to win the group. With Save in the top lane and Watch setting him up for success, it's no surprise. Shield played phenomenally in the Korean Regional gauntlet. But they aren't without their weaknesses. Zefa hasn't looked impressive for an ADC in the strongest region; whether or not that means he'll look weak against Tabzz or Sneaky is still to be determined. Shield's vision control is only outshone by Samsung White, and that will be a large part of their road to victory against both Alliance and Cloud 9. If they can secure a comfort pick for Ggoong, Shield is set.
With that said...my Group D predictions:
- WE DO IT FOR THE WHORES, I MEAN HORDE, Alliance.
- Totally Not a Racist Team Name, NaJin White Shield
- No Longer On, Cloud 9.
- At least Tristana still cheers for us, KaBuM! E-Sports.
So that leaves my bracket as:
EDG vs TPA
Blue vs Shield
White vs SHRC
Fnatic vs Alliance
EDG vs TPA
Welp, we've left the home field for TPA. Now we're on a neutral field, and they're outmatched here. NaMei vs Bebe will be an interesting match-up, but nothing else about this quarterfinal will be exciting. Should be a 3-0 or 3-1 in EDG's favor.
Blue vs Shield
Ouch, no All-Korean Top 3. Blue simply out-match Shield in the late game and Shield's not strong enough early to force Blue into a situation they can't come back from. Blue 3-1.
White vs SHRC
While I mentioned EDG's bot lane outmatching White is going to be a problem for the Samsung hopefuls, I think Mata will be much more prepared for SHRC than for EDG; he has experience against InSec from Champions Spring 2013, and so InSec's prowess on the blind monk will be countered by the All-Seeing Mata. White won't be caught off-guard by SHRC's playcalls. White 3-0.
Fnatic vs Alliance
Alliance will repeat EU Regionals. Fnatic will be sad. Alliance 3-0.
EDG vs Blue
Blue are much better at team fighting than their sister organization, and much better at mitigating early deficits. They aren't a team you can write off if you fall behind, and...the one weakness I think Blue actually has (Dade's champion pool) won't be taken advantage of by the Chinese teams. Blue 3-1. I think Namei will have a powerful performance in one game.
White vs Alliance
This will be an interesting match-up of styles. But White's vision control and tactical superiority will drown out Alliance's chances. Looper vs Wickd will enjoy their island, but Imp will overpower Tabzz, Mata will overpower Nyph, Dandy will overpower Shook and PawN will not be strong-armed by Froggen. White should 3-0.
Blue vs White
White's mental block continues. I'm not sure what White's problem against Blue is; whether Imp walked in on Deft giving it to his girlfriend or what, White just doesn't seem to show up when they play their sister team. Both teams deserve to be in this final, but I have to give it to the superior team fighting team; Samsung Blue take Worlds.
I lost my creative energy near the end...hence the absence of humor mid-Group D. Oh well. I'm not a humor robot, yet. Please give me feedback regarding the writing; I want to improve my ability to write satire.