Faith is something Counter Logic Gaming will definitely need in Group A of the 2016 World Championship. The group consists of LCK’s summer champion and a favorite to win it all, ROX Tigers; Europe’s spring and summer champion, G2 Esports; North America’s spring split winner and MSI runner-up, Counter Logic Gaming; and finally LCL’s champion, Albus Nox Luna. At first glance this group seems fairly obvious with ROX and G2 being the heavy favorites. However, people shouldn’t sleep on CLG or Albus as both teams have placed first in their region this year and have the potential to cause upsets within the group. The thought of upsets causes questions to pop up in people’s minds.
-What is the most likely outcome?
This one is obvious, ROX and G2 are the favorites by far. With Albus being an IWC team and CLG being in a heavy slump, it’s no wonder people are quick to point out who the favorites in the group are.
ROX Tigers have been the most dominant and fast-paced team within Korea. Throughout the entire LCK summer season, ROX was tied with MVP for the fastest average game time and was only second in that statistic behind Afreeca Freecs during the playoffs. Not only that, they are the second place team in terms of time spent with a gold lead. Despite not having a high first dragon percentage, ROX remains one of the top teams when it comes to overall dragon control with a 60%.
Player for player, ROX fared quite well during the regular season. All of them are within the top when it comes to KDA. Their star player, Smeb, is second when it comes to CS differential at 10 minutes. As for their carries, Kuro and PraY are 3rd and 4th respectively in damage dealt per minute. With their good statistics throughout both the regular season and playoffs in the most competitive league of them all, it’s hard not to consider them a clear first place team in Group A.
When it comes to G2 Esports, they are also a statistically strong team. Being first in a lot of categories such as first dragon percentage, dragon control rate, and gold differential at 15 minutes, G2 are also fairly impressive. However, it should be noted that they are coming off a first place finish in a league that is considered overall much weaker than the LCK. While G2 does have a very talented roster, the opponent they’ve had to face up until now are significantly weaker than a team like ROX Tigers.
-Are there any potential upsets in this group?
If history has taught us anything, it’s that upsets are always a possibility. ROX Tigers learned that the hard way at last year’s IEM Katowice, where they got knocked out from the tournament by Team WE, China’s 11th place team at the time. CLG are no slouches in this group. It’s true that they’ve had a very rough summer split heading into Worlds. With a 4th place finish in both the regular season and the playoffs, it’s hard to have much faith in CLG. But people shouldn’t forget that this is a team that finished second at the 2016 Mid-Season Invitational. They thrive in an environment where they are the underdogs and they have something to prove. That is not to say CLG’s chances are high. But they are there and all teams in Group A should not underestimate CLG. Especially G2 Esports, a team notorious for being overconfident.
-Can Albus Nox Luna get a win in this group?
Definitely. Maybe not against ROX Tigers because that would be a major upset. But both Wildcard teams have what it takes to take a win in their groups. While CLG should not be underestimated, they also shouldn’t be overestimated. If CLG is unable to use their bootcamp efficiently and is unable to improve enough on time, a team such as Albus Nox can upset them and take a game off them. G2 should not be ruled out as well. If they get cocky and disrespect Albus, it could end up biting them from behind.
Group A is definitely an interesting one. While not very competitive on paper, there’s possibilities for upsets which could shake up the whole group. G2 can upset ROX, CLG can upset G2, Albus can upset CLG and so on. Every team in this group should not be counted out.