With Worlds starting soon we at BreakTheGame wanted to give our own opinion about how the Play-In groups will shape out. Three of our writers Viktor, Corey and Jonas decided to discuss the groups and predict which teams will do well heading into the Play-In stage.
Viktor: Group A is arguably the strongest one out of them all. What’s your take on it?
Corey: I have my worries about Gambit. They cruised through what was a pretty weak LCL region. I’d be more convinced about them if their success was consistent all year long. I still have them as the second place team coming out of this group, partially because of personal hype, and partially because there isn’t a Latin American team that could compete. It’s obviously WE’s group to lose.
Jonas: I have some blind faith in Gambit. They definitely did better this split after the roster changes and I think they should be able to make it out. Team WE has been pretty good all split and will sail through Play-In if nothing major goes wrong for them.
Viktor: To touch on your point Corey, I’m also a bit sketchy on Gambit. I think Alexander “PvPStejos” Glazkov could be a liability. He’s a flexible player and a smart one as well however switching from jungle to top may work for him in LCL but he will be challenged on the World stage. There is room for potential in this group but WE are definitely the favorites. With that said who do you guys have coming out in first and second? I’d say WE goes 4-0 followed by Gambit with a 2-2 record.
Jonas: I completely agree.
Corey: Same here. Can’t reasonably disagree with that statement.
Viktor: Any player you guys will keep an eye on? For me it’s PvPStejos for the reason I already mentioned as well as Xiang “Condi” Ren-Jie. To me WE’s success depends a lot on Condi playing well and I hope to see good play from him.
Corey: For me it’s also Condi as well as Michael “Kira” Garmash. Him against Su “Xiye” Han-Wei in the mid lane could be a fun match-up.
Jonas: I have to agree about PvPStejos. He has a lot to prove after his move to top lane. He’s a smart and experienced player and I want him to show up in terms of play.
Viktor: Moving onto Group B some people would agree it’s C9’s group to lose. I’d have to agree with that notion and I think it’ll mostly be a battle for second place. C9 might not be in great shape but the level of the OPL and CBLoL just isn’t on the same level as the NA LCS from what I’ve seen. Two of Brazil’s best teams INTZ and Pain couldn’t even defeat Team oNe which is a relatively new team. Team oNe is decent and so are Dire Wolves but neither team has the individual talent to challenge C9. Dire Wolves at least have international experience which is why I have them coming in second from this group. C9 should go 4-0 and as for the other two teams I expect them to go 1-3 with Dire Wolves winning the tiebreaker. Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong would be my player to watch. In a group with such a weak top lane pool, he needs to dominate and give C9 advantages. That’s exactly what I want to see from him. What about you guys?
Corey: I actually think C9 will finish first but they’ll go 3-1 and will drop a game somewhere. I tend to favor Brazil over Oceania as a stronger region and considering how Team oNe used to be INTZ’s sister team, I think they’ll have enough experience to finish second with a 2-2 record. Dire Wolves and Chiefs eSports have never been tested much in the OPL except by each other so I don’t have high expectations for the OCE region. I’ll be watching Juan “Contractz” Garcia closely because Brazil tends to have strong junglers and if C9 wants to avoid any upsets Contractz is the guy that has to step up.
Jonas: I mostly agree with Viktor. I think experience will play a huge part in this group and it will allow Dire Wolves to place second after going 1-3 along with Team oNe and winning the tiebreaker. C9 would just stomp the group going 4-0. Richard “Phantiks” Su is a player I’m looking forward to seeing. He’s always impressed me because he’s consistent domestically and has a diverse champion pool. It will be fun to watch him face off against Jensen.
Viktor: When it comes to Group C, I honestly don’t know too much about Young Generation or Kaos Latin Gamers but I still think Fnatic should easily stomp this group. GIGABYTE Marines don’t seem as strong as they were at MSI and if they are the best the GPL has to offer, Young Generation shouldn’t be too impressive. LAS has never been a region that has done well internationally so I have very little faith in Kaos Latin Gamers. I’d say Fnatic comes in first with a 4-0 record and Young Generation goes 2-2 to secure second. Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen and Rasmus “Caps” Winther would be my players to watch. I see Fnatic dropping games only if those two underperform hard. Plus it’s time for Caps to show some consistency at least against weaker opponents.
Jonas: My knowledge on these teams is also limited but I agree with most of what you said and I think Fnatic’s experience will carry them into first place with a 4-0 record. Kaos Latin Gamers have never done well internationally so I think Young Generation should place second with a 2-2 record.
Corey: Pretty much agree with you guys. Fnatic has experience, momentum and individual talent on their side. They should crush this group with ease. But if Kaos Latin Gamers are gonna prove people wrong, Juan “MANTARRAYA” Ignacio is the player I’ll be looking at. He’s not the most effective player but he has high potential to pop off on some picks that both YG and Fnatic might not be prepared for. Not to mention he is KLG’s most experienced player.
Viktor: Last but not least we have Group D which will probably be the most contested group. Who do you see in first, second and third?
Jonas: I have Hong Kong Attitude placing first just because to me the LMS has looked solid this year and HKA did beat J-Team to get here. J-Team has been a consistent team in the LMS so beating them is no small task. I’ll put Rampage in second place just because I think they were impressive at Rift Rivals and it’s about time the Japanese League scene gets more recognition.
Corey: I had a hard time trying to figure out this group but here’s my final thoughts on it. I think Turkey has always been one of the most competitive Wildcard regions and Fenerbahce has been tested a lot more than Rampage. HKA is coming from a stronger region but they didn’t place highly there and only made it through the regional qualifier against a brand new team and a squad that has choked in high pressure games a lot. Rampage’s style is rather odd so I actually think Fenerbahce will finish first and Rampage will catch HKA off guard, finishing second in the process.
Viktor: I’ll actually disagree with you both on this one. I agree that HKA will probably get first place but not because they are the best team in the group. I actually think Fenerbahce is and both teams will go 3-1 but HKA will win a potential tiebreaker. The reason I think that is because of the news that Fenerbahce won’t be able to arrive early to scrim due to visa issues. That will play a big role in my opinion although Fenerbahce should still have enough talent to pull through. Rampage has decent players but Japan will need a bit more time to develop as a region before they can produce a highly competitive team.
With that our predictions on the groups of the Play-In stage are over. We hope you enjoyed reading about our opinions and we’ll definitely be back with predictions on the Group Stage!
Photographs taken by Riot Games