To continue this four-part series of must-watch matches, I bring you Saturday and Sunday of week one. Thursday and Friday had a few highly anticipated matchups, but there were also some games that were listed just because they were expected to be less boring. This weekend, expect something different. There should be six very good games played each day, but of course this list is to narrow each day down to two or three. Although half these games are of Group B, All of the games should be similarly entertaining or influential. To clarify criteria for developing this list, the games suggested are either between top teams that will likely put on a game of quality League of Legends, between teams that are close in the bracket, in which case the game may determine the standings as a whole, or games with hyped up match-ups as a team or in a particular role.
On with the list for the Saturday and Sunday of week one of the Worlds’ Group Stages!
Saturday, October 1
Prior to the group stages starting, my argument for selecting this match would have been something along the lines of “The obvious first and second teams to come out of this group matching up against each other will make for a great game of League of Legends.” After the G2-CLG game on Thursday, my reasoning has shifted. While it was only one game, G2 definitely underperformed and called the likelihood of them taking second into question. However, G2 can very easily shape up and build momentum to take the second position again. But to do this, they will need to beat CLG and win a tie breaker, assuming ANX does not upset during the group stage. If not, they have to take a game off of Rox Tigers, and this is their opportunity. Rox are coming off of an incredible summer split with so much hype around them. Although they disrespected ANX in the early game during their match, they were able to step their game up and close it out. G2 still have a pretty stacked roster, especially in their Bot Lane with Mithy and Zven, but Rox are not considered the likely victors of this entire tournament for no reason. Overall, Rox Tigers are predicted to win pretty convincingly, but even if winning is a bit more than what is expected, G2 can still put up a good fight to show improvements off of their day one loss.
Initially considered to be the battle for second place in this group, Flash Wolves against Cloud 9 is now the battle between the two bottom teams in their group. While Cloud9 losing to SKT was expected, Flash Wolves getting taken down by IMay was definitely not expected. This is now Flash Wolves’ chance to put themselves back into position for escaping this group which, after seeing IMay’s performance, just got a lot more competitive. Impact will probably have his way in the Top Lane and be a force to be reckoned with. The players to watch will definitely be in the Mid Lane. While Jensen was far from “clapping” Faker, he is still the second best NA Mid Laner and one of the best in the west. Maple is also a really strong laner and typically performs exceptionally well. Over all, Cloud 9 is the predicted winner, but Flash Wolves winning is a possibility. After seeing both teams play and not perform to the best of their abilities
RNG- Samsung Galaxy
RNG has looked incredibly dominant thus far in the group stage. After taking down both TSM and Splyce, I have developed high hopes for this team. While beating Splyce is no significant feat, their win over TSM, the expected group leader, was rather convincing. Samsung losing to TSM makes an RNG victory here more likely if one were to follow normal logic, but this is only day three of the tournament and anything can happen. On an individual level, RNG look stronger player for player. Their team play has also been much better than most people expected. Samsung definitely have their work cut out for them, and they are the last team standing in RNG’s way for an undefeated first week. The obvious prediction for a victor would be RNG, but if Worlds has taught us anything this year, it is that anything can happen, as every team is taking games off of (almost) every team.
Sunday, October 2
If you wanted a quick, thoughtless prediction, I would say H2K beat INTZ, and INTZ beat EDG, so this is a no-brainer. Obviously, this doesn’t actually work. The biggest difference in performance so far has been the Top Lane. With Mouse’s 1.5 KDA and abysmal first game, he is obviously the weakest link on EDG. Thankfully they realized this and were able to make up for this in their second game, where he performed better, but was still targeted. Odoamne has played pretty well and posts a 4.3 KDA. While EDG have shown Mouse does not have to be a complete detriment, targeting him is probably still a good option. The lane to watch is definitely the bottom lane. The ever-so-hyped-up Forg1ven will be taking on Deft, considered by some to be the best ADC in the world. EDG is probably going to be the winner here, but if INTZ can take a game off of them, H2K doing the same is not out of the question.
The history between these two teams this year is probably going to give a lot of fans false hopes in favor of Flash Wolves. The fact of the matter is, SKT is a much stronger team than Flash Wolves. Flash Wolves beating SKT two times and not dropping a game to them in the group stages of MSI this year is impressive, but that was also months ago, and things change. While both teams have only played one game each, SKT definitely looked stronger. Faker versus Maple is probably the lane to watch based off of their historical performances, but if one only takes their previously played games this week into account, Band and NL are probably a more entertaining lane, as NL has performed much better than Maple thus far. I predict a pretty decisive SKT win, but history tells us that Flash Wolves may be Korean Kryptonite, so make sure to watch!