The League of Legends World Championship is a fantastic time of year. Not only do we get to witness astonishing plays that our silver brains can barely comprehend but we also get to enjoy weeks of high stakes and juicy drama as there are always surprising results.
Which is why perfectly predicting the entire tournament in the official Pick’ems is so difficult, only one player in the world managed it last year while over 17,000 got every prediction wrong. Everybody has a different tactic: you can follow your heart and blindly support your region’s teams, you can watch hours of vods and analysis to make an informed decision or can you ask your mum which logo she likes the most.
For me, everything is about balance. Some favourites will live up to their potential while others will crash and burn, it’s the same every year. I followed both my brain and my heart and was lost for hours until I decided I had done enough. Here are the results.
- G2 Esports (8.00)
- Suning (15.50)
- Machi Esports (38.00)
- Team Liquid (36.00)
Newer fans may not know this but Team Liquid used to be synonymous with fourth-place. Before securing major investment the team, that appropriately used to be known as Curse, would finish fourth-place every year in North America’s LCS.
It’s true that Team Liquid were superb in the Play-Ins and could be NA’s best chance of escaping Groups this year. But I think better teams will punish them harder and the costly mistakes they were prone to in the regular season will return. Plus 2020 seems like the prime occasion for a curse to re-emerge don’t you think?
Both Suning and G2 will do the double over TL and then Machi will also nick a game of the LCS representatives because, as we’ve all learned by now, you should never underestimate a team from the PCS.
G2 are always a little bit uncertain in best-of-ones, especially against Chinese teams, but Europe tend to perform really well in tiebreakers and that’s what I expect will happen here. Rasmus “Caps” Winther has been playing like a man possessed so as long as the LEC champions find a way to deal with Lê “SofM” Quang Duy they should be fine.
- DAMWON Gaming (3.65)
- JD Gaming (5.70)
- Rogue (38.00)
- PSG Talon (38.00)
As a European man myself, I desperately want Rogue to shock the World here. I tried by best coming up with possible reasons, perhaps MAD Lions had to die to give Rogue a chance of surviving.
I genuinely believe Rogue is a really strong team, Caps was more intimidated by them than Fnatic in the last Playoffs. But DAMWON and JDG are two teams I can see lifting the trophy this year so I had to stick to realism in Group B. Especially as I have to agree with the majority, the mismatches in the top-lane will likely be insurmountable for Rogue.
And while PSG also impressed me, their actual players probably won’t perform as well as their emergency subs did and I think that will be costly in an already ridiculously tough group.
As for picking a winner between JDG and DAMWON, I might as well have flipped a coin. Truth be told I’m still unsure but I think the LCK teams in general and especially DAMWON have a chip on their shoulder following last year’s Worlds so they’ll want to make a statement early. Plus we’ve seen an LPL team finish second in Groups only to win the entire tournament before, my early guess is that will happen again this year.
- Fnatic (21.00)
- Gen.G (11.50)
- TSM (36.00)
- LGD Gaming (36.00)
Group C is wide open and to many, the hardest to predict but I’ve given it my best shot by expertly (biasedly) putting the European team first.
Martin “Rekkles” Larrson has said on multiple occasions that the meta suits Fnatic and he’s right, Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek should have a field day on carry-junglers just as he did when he tore G2 apart early into the LEC Summer Playoffs.
And while Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek has received a lot of flack this year, I think the man who smiles less than the Grinch at Christmas will perform when it matters just like he did last Worlds. Ice runs through his veins so as long as he has those nifty warmers for his hands he should be good.
As for TSM, they made a very impressive run in the Playoffs and probably are a superb team in best-of-fives. But historically this is an organisation that is prone to collapsing and I think the best-of-ones in this high-pressure group will be too much for them. Plus, the team no longer wants to be referred to as Team SoloMid, imagine ignoring your one win condition from the last seven years in Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg.
Meanwhile, LGD have an awful Worlds record and were horrendous at the Play-Ins so that writes itself, there’s absolutely no way they recover… probably.
Which then leaves Gen.G who look like a really strong team and should have enough to make it out. With the meta catered to Fnatic, I think Gen.G will need a little longer to adapt which is why I have them in second but they could be dark horses this year.
- Top Esports (2.80)
- FlyQuest (38.00)
- DRX (17.50)
- Unicorns of Love (38.00)
Finally, we have Group D and possibly my spiciest pick of all. Yes, I think FlyQuest will be the only NA team to make it out of Groups.
Is it because they have beginners luck on their side or because Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun is known to surprise people at Worlds? No, I just think the campaigns the organisation has done to plant trees and save the ocean is wonderful and that good karma has to pay off at some point. And again it’s all about balance, TSM and TL can fall in the name of this good cause.
In all seriousness though, I don’t think FlyQuest should be underestimated. They are a very good team and one who will have less pressure on them which I think could be key.
Plus, I’ve seen a lot of talk of DRX being outstandingly talented but inconsistent and I think that will come back to bite them. Especially with the likes of Unicorns of Love in this group who you just know are going to pull out a weird cheesy pick that even some of the worlds best teams can’t handle.
But TES will be able to handle it because they are ridiculously good, better than the Lee Sin smurf that is always on the other team and never your own. There’s a lot of eyes and pressure on the young shoulders of Zhuo “knight” Ding who could become the new face of LoL. With the experience of Hung “Karsa” Hao-Hsuan and Yu “JackeyLove” Wen-Bo by his side, I think he’ll be just fine.
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