The EU LCS has never had less chance of winning Worlds
With the quality of teams coming out from the LCK, does the EU LCS really have a chance at Worlds 2018?
Winning Worlds is considered the crowning achievement for any League of Legends team or player, and soon regional representatives will have the chance to battle it out for their shot at glory.
Although the EU LCS is a strong region and has shown as much on the world stage (anyone remember the 2-3 quarterfinal series last year when Misfits almost beat SKT?) the chances of the EU LCS’ three representative teams – Fnatic, Vitality, and G2 Esports – making it anywhere near the World’s final this year look more remote than ever.
Watch out for the LCK
It’s hardly the statement of the century, but the fact is, LCK looks to once again be the region to beat.
Although SKT won’t be appearing at Worlds this year due to a surprisingly drab regular season, defending champions Gen.G (previously known as Samsung Galaxy) will be back to defend their title after having completed the near-unthinkable and winning their regional gauntlet, taking out heavy hitters KingZone DragonX and Griffin in the process.
The fact that KingZone didn’t even make it to Worlds speaks to how high the quality of the LCK has been this year. When you also factor in that Worlds is in South Korea this year, each one of the three LCK teams representing – Alfreeca Freecs, Gen.G, and kt Rolster – looks like too large a threat for the EU LCS teams to overcome.
Getting out of Groups will be a challenge in itself
The groups for the play-in and group stages have now been drawn, and Europe couldn’t be in a more difficult position (save for one representative, Fnatic.)
First up is G2 Esports. As the third seed qualifying, they will have to beat SuperMassive and Ascension Gaming in Group B of the Play-In stage before they even make it to Groups. Although it’s likely we’ll see G2 Esports pull through, SuperMassive will put up a fight and they are not a team to underestimate. What’s more, G2 hasn’t played the cleanest League of Legends of late. While their regional gauntlet performances were encouraging, as Jankos showed he was back in form, it’s no secret that G2 struggled towards the end of the Summer Split. If G2 falls back to playing at their regular-split level, then they will be in for a rough ride and likely won’t last long against teams from the LPL or LCK.
Then we turn to Vitality. It’s a huge achievement for the team to make it to Worlds, especially as the second EU LCS seed. However, if we’re honest, they’ve got next to no hope of getting out of the group stages. Any team put in a group against RNG and Gen.G is going to struggle, and for all of Vitality’s aggressive plays, there’s just no way their roster can measure up to the talent they’ll face from RNG or Gen.G. This group of death is an unkind one.
It seems then that hopes of an EU LCS win at Worlds lay in the hands of Fnatic. There’s a lot to be excited about when it comes to this team. Not only did they win both the 2018 Spring and Summer splits, but we know that Caps is an insanely gifted mid-laner who has already proved himself on the international stage during MSI. When you also throw in the fact that the team has flexibility in who’s going top (and occasionally bot) through Bwipo and sOAZ, Fnatic seems to have the tools to get them out of the Group Stage. Their group at Worlds is also, arguably, the easiest of them all to get through, as they will face 100 Thieves, Invictus Gaming and one play-in team. Invictus will undoubtedly put up a fight, but 100 Thieves should be an easier opponent for Fnatic to deal with.
Even assuming that Fnatic can make it out of the group stages, however, the hard work will be far from over. There will still be (presumably) several LPL and LCK teams for Fnatic to go through before even having a chance at the Finals.
While the EU LCS remains hopeful of success this year at Worlds, at this point it seems more realistic to chalk this year up to experience, and see whether 2019 could be better with franchising.
Worlds 2018 starts on Monday 1 October 2018 with the Play-In stage. You can watch the games as they happen on sites such as the LoL Esports YouTube channel and Twitch.
Do you think any of the EU LCS teams have a chance of winning Worlds this year? Let us know in the comments below!