The first group of teams aspiring to become the 2017 LoL World Championship Series winner will collide in the Play-in stage this weekend. There are twelve teams included in this year’s play-in, but only four will remain after a grueling group stage and the following best-of-five knockout series.
Before the carnage between the lower seeds begin, let’s so who is against who in this year’s play-in!
GROUP A: Team WE – LPL #3 Seed, Gambit. CIS – Winner of LCL, Lyon Gaming – Winner of LLN
As you probably expect, Team WE is far and away the favorite to come out on top in this group, as only poor form late in the season brought them down to the LPL third seed. Team WE won the LPL 2017 Spring Split, but finished only fourth in the Summer Split.
If WE can beat out the best teams in one of the toughest leagues in the world, you can expect them to make short work even of league winners like Gambit.CIS and Lyon Gaming, who play in weaker leagues. But upsets are not rare in esports, so don’t count Gambit and Lyon out yet.
Gambit lost only three games during the whole LCL Summer Split, including the playoffs. The team finished the regular season 13-1, with their only hiccup against last-placed Natus Vincere (told you, upsets happen in LoL!). Gambit then swept Team Just Alpha in the semis, and outclassed M19 in the finals 3-2.
Lyon, from the LLN, dropped four games in the whole Closing Cup but had just as an easy time as Gambit had in CIS. Lyon finished the group stage undefeated in series, 11-3-0, before toying with Just Toys Havoks in the semis and crushing Infinity ESports 3-0 in the finale.
GROUP B: Cloud9 – 3rd seed NA LCS, Team oNe eSports – CBLoL Winner, LG Dire Wolves – OPL Winner
Cloud9 from the NA LCS is the favorite to win this group and reach the knockouts, but the team is not in good form as it only finished fifth in the 2017 Summer Split, earning only enough points by virtue of placing second in the Spring Split.
That’s why there is great chance for oNe to steal the top spot in the group as CBLoL’s surprise champion is riding great momentum after winning the league as a third seed in the playoffs. The team whacked the RED Canids 3-2 in the semis, then pulled off another upset by stunning paiN Gaming 3-1 in the championship round.
Oceanic Pro League champion LG Dire Wolves is in great form too, as it dropped only two games in the whole Split 2 of the 2017 OPL season. But it will be against better competition this time, so expect some growing pains for this club in the worlds.
GROUP C: Fnatic – 3rd seed EU LCS, Young Generation – 2nd seed GPL, Kaos Latin Gamers – CLS Winner
Group C might be the dreaded “group of death” in the play-in, since it features two teams that did not win their respective leagues, meaning the said leagues are strong enough to have more than one representative in the 2017 WCS.
Fnatic, as an EU LCS third seed, is just slightly ahead of Young Generation, the second seed from GPL, as a favorite to lead this group.
The one-time world champion Fnatic finished third in both the Spring and Summer Split of the EU LCS season, meaning it is a solid team, though it cannot break out and win the Split championship that would signify its return to the top of the competition.
Playing in the GPL, Young Generation actually had a chance to qualify directly to the group stage, but they lost to Ascension Gaming in the semi-finals of the winners’ bracket of the GPL playoffs and was sent down to the lower bracket, where it finally found its winning form to beat Manila Eagles and Ascension Gaming to grab the GPL spot in the play-in stage.
Kaos Latin Gamers, winners of the CLS Closing Cup, is expected to struggle but as a regional winner cannot be counted out.
GROUP D: HK Attitude – 3rd seed LMS, 1907 Fenerbahce – TCL Winner, Rampage – LJL Winner
HK Attitude lived up to its name when it toughened up and won the third seed of the LMS despite having little circuit points. The Hong Kong side finished with only 20 circuit points, good for fifth place, but still outplayed both J Team and Raise Gaming in the qualifiers to reach the play-in.
After HK, it’s a scramble between Fenerbahce and Rampage for the second favorite in the group.
Fenerbahce is only among two teams that dominated the TCL, along with BAU SuperMassive. Fenerbahce finished with a 7-6-1 standing in the group stage, but finished the playoffs 6-0 to seal its place in the play-in.
Rampage, on the other hand, finished second in the round robin stage of the LJL Summer Split but mustered enough momentum to sweep 7th Heaven in the semi-finals and turn back first-seeded DetonatioN Gaming in the championship round.