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Worlds 2020 Group Draw preview: The winners, the losers, and some spicy hot takes

With Worlds groups finally announced (at least, for the most part), it’s time to start dissecting how said groups are going to play out. Buckle up for some analysis and a few hot takes!

The Worlds 2020 groups have been decided! Pending the addition of play-ins teams, at least. With the group stage match-ups now mostly solidified, it’s time to start dissecting each teams’ chances of getting out of groups, and who will be heading home early.

Worlds 2020 group stage draw predictions

Worlds 2020 Group stage predictions

Group A

  • G2 Esports (LEC)
  • Suning (LPL)
  • Machi Esports (PCS)
  • TBD

Definitely a group of life! For G2 Esports and Suning, at any rate. Both teams will be exceptionally pleased with their draw, as Machi are definitely considered among the weakest of the Pool 2 teams. G2 in particular will be confident of emerging first in this group, as the LEC 1st seed will be matching up against the LPL 3rd seed and the aforementioned PCS 1st seed, avoiding other looming giants like JDG, DRX, and GEN.G.

G2 Worlds Group A
“We don’t aim to win - we aim to traumatise.” G2 Esports will look to take Group A by storm. (Picture: Riot Games)

Similarly Suning will feel fairly confident in emerging second, with only G2 as a team they will feel truly threatened by. That said, G2 has been notoriously inconsistent over the summer split, and their bot-lane, in particular, has shown weakness in recent matches, even if their solo lanes are monstrously strong. Both Machi and Suning will definitely be eyeing up some early snowballs or some late-game greed to snatch away a game if they can.

Keep your eyes on Suning’s Vietnamese jungler, SofM, who is near enough a psychopath in the jungle with his teammates willing to back him up at any given moment (go check out the full red-side steal away from Peanut at level 1 in Suning’s third-place match versus LGD).

If Suning are to emerge as the first seed in the group, their jungler will be key. On the flip-side though, Machi’s Gemini has to step up if he wants to play against the likes of Jankos and SofM, as his more reserved pathing and playstyle is likely to be severely punished.
Spare a thought to which play-ins team might end up in Group A as well. It’s one of the most likely groups for Team Liquid to end up in, for instance, which might spice things up a little more. With how play-ins has worked out this year, there is a non-insignificant chance a non-major region team gets into the group stage this year as well, and the likes of V3 Esports and Unicorns of Love will be crossing their fingers they can make their way to this group if they can run the marathon of play-ins.

 

 

Group B

  • Damwon Gaming (LCK)
  • JD Gaming (LPL)
  • Rogue (LEC)
  • TBD

Two of the best teams in the world, vying for first place in the group… and Rogue. Both Damwon and JDG have legitimate claims to being true contenders for the whole tournament, and have caused huge waves in their regions - DWG crushed the LCK in summer, and JDG won spring and lost a nail biting 5-game series to TES in summer - and will be looking to prove it here.

Damwong Gaming Group B Worlds 2020
The LCK’s best and brightest. The LPL better hope they have what it takes. (Picture: Riot Korea)

For Damwon, they hold the hope and pride of the LCK on their back. While the LCK as a whole has largely seemed diminished over the last few years, DWG has been a cut above. They’re fast, they’re aggressive and their top-side of the map is arguably three of the absolute best players in their roles across the entire tournament. Word has it that they have taken that form into scrims as well, allegedly levelling other tournament favourites TES repeatedly in their practice matches.

For JDG, they tend to be a touch more reserved and calculated (a little ironic, considering that’s normally attributed to the LCK representative), but make no mistake they can mix with the best. Zoom and Kanavi are two of the best carries in the LPL, and LvMao is the poster child of an LPL support - mechanically brilliant, a massive initiator for the team, and accomplished on the roam. That and his Bard is utterly absurd.

 


Then we have Rogue. EU fans can have hope for the other two teams seeded into groups, but Rogue look to be on a hope and a prayer to get out of this group.

Concerns are obviously raised around top laner Finn, who struggled in the latter half of LEC summer, especially versus the frankly deadly top/jungle duos of JDG’s Zoom and Kanavi and DWG’s Canyon and Nuguri. Hope can still be found in star midlaner Larssen, and veteran talents Hans Sama and Vander in the bot lane. If Inspired can find another side to his playstyle in the jungle, as he did in playoffs, then Rogue should still go down swinging. And who knows? Cause enough upsets, then JDG and DWG take games off each other and suddenly they might even have a way out of this otherwise brutal group.

 

Group C

  • Team SoloMid (LCS)
  • Fnatic (LEC)
  • Gen.G (LCK)
  • TBD

The hardest group to call on paper. All of these teams will feel like they have what it takes to emerge from this group in first place, and none are infallible

They all have had up and down Summer Splits - Fnatic went 9-9 in the regular season, and nearly didn’t make playoffs, TSM also struggled, and then had to win five straight Bo5’s after dropping down to the losers bracket after an ignominious loss to Golden Guardians. Gen.G are probably the most consistent of these squads, but even they had to cinch the last LCK Worlds seed by winning the Regional Qualifiers.

If Fnatic’s mercurial playmakers of Bwipo and Hylissang come in hot, and carry jungler Selfmade can leverage his impressive Hecarim and Evelynn to warp drafts then they can feel they have what it takes to take this group by storm. That said, if Nemesis (off of the Lucian pick) devolves back to his poor Summer split laning performances, then BDD and Bjergsen will eat him alive.

Then we have Gen.G. BDD is still an elite midlaner with a deep champion pool, Clid is still a huge playmaker, but the real stars of the show are the all-star bot lane of Ruler and Life. They are the de facto best bot duo in the LCK with some of the most absurd laning stats in the world. Hylissang’s inconsistencies and Doublelift’s weaker year could definitely see this group decided by bot difference.

The one worry will be that Rascal has been somewhat less flexible than the other top-laners in this group, but his recent performances versus solo-kill king Canna in the regional finals might assuage some of that fear.

Worlds 2020 Group C Doublelift
Doublelift will be hoping to overcome his fears of Gen.G neé Samsung Galaxy. At least Viktor’s not in meta right now… (Picture: Riot Games)

Last and not least, Team SoloMid come in as the LCS 1st seed. They’ve never made it out of groups before and will be hungry to finally find their way to a Worlds Best of 5. It will not be an easy task, but having veteran superstar Bjergsen in some of the best form of his career certainly helps. Spica too, has been a revelation as a rookie jungler, bringing out the likes of the oft memed River Shen to impressive effect in their finals versus FlyQuest, but it is a tough ask to put him up against Clid and Selfmade and expect him to perform to the same level.

If you want a hot take, this might be TSM’s best chance of getting out of groups ever… and I still think it won’t be enough. NA’s lower level of performance over the last few years smacks as a negative, and TSM’s rise coincided with the frustrating fall of C9’s form, and Team Liquid stalling out in terms of champion pools and drafts. That was all to TSM’s benefit, but it doesn’t give the highest confidence of competitive stress testing for the squad, especially after their shaky start to playoffs.

Remember as well that this is the only group the LPL’s 4th seed LGD can get seeded into if they emerge from play-ins - which they are absolutely expected to. They will surely be yet another contender in this already neck-and-neck group, and should not be overlooked. Xiye is another elite midlaner, and Langx is one of the LPL’s best tops, and that’s all without mentioning Peanut of ex-ROX Tigers and SKT fame.

In short, this group is stacked, and it’s anyone’s guess who’ll make it out. But if a gamble were to be made, then the bets would be on Gen.G for their consistency and bot lane difference and Fnatic for their experience and higher-highs.


Group D

  • Top Esports (LPL)
  • FlyQuest (LCS)
  • DragonX (LCK)
  • TBD

Much like Group B was for Rogue, thus Group D is for FlyQuest. Top Esports come in as one of the favourites for the tournament, and while DragonX have shown more inconsistencies in recent weeks, the monster that is Chovy in the midlane will be giving FQ nightmares.

Top’s arrival at Worlds has also finally graced us with Knight on an international stage. He’s widely been considered the best performing midlaner in the world right now… but to prove it he’s going to have to go up against Chovy, who would very much like to contest Knight’s midlane crown with his own incredible play (and we haven’t even touched on DWG’s Showmaker).

The rest of TES are also hugely talented. Special note goes to 369 and his willingness to counterpick with everything from Quinn to Fiora, and Karsa’s extreme attentiveness to his laners’ needs. You rarely see Top’s solo laners with their waves caught in disadvantageous positions largely because of Karsa playing around and shielding them.

Worlds 2020 top esports Top Esports are here to win it all - and do so in style. (Picture: LPL).

If there is a weakness in the squad, it might be that Yuyanjia can still be inconsistent, and that isn’t helped by the fact that bot lane is often left on island - an island that still plays aggressively. That might be due in part to the ADC being Jackeylove, former World Champion and superstar in his own right. If FlyQuest or DRX can shut him down though, then maybe they can unravel the rest of the map.

For DRX, their talent speaks for itself, but so does their inconsistency. Chovy has been competing with Showmaker for the prize of best midlaner in the LCK, and Deft’s talent is long and storied. One point of alarm is Deft’s recent struggles though, who has been suffering from back issues. Assuming he can overcome that slump, then DRX should be a safe lock for second in the group.

For FlyQuest though, they are in a bind - their star midlaner of PowerOfEvil is matched up against arguably the two best mids in the world, and their jungler Santorin has to contend with not only Karsa, but what is likely to be a complete lack of lane pressure, too. Pyosik might be a more palatable prospect, but he’s unlikely to be walked over, either. If their finals performance is anything to go by as well, then leaving Solo out to dry will be punished at this level of competition, and may well act as a loss condition.

Again, as a last note, this is the group that soft-lock MAD Lions will be drawn into assuming things go to plan in play-ins, and they too are a talented team that was leading the pack for large swathes of Summer in the LEC alongside Rogue. Shad0w in the jungle could definitely cause chaos, and botlane of Carzzy and Kaiser were more than willing to pull out madness like Senna/Wukong pairings that could be equally as disruptive. While they’re unlikely to advance, much like FlyQuest they can absolutely cause upsets.

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