The groups for the League of Legends World Championship 2017 were drawn on September 12th.
With teams from LCK, considered the most powerful region, placed in Groups A, B, and C for the Group Stage, FW, Misfits, and TSM would likely be relieved to be placed in Group D. However, it is still too early to celebrate, since other powerful teams like WE from the Play-In Stage may join the group as the 3rd pool. To be frank, the teams they have to play against aren’t teams that can simply be overlooked.
The group draw has set the league community abuzz with discussions on the advantages and disadvantages of certain teams. After all, there is much to be said about players and their skills, or team matchups at the international tournament.
So this is why we have prepared a preview on each team playing in Worlds. The first teams to be analyzed are SKT T1, Edward Gaming, and ahq e-Sports Club from Group A.
■ SKT looking out for their 4th victory! Will Faker end up having more skins than Yorick?
During the group draw for Worlds, Head Coach cCarter commented, “I want my team to play against EDG. Gonna crush them,” after seeing EDG placed in Group A. Then curiously, SKT T1 got placed in Group A as well. Considering how SKT lost to them at the past MSI 2015 Finals, or how they let LPL teams win at the Rift Rivas 2017, SKT T1 might just see this as a chance for redemption.
Faker, the player at the center of his team, expressed his worries, “I’m worried that we will be the one to get destroyed.” Despite his concerns, SKT T1 has remained victorious at Worlds in 2013, 2015, and 2016, which is almost half of the history of the League of Legends World Championship. Of course, his recognition of his opponent’s strength may be a contributing factor to his victories.
Faker actually has had more skins than Yorick did in PTR, before the recent addition of Arclight Yorick. Anyhow, he will want to finish the Group Stage by being placed 1st in order to get that SKT Faker Ahri skin, which many of his fans use as a meme.
However, putting EDG and ahq in the same group may cause an unexpected situation, as SKT T1 didn’t get to play against them in international tournaments after 2015. We could say Group A may be a smaller version of the last Red Rift from the Rift Rivals. Coach kkOma won’t underestimate NoFe this time, seeing as Head Coach NoFe stayed up deep into the night to discuss ban/pick drafts, strategies, and the LPL team matchup order so that they could win against LCK teams.
kkOma has lost against NoFe already, and that loss will likely keep him on his toes. NoFe will be having his wedding this month, prior to Worlds. Will this love-in-the-air be a buff to EDG and a debuff to SKT? We shall have to see.
■ EDG with Clearlove7- will he be able to overcome his jinx?
EDG has always been considered one of the top teams in LPL. Along with PraY and Doublelift, Clearlove7 is one of the players that has played at Worlds the most (a total of 5 times, including this year). Not only that, EDG has been placed 3rd in the LPL Spring Split this year, and achieved victory at Rift Rivals and the LPL Summer Split, which makes them the top team in China along with Team WE.
However, Clearlove7 displays a critical weakness around the time Worlds takes place. Many league experts think highly of Clearlove7 for the potential he showed during the Summer Split, although he has had trouble putting on the same performance at Worlds.
This may be due to Clearlove7 finding it hard to adapt to the the patch updates that take place prior to Worlds. The champions he played most would get nerfed, and the ones rising would not be very familiar to him, which puts him at a clear disadvantage even with bans/picks. He wasn’t great at Worlds 2016, which was saddening for those rooting for him.
However, the current meta seems to be favorable for Clearlove7.This tanky jungle meta advantage, coupled with the experience they gained from their previous victory against SKT, might just be the edge they need to win again. Furthermore, EDG won’t be afraid to play against SKT, as they succeeded in winning against the LCK teams in Rift Rivals.
As Worlds is taking place in China, this may also work as an advantage to EDG, being the home team.
■ Will ahq be able to survive and counter?
Based on their results, it does not seem like it will be easy for ahq to survive with SKT T1 and EDG in the same group.
ahq has never won against SKT T1, and has only 2 victories against EDG, in the Group Stage for the World Championship 2014 and the Rift Rivals Semifinals. Given this record, the fight seems fairly dismal for ahq.
However, it is too early to judge. After all, ahq is a team from LMS , a region that is quite capable of creating unexpected situations at international tournaments. For an LMS team like ahq, it is quite possible that they may produce some unexpected and astonishing results.
Just as Westdoor mentioned at Rift Rivals, “We have to play slowly and without burdens when playing against Korean teams, like a challenger.” Against SKT T1 and EDG, this challenger spirit may be just what they need to set the game to their own pace and triumph.
■ International Tournament Results for Each Team
◇ SKT T1 vs EDG - SKT T1 fairly advantageous by 5-3
- MSI 2015 Group Stage: SKT T1 won
- MSI 2015 Finals: EDG won by 3-2
- The World Championship 2015 Group Stage: SKT T1 2 wins
◇ SKT T1 vs ahq - SKT T1 highly advantageous by 4-0
- MSI 2015 Group Stage: SKT T1 won
- The World Championship 2015 Quarterfinals: SKT T1 wins by 3-0
◇ EDG vs ahq - EDG highly advantageous by 8-2
- The World Championship 2014 Group Stage: 1 win for each team
- The World Championship 2014 Tiebreaker Match: EDG Wins
- MSI 2015 Group Stage: EDG wins
- MSI 2015 Semifinals: EDG wins by 3-0
- The World Championship 2016 Group Stage : EDG 2 wins
- Rift Rivals Semifinals: ahq won