The 2019 League of Legends World Championship has moved from Berlin, Germany to Madrid, Spain to kick off the Quarterfinals. Of the eight teams in the Knockout Stage, every Worlds representatives from South Korea's LCK and Europe's LEC make up three-quarters of the bracket. The last two teams are representatives of China from the LPL. The first best-of-five matchup is mere hours away, so let's take a look over what's been set for the Quarterfinals of Worlds 2019.
Quarterfinals Day 1
The first match in Spain kicks off at noon local time and features Griffin vs. Invictus Gaming. Griffin possessed the best record in the Group Stage at 6-1 after winning a tie-breaker against G2 Esports for the 1st seed in Group A. Griffin's second round robin was far stronger than its first, but the team's inexperience in best-of-fives — 4 matches, 25% WR — may pose a problem for the #2 LCK seed.
Invictus Gaming, while not in its 2018 World Champion form, looked much better in their second round robin. Contrary to the past two months of IG's season, substituting Gao "Ning" Zhen-Ning for rookie Jungler Lu "Leyan" Jue was an improvement on the team's form. The veteran Jungler was integral in IG's do-or-die win against Team Liquid to escape Group D as the 2nd seed with a 4-2 record.
Invictus Gaming is continuing to start last year's World Championship roster in the Quarterfinals against Griffin, but the team's power level is significantly lower when compared to 2018. If IG wants to defend its Worlds title, it should look to catch Griffin off-balance and defeat the young squad through experience.
Fnatic will face off against FunPlus Phoenix in the second Quarterfinals match, which will begin following the conclusion of Griffin and IG's best-of-five. The #2 LEC seed's second round-robin adjustments netted them 3 wins in their last 3 matches for a 4-2 record; good enough for the 2nd seed in Group C.
FPX secured the 1st seed in Group B with a 5-2 record, but were one game away from elimination and had to play a do-or-die match against J-Team to finish its second round robin. FPX was able to get the job done, and then beat Splyce for the 1st seed in a tiebreaker, but to call the LPL Summer champion shaky would be an understatement.
In addition to its aforementioned summer championship, FPX was the 1st place team in the 2019 LPL Spring Split and only dropped six regular season matches the entire year. if FPX wants to beat a surging Fnatic, it will have to bear at least a passing resemblance to its 2019 LPL form.
The winner of Griffin vs. Invictus Gaming will face off against the winner of FunPlus Phoenix and Fnatic in the Semifinals the following weekend.
Quarterfinals Day 2
The second day of the Quarterfinals starts an hour later than the first, and kicks off with a David vs. Goliath matchup. #1 LCK seed SK Telecom T1 stands towering over Splyce, the #3 seed from the LEC.
So far, SKT has looked like the cleanest team in the tournament. SKT only dropped one game in Group C to Fnatic in its second round robin, and its 5-1 record secured the 1st seed for the LCK Summer champion. Mid Laner Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok's return to the Worlds stage has been nothing short of excellent, and Jungler Kim "Clid" Tae-min makes for a dynamic Mid-Jungle 1-2 punch for T1.
Splyce's performance in the Group Stage exceeded expectations, but Group B was far and away the least competitive group at the World Championship. Thus, SKT is the overwhelming favorite due to its current level of play, tougher Group Stage competition, and wealth of experience in Worlds Knockout Stages. Splyce, on the other hand, will be playing its first Worlds main stage best-of-five series against the most decorated organization in LoL Esports history.
G2 Esports vs. DAMWON Gaming, which will close the Worlds 2019 Quarterfinals, should be much more competitive than Sunday's first series. DAMWON Gaming finished with a 5-1 record in the Group Stage, dropping only one game to Team Liquid on its way to securing the 1st seed in Group D. G2 Esports had to settle for 2nd in Group A after losing the tiebreaker for the 1st seed to Griffin.
Despite coming in as the lower seed, G2 comes in as the favorite given its undefeated record in best-of-fives in 2019. DWG had a strong performance in Groups, but has far less experience in best-of-fives both as a team and individually as players. G2 definitely has things to tighten up based on their Group Stage form, but the squad admitted themselves that they were a little too cocky in a post-game interview on the Worlds stream and that they knew there were things that need ironing out.
G2 should absolutely win this series against DAMWON Gaming, but if it is unable to succeed in doing so, it would be a death knell for the West given G2's massive success throughout 2019. If G2 is able to continue on its quest for the first Grand Slam in LoL Esports history, it will face off against SKT — or by the work of the powers that be — Splyce to see who will go to the Worlds 2019 Grand Finals against Fnatic, FunPlus Phoenix, Invictus Gaming, or Griffin.
How to Watch
The Worlds 2019 Quarterfinals pre-game show will start at 11:30 am local time, and the match between Griffin and IG itself will kick off at the Palacio Vistalegre when the clock strikes 12. The broadcast will be streamed via the Riot Games Twitch channel, the LoL Esports Youtube channel,
and the official website for LoL Esports. The latter option's watch platform will also feature various broadcasts from around the world in different languages.
At the conclusion of the 2019 World Championship Quarterfinals, four teams will remain and move onto the Semifinals and return to Palacio Vistalegre the following weekend.