Now that the incredible ride that was the Worlds group stage has ended, we move on to the quarterfinals. There’s a ton of variety in teams at this stage, with Taiwan being the only region not represented, yet Korea still looks to be the dominant force. After what happened in the group stage though, I’m hesitant to say anything is guaranteed at this Worlds. All that being said, I’d still like to put forward my predictions for who will advance to the semifinals.
Albus Nox Luna vs. H2k-Gaming
H2K looked monstrous this past week, going 4-0 and defeating the LPL’s first seed, EDward Gaming, twice in convincing fashion. While they were probably in one of the easiest groups, H2K is definitely showing up big, and I don’t think Albus NoX Luna can slow their momentum. While the Russian team has definitely impressed, even taking down the ROX Tigers, there are still a few too many problems with their late game macro play for me to say that they can beat H2K.
ANX’s early to mid game play is very good, with Alexander “PvPStejos” Glazkov soloing many dragons when enemy teams give him those opportunities. However, I think this team relies a little too heavily on early game advantages to win, and their only method of closing games seems to be sneaking Baron or Elder Dragon, which, theoretically, shouldn’t work against H2K. However, seeing this type of macro play work against the ROX Tigers makes me think that ANX will be able to sneak a few objectives from H2K.
The main reason that I feel H2K will beat ANX is that I think H2K can create an early lead, as their early game roaming and skirmishing has looked great in their past four games. ANX has a hard time coming back unless they can sneak a Baron, as was shown in their loss to G2, and I think this factor will allow H2K to advance against them.
Samsung Galaxy vs. Cloud9
As much as it pains the Cloud9 fan inside me to say it, I cannot see C9 winning this series under any circumstance. Samsung looks like the best team in the world right now, destroying what appeared to be the strongest group in the tournament. They closed out games very quickly, something almost no other team in the world can say, having the second lowest average game length of the tournament at 32:10, while also having only one loss.
Cloud9, on the other hand, stumbled across the finish line, barely making it out of the group stage. Their first week looked incredibly poor, with their game against Flash Wolves displaying macro play that would’ve lost them the game against almost any team in the quarterfinals. In week two, their game against SKT seemed to show some improvement; they made confident rotations and managed to drag the game out, eventually losing, but showing that they weren’t complete pushovers. However, they seemed to regress in their game versus Flash Wolves, in which they were 5K gold behind at 25 minutes.
If the Cloud9 that played against Flash Wolves shows up against Samsung, I think this series will be an embarrassment. Even if the C9 that played against SKT shows up against Samsung, I can still only see them taking one game, but that’s mainly because Samsung looks so dominant.
ROX Tigers vs. EDward Gaming
3-2 ROX Tigers
I think the ROX Tigers are the weakest of the Korean teams, but I also think the only teams who have a chance at challenging the Korean teams are H2K and Royal Never Give Up, and RNG is a maybe. As far as ROX versus EDG goes, both teams have shown mediocre early games. ROX has proven that their main weakness is a propensity to fall behind early, and that can actually cost them games, as was shown in their losses to CLG and ANX.
EDG’s only dominant victory in week two was against INTZ, and the fact that EDG winning that game only put their record versus INTZ to 1-1 makes me very hesitant to praise this team. Their game against AHQ should have been another loss; they were down 9K gold at 30 minutes. AHQ, however, managed to throw the game at Baron, a mistake that ROX will likely not make.
The only reason that I think EDG has a chance at winning a few games and possibly taking the series is that I can see ROX losing the early game and not coming back. If CLG can take a game off ROX, I think EDG can. However, I don’t see ROX throwing the game early enough times for EDG to take the series.
SK Telecom T1 vs. Royal Never Give Up
This match is going to be very dependent on Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao’s performance, but I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. RNG looked terrible in week two, losing to Splyce and Samsung. Both games showcased how RNG’s bot and top lane have trouble when they get pressured by mid and jungler roams.
Luckily for RNG, SKT’s junglers haven’t looked great leading up to and during this tournament, though there have been notable improvements. If Kang “Blank” Sun-gu and Bae “bengi” Seong-ung can step up during this series and show peak play, it should be a shutout.
RNG did show a glimmer of hope in their game against TSM; Uzi’s early triple kill allowed him to take over the game and Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao’s roams bot and top let the team snowball their lead into a victory. If RNG can replicate this performance, I think they have a chance against SKT.
The Korean team seems to show up nearly every international performance, but so far, they haven’t looked as strong as they usually do. While they win their games, they take a long time to close out, giving other teams a chance to come back in a way that Samsung does not. I don’t think this weakness is enough to make them lose the series, but I can see it letting RNG pick up a few games.
What are your predictions for the quarterfinals of Worlds? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @GAMURScom.
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Image credits LoL Esports