It’s officially time to start preparing for the 2019 League of Legends World Championship.
The Worlds play-in draw show took place today. The 12 teams that qualified for the play-in stage were each randomly sorted into four groups. This will determine which teams face off during the play-in stage.
The 12 teams competing in the play-in stage consist of the third seed from the LCS, LEC, LCK, and LMS, along with the second seed from the VCS and one team from the CIS, OPL, LLA, LJL, LST, CBLOL, and TCL. Unlike previous years, this is the first time the VCS, an emerging region, was given two slots at Worlds.
Here are the pools for the 2019 Worlds play-in group stage.
- Clutch Gaming (LCS)
- Unicorns of Love (CIS)
- Mammoth (OPL)
- Splyce (LEC)
- Isurus Gaming (LLA)
- DetonatioN FocusMe (LJL)
- Hong Kong Attitude (LMS)
- Lowkey Esports (VCS)
- Mega (LST)
- Damwon Gaming (LCK)
- Royal Youth (TCL)
- Flamingo Esports (CBLOL)
At first glance, Groups B and D have clear favorites in Splyce and Damwon Gaming. Splyce climbed from the bottom of the LEC gauntlet to claim the region’s third seed. Additionally, they seem to have adapted their slow and controlled playstyle to combat any early-game shenanigans that Isurus and Detonation may bring. As for Damwon, they have arguably the best top laner in the world, Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon. Despite struggling in the LCK playoffs, Damwon should have no problems reaching the main event’s group stage.
As for Groups A and C, they’re a little more of a toss-up. Clutch Gaming are the immediate favorites in Group A. They brought Team Liquid to five games in the LCS semifinals and have made significant improvements throughout their split. But they still struggle to control their aggression and tempo.
Group C is the most questionable play-in group. Even though HKA are from a major region, the LMS has looked significantly weaker compared to previous years. Lowkey Esports, on the other hand, could make an upset happen for the emerging regions. The team rebranded from Friends Forever Gaming between the Spring and Summer Splits. In doing so, they went from finishing fourth in the spring to second in the summer.
The play-in stage will run from Oct. 2 to 8. During this time, each group will play in a best-of-one double round-robin format. The top two teams will advance to the play-in knockout stage.
From here, the first-place team in each group will be matched against the second-place team in another group. The teams will finally compete in one best-of-five series to determine which four teams advance to the group stage. The four winners will be placed in the main event group stage draw. And beginning Oct. 12, all 16 teams will compete in the Worlds group stage.