The Season 5 World Championship group draw is done. In just under three weeks 16 of the best teams in the world will be battling to advance through the group stages into the quarter finals at the Wembley Arena in London.
Here’s how the groups ended up and my predictions.
Group A – False Hope
Teams: Counter Logic Gaming, Flash Wolves, KOO Tigers, paiN Gaming
Going through: KOO Tigers, Flash Wolves
Explanation: If you told me this group last week I would have assumed that KOO would sweep the group and be followed out by CLG. With the news that Xmithie will be replaced with Huhi, their sub midlaner, I can’t see them making it out. Although they are matched with the weaker of the two LMS teams and a wildcard, I don’t believe that with reduced preparation time they can consistently play at a level higher than FW. PaiN should at least be respite for CLG and I see them taking both games but the other two teams will present a much harder challenge.
Result: 1. KOO (6-0) 2. FW (4-3, tiebreak) 3. CLG (3-4, tiebreak) 4. paiN (0-6)
Group B – Jacks of all trades
Teams: Fnatic, Invictus Gaming, ahq e-Sports Club, Cloud 9
Going through: Fnatic, Invictus Gaming
Explanation: This is the group of nearly death, although certain for one team, with that title being saved for Group D. Through regular season play it would be hard to separate AHQ, Fnatic and iG. Two of the three teams have shown they can be the best in their region while iG have stepped up and beaten powerhouses such as EDG and highly rated teams like Qiao Gu on their road to worlds. I think of the three teams at the end of the season iG showed the highest peaks while Fnatic was the most consistently good team, with AHQ not far behind.
AHQ are a strong team but I feel this is a group which will be very difficult to get out of, although I think they can win games against every team in the group. Cloud 9 should be a non-factor aside from a huge upset which leaves us with Fnatic or iG taking the #1 seed. Fnatic seems to have stronger and more reliable sidelanes and a safe, calculating midlaner in Febiven while iG peak on the back of their standout mid/jungle duo. These games can go either way and will be a test of who can outclass who harder, Kakao vs Reignover or Yellowstar vs Kitties.
Result: 1. FNC (5-2, tiebreak) 2. iG (4-3, tiebreak) 3. AHQ (2-4) 4. C9 (0-6)
Group C -_-
Teams: SK Telecom, H2k, Edward Gaming, Bangkok Titans
Going through: SK Telecom, Edward Gaming
Explanation: This group is, in my opinion, the easiest to predict for who exactly will go through, although not in what order. Group C consists of two powerhouses, one from Korea and one from China, a slumping european team and a wildcard. The only question in group C is whether or not SKT can get revenge on EDG after their triumph at MSI, and if Ryu can kill Faker with Zed. I expect EDG and SKT to wipe the floor with both H2k and BKT leaving a showdown on who will take the number one seed, and a possible preview of Worlds finals.
Result: 1. SKT (6-0) 2. EDG (4-2) 3. H2k (2-4) 4. BKT (0-6)
Group D – The non-American Dream
Teams: LGD Gaming, Team Solo Mid, KT Rolster, Origen
Going through: LGD Gaming, KT Rolster
Explanation: Those who were convinced after Season 4 Worlds that the groups were rigged in Team Solo Mid’s favour will be happy to see them thrown in at the deep end in Season 5. They will be coming into Worlds off a crushing defeat to CLG to face the best team in China as well as the second best teams in Korea and Europe.
This group is a question of whether or not Origen can surprise. They came into EU LCS finals as huge underdogs and many were surprised when they took Fnatic to five games. Personally I believe Origen can take games off KT and LGD, but I wouldn’t count on them to get out of the group, TSM looked weak in North America and I can’t see them improving to such a degree that they can challenge any of the other teams in this group. LGD are favourites, KT are second, but Origen can surprise.
Result: 1. LGD (6-0) 2. KT (4-3, tiebreak) 3. OG (3-4, tiebreak) 4. TSM (0-6)