Gromp News is back with more League of Legends Worlds predictions!
Today’s predictor is none other than NineTeeSix’s own Lee Jones. Will the writer predict an EU v LPL rematch? Or will SKT take one step closer to Korea’s redemption?
Without further ado, let’s get into some predictions!
Invictus Gaming vs FunPlus Phoenix
With the matchup of IG and FPX comes the guarantee of a Chinese team in the World Championship final for the second time in a row, the only question now is which of the LPL giants it will be.
Each of these two teams had significantly different fortunes in the Summer LPL split, with FunPlus finishing both the regular season and playoffs comfortably in first place while Invictus struggled to earn a playoff spot, going out in the first round, and making it to Worlds by the skin of their teeth in the Chinese regional gauntlet.
A series between the two based on Summer form would likely be an easy win for FunPlus, and understandably so.
However, we are no longer in the LPL Summer split, and it seems that the World Championship is helping Invictus to re-gain the form they showed in last year’s tournament. A dominating 3-1 series win over fellow favourites Griffin showed the Invictus of old, with top-laner TheShy showing exactly why he’s regularly considered as the best in his role at this tournament, and possibly of all time.
The re-introduction of Ning in the jungle has brought with it strong performances from the side, however doubts still linger as to the strength of the team’s fundamentals as they frequently rely on raw skill to beat their opponents.
On the other side of the rift, FunPlus Phoenix made light work of Europe hopefuls Fnatic in their quarter-final clash in what was their first real test of Worlds after a relatively easy group. Mid-laner Doinb was a menace on Ryze and did not even see the need to unleash an unexpected pick as has been his signature during his career.
This series has all the ingredients to become one of the most closely competed and unpredictable that has even been seen at such a high level on the World Championship stage. If I had to make this prediction three weeks ago I would have gone for FPX in a heartbeat, however, I can’t help but feel that TheShy and Rookie will thrive on such an occasion and carry IG to the final.
The solo lanes have been Invictus’ strong point since last season and the two appear to be on top form again this tournament. If both are to perform to the level we know they can, then we should see nothing other than an IG victory.
Lee predicts: Invictus Gaming 3-1 FunPlus Phoenix
SK Telecom T1 vs G2 Esports
Coming into Worlds, SKT and G2 were my top two favourites for the tournament and I can’t wait to see a rematch of their MSI semi-final series this Sunday.
Despite some dips in form, three-time Worlds winners SK Telecom T1 had a largely dominant season in their home region, picking up both Spring and Summer LCK titles. This has stemmed from their offseason overhaul after failing to reach the World Championship in 2018, and their star-studded roster has put them back amongst the strongest teams on the planet.
In SKT’s very first match of the tournament, Faker showed that he can still pull out carry performances when needed with a 9/0/8 Tristana pick, while jungler Clid has proved to be one of, if not the, best in his role during these last few weeks.
While Teddy has looked a top-tier ADC alongside both Mata and Effort in the bottom lane, the side has looked stronger when Effort has been given the nod ahead of veteran Mata and so he will likely be the choice moving forward through knockouts.
The one question mark comes in the form of top-laner Khan, who has shown himself to be an incredibly strong carry player through his career while also proving to be susceptible to off games where he offers little benefit to his team.
For G2, their convincing 3-1 quarter-final win over Korea’s DAMWON Gaming shows exactly how powerful this team is. Only a couple of years ago taking down an LCK side in a best-of-5 was almost unheard of for a Western team, and now G2 has done it twice in the same year and will look to do it again this weekend.
LEC Summer MVP Jankos has had a few shaky performances this tournament, and so if G2 are to come out victorious then he will need to be back to MVP form if he has any chance of shutting down Clid.
The most interesting matchup for me is in the mid-lane. Faker has been SKT’s rock for so many years, proving himself not only capable of carrying games but also playing more utility-based roles as and when needed. Until this tournament, Caps has been the polar opposite; never holding back from trying creative plays and sometimes giving away needless deaths in the process.
However, this Worlds has shown a new side to the Danish star. Not only has Caps pulled out his usual high lane-pressure picks, but his play on the likes of Orianna (a champion Faker has piloted to numerous Worlds titles) has seen his play adapt to a utility focus, one where he gives away few deaths while being a tremendous team fighting tool.
Despite how basic it may sound, Caps’ ability to avoid needless deaths and mould to the role his team needs in each given match could be what makes or breaks this series for G2. If he can build on this new stability while keeping the dangerous side to his game, then the European side has a chance at reaching the World Championship final for the first time. Meanwhile, as mentioned, Janko must shut down Clid if G2 is to stand a chance this series.
The way I see this series is that, while both teams have the ability to win through any lane, G2 have more places on the map to lose from. Jankos has had some off games and Craps may still have the potential to make an appearance, while Khan is the only real weak link for SKT.
As much as I would love to see G2 make it to the final, and be the first team to manage a clean sweep season by winning Worlds, I’m veering more towards SK Telecom for this semi-final series. I fully expect to see a five-match series and would not be at all surprised if G2 did manage to beat SKT again, however, the increased variables for the LEC holders means that I’ve got to go for SKT when picking aside.
Either way, this is the series I had been most hoping to see this tournament and I can’t wait to get my eyes on it. My only upset is that this matchup is not the one to be decided in the final in Paris.
Lee predicts: SK Telecom T1 3-2 G2 Esports
By Lee Jones