This Group is the most wide open, with four teams that could all advance. None of the internationally dominant teams are here, and there are a lot of questions. Have SHRC stayed in top caliber despite changing every player but Uzi and facing internal conflicts? Can TSM finally perform internationally? How will the 3-game absence of Svenskeren affect their performance? Can TPA show that the GPL isn’t a joke? Honestly, any two teams could make it out of this group, although there are definite favorites.
StarHorn Royal Club has two of the top players in the world, and combines extreme aggression with a “protect the Uzi” strategy that either dominates or backfires in extremely aggressive teamfights. However, the sheer talent of their roster assures that it’s more often than not “dominates”. How will that play out at Worlds? I have doubts about their roster. Cola is lackluster in the top lane, and without Tabe shotcalling, Uzi has made overly aggressive calls all season. inSec being on the team hasn’t helped, and his aggressive plays combined with Uzi’s have led to a lot of SHRC throws in the LPL. This puts the pressure on Corn to make plays and Zero to bail them out, and that might be too much for him to handle.
Champions – Lucian, Caitlyn, Vayne
Uzi, Royal Club’s AD Carry, coming in at #5 at Worlds, is one of the top ADCs in the world, not to mention one of the ADCs with significant World Championship experience, having played in the 2013 World Finals. He is known for relying on his team to protect him, in a similar style to Doublelift, and often going over-aggressive, forcing his support and mid to bail him out.
Champions – Lee Sin, Rengar, Kha’Zix
InSec, Royal Club’s jungler, is one of the players good and innovative enough to have his own play named after him, so look to see him excel on the World Stage. He is known for extremely aggressive plays, and may find himself in trouble if his heavily mobile junglers are banned, leaving him without an escape. Lee Sin is a must-ban against him, but he certainly has backup champions ready.
Team SoloMid has been lackluster internationally in the last 2 years, but now they look stronger than ever. However, while Bjergsen should match up well against Corn, TSM should have slight weaknesses in each lane that make it unlikely that they will beat out SHRC overall.
Champions – Yasuo, Xerath, Orianna, Zed
Bjergsen, TSM’s mid laner, is one of NA’s few international-class players, and #10 at Worlds. He has dominated mid lane in both Europe and North America, with aggressive play on Syndra, Xerath, Zed, Orianna. He is definitely one of the top Syndras in the world
Champions – Lulu, Maokai, Ryze
Dyrus, TSM’s top laner, may be their most underrated player. He has consistently outplayed almost every NA top laner, and rarely fell behind even with the lackluster pressure of TheOddOne. With the increase of pressure Amazing brought, he has been recognized as one of the premiere top laners in NA. Recently, he has been focused on Maokai, Lulu, and Ryze, but his champ pool is deep, thanks to his experience.
This is TPA’s chance to finally prove themselves on behalf of the GPL. TPA may have lost at All Stars, but Winds is a huge upgrade for them, and now that they’ve had time to practice with him, TPA could be a genuine threat. They bring a uniquely aggressive style to Worlds, as base races are terrifyingly common in the GPL.
Champions – Lee Sin, Elise, Kha’Zix, Evelynn
Winds, TPA’s jungler, has reinvigorated the team, and big plays by him could carry TPA into a top two spot. While he is a carry-oriented jungler, he looks to make early plays on the standard aggressive junglers: Lee Sin, Kha’Zix, and Elise.
Champions – Yasuo, Syndra
Morning, once considered a passive support player, has taken on a carry role thanks to Winds’ solid pressure mid. It remains to be seen whether he will be able to make the same sort of aggressive plays on Yasuo and Syndra in the international scene, and TPA will live or die by Morning’s ability to match up against high-caliber mid laners like Corn and Bjergsen.
This is Group QuadraMid, and Jesiz is the weakest mid laner in the group by a decent margin. That alone puts SK Gaming at threat at losing any game to any team if mid crumbles. Jesiz would have to step up big here for SK Gaming to have a shot. SK Gaming looked solid against Alliance, losing a series that they looked to have the potential to win, thanks to their strong rotations and objective control. However, I think this group phase is just going to be too much for them. However, with Svenskeren sitting three games out, it’s hard to imagine them really taking control in the Group Stages.
Champions – Aatrox, Renekton, Nidalee
Fredy122 is known for being one of the most stable top laners in Europe, and excels at safe laning split-pushers like Aatrox or Nidalee. His unique picks and stable nature allows the team to focus elsewhere, knowing that he will make an impact regardless. However, against the best top laners in the world, he may struggle, and if SK Gaming has to pressure top more than they’re used to, it could hurt their overall strategy.
Champions – Morgana, Zyra, Braum
nRated is the strategist who has turned SK Gaming around thanks to great game knowledge and consistent playmaking. He has been known for oddball supports all year, playing Support Galio and Vel’Koz in the EU LCS. Hopefully he’s saved a surprise or two for the World Championship.