Photo Credit: LoL Esports
The last two weeks of games brought clench worthy victories, hard fought losses, and the end of everyone’s pick’ems. All of this begins anew this week when the playoffs for Worlds kick off and the eight remaining team go against each other in head-to-head matchups to determine who the four semifinalists will be. Each team’s quarterfinal opponent could be their road to the semifinals or a death sentence.
SK Telecom T1 vs Royal Never Give Up
It’s unfortunate for RNG that they drew possibly the best team at Worlds and the defending World champions, SKT. Against any other team, except ROX Tigers, RNG would have a much better chance of making it to the semifinals. SKT is one of the death sentences mentioned above, the one team that has to be avoided at all cost. Their record speaks for itself as they’ve won every single Worlds they’ve attended and are one of the most famous and decorated teams in League of Legends. That’s not to say RNG do not stand any chance. They have Looper, Uzi, and Mata, players who could challenge the SKT legends in their own right. It depends if they can bring their explosive fighting style to the rift and hope Uzi can dominate the bottom lane like he is able to.
ROX Tigers vs Edward Gaming
China’s luck in the playoff draw is really, really poor as both of the Chinese teams drew the two strongest Korean teams. EDG looked like a mess when they got clobbered by H2K in the group stages and dropped a match to INTZ, so their form isn’t exactly looking top notch right now. Add on to the fact that they have to challenge one of the Korean juggernauts, their chances look bleak at best. Their saving grace, similar to RNG, comes from their ADC, Deft, who has been one of the best players in the world. Unfortunately, ROX still triumphs in this category as they have Smeb, the best player in the world. EDG’s one hope is that ROX did not look entirely on form themselves, dropping a game to the red-hot ANX.
Samsung Galaxy vs Cloud9
All three of Korea’s teams made it to the playoffs, a testament to the strength of that region. Samsung Galaxy was hidden in the long shadows cast by SKT and ROX, but performed amiably to take first place in the so called “group of death”. Their opponents, Cloud9, made it through only because SKT handled business for them and won both their games against I May and Flash Wolves to allow them to advance from the group with a 3-3 record. Samsung will definitely be the favored team going into the matchup with how shaky Cloud9 looked, but Cloud9 have the benefit of home-court advantage with the crowd cheering for them.
H2K vs Albus Nox Luna
Everyone is talking about ANX, and the CIS team has gained a lot of fans and respect with their spectacular performance in the group stages, even taking an exciting, hour-long game against the ROX Tigers. They’ve shown that wildcard teams have been getting stronger and should be treated with respect in the upcoming years. Still, it is very likely that their journey at Worlds ends here at the quarterfinals. H2K were extremely impressive during their run to top their group. This will possibly be one of the closer matches in the quarterfinals, but realistically, H2K should win.