The League of Legends World Championship is as competitive as ever, we take a look at the Western teams at Worlds 2020 and their chances this year. Read on to find out more.
This week, the 10th League of Legends World Championship kicks off and things have changed a lot since Fnatic won the inaugural tournament in 2011 - a time before China or South Korea even had their own servers.
That tournament was the last and only time a North American or European team was able to lift the trophy. In fact, no EU team reached the final until 2018, whereas C9 recorded a new best for NA’s LoL Championship Series (LCS) teams back in 2018 when they reached the semi-finals.
In two consecutive years, Chinese teams have been crowned World Champions while LoL European Championship (LEC) teams finished as runners-up. Before that, Korean teams had dominated with a sensational five Worlds wins in a row.
The gap between the east and west is finally closing, so let’s have a look at how the NA and EU teams may fair.
LEAGUE OF LEGENDS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
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Implied probability: 13.4%
G2 Esports roster: Caps, Jankos, Perkz, Wunder, Mikyx, P1noy.
G2 Esports LoL Worlds 2020 preview
As last year’s Worlds runners-up and the only European team to have ever won the Mid Season Invitational (MSI), G2 Esports’ roster is already somewhat legendary. However, after being crushed 3-0 in the World Championship final by FunPlus Phoenix, there is still a lot of work to be done.
G2 struggled during the LEC Summer Split, but always seem to step up another level once the pressure piles on. A return to playing on stage should suit them to the ground.
Two-time Worlds runner-up Rasmus “Caps” Winther is one of the best mid-laners in the world and after returning from his short attempt at being a bot-laner, he has somehow reached another level. He will seemingly have a lot to do with doubts over two of G2’s longest-serving members.
Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski is undoubtedly a superb jungler, but the current carry-jungler meta doesn’t really play to his strengths. Meanwhile, Luka “Perkz” Perković’s role swapped back to bot-lane once again, but he hasn’t exhibited the same form he showed at the Worlds last year.
The good news for G2 is they couldn’t have asked for a much easier group, though they will have to face China’s third-seeds Suning Gaming (22:130). That is still a match-up that G2 should get the better of, but their record against LPL teams isn’t pretty.
Implied probability: 4.5%
Fnatic roster: Bwipo, Selfmade, Nemesis, Rekkles, Hylissang, MagiFelix.
Fnatic LoL Worlds 2020 preview
Chasing G2 once again, Fnatic just can’t seem to get the better of their bitter rivals in a final. Fnatic had defeated G2 in an entertaining five-game series just a week prior, but collapsed at the final hurdle.
It was a missed opportunity for the legendary organisation, although they looked like a completely different team compared to the squad that had barely scraped their way into the Playoffs. Fnatic finally had a good read on the meta, which has shifted into an advantageous spot for the team.
Jungler Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek has stepped up to the plate and has repeatedly hit home runs since. The Polish star has looked superb on the likes of Evelynn and Hecarim, which should give Fnatic an advantage both in-game and in draft.
Fnatic’s Group C is wide open with potentially all four participants standing a chance of escaping. The meta suits Fnatic, but on recent form nobody expects the team to challenge for the title. A strong showing in the Groups would change that perception.
Implied probability: 1.3%
Fnatic roster: Finn, Inspired, Larssen, Hans Sama, Vander, Blueknight.
Rogue LoL Worlds 2020 preview
Rogue has had a phenomenal year, so you could be tempted to feel sorry for them considering they have two of the tournament favourites in Group B: DAMWON Gaming (3.600) and JD Gaming (5.470).
The young squad shocked everyone when they finished top in the regular season and became the first team to qualify for the Worlds this year, doing so without even playing a best-of-five. Fans were unsure if Rogue were of truly international calibre and when they were smashed by Fnatic in the opening round of the Playoffs, many European fans were concerned.
Yet Rogue bounced back in convincing fashion. They dominated MAD Lions before coming agonisingly close to defeating eventual LEC champions G2 in a five-game thriller. This Rogue roster is a different beast to the squad that, literally with a Corki package, crashed and burned out of the Playoffs last year.
They also love to prove people wrong. Jungler Kacper "Inspired" Słoma and mid-laner Emil “Larssen” Larsson are two of the brightest talents in Europe and we will surely seem them compete on the Worlds stage for years to come.
However, Finn "Finn" Wiestål is the weak point of the team and he will have to deal with the strongest top-laners at the tournament in JDG’s Zhang "Zoom" Xing-Ran and Jang "Nuguri" Ha-gwon. If he can somehow hold his own and enable his teammates instead, Rogue are more than capable of causing some upsets.
Implied probability: 1.2%
MAD Lions roster: Orome, Shad0w, Humanoid, Carzzy, Kaiser.
MAD Lions LoL Worlds 2020 preview
Another young and hungry team from Europe, MAD Lions have been spectacular to watch at times this year with a few victories over G2 the clear highlight. With four mechanically gifted rookies and young mid-laner Marek "Humanoid" Brázda, who himself is only in his second year as a pro, the team is incredibly fun to watch.
The unpredictability of their drafts and ballsy plays should serve MAD well on the big stage, and the team now just needs to find consistency. Competing in the Play-Ins could be a blessing for the squad as they get a chance to practice in the current meta against supposedly weaker opponents.
Should MAD qualify for the Group Stages, they will face a difficult time in Group D with tournament favourites Top Esports (3.210) and LCK second seeds DRX (21.120), but the latter have suffered from inconsistency themselves.
MAD have every chance of surprising teams and making it out of the Groups, but even if they don’t, the experience will only make this exciting young squad even more fearsome next year.
Implied probability: 1%
MAD Lions roster: Broken Blade, Spica, Bjergsen, Doublelift, Biofrost, Treatz.
Team SoloMid LoL Worlds 2020 preview
For the first time since 2017, Team SoloMid (TSM) are finally attending the Worlds once again. The squad made an extraordinary run in the Playoffs, winning five best-of-five series in a row to be crowned champions.
They have been placed in Group C alongside Fnatic and LCK’s Gen.G (17.40), with LPL’s fourth seeds LGD Gaming (22.130) likely joining too. It’s a wide-open group where anybody could beat anybody, but considering no NA team made it out of Groups last year, most neutrals doubt that TSM will manage to place in the top two.
Among their ranks are two of the LCS’s greatest ever players in Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng and Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg, and the latter has been in extraordinary form this year. However, if TSM are to make it out of this group, they need a big performance from inexperienced 18-year-old jungler Mingyi "Spica" Lu. There is a lot riding on the young man’s shoulders and it comes at a time where NA is in desperate need for domestic talent.
Implied probability: 0.4%
FlyQuest roster: Solo, Santorin, PowerOfEvil, Mash, WildTurtle, Ignar.
FlyQuest LoL Worlds 2020 preview
Worlds debutants FlyQuest have been focused on saving the planet this year, but the squad are going to have to do even more to save their Worlds hopes.
FlyQuest exceeded everyone’s expectations, coming second in both LCS splits as their pro-active playstyle made them stand out from a majority of the league. However, once again it’s difficult to put LCS teams on the same level as the competition, and as we discussed earlier with MAD, Group D does not look easy.
However, there are always upsets at Worlds and there are some superb players on FlyQuest’s side. Jungler Lucas “Santorin2” Larsen has been killing it in the Chinese solo queue, ADC Jason “WildTurtle” Tran has been competing since season two and support Lee "IgNar" Dong-geun made a name for himself at Worlds 2017 with a superb performance against the greatest team in LoL history, SK Telecom T1.
Their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals don’t look bright, but don’t sleep on FlyQuest just yet, as they could end up being NA’s strongest representatives.
Implied probability: 1%
Team Liquid roster: Impact, Broxah, Jensen, Tactical, CoreJJ, TF Blade.
Team Liquid LoL Worlds 2020 preview
Heading into the LCS Playoffs, Team Liquid were favourites to be crowned LCS champions, so it’s a huge surprise seeing them in the Play-Ins. The star-studded roster which includes two former World Champions has been inconsistent all year and that eventually caught up with them.
Former Worlds finalist Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen moved to TL after leaving Fnatic in the hunt for trophies and he will have to step up as a leader and carry if the organisation want to reach the knockout stages for the first time ever.
While LCS Summer MVP Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-in is the star of the team, it’s his bot-lane partner Edward “Tactical” Ra who will grab everyone’s attention. The rookie ADC has been incredible this year after replacing Doublelift, and it’s intriguing to see if he can do what his predecessor could not and escape the group stages.
TL will be put into Group A or B, with the latter being a disastrous outcome that would likely end their chances. However, if they make it into A, they have a very real opportunity to reach the quarter-finals should either G2 or Suning drop the ball.
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