So it’s worlds time and Groups A and B had there time in Taiwan while Group C and D played it out in Singapore. So let’s go through the groups and see how the teams measured out.
In Group A, the very first matchup was EDG vs Samsung White. After that high intense game I knew these two teams were going to get out of groups. From both teams you could see the level of teamplay, the decisive moves around the map, and their warding was all top notch. Imp is an amazing ADC but the entire team of SSW is very good, especially the support Mata. I wasn’t too sure about AHQ but I felt they could have taken 2nd. Dark Passage I felt didn’t stand much of a chance. As the international wildcard, they don’t have as a developed region at the moment so they pretty much needed to take it as an experience. I was hoping they could take at least one win but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.
In Group B, I have to take this moment to comment on SK Gaming. I feel like they could have gotten out of groups if it wasn’t for Svenskeren’s incident that got him banned from the first 3 games which was against each team in the group. Quite honestly, I was a bit upset at Svenskeren because when I heard half the matches he won’t be able to play meant that he screwed his team’s chances for getting out of group. They had to get Gilius, a player from Unicorns of Love that qualified for the LCS, as a sub. That’s a lot of pressure to play from challenger to the Worlds stage. Most importantly, the jungler synergy with the lanes, especially mid is just isn’t as strong. So it’s not surprising that SK lost all 3 games. This brings me to TSM. I honestly think they benefited from this the most. If SK Gaming had their full roster from the start, they could have taken 2 games off TSM instead of one and I feel SK could have beaten TPA twice as well making them the ones getting out of groups. I am happy however that TSM have stepped up more. WildTurtle is the one that needs to step up more because the bot lane matchups are just going to get harder. Star Horn Royal Club looks really great going 5-1 in the group stage Uzi really came out to play. Taipei Assassins didn’t look competitive as sad it is to say. The only win they got was when SK had a sub. They need to work on their play as a whole because that’s not a great record to have for an experienced team.
In Group C, I was surprised that LMQ was chosen as an underdog. They did really well in the first day but it seems that it wasn’t enough as they lost their other matches. Fnatic I wasn’t hoping much out of them this year sadly. They really couldn’t keep up even with Rekkles hard carrying. OMG felt like they found their stride as they played more games so I expect good thing out of them actually. Samsung Blue did extremely well as there other team Samsung White. However, I found they Blue made quite a few mistakes and lost one game to Fnatic so we’ll see if they fix those.
Group D had to be the most interesting for me. There was so much intrigue for me to see how Cloud 9 would shape up against Alliance and NaJin White Shield. It looks like Hai’s champ pool is the only thing holding them back. Otherwise, they look quite solid. If Hai keeps up the Korean solo queue while learning 3 or 4 more picks, I think they have a chance. I have to say I was surprised by Alliance’s performance starting out but they got better as they played more games. They even won a perfect game: no structures lost, no deaths, no dragons lost, no barons lost. Then they had a game vs the international Brazilian team KaBuM which on paper is a win for Alliance. However, KaBuM had been learning and adapting as well and did well against Alliance in their last game giving KaBuM their only win but to be honest, they probably felt very happy they could take a team against a top team. Now If I spotted Samsung Blue’s mistakes then there are a bit more in Najin White Shield despite them going 5 and 2. They played some pretty close games and came out on top.
All in all, the Korean teams are pretty much still favorites to make it. TSM is going to have an insanely hard time with Samsung White. I feel that Imp and Mata are the best bottom lane that made it out of groups so it would be on TSM’s solo lanes to hard carry. Cloud 9 really has to get Hai’s champ pool expanded. In a best of 5 he’ll probably get ban/picked out by Samsung Blue. Samsung Blue needs to work on their early game and not let Cloud 9 have their way with the early game. Star Horn Royal Club and Edward Gaming I don’t know too well but I feel Royal Club have an edge with Uzi. Najin White Shield and OMG will be the hardest to call. This matchup can go to 5 games. I feel that OMG could win it if cool and Gogoing get a good start.
So that’s my thoughts and review on Groups. It’s going to be hard for North America to have a team make it to Semifinals let alone Finals but I’ll be watching with keen eyes. Right now, I’d say Samsung White has the best chance to make it to finals. I feel that the lower bracket will result in Royal Club or OMG making it to Finals. Well, we’ll see how the upper bracket turns out in a few days!