This week we have, you guessed it, more coverage of the League of Legends World Championships. This and more, including group stage predictions for the upcoming DreamHack CS:GO open, in this week’s eSports Weekly.
Worlds: Two Regions Remain, Quarterfinals Recap and Semifinals Preview
After the first semifinal was locked in between Origen and SK Telecom T1, only two quarterfinal match-ups remained. The winners would face each other in the second semifinal match. In the Saturday match-up, the European champions Fnatic would face Edward Gaming, the last hope for Chinese fans after what had been a disastrous performance from the typically favored region. The match-up was plagued by a long technical pause during game two that forced a rematch, but that didn’t stop Fnatic from rolling over Edward Gaming 3-0 to advance to the semifinals. For YellOwStaR, this appearance at Worlds marks his fifth of all-time, the only player other than the now-retired Dyrus to appear at all five Worlds. His strongest run at Worlds was during the first season’s world championship, when he played with against All authority. They finished second place against Fnatic, coincidentally. With Fnatic, YellOwStaR’s best finish came during season three, when the team made it to the semifinals, but fell against Royal Club. This weekend, he has a chance to push past the semifinals, and perhaps hoist that championship cup that has eluded him.
For Fnatic, they were destined to face a Korean team in the semifinals, as KT Rolster and KOO Tigers met in the last quarterfinals. KT had a strong group stage, going 5-1 in the “Group of Death,” only dropping one game to Origen. The KOO Tigers made it out of their group stage, but had several close games in a considerably easier group, and couldn’t win either of their games against Flash Wolves. KT claimed game one of the series, but indescribably kept letting KOO’s toplaner Smeb pick Fiora, one of his best champions. Smeb carried his team to victory in game two, and was instrumental in KOO’s next two victories, as the Tigers won three straight to claim the series 3-1.
For the two European teams seeking to have a repeat of their summer split’s grand finals, their paths are very different. Fnatic are considered the Western juggernaut. Of the six NA and EU LCS teams that came to Worlds, the highest hopes were rested on the shoulders of Fnatic. While many pick ‘em brackets look nothing like their creators intended, many are picking Fnatic to roll over KOO Tigers en route to the grand finals. For Origen, there is far less confidence. While fielding all-star talent, they’re still relatively new when it comes to playing with each other, with just two splits under their belts as a team. In the “Group of Death,” they were able to take advantage of a struggling TSM and LGD to secure a spot in the quarterfinals. But despite making it out of group stages, and looking strong in their 3-1 victory over Flash Wolves, they are still David in this semifinal battle against the Goliath that is SK Telecom T1.
CS:GO: DreamHack Cluj-Napoca Groups Announced (Plus Predictions)
The next big CS:GO major is less than a week away, and DreamHack has finally released its group placements for the upcoming event in Romania. On Wednesday, October 28th, group stages will kickoff, with some teams facing a difficult road, and others planning a walk down Easy Street. Let’s get right into group analysis and predictions:
Group A: Fnatic, Luminosity, Cloud 9, and Vexed Gaming. Fnatic really lucked out in this group draw. Luminosity’s roster hasn’t lived up to expectations that were set when they were plucked from Keyd Stars. Cloud 9 haven’t been able to replicate the success they had in July, and I believe they have conceded their spot as the #1 NA team to Liquid. Vexed is interesting. The former eBettle roster put themselves on the map with an unexpected qualification for ESL One Cologne, but were swiftly eliminated from group stage when they got to Germany. Fnatic should advance to the playoffs no problem, and I reckon Cloud 9 can play well enough against the other teams to advance as well. They might even knock a game off Fnatic.
Group B: TSM, G2 Esports, mousesports, and FlipSid3. TSM are TSM. They’re going to have little to no problems advancing out of this group. Without s1mple, I don’t think FlipSid3 have enough talent to knock off the teams in this group. That leaves mousesports and G2. G2 have looked strong with jkaem since he replaced ScreaM, and with mousesports’ recent string of losses, I think G2 will advance as well.
Group C: Virtus.Pro, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Titan, and Team Liquid. Hiko can describe Liquid’s placing better than I can. This is easily the most stacked group. The Virtus Plow machine has been rolling lately, NiP have shown signs of a resurgence after a year of struggles, Titan have improved since the return of ScreaM, and Liquid can make a valid claim as North America’s best team right now. I think it’s possible that relatively soon, Liquid can bring home a major, but with the cards they’ve been dealt for Cluj-Napoca, it won’t be this one. I think Virtus.Pro and NiP will advance past the group stage.
Group D: EnVyUs, Na’Vi, CLG, and Dignitas. CLG can borrow all the leftover faith from their LoL team that they want, it’s not going to help them or Dignitas. EnVy and Na’Vi have both been playing exceptionally well lately and will both move on. In fact, EnVy is my pick to win the major.
- Dota 2: Last week it was reported that the entire Na’Vi Dota 2 roster was being disbanded. Well it turns out that the team isn’t being completely blown up. Face of the franchise Dendi and SoNNeikO will remain with the organization, and they will be the cornerstones of the new roster.
- LoL: Good news and bad news for Cloud 9 fans. Well, not so much “bad news,” rather more a sprinkle of salt in the wound. After making an “obscene gesture” at an opposing player while on stage, Hai received a €500 fine. Hai, almost unnoticeably, flipped off Febiven as the Fnatic midlaner was prediciting a C9 loss to ahq. But the good news for C9’s Challenger team is that KEITHMCBRIEF will be joining the squad at the AD Carry position. KEITH has had success playing AD Carry for both TSM and Liquid during the past two splits.
- CS:GO: A couple of roster changes to denote from this week. Pyth announced on Twitter that he is leaving the Winterfox roster. stanislaw is joining the Team Conquest roster. And lastly, s1mple has parted ways with the HellRaisers organization.