The 2019 League of Legends World Championship has barely just begun, and already there are plenty of twists and turns.
With just four days into this month-long tournament we’ve said goodbye to Oceania’s MAMMOTH, Japan’s DetonatioN FocusMe, Thailand’s MEGA, and Brazil’s Flamengo eSports. But with these eliminations in the Play-In rounds of the event, we’ve learnt a lot about some of the other of Worlds 2019 participants.
Don’t sleep on UoL
Once an EU LCS powerhouse, now a footnote in LEC history, the Unicorns Of Love have returned with a vengeance at Worlds 2019. With a lineup formed from the remains of the Vega Squadron team, who turned heads at the Mid Season Invitational in 2019, UoL has already made their presence known in this tournament by almost eliminating NA favorites Clutch Gaming.
Their early tournament performance has been impressive if inconsistent, but UoL is exactly the kind of wildcard team which has caused upsets in the past. The LCL may not be a dominant force in League of Legends, but it’s certainly no dumping ground. Remember this is the region that gave us Moscow Five, at one time the best team in the world. UoL even has Edward “Edward” Abgaryan, the support from that legendary squad. Any team underestimating the Unicorns is in for an unpleasant surprise.
DAMWON Are Chaotic, But Terrifying
As the only Korean team in the play-in stage, all eyes are naturally drawn to DAMWON Gaming. The LCK third-seed shocked their home region by beating out SANDBOX Gaming, then sweeping Kingzone DragonX to secure their Worlds spot. However, when you watch them play, there just seems to be something off…
DAMWON don’t fit the mold of a Korean team at worlds. They’re frenetic and inconsistent. They don’t play well-structured game-plans. They don’t win their lanes consistently. But what DAMWON does do is play in a way that no-one expects.
The Korean underdog is genuinely the scariest team to come out of the Play-Ins. Their unorthodox style, the people they’ve already beaten to get here, and the teams they’ve yet to face, tell a story of a dangerous squad that has deep tournament potential. If they’re successful in reaching the Main Event, they could definitely cause some upsets. And of course both of these factors mean that:
The western favorites might not survive Play-Ins
Group A put Clutch Gaming through their paces. They easily handled MAMMOTH, but then couldn’t land a shot on UoL. Going from third seed to top seed not by their own merit, but by others loses – it was only a messy game against the UoL (third time’s the charm), that secured their spot in Round 2. Who knows if they can handle a Royal Youth team, stacked with EU and Korean talent?
Splyce look similarly shakey. Yes, they topped their group, and performed well doing it. But the UoL are no pushovers, as previously noted. When all’s said and done, Clutch and Splyce will have a hell of a fight on their hands if they want to make it to the Worlds 2019 Main Event. And there’s a real possibility they won’t be up to the challenge.