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LoL Worlds 2019: No group of death, but trouble all around

Late Monday evening we got our first look at the groups for the League of Legends World Championships 2019, and in spite of much debate, there is no obvious “group of death.”

Every Worlds it seems like there’s one group that there’s no escape from for fan favorites. Western teams are either pitted against the inevitable eventual champions or a wildcard team that’s bound to upset them. However, for the first time in many tournaments, the groups have landed with no obvious obstacle for the success of NA or EU teams. In fact, these groups are arguably some of the most balanced groups we’ve ever had.

That said, there are a lot of potential pitfalls. Let’s take a look at the groups and gauge their level of competition to predict the likely winners.

Group A: G2 Esports, Griffin, Cloud 9, Play-ins winner

G2 are highly rated headed into Worlds after an incredible performance during the LEC regular season and MSI. However, there is the chance they struggle in a group with teams such as Griffin and C9. Both of G2’s currently announced opponents have the potential to upset the LEC champions, especially if they’re able to scout out their opponent’s more unorthodox picks and counter them. Griffin are least likely to escape this group, having struggled for years with consistency at the highest level. C9 and G2 will advance. 

Winners: C9, G2

Group B: FunPlus Phoenix, J Team, GAM Esports, Play-ins winner

FunPlus Phoenix isn’t a name that many western fans will recognise, but it’s certainly one they’ll learn. The LPL has transformed in recent years from a two and three-horse race, into a massively competitive ecosystem with vast amounts of investment across the board. FPX is one of the beneficiaries of this enhanced competition and could rocket to the top spot of this group. J Team and GAM are both formidable opponents, but this group is also the most likely to have a Western play-in team seeded in. As a result, it seems unlikely either team will escape the group.

Winners: FPX, Play-ins winner

Group C: SK Telecom T1, Fnatic, Royal Never Give Up, Play-ins winner

It may be controversial to suggest that SKT won’t make it out of groups, but this isn’t the SKT of old. Yes, it still has Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, and yes they’ve run the gauntlet twice in the LCK to become that region’s champion. The very fact they have to run the gauntlet is a testament to how far this team has fallen. They’ll be facing a Fnatic team who’s clashed with G2 all season, and an RNG side that’s taken on all comers in the LPL. Having trained against a higher calibre of competition, RNG and Fnatic will be the ones to escape this group.

Winners: Fnatic, RNG

Group D: Team Liquid, ahq e-Sports Club, Invictus Gaming

IG retains much of the same roster as it’s World Championship run from last year. However, the team has struggled with consistency, and while competing in the hugely competitive LPL the team barely qualified this year. That said, much of their problems have stemmed from a Meta which only recently began to favor the team. On the 9.19 Worlds patch, some of Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok’s signature champions have been buffed. Ahq are the other likely escapees from this group. The LMS is a hugely underrated region, while Liquid is prone to choking on the big stage. TL will find itself eliminated, as ahq and IG advance. 

Winners: ahq, IG


These are, without a doubt, some of the most consistently competitive groups in League of Legend’s World Championship history. There is no easy group, and there’s no group of death. Instead, what we have is the potential for some incredible games and massive upsets. 

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