2019 League of Legends World Championship Group Stage Preview

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The 2019 League of Legends World Championship will kick off tomorrow in Berlin. Sixteen teams have gathered from around the world to compete in this year’s tournament, and the action on Summoner’s Rift will be intense over the coming weeks. There are some incredible storylines to follow as Europe sets its sights on its first true World Championship, Korea looks to re-establish itself as the most dominant region in the world, and China aims to boast the world champion for the second straight season.

2019 League of Legends World Championships Group Stage Betting Odds (Courtesy of Bet Online)

Odds to Win Group A
G2 Esports -143
Griffin +115
Cloud9 +900
Hong Kong Attitude +10000

The Mid-Season Invitational champions are the favorites in Group A. G2 Esports knocked off SK Telecom T1 and Team Liquid to win the title last season, and G2 are one of the favorites to win the title. They have the best collection of talent in Europe, and this meta really suits them. Patch 9.19 favors strong laners that can push, but more importantly, it also makes non-marksman champions very viable in the bottom lane. That plays into Perkz’ skillset quite nicely.

Griffin are fans of the current meta too. This is arguably the most talented team in the world, but they are slight underdogs in this group after disappointing performances in the postseason against SK Telecom T1. Griffin parted ways with its coach a few weeks ago under peculiar circumstances, so that has raised some alarm bells, yet the ceiling for this team is so high. Chovy might be the best mid laner in the world, and if either Doran or Sword can just be average in the top lane, this team could steamroll its opponents.

It’s hard to see a path for the other two teams to get through this group. Hong Kong Attitude might win one game tops after an unimpressive performance in the Play-In Stage, and Cloud9’s streak of making it to Quarterfinals is likely to end as this meta does not suit them. C9 have adapted very well over the years, but there is too much to overcome in terms of the talent gap and the meta.

Odds to Win Group B
FunPlus Phoenix -833
Splyce +700
J Team +1300
GAM Esports +1300

This is likely to be the most one-sided group in the competition by a mile. FunPlus tore through the LPL this season, and they have finally made it to Worlds. Doinb is making the case that he is the best mid laner in the world, as the Korean import has repeatedly shined thanks to his deep champion pool and outstanding play. The other teams in Group B are likely playing for second place, but there is value in both J Team and GAM at this price.

Since FunPlus is making its first appearance on the international stage, they may need some time to get going. Given that there are only six games in the Group Stage, a surprise win or two from either team could lead to them topping the group, and both J Team and GAM Esports could pull off some upsets. I’m considerably less confident in Splyce though and don’t expect the European side to make it into the knockout rounds.

Odds to Win Group C
SK Telecom T1 +120
Royal Never Give Up +190
Fnatic +190
Clutch Gaming +6600

This is the Group of Death. While Clutch Gaming don’t have much of a shot to make it out of the group per the League of Legends betting odds, the other three teams are regional powers.

However, I think everyone is overrating Fnatic. While Fnatic were impressive at Worlds last year, they caught lightning in a bottle. Rekkles is clearly the third best bottom laner in this group, and Nemesis might be the worst mid laner. To me, SKT and RNG are clearly in a different category, and I expect both those teams to make it through while Fnatic finish at .500 or worse.

Odds to Win Group D
Invictus Gaming +110
DAMWON Gaming +110
Team Liquid +400
Ahq e-Sports Club +10000

Group D is the most intriguing group. The most inconsistent teams from China and Korea are in this group, alongside the best team in North America. Liquid have a shot of getting out of Group D, letting Doublelift end a rather ignominious streak of being the best player in the world to never make it to the knockout rounds of a World Championship.

Invictus Gaming will be out to smash Liquid after an embarrassing loss to the NA champs at the MSI semifinals, and they have the most variance of any team here. They only barely qualified to defend their title at Worlds, but they smashed their opponents in the MSI Group Stage before falling in the knockout rounds and they beat SKT in an international record time.

DAMWON Gaming are very intriguing. Showmaker and Nuguri are two of the best players in the world, and they can carry this team to victory with their play in the mid lane and top lane. Canyon is an innovative jungler, but the bottom lane is a big question mark. If Nuclear and BeryL can find their form, this team has a shot to shock the world and win it all, but flaming out in the Group Stage is a likely possibility too.

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