2019 League of Legends World Championship Semifinals Preview

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The League of Legends World Championship is in its penultimate week. Hundreds of teams from around the world had their sights set on making it this far, but the usual suspects are the four teams remaining heading into this weekend’s Semifinals matches.

On Saturday, last year’s World Champions will face off with the No. 1 team in the LPL. Invictus Gaming dominated the 2018 LPL regular season and put it all together at Worlds to become the first Chinese team to win this event. They had to qualify through LPL Regional Play-Ins to get back to Worlds and defend their title, and China will be represented no matter who wins between IG and FunPlus Phoenix. FunPlus were the best team throughout the regular season, and they won the LPL Summer Split to make it to Worlds. Their only loss the entire was to IG, leading to the defending champs being favored.

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The second semifinal will feature a Mid-Season Invitational rematch between SK Telecom T1 and G2 Esports. G2 upset SKT on their way to becoming the first European team to win MSI earlier this year, and they are the best chance Europe has ever had to win Worlds. They weren’t tested in the LEC this season, but SKT will push them to the brink. SKT are the most decorated team in Worlds history with three titles to their name, and they have a living legend playing in the mid lane.

2019 League of Legends World Championships Semifinals Betting Odds (Courtesy of BetOnline)

FunPlus Phoenix +133
Invictus Gaming -161

We will see a clash of styles in this series as Invictus and FunPlus approach the game different ways. FunPlus are excellent team fighters that are always looking to get ahead and force their opponent into unfavorable fights, while Invictus want to snowball leads in their lane and smack their counterparts around with their wallet on the way to destroying the Nexus.

Rookie and TheShy are both extremely gifted mechanically, and they will both want to isolate their late counterparts and punish them with powerful champions. Meanwhile, FunPlus mid laner Doinb will look to roam and influence his other laners so that they can win their matchups.

Doinb has been phenomenal on both Ryze and Kayle at Worlds. According to Games of Legends, he has a staggering 21.7 KDA in five games on Ryze and a 9.0 KDA in two games on Kayle. He hasn’t been nearly as effective on other champions, so don’t be surprised if Invictus ban those picks away from him in the draft.

If FunPlus can handle Invictus’ early game aggression and keep from falling behind, they will stand a good chance of pulling off the upset due to their superior team fighting skills. That’s easier said than done though, and I think that Invictus will get the win.

SK Telecom T1 -159
G2 Esports +132

These teams went the distance in a five-game series at MSI, and every League of Legends is hoping to see that again.

G2 have been the story of the year. Every decision they have made has paid off in spades, leading to this organization adding two more domestic titles and the MSI title. Acquiring Caps and moving Perkz into the bottom lane has allowed the team to take off in this meta, and that gives them flexibility that few other teams possess.

SKT have the best player in the history of the game in Faker. Faker was not at his best against Splyce, but he has risen to the occasion time and time again over the last six years. He has given us incredible performances on numerous champions, and he will face a streaky mid laner in Caps.

Caps is so streaky that he has been dubbed as having alter-egos. If he plays great, he’s Claps, but if he plays poorly than it’s Craps. His performance is pivotal to G2’s chances as he must keep Faker from taking over in the early and mid game.

The top lane battle is worth watching too. G2’s Wunder surprised us all with top lane Pyke at MSI, but Khan is ready for that. Khan has been playing very well in recent weeks, and if he can consistently win his lane against Wunder, that gives SKT another win condition.