The group stages are now out of the way and we have our final eight teams ready to square off in the knockout rounds. Now, the best-of-five quarterfinals will take place Thursday through Sunday at the Chicago Theatre with the winner heading to a semi-final matchup in Madison Square Garden. Unequivocally the best match-up of the week will take place on Saturday night when the champions of South Korea, ROX Tigers, face off against the Chinese champions, Edward Gaming.
ROX Tigers -480 Edward Gaming +330
ROX Tigers Breakdown
ROX came into the tournament as the favorite to win, but didn’t set the world on fire with its play in the Group Stage. The Tigers were defeated by both Albus NoX Luna and CLG and needed a win against CLG in their final match of the Group Stage in order to advance. They got that win and then beat ANX in the tie-breaker to win Group A, but it was a lot more difficult than most observers were expecting.
Their struggles have been magnified due to the impressive play of their Korean counterparts. SK Telecom T1 and Samsung Galaxy each went 5-1 in group play and then made short work of their Quarterfinals opponents to advance to the Semi-finals. ROX bested both of these teams for supremacy in the Summer Split and should be playing better.
Smeb was being touted as not just the best top-laner in the world, but the best player in the world following an impressive season in Korea. However, he had some issues in the Group Stage and this is the time where he needs to rise to the occasion. He will have a big advantage over his top-lane counterpart, who is starting for the first time in months after EDG’s starting top-laner Mouse had to fly back to China because of a death in the family.
Edward Gaming Breakdown
It’s been an auspicious start to the tournament for Edward Gaming. EDG dominated China throughout the Summer Split, going 16-0 in the regular season, and routed rivals Royal Never Give Up 3-0 in the Finals. That win avenged a loss to RNG in the Spring Finals that prevented EDG from participating in the MSI and getting some much needed international experience with this line-up.
EDG was one of the three favorites to win Worlds, along with ROX and SKT, and after the group draw was listed as the biggest group favorite by the bookies. However, EDG fell twice in the Group Stage to INTZ and H2K and needed a win against ahq e-Sports Club in their last match in order to make it to the Quarterfinals. They were then defeated by H2K in the tiebreaker and that led to these two tournament favorites meeting in the Quarterfinals instead of in the later rounds.
The Chinese giants have juggled Scout and PawN in the mid-lane so far this tournament with PawN playing four games and Scout playing three. The two have different styles of play as PawN is more prone to jump in a fight while Scout is more meticulous and patient. Don’t be surprised to see EDG play both again versus ROX here.
The best head-to-head match-up will be between Clearlove and Peanut in the Jungle. These two are the best Junglers in the world, but Clearlove needs to outperform Peanut in order for EDG to advance. ROX is likely going to dominate the top lane, so EDG needs to be able to win elsewhere in order to offset the advantage that Smeb is going to have over Koro1.
Peanut has gotten better about it, but can still be lured into fights he can’t win and has the potential to be outplayed by Clearlove. Clearlove was a bit shaky in the opening round of action, but some of that may have just been nerves or just EDG getting used to international play again.
These teams were pegged as two of the best in the world heading into the tournament, but the oddsmakers have ROX as a large favorite for two reasons. First, their Korean counterparts have been dominant so far and second, EDG looked worse than ROX did during the Group Stage. That line should be much lower than this though and taking EDG at +330 is a smart bet.