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. The last match-up of the Quarterfinals will be between two teams that were considered long-shots to get to the Semi-finals, H2K and Albus NoX Luna.
H2K -280 Albus NoX Luna +220
If not for H2K, Europe would have recorded its most embarrassing performance ever at Worlds. European champions G2 and Splyce both finished the Group Stage at 1-5 and in last place in their groups, and things looked just as bad for H2K after the first weekend of play. H2K was sitting at 1-2 at that point with their lone win against international qualifier INTZ, widely considered to be the weakest team entering the tournament.
Redemption came in the second week as H2K put together great performance after great performance to defeat every team in the group the second time around and then triumphed over Edward Gaming in the tie-breaker to win the group. Their display was a sign of what they are capable of when they are clicking as a unit, but they also dominated in what turned out to be by far the weakest group at Worlds.
There’s no doubt who is the best player on H2K and the reason this team completely turned things around. Forg1ven is the most talented ADC in Europe and when he is locked in is one of the best in the world. Although he can be mercurial and hard to play with, there’s absolutely no denying his talent.
Forg1ven’s play in the four straight wins for H2K was exemplary. In three games on Caitlyn and one on Sivir, he tallied 15 kills and 19 assists while only dying once. In all four matches, he was also farming superbly with a CS/minute of 10 or more. He should have the upper hand on his opponent from ANX throughout this series.
Albus NoX Luna Breakdown
What an amazing show ANX put on during the group stage. International Qualifiers are usually easily dismissed at Worlds and no International Qualifier had finished with a record above .500, much less make the knockout stage before ANX. The Russian/Ukrainian team put on a breathtaking performance though, defeating CLG twice, ROX Tigers once, and G2 once to make it to the Quarterfinals.
However, ANX left a golden opportunity on the table when they lost their last Group Stage match to previously winless G2. A win there would have given ANX the group and made even more history, but ANX can’t complain too much with the draw. H2K is by far the weakest of the group winners and a team that ANX has a chance to defeat.
The story for ANX has been the play of Support player Likkrit and if ANX are going to continue their Cinderella story, he must have a great game. Likkrit doesn’t play the usual style of Support, going on the offensive often and trying to secure kills and has the most kills of any Support player at Worlds through the Group Stage. His hyper-aggressive play and unusual champion picks befuddled teams in group play, but might not work on a H2K team that has prepared for ANX for a week straight.
H2K are the shortest favorites of any team of the Quarterfinals and there are questions about just how good this team is after Edward Gaming turned out to be very overhyped. Odoamne isn’t a great top-laner and Ryu is just decent in the mid-lane. Outside of Forg1ven and Jankos this team doesn’t have any world-class players.
The winner of this match-up will be the only non-Korean team in the Semi-finals and by far the biggest underdog. Although both are great stories, especially ANX, these two sides are quite possibly the worst two to have made the Quarterfinals.
Look for H2K to take advantage of the draw and win this match-up. Forg1ven should be able to dominate his counterpart and that will lead to a Semi-finals berth for H2K.