With the Worlds Groups at the halfway mark, we saw several surprises. While several LEC teams are doing quite well and RNG is currently sitting on top of a group with the LCK leaders, the LCS is running an embarrassing 0-9 and TOP Esports is looking quite shaky. Will the tradition of one LPL team bombing out in groups continue?
With the first half of the Worlds Groups in our rear-view mirror and the other half fast approaching, it might be a good time to look back and check what we saw and what we can expect. Of course, it's far too early to be certain of anything in the groups - the rapid-fire second half where all games in a group are played over one day means momentary form and mental strength are tremendously important - but hey, what's League without a few hot takes?
Besides, the groups are looking quite spicy so far. We had not expected RNG or Rogue to go 3-0 in their groups, and as for NA... well, they did a bit worse than we thought they would. Or a lot worse, depending on who you ask. So let's dig in - who exceeded our expectations and who tanked them?
The Good - RNG and the LEC
While Europe has traditionally had decent showings at Worlds, the strength of the LCK and LPL rosters looked quite impressive and all 3 European teams had their bad moments in the playoffs. However, the LEC representatives did quite well in their groups by our standards. Rogue went undefeated in the first round robin, showing good macro and teamfighting against DRX and TOP Esports and despite lapsing a bit into the infamous "Rogue time" against GAM Esports brought the game back. Fnatic, meanwhile, looked very solid against Cloud9 and made full use of their opportunities against T1 to take down the LCK finalists. Even though a horrible start to the game against EDward Gaming proved too much to overcome, Fnatic fought on - especially Marek "Humanoid" Brázda, who put the team on his back more than once. Finally, while G2 Esports lost two of their first games, they had a fighting chance in all three and, with a few adjustments, could fare better in the second part - not too bad for the worst performing team in the group.
Over in Group D, meanwhile, Royal Never Give Up arrived as a Play-In team that ended second in their group and had to suffer a humbling loss to Detonation FocusMe in their opening game before turning the series around. Yet once there, RNG had a very strong game against the LCK champions Gen.G and permitted no surprises from NA's 100 Thieves and the PCS' CTBC Flying Oyster. They now find themselves on top of the group and if they keep their form, will likely at least get a tiebreaker to get first seed.
The Bad: LCS and Top Esports
While the NA teams did not have the easiest groups, Evil Geniuses' victory over the MAD Lions and their tiebreakers earlier made us interested in how the LCS representatives would fare in the group stage. The answer - at least for now - is "pretty badly". Cloud9 never quite took off in their opening game against Fnatic before being heavily outscaled, and they did not look any better against T1 or EDward Gaming. EG had its moments, especially in the game against JDG, but in all three games so far they couldn't hold up in the mid-game. 100 Thieves had a similar problem, and with the loss to CTBC Flying Oysters they failed to get what seemed to be the most likely win to give them a better chance in the second stage of the groups. With a combined 0-9 record, it would take a small miracle for NA to get a playoff team on home soil.
Meanwhile, Top Esports might not be looking bad in front of their home crowd, but the LPL fans are watching and not very happy with what they saw. The Chinese second seed was seen as having a fairly manageable group with an European team, the VCS champions and the fourth LCK seed, yet right now is sitting at 1-2. More than just the score, however, the way they played the game have let many fans down. While LPL teams have a reputation for aggression, TES overstepped and got punished quite a few times. Yu "JackeyLove" Wen-Bo in particular was caught out of position several times, a poor showing for one of LPL's best AD carries.
Read More about Worlds 2022
- Several Players Test Positive for COVID-19 at Worlds 2022
- LoL Worlds 2022: Is the LCS Showing Worse than In Previous Years?
- Worlds 2022 Play-In Recap: What We Saw from the First Stage of Worlds
Worlds continues on Thursday, October 13th from 9 PM CEST, with Group A teams playing their remaining games. Will Fnatic continue their good performance? Follow the games and find out!