League of Legends World Championship 2019 group draw has been concluded, revealing two groups of death and two that are a bit more tame. Play-in groups are also complete, which could cause upsets in the future.
League of Legends World Championship 2019 is looking for massive thrills from day one where some of the strongest teams in the world have been packed in groups A and C while favourites from groups B and D will either have a field day or get some of the biggest upsets of the tournament.
- G2 Esports
- Cloud 9
This one is the first group of death as it features the European champions who had another fantastic season as well as Korean and North American runners up. G2 Esports are coming in hot on the wings of their MSI 2019 victory where they didn't perform that well in the groups, going with an even 5-5 win/loss ratio but a case of extreme second wind saw them win the first big international tournament of the season later on.
Cloud 9 and Griffin didn't see action at the tournament as their regions were represented by Invictus Gaming and SKT T1 who inversely had a great group stage but were knocked out in playoffs. The American team had erratic performances during the Summer split, in the sense that they dropped matches where they were the favourites but they were also the only team to go 2-0 against the champions, Team Liquid.
Griffin finished first in LCK Summer split but they are not Korea's #1 seed because SKT T1 mopped the floor both with them and Damwon in playoffs. The team is still not to be underestimated as they do come as runners up from the world's historically strongest league.
- FunPlus Phoenix
- GAM Esports
- J Team
FPX are coming fresh from winning the Summer Playoffs in LPL as China's first seed. The team is looking not only stronger than ever but also like decisively the strongest LPL team of the tournament, which is not something the other teams from Group B will be looking forward to.
Speaking of, GAM Esports is Vietnam's first seed as their mediocre performance from the Spring split seems like a distant memory now. The team won both VCS Summer split and the subsequent playoffs, coming in as the decisive champions of the region.
J Team, the LMS champions have an almost similar story behind them as their Spring split was weaker than the Summer one where they took a double title.
While these two teams don't really look like intimidating opponents that Chinese champions would face, LMS and VCS have historically proven to be unpredictable. Phong Vu Buffalo from VCS played a key role in deciding who gets out of group stage during Worlds 2018 as their victory over G2 caused the latter to fight for second place and then later allowed them not to get knocked out by beating Flash Wolves. As for LMS, once upon a time, everyone's eyes were fixated on Korean teams that demolished all opposition until Taipei Assassins snuck up and secured the first World Championship that properly represented more than two regions.
- Royal Never Give up
- SKT T1
Oh boy, talk about groups of death. Fnatic are looking great as they are the only European team that could properly challenge G2 during Season 9 but they are not going to have a good time in this group. The good news is that the team has real chances of getting through the group stage but the bad news is, so do the other two that are qualified by now.
Royal Never Give Up may be cursed to forever be runners up in big competitions but these guys are hungry for a title and Uzi is still a force to be reckoned with. One that just wants to finally be a crowned champion. They came up as China's second seed, only defeated by FunPlux phoenix who are enjoying the best form in the history of the team.
SKT T1 is probably the favourite for #1 spot in Group C, at least if they keep the form they were in during Summer playoffs. These guys barely qualified for the Summer playoffs but then they just obliterated everyone in the brackets, dropping only two games along the way with a final win/loss ratio of 11-2. Did we mention this is the team where the living legend that won three World Championship titles is? Of course we didn't, everyone knows that.
- ahq E-Sports Club
- Invictus Gaming
- Team Liquid
LMS' second seed, ahq E-Sports Club, are in for a rough ride with this group. Then again, as we mentioned previously, LMS teams have a way of surprising everyone and in rare occasions even winning it all while everyone else is focusing on the supposed favourites.
Invictus Gaming are the defending World Champions who didn't have a brilliant season in LPL or internationally. In fact, they are China's third seed and while their MSI 2019 group stage performance was dominant, Team Liquid knocked them out comfortably in playoffs. Maybe they will seek some revenge in the group.
As previously mentioned, Team Liquid, the undisputed North American champions won both splits in their region along with the playoffs. While North America is often seen on the weaker end of the big four (LCK, LPL, LEC, LCS), they did knock out the reigning world champions with 3-1 in a best of five at the first major international tournament of the year.
These participants may be competing for main event entry but the groups still contain some extremely strong teams with LEC and LCK third seeds probably being the favourites of their groups.
- Clutch Gaming
- Unicorns of Love
UOL finally managed to qualify to a World Championship but it remains to be seen if they will manage to beat CG in a bit for main event participation. Mammoth are Oceania's only representatives on the tournament and they will have a rough road ahead of them if they plan on getting a chance to play the likes of SKT T1 or G2 Esports.
- Detonation FocusMe
- Isurus Gaming
Japan's first seed is going head to head with one of the strongest European teams in this group. Whoever wins it, this will prove to be a great experience when it comes to growing LJL. Then again, after a season where they won everything in their own league, DFM will be inspired to cause one of the first tournament upsets and possibly qualify for the main event. Similarly, Isurus had a great season in their own region but had much less success than DFM on the international scene.
- Hong Kong Attitude
- Lowkey Esports
Mega had a brief appearance during MSI 2019 play-in where they didn't qualify during Round Robin. LK is a new organisation that was previously known as Friends Forever Gaming who saw medium success in Vietnamese competition. HKA seem to be the favourites to qualify from this group as they enjoyed decent form and success during the season.
- Damwon Gaming
- Flamengo Esports
- Royal Youth
FLA and RY had successful seasons in their regions, starting in a somewhat weaker form during Winter / Spring splits but winning both the split and playoffs in Summer. However, fortune didn't favour the bold this time around as these teams ran into LCK's third seed, Damwon Gaming, who actually placed second LCK Summer split but got beat by the seemingly unstoppable SKT T1 in playoffs semi-finals.