It’s time to win some loot! The “Pick’Em” contest for the League of Legends World Championships 2017 is live once again. The rules are simple: you pick the best team from each of the four groups from A to D. If you pick right, you win exciting prizes from Garena.
We’re here to help you better your chances to win. Here is SPOUT 360’s advice on who to place your bets on for this year’s Pick’Em contest.
SK Telecom should finish first. Unless the Korean juggernauts do some extreme experimenting in the Group Stages, I don’t see them dropping more than one game to EDward Gaming. Neither Cloud9 or Ahq seem capable of even taking a game from SKT.
EDward Gaming as China’s #1 seed should be a shoe-in for the second seed out of Group A. Since the team is familiar with Ahq’s playstyle, this match should favour the Taiwanese squad. As a whole, however, EDG is skilled enough to cross the finish line past Cloud9 and Ahq.
The only way I see EDG getting an upset is if Jeong “Impact” Eon-yeong (or Jeon “Ray” Ji-won) smashes through EDG’s weak link in Yuhao “Mouse” Chen (or Zhao “Audi” Aodi) and Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen holding down EDG’s star player in Lee “Scout” Ye-chan.
Cloud9 should finish ahead of a struggling Ahq e-Sports Club, especially after their dominant performance in the play-in stages. Cloud9 seem much more polished and prepared after their boot camp. Although we haven’t seen Ahq since their local playoffs, the Taiwanese squad will be hard-pressed to not finish last.
Longzhu Gaming will sweep these teams and come in first in Group B, barring choking issues from their rookies on the World Stage. Veterans Kim “Pray” Jong-in and Kang “GorillA” Beom-hyeon will be vital in leading their younger teammates on League’s biggest stage.
Aside from Longzhu, this is a particularly hard group to call because the Immortals, Gigabyte Marines, and Fnatic are all closely matched. Immortals look to be the most solid of the lot: they are the most well-rounded and are able to deal with both Gigabyte Marines’ aggressive early game and Fnatic’s slower late game style. If Immortals wish to end up as the second seed in this group, they will have to fix the numerous macro mistakes they made when they were fighting Team SoloMid in the NALCS Finals. If they have bettered their shot-calling, they should have a chance to improve their group standings.
I’m putting Gigabyte Marines over Fnatic due to stylistic mismatch. Fnatic is known for its slow, wave control-focused playstyle, and they may find it challenging to deal with Gigabyte Marines’ aggressive early-game tactics and ‘chaos style’ of League play.
The Gigabyte Marines and Young Generation share a similar playstyle. Although the Marines were able to stem Young Generation’s aggression in the early game, they are several tiers above YG in versatility and experience.
I went for a slightly unorthodox pick here: taking China’s Royal Never Give Up over Korea’s Samsung Galaxy. I greatly favour RNG for first place in this group due to their stylistic mismatch with both Samsung Galaxy and G2 Esports, who both play a late game macro focused style. While RNG is no slouch in the later stages of the game, they have one of the best early games at World’s with Liu “MLXG” Shi-yu getting his laners ahead with constant, unpredictable ganks. After all, RNG has 2 of the best carries in their respective roles at Worlds: Li “Xiaohu” Yuan Hao in the mid lane and Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao as marksman.
Samsung is definitely getting out of groups, but I expect them to do so as the second seed. They have a similar style of play to G2 Esports, albeit far more proficient especially when Kang “Ambition” Chan-yong is leading the team in the Jungle. Although it’s not beyond Samsung to beat Royal with Ambition tracking MLXG in the early stages and stalling it out to the late game, I still expect them to have a slower start in Groups. Ultimately I still favour RNG.
1907 Fenerbahce Espor, as a wildcard team representing Turkey, has performed admirably thus far but drew a bad lot entering the group of death. They might be able to take a game or two if Kim “Frozen” Tae-il and Lee “Crash” Dong-woo (the former Longzhu Mid and Jungle duo) pop off, but it’s a tall order.
Team WE’s entry into the weakest group at World’s brought up the group difficulty by a significant amount. Despite being China’s third seed, many of their series went to 5 games and they were at the receiving end of Xiaohu’s career-defining Corki performance in one of those game 5’s.
WE had a lacklustre performance in the play-ins especially when Xiang “Condi” Ren-Jie was on Ezreal Jungle. Hopefully, coming into Groups, WE have tightened up their play and did away with the oddball picks and plays they occasionally made in the play-ins. If they can pull it off, they have a chance to exit Group D as the first seed.
Team SoloMid against Flash Wolves should be the closest matchup of this group. Both are strong teams in their own right and have potential to upset better teams, but neither are top tier World contenders like WE. I expect TSM to edge out over the Flash Wolves.
Ultimately it might come down to who Misfits Gaming manages to upset (I don’t see them being a contender in this group). The main key to the TSM and Flash Wolves’ matchup might, in fact, be the mismatch in the Top Lane with Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell going up against perpetual Flash Wolves weak link Yau “MMD” Li-Hung. With both teams strong in their mid and bottom lanes, exploiting this top lane weakness would give TSM a clear edge over the Flash Wolves.