The 2022 League of Legends World Championship has just finished the first round robin of the group stage. We saw a lot of action in these first three days and while some things went as we expected, there is also a lot of stuff that threw fans completely off.
Based on what we have seen so far, how will the rest of the group stage shape up? Will things go similarly to what we saw in the first round robin? When will Worlds ’22 become predictable?
Worlds 2022 – Upsets and Broken Expectations
Almost every Group at Worlds had an upset or two happen in the first round-robin. Even North America going 0-9 is considered an upset. We are talking about a major region not winning a single game here. The narrative that LCK and LPL are super dominant has also been shattered, as we go into a second round that can go either way.
Fnatic turns Group A into a fiesta
Group A has been one of the most exciting groups so far at Worlds 2022. The close battle between the teams proved to be true, as EDG, T1 and FNC are still standing at 2-1 after the first three matches. Unfortunately for Cloud9, their Worlds run is almost coming to an end since they haven’t won a single match. The North American team didn’t look too bad, but it wasn’t still enough to beat the other three. Something must change in C9 but there are so many negative points all around, from the early game to the macro in the later stages of the game. Only a miracle would allow them to get out of this group: they did it once in the past, but this time all stars will have to be aligned in order to force a tiebreaker… and I don’t see that happening.
As for the rest of the team, they are neck and neck with each other. On paper, anyone can beat anyone depending on how the two teams show up on the day. Fnatic messed up big time against EDG in the early game so they should have better chances of winning in the second round robin. T1’s individual players have finally stepped up at Worlds, as the bot lane seems to have returned back to form: Gumayusi and Keria have finally shown glimpses of the dominating duo we saw in the first half of the season. The Korean team will be part of the fight as well.
EDG are the hardest team to predict right now since they lost to T1 and they were given a free win by Fnatic, so their maximum potential is the hardest to quantify. The team has been playing more around the mid lane compared to the bot lane, which might be the winning formula against teams like T1 and FNC. That being said, if they end up bleeding and giving up Viper in the process, it will be tougher for EDG to win the late game teamfights.
Overall, a three-way tie is definitely a likely scenario, making this group the hardest to predict out of all the ones at Worlds so far. C9 might take one win from one of the other three teams, and ultimately compromise a team’s run. If you don’t love risking, wait and see how the teams perform during their first match of Day 5.
To think we wondered if Fnatic can make it out of play-ins two weeks ago.
Predictable, yet nobody safe in Group B
The standings in Group B are more or less what we expected and the most predictable of the group stage. JDG have convinced with their strong performances, going 3-0 and proving why they were the LPL champions.
DK have been following closely behind in second, mainly relying on their great early game execution. The Korean team went even with JDG in their direct battle, but they lost out in the late game teamfights, as that will be the weakness DK will have to work on.
G2 showed their potential against JDG, fighting on even terms until they made the mistake around the baron. This proves that on a good day, G2 can go against the best. That being said, G2 doesn’t have DK’s early game capability nor JDG’s late game teamfighting so their current third place reflects their strength.
The NA teams all seem to struggle and EG is no exception. Despite the great play-in performances, Evil Geniuses haven’t been able to show anything in the first round robin. Aside from their match against JDG, where they were able to get the first blood and go even in the early game, EG was being dominated left and right in all the other moments.
JDG will likely end in the first place, with DK and G2 contesting the second place if G2 can make the final step up. For EG, instead, not going 0-6 will be a victory for the home heroes.
Nobody expected Rogue to dominat Group C
Group C is a joy for all European fans. Rogue is unexpectedly leading the standings after three dominating wins on the participants and one more win will likely guarantee them a spot in the Top 8.
Despite being the 4th seed from the LCK, DRX is performing much better than anticipated. Pyosik still has some ups and downs, but on a good day, he can actually hard carry the team. The Korean team will likely contest the second qualifying spot with Top Esports, who have been a great disappointment so far at Worlds. Jackeylove has gotten caught out of position several times and the team doesn’t really look on the same page. There are glimpses of the team we saw during the LPL finals, but all of the players are not performing up to the level: TES might be the only Chinese team that doesn’t make it out of groups.
While many expected GAM Esports to be the dark horse, the Vietnamese team is not delivering: their lack of recent international experience might be a factor, but it feels like they are getting read too easily by the opponents. They are not a bad team, but they are a tier or two below the other three.
RNG and Gen.G to qualify out of Group D, but in reverse order
Group D is quite similar to Group B in terms of how the teams are positioned within the group. RNG is head and shoulders above everyone else, having the most dominant and cleanest games out of all teams in the group stage, especially considering Gen.G is in this group.
Speaking of the LCK first seed, their performance has been lackluster and not the one we expected from one of the big favorites of the tournament. While they are still second and shouldn’t have problems finishing in the top two, their journey at Worlds might end abruptly in the Knockout Stage.
The fact that CFO was able to beat 100T goes to show that the PCS region is still strong despite many Taiwanese players leaving the region. Talents are still present and the potential is there, but it’s still far from the glory days of when the Taiwanese teams were making major upsets: winning against Gen.G or RNG seems an impossible feat.
100T’s 0-3 score made the region go 0-9 in the first round robin: NA hasn’t won a match so far in the group stage. As the hosts of this year’s Worlds, it’s quite a disastrous result and a really worrying trend for the LCS. 100T are the only team that can break that negative record since CFO looks like the only beatable team. If the LCS second seed cannot do it, it would make this tournament the worst performance ever by the region.
To answer the titular question: I expect games to become more predictable in Knockouts. We might be in for some heavy fiestas come groups resolution. Your best bet is to wait for Bo5 series where LCK and LPL are in their comfort zones. Here is where we expect our LoL Worlds Power Rankings to really become relevant.