League of Legends Season 4 World Championships (Worlds) is drawing close, and in preparation I will be going over the NA, EU and Korean regions. I will also look at how the teams attending match up against each other and, what their chances are. This article will cover the European teams, the rest will come later.
So do the European teams have a chance at Worlds? Or are they doomed against the “Korean Overlords”, and have to make do with being the best of the western regions?
Europe have three teams at Worlds. Each has different strengths and play styles, and will probably have very different results, so let us look at the teams:
Alliance, the Best Bet: Alliance dominated the EULCS Summer Split, including the playoffs, with solid play and good tactics. Compared to the other European teams Alliance had good team fighting, good map control and very strong lanes. The superstar of the team is their midlaner Froggen, who is the best midlaner in the West, and has shown he can hard carry his team when it is most needed. He has a lot of international experience, and Alliance will need him at the top of his game if they are to achieve a good result. So compared to the other LCS teams, Alliance is a really strong solid team, but how are they compared to the rest of the world? I don’t see Alliance having any trouble dealing with NA teams. Their tactics are good enough and their lanes are probably stronger across the board, maybe with the exception of Wickd against TSM Dyrus, two players who will not face each other in the group stage, as both teams have the number 1 seed in their region. Alliance does not have the best tactics and map control of the western teams, relying mostly on their strong laning phase and team fighting, but they will have to focus all their energy into tactics if they are to beat the Chinese teams. The Chinese teams rely heavily on team fighting and are the best in the world at it, but they are very vulnerable when it comes to objective control, map control and warding. The Koreans will be extremely difficult for Alliance. Especially the 1st and 2nd seed from Korea (Samsung Blue and White respectively) are very strong in almost all aspects of the game (more on that in a later article). It is unknown how the groups at Worlds will be, but one thing is certain: due to Alliance being the 1st seed from Europe, they will not face the 1st seed from either NA, Korea or China. And because three teams go from each region, and there are four groups, there is a chance there won’t be a Korean team in their group.
Prediction: Alliance will make it to the quarterfinals, and from there it depends who they face. If they don’t face the 1st or 2nd seed from Korea or 1st seed from China, then they have a good chance of reaching the semi-finals. Alliance is bootcamping in Korea and that could prove the key to the finals, but I see them reaching the semi-finals as the most likely end result.
Fnatic, the Wild Card: Fnatic were fairly inconsistent during LCS, but as always, theystepped up when it mattered, and finished 2nd in the playoffs. Fnatic have very strong laners, boasting the best toplaner in Europe sOAZ and one of the best botlanes with Rekkles as adcarry and YellOwStaR as support. They have a great, but very meta dependent, midlaner, xPeke. This means the meta will have a great influence on his performance. Last year Fnatic reached the semi-finals at Worlds partly because Assassin champions were strong at the time, and for Fnatic to repeat that result they need xPeke on an Assassin. Fnatic have proven themselves against NA teams before, but when they faced SKT T1 K, a Korean team that could not qualify for Worlds, they were stomped. Fnatic is not a bad team, they have talented players, but their weakness is their jungler and their overall tactics. Unlike in LCS Fnatic can’t rely on their players mechanics to get far at Worlds.
Prediction: I see Fnatic with a good chance of reaching the quarterfinals, but even if the meta favours xPeke at worlds I see it as unlikely they will reach the semi-finals.
SK Gaming, the Lost:Throughout LCS, SK were known for their highly tactical approach to the game. They won by planning better, and by playing the map better than their opponent. Their players are average compared to the other LCS teams, and poor when compared to the foreign teams attending Worlds, and will probably be too much of a weakness. SK’s tactical play was actually worse during the playoffs compared to the regular season, and unless they can find their form they will be very hard pressed against most opponents. Being the 3rd seed, SK will probably end up in a very difficult group. While SK at their best have a chance against NA teams, their tactics will not be enough to overcome the higher player skill of the Chinese teams. Additionaly, the Koreans can match their tactics, and their players are superior in skill in every position.
Prediction: It will be a very big upset if SK make it out of the group stage, and I think they should be satisfied if they win against any of the Chinese, Korean or NA teams.
Final note: The groups for Worlds were announced when I finished this article, so I will quickly give my 2 cents on it. Alliance have an acceptable group and SK got perhaps the best they could have wished for, but it will be hard for them go get past the group stage. Fnatic is in a very difficult group and they will have to play extremely well if they are to have a chance.