Welcome to my first post about the 2020 World Championships!
It’s an exciting time to be a fan and if any of you are new then welcome for a month jam packed with League of Legends and likely your first true international event. These tournament have a special flavor to them. We finally get to see how the different styles of each of these leagues and teams interact with one another and it makes for a tremendous tournament each and every year.
Let’s get right into the first phase of the tournament: the Play-In Stage
The Play-In Stage is usually a 12-team, 4 group, double round robin tournament but with Vietnam’s representatives unable to attend due to travel restrictions they re-tooled the format to make a 10-team, 2 group event. The teams in this part of the tournament are the lower seeded teams from the major regions as well as representatives from the “wildcard” or smaller domestic leagues all around the world. It’s almost like the Olympics or the World Cup. Some of the smaller countries or ones that aren’t as focused on LOL tend to struggle to keep up with the bigger ones but there are always exceptions. Think of it like Spain trying to take on Canada in ice hockey. Ok maybe it’s not that extreme but that’s the idea here.
Four of these ten teams will move on to the main event group stage to compete for a chance at the World Championship.
Two groups of five will play single round robin within their group (each team will play two games on blue, two games on red).
The winners of each group well be seeded automatically into the main event group stage.
Third and fourth place teams from each group will play a best-of-five match. The winner of that match will face the second place team from the opposite group. The winners of those two matches will move on to take the final two slots in the main event group stage.
- MAD Lions (LEC #4)
- Team Liquid (LCS #3)
- Papara SuperMassive (TR #1)
- Legacy Esports (OCE #1)
- INTZ (CBLOL #1)
- LGD Gaming (LPL #4)
- PSG Talon (PCS #2)
- Unicorns of Love (LCL #1)
- Rainbow7 (LLA #1)
- V3 Esports (LJL #1)
Many of us are aware of the major region players here and I’ll touch on them for sure but this article is primarily to help you get to know the wildcard region representatives a little better as we prepare for next week’s play-in group stage so I’ll be spending more time on them.
Something to keep in mind is that for the first time A LOT of the wildcard representatives are pretty clearly not the best representatives from their region. It’s one of the bad things about only having one slot at the World Championships for these leagues. One bad Summer Finals and you’re out even if you went undefeated or close to it all year long. There’s no #2 seed or a regional qualifier to give teams like Gen.G, a legitimate title contender, a second chance. This will be important later on.
Odds to win group via Bet365. Odds to be eliminated via Bovada. Obviously shop around.
MAD Lions (LEC #4)
- 1777 gold per minute
- +31 gold differential per minute
- -173 gold differential at 15 minutes
- 52% first blood
- 5% wards cleared
Roster (top -> support): Orome / Shadow / Humanoid / Carzzy / Kaiser
Key Player: Shadow (jungle)
Odds to win group: -175
Odds to be eliminated: +650
MAD Lions had a bit of a rough second half of the season after looking promising as the new “young kings” of Europe but then we snapped back to reality as I’ll remind everyone of with one of my favorite meme formats.
In all seriousness, MAD Lions showed a lot of good things in playoffs despite the losses. Their mental fortitude in the G2 series in particular impressed me. It’s extremely difficult to keep your head on straight after a brutal shellacking followed by a near incredible comeback and then to confidently run back your strategy and dominate game three like that. These kids are extremely good, extremely confident, versatile, and are perhaps the most aggressive and experimental drafting team in this entire tournament. All of this bodes well for the short format we have in group stage here.
The main concern I have with MAD Lions is their youth. Only Humanoid has been on the Worlds stage before (with Splyce) and the rest are rookies albeit impressive ones. Considering their rough second half, lack of experience, and tendency to occasionally beat themselves by being overzealous in draft or in-game and there’s a chance we see a bit of a self destruction from MAD in this spot. I sitll think they get out and have about a 50/50 chance of picking up the first seed.
Team Liquid (LCS #3)
- 1794 gold per minute
- +113 gold differential per minute
- +522 gold differential at 15 minutes
- 42% first blood
- 6% wards cleared
Roster (top -> support): Impact / Broxah / Jensen / Tactical / CoreJJ
Key Player: CoreJJ
Odds to win group: +150
Odds to be eliminated: +450
Liquid, like all three of North America’s LCS representatives play very fundamentally sound League of Legends but lack in explosiveness or exceptional individual talent outside of CoreJJ. They are all highly consistent and strive to control the game from start to finish even if it means taking things a little slower than a lot of other leagues. This focus on high floor, consistent play and experience for four out of the five players (all of which have multiple years of international experience) actually makes me think that they’ll have a good chance to get out of this group in first place if MAD falter.
Papara SuperMassive (TR #1)
- 1816 gold per minute
- +159 gold differential per minute
- +1898 gold differential at 15 minutes
- 39% first blood
- 2% wards cleared
Roster (top -> support): Armut / KaKAo / Bolulu / Zeitnot / SnowFlower
Key Player: Bolulu (mid)
Odds to win group: +1400
Odds to be eliminated: OTB
What a weird team… no seriously. So KaKao and SnowFlower have essentially been traveling the world to various leagues playing League of Legends everywhere from Brazil, the North America, Europe, Turkey, Korean Challenger over the past five years since their “prime” days in the LCK. Going into the Summer split, SuperMassive wanted to make some changes after a disappointing Spring and picked the two up which drastically improved things and eventually lead to upsetting the #1 Istanbul Wildcats, #2 Galakticos, and eventually going to five games in the finals against #4 seeded 5Ronin.
SuperMassive are a balanced team overall but they perform significantly worse when taken off of their comfort pick champions. If the meta becomes weird or non-standard I could see them struggling especially against higher level competition. Bolulu has been an absolute monster domestically this season playing just about everything to a high level and he’d be the player to watch here even though he’s a newcomer to the international stage.
The strange thing about SuperMassive is that they were clearly not on the same level as the #1 and #2 in the TCL but they also improved and peaked at the right time, perhaps as synergy built with the roster. It’s also concerning that they went to five games against the #4 seeded 5 Ronin. I think that while it’s safe to say that Turkey didn’t send its best team to this tournament SuperMassive are surprisingly well-equipped for this event. Armut and Zeitnot have been to Worlds representing Turkey before, Armut with Royal Youth last year and Zeitnot with SuperMassive in 2018. KaKao and SnowFlower have been elite players at their positions in the past and have had extremely long careers in mixed levels of competition.
While it’s safe to say that a few of these veterans might be “past their prime” there is a certain savvy that comes with experience on the big stage and a number of these players have that. The TCL is also a fairly strong league and that didn’t change this year with many of the bottom teams even making substantial upgrades in quality. The LCL, PCS, and Turkey are fairly strong domestic regions that should be respected. I think SuperMassive will get out of this group with the three seed but a Legacy upset wouldn’t surprise me. I’d consider it maybe a 60% chance SuperMassive get the spot.
Legacy Esports (OCE #1)
- 1852 gold per minute
- +230 gold differential per minute
- +2069 gold differential at 15 minutes
- 52% first blood
- 5% wards cleared
Roster (top -> support): Topoon / Babip / Tally / Raes / Isles (subs: Halo)
Key Player: Babip (jungle)
Odds to win group: +3300
Odds to be eliminated: OTB
Considering Oceania lost A LOT of players and coaches to other leagues around the world going into 2020, it’s impressive to me that Legacy may just be the best representative we’ve ever had from the OPL. Legacy completely dominated this season dropping just eleven maps ALL YEAR for a combined 47-11 record. They were far and away the best team in the league.
This team has studs at every position but everything revolves around Babip in much the same way that Victory Five revolved around Weiwei this season or Blaber on Cloud 9. Tally is a more supportive mid laner that plays a lot of Karma, Galio, and Twisted Fate as well as tanks. Legacy are all about getting their mid and jungle out onto the map to make plays and they do that with impressive consistency. This is an excellent priority-centric team which is well-suited to the season ten metagame of snowballing dragons to wins. Korean top laner Topoon’s best champions are all extremely well positioned in this current metagame (Ornn, Gangplank, Renekton, Gnar) but notably he has no stage games on Lucian which could hurt.
For those that are going to miss Cloud 9 I think this might be the team to cheer for. They’re very much a tempo team despite slightly longer game times compared to other versions from around the world. It’s unlikely that they emerge from this group but while a lot of people are automatically placing SuperMassive ahead of them I think it’s still fairly close to a 50/50 on who gets the #3 spot. Legacy are not to be disrespected.
INTZ (BR #1)
- 1761 gold per minute
- +23 gold differential per minute
- -18 gold differential at 15 minutes
- 53% first blood
- 7% wards cleared
Roster (top -> support): Tay / Shini / Envy / Micao / RedBert
Key Player: Envy (mid)
Odds to win group: +2500
Odds to be eliminated: OTB
INTZ are one of many teams that finished third place in Summer to win their domestic championship to get here. They upset the heavy favorites to represent Brazil at Worlds and clearly the best team in the league, Pain Gaming.
INTZ prefer scaling compositions and aggressively utilize solo lane counterpicks in draft especially in the top lane for picks like Kayle, Camille, and Quinn. They use this leverage to gain edges in the draft. Overall a very deep champion pool.
The issue for INTZ is that the CBLOL has really deteriorated in overall quality in my opinion. For whatever reason a lot of the players remain impressive to me but the quality of macro, even in season ten where it’s extremely dumbed down and simplified, is severely lacking. Every game is a complete fiesta in this league so it’s really difficult to trust these teams outside of that context. I do think Envy was one of the better players in the league and should be presented with opportunities to carry especially given their willingness to aggressively counterpick but truthfully I think INTZ are a bottom two team in this tournament and I don’t give them much of a chance despite Brazil’s storied history of upsets (see Kabum!). I’d be shocked if they take a game. Pain would have had a better chance here but I would have been shocked to see them win a game as well and they were a full tier better than INTZ from my viewing they just happened to have them on the day in finals.
LGD Gaming (LPL #4)
- 1777 gold per minute
- +22 gold differential per minute
- -139 gold differential at 15 minutes
- 43% first blood
- 8% wards cleared
Roster (top -> support): LangX / Peanut / Xiye / Kramer / Mark (subs: Garvey and Killua)
Key Player: Peanut (jungle)
Odds to win group: -10,000
Odds to be eliminated: +1600
Admittedly, LGD had to face stiffer competition than the rest of these teams so their numbers are clearly worse but I’ll just right down to it here, I don’t think this team belongs in this tournament at all. For whatever reason they just had Invictus number, along with Invictus beating themselves to some extent. I didn’t even have LGD in the top six LPL teams and they didn’t even grade as a playoff quality team in my objective/economy model (they were 9th out of 17). They get credit where it’s due for showing up when it mattered but it’s important to make the distinction between this team and the other LPL representatives in this tournament especially TOP and JDG who were significantly better.
The breakdown on LGD, for those that don’t know, is that they’re kind of like the big dumb barbarian. They’re not crafty, not highly intelligent about the game, but damn strong and able to pummel you to dust if you give them the opportunity. Fortunately for them, Season Ten has provided a simple to follow road map on how to win a game compared to previous seasons. They are, in many ways, all the bad things about Season Ten. You don’t need to know how to close a game with nuance and efficiency anymore when it’s just about brute forcing dragon souls or waiting and then fighting for the third and fourth.
Peanut is the key piece here. The entire game goes through him. Without Peanut, this team would be a below average LPL team. Why? Peanut is incredibly good at getting his team ahead early in games in one form or another and getting leads this season is an even bigger deal than last because it’s significantly harder to come back in a game. Peanut is so adept at this that even though this team frequently punts with 4000+ gold leads that’s enough of a cushion to mask their mistakes. They also look completely lost from behind in a game and legitimately look like a bad team from that position. As a matter of fact they won just three games all year with any sort of legitimate deficit (-1000 gold or more at 10 minutes) and two of those were to teams that were severely struggling at the time (Dominus and mid season RNG).
LGD are overrated and have been overrated since before this season even started. Everyone overreacted to LangX and it was finally looking like the hype would die down before Invictus laid and egg and LGD overachieved. They are getting the benefit of the doubt that they’re an elite team from a lot of people simply because they’re an LPL team and most people consider the LPL the strongest league in the world currently (I don’t think this is necessarily true). The elite teams are quite good but LGD are being treated as one of those teams when anybody that watched the LPL this season knows that they’re FAR from that level and lack consistency.
It’s fairly likely that they’ll emerge atop this group based on strength of competition and that they’re peaking right now however it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see this team get behind in a game or two and suddenly look like a massive bust. I would have much rather had Invictus, Victory Five, or even RNG or EDG here over LGD.
PSG Talon (PCS #2)
- 1810 gold per minute
- +187 gold differential per minute
- +1142 gold differential at 15 minutes
- 34% first blood
- 6% wards cleared
Roster (top -> support): Hanabi / Kongyue / Uniboy / Unified + Dee* / Kaiwing
Key Player: Uniboy (read below)
Odds to win group: +3500
Odds to be eliminated: -150
Due to visa issues Tank (mid) and River (jungle) the two Korean players that have played for Talon all season will be unable to play so they’ve been allowed to use emergency substitutes. Yesterday it was announced that Unified will also miss “a portion” of the play-in stage. Kongyue (jungle) and Uniboy (mid) from third place AHQ along with Machi’s substitute ADC Dee will be filling in.
The fascinating thing about this is that, to me, the mid and jungle combination of Uniboy and Kongyue is a strict upgrade. Tank has a special place in my heart as a fellow Karthus main but his numbers have far exceeded his overall performance this season and his Azir, despite being his most played, leaves A LOT to be desired. Uniboy, while one dimensional, is an upgrade. River had a perfect champion pool for this tournament so it’s unfortunate that he won’t be able to attend but the synergy between Kongyue and Uniboy who have been playing together for years along with this now being an all-Taiwanese team should make the transition much smoother than you’d normally get in this kind of situation.
Talon were already showing signs of branching out from their more traditional, controlling style with more aggressive looks in the playoffs. They knew that if they were going to have a strong showing at Worlds that they’d have to push their limits. They built a massive game one lead in the finals only the throw it away and likely could have taken down game two off of a lead as well so the results, despite being losses, were promising. Kongyue and Uniboy would promote this type of play.
It’s a little odd that Talon ended up with the #2 seed for the PCS because, to me, they were the most consistent team all year despite their weird mid/jungle mishaps at times. They’re being a little disrespected just because they lost 3-0 in the finals. Keep in mind that this team beat Machi just days earlier 3-2 and dominated third place AHQ before that. They now get to run a veteran all-Taiwanese lineup with more aggression, something that Talon was sorely lacking until they started trying it in playoffs (and looking good mind you). I think this change might be a blessing in disguise and just what the doctor ordered for this team.
The top four teams in the PCS are all fairly solid squads and these players compete on China’s “super server” and the Korean solo queue server with the other top pros in the World. While the LMS (former Taiwanese league) had struggled in recent years internationally, it does have a lot of really strong players that have been imported over the years (Karsa, Betty, SwordArt, to name a few). Historically it’s been the fifth “major” region and now with the PCS condensing two leagues into one and two drastically different styles of gameplay it’s likely hardened these teams quite a bit. The film is promising throughout for these top teams and there was enough competition to test them all.
The question is whether or not you think this team can build chemistry in a short time frame and how much you think all these changes hurt with short notice. There’s a strong chance that this ends up being too disruptive overall but the player quality is here to compete with the big league teams and Talon are exactly the kind of bizarre, high ceiling candidate that I like as a dark horse in a tournament like this. They’ll have their work cut out for them against LGD and Unicorns of Love though I think they’re about 50/50 to get out of this group. They could definitely challenge MAD, Liquid, or any representative from Group A which we’ll discuss later.
Unicorns of Love (LCL #1)
- 1872 gold per minute
- +282 gold differential per minute
- +1771 gold differential at 15 minutes
- 71% first blood
- 7% wards cleared
Roster (top -> support): Boss / Ahahacik / Nomanz / Gadget / Santas
Key Player: Ahahacik (jungle)
Odds to win group: +1400
Odds to be eliminated: OTB
This is the same top trio from last year’s UOL team except with the new bottom lane. Out with Innaxe and Edward and in with Gadget and Santas.
UOL dropped just three maps this entire season. Three…. that includes Spring, Summer, and both seasons of playoffs. They’re one of, if not the strongest looking representative we’ve ever seen from the LCL and I don’t think it’s particularly close. Whether or not we get a CIS Cinderella story like Albus Nox Luna in 2016 who finished with the strongest record by a wildcard team every (4-2) and moved on to the quarterfinals remains to be seen but I think if we do that this will be the team to do it.
This is, however, a bizarre team in how they draft and play compositions. UOL play extremely fast and action focused but frequently have excellent scaling as well. We often see them draft scaling teams and still steam roll over early games. Typically the talent in the LCL is respectable so it’s no small feat to “just be better” than everyone but there might be a bit of that happening here that we should look out for. Of note, Nomanz has a champion ocean and plays just about everything and the bottom lane of Gadget and Santas have experience playing some of the weirder bottom lanes like Sona/Lux. Still, Ahahacik is the star here and whether or not we hop aboard The Pineapple Express (his name translates to ‘pineapple’) will largely be in his hands.
UOL are really good and quite frankly could probably be an LEC team. All of these players are good enough to be on LEC rosters. They frequently practice on EU West, one of the strongest solo queue environments on earth and many have multiple challenger accounts across different servers in EU Northeast, Russia, and more. They’re my favorite dark horse to get into the main stage and make some noise. They’re just weird enough but not too over the top, they’ve got experience, plenty of chops, and they’re hyper confident.
Rainbow7 (LLA #1)
- 1733 gold per minute
- +79 gold differential per minute
- +949 gold differential at 15 minutes
- 50% first blood
- 5% wards cleared
Roster (top -> support): Acce / Josedeodo / Aloned / Leza / Shadow
Key Player: Josedeodo (jungle)
Odds to win group: +4000
Odds to be eliminated: OTB
Like SuperMassive and INTZ, we have yet another #3 seed from their domestic region finding the upset wins to win the league and earn a spot here at Worlds. Rainbow7 defeated both Isurus and AllKnights, the clear top two teams for Summer and most of the year. While that’s impressive in its own right and “peaking at the right time” is certainly relevant, they were pretty clearly running hot and aren’t necessarily the strongest representative from this significantly improved region. The LLA combined the Northern and Southern Latin American Leagues in 2019 to form a “super” league and the level of play has noticeably improved since then.
Rainbow7 are a more controlled team and rely almost entirely on star jungler Josedeodo to “get things done” with his heavy ganking focus. He reminds me a lot of Jankos or Ning in that they’ll frequently make sacrifices to get lanes ahead. While I don’t think Rainbow7 represent the best chance for Latin America to make a deep run in this tournament they’re fair from a bad team. In fact, all of the top three teams in the LLA looked pretty solid on film to me I just liked the other two more.
The thing that R7 have going for them is that they have arguably the most impressive player (along with Seiya) from the region in Argentinean dynamo Josedeodo. He was one of the first five foreign professionals to achieve challenger rating in solo queue on the Chinese “super server” in the training period before the tournament along with Caps, Bwipo, HansSama, and Selfmade. Solo queue isn’t everything but on these higher level serves like the “super server” and Korea it’s been a fairly strong correlation with success over the years (see SofM and DAMWON this year for examples). Keep an eye on this kid he’s a blast to watch and if Rainbow7 are going to make any noise it’ll be through him.
V3 Esports (LJL #1)
- 1859 gold per minute
- +298 gold differential per minute
- +1747 gold differential at 15 minutes
- 86% first blood
- 4% wards cleared
Roster (top -> support): Paz / Bugi / Ace / Archer / Raina
Key Player: Bugi (jungle)
Odds to win group: +6500
Odds to be eliminated: OTB
V3 pulled a fairly big upset taking down perennial international representatives Detonation FocusMe in a slugfest 3-2 LJL Summer Finals. I’d compare V3 to a sort of version of Team WE where they rely heavily on their mid and jungle to “unlock” the map and begin making plays happen. The other lanes tend to just play stable, scaling lanes more often than not and they’re not frequently challenged individually within their league besides the aforementioned DFM so they can get away with this safer style.
Historically, Japan has not fared well at the World Championships for a number of reasons. They got a much later start than many of the leagues around the world with the Japanese server being created a handful of years after the others. It’s still one of the smallest LOL servers accounting for less than 1% of all LOL players (ranked) worldwide and roughly 100,000 players. For comparison they’re about the same size as Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia all of which would combine to be less than Latin America’s Southern server. It’s also about half the size of strictly Russia or the Oceanic server. This gives not only a distinct competitive disadvantage for practice environment but also makes it quite difficult for major region teams from say China or Korea to justify spending scrimmage time through high ping on the LJL teams.
On the bright side, this is the first time that the LJL has really had two strong teams. Since its inception, Detonation FocusMe have dominated so the fact that those two teams can test each other consistently and improve each other could build a stronger representative than we’re used to here. V3’s film is solid but not spectacular. Last years’ iteration of DFM was the strongest Japanese team I’ve seen to date and they took just a single game in a group with Isurus (LLA) and Splyce (LEC). I think V3 are probably the weakest team in the tournament despite possibly being Japan’s strongest representative ever.
Anticipated Results and Futures Analysis
MAD Lions and Team Liquid have a strong chance of getting out of this group but I think it’s a coin flip which team will earn the top seed and move directly to the main event. This is important because of the playoff format here. The second seed will have to face, in all likelihood, Talon or Unicorns of Love who are arguably the two strongest non-major region teams at this tournament. Both are VERY capable of defeating either MAD or Liquid in a series. If LGD end up sluggish then they could end up facing LGD as well. That’s a really tough out so I think getting the top seed will be crucial here. I think MAD are a better team overall but Liquid’s consistency I think will lend them an advantage but more or less the winner of their head -to-head match will be a huge deal so expect everything to come out for that match.
1st Liquid (50/50 1st/2nd)
2nd MAD Lions (50/50 1st/2nd)
3rd SuperMassive (60/40 3rd/4th)
4th Legacy (40% or so for 3rd)
5th INTZ Don’t see any chance for them would be shocked if they won a game.
While I think a lot of people will automatically seed LGD out of this group I don’t think it’s as much of a guarantee as many people do. LGD are a high variance team that are very capable of a no-show performance here and even when they’re on they’re notorious for punting leads so if you see a game fairly even don’t be surprised to see them screw it up. I think they should be the favorite to get out of this group but the odds are making it a lock and I strongly disagree with them.
Second and third in this group is almost definitely Talon and Unicorns of Love in some order unless Talon’s roster turmoil proves too disruptive. The quality of players and competition is just significantly higher than Rainbow7 and V3’s leagues and they’re going to be pretty severely outclassed here. It’s just four single games so anything can happen but I don’t give either of them a notable chance to get out of here alive.
1st LGD Gaming
2nd PSG Talon (50/50 2nd/3rd)
3rd Unicorns of Love (50/50 2nd/3rd)
4th Rainbow7 (75/25 4th/5th)
5th V3 (25/75 4th/5th)
Worlds Futures (so far):
Outright: DAMWON to win Worlds @ +400 (3 units)
Outright: Gen.G to win Worlds @ +1700 (2 units)
Outright: DragonX to win Worlds +1500 (1 unit)
Outright TSM to win Worlds @ +5500 (0.25 units)
Outright: Rogue to win Worlds @ +5500 (0.25 units)
Outright: Liquid to win Worlds @ +6600 (0.25 units)
Outright: Talon to win Worlds @ +15,000 (0.1 units)
To me this tournament is narrowed down to six teams with a real shot at taking it down. Those six are the top six in the odds. There are two main points here. First, I think these teams are all significantly closer in ability to one another than the odds imply. Second, I think the Korean teams are being extremely disrespected based on the previous two years performance. The tiers break down as follows for me:
S+ Tier (the true favorites, in order of my opinion)
- #1 DAMWON Gaming
- #2 Gen.G
- #3 TOP Esports
- #4 JDG Gaming
S Tier (wouldn’t be surprised if they won but think they would need closer to ceiling performances)
- #5 DragonX
- #6 G2 Esports
A Tier (would need crazy overperformance and/or underperformance from the S tier teams)
- #7 Suning
- #8 Fnatic
- #9 LGD Gaming
- #10 Rogue
A- Tier (would need crazy overperformance AND multiple underperformances from higher ups)
- #11 MAD Lions (think high ceiling but lower floor)
- #12 TSM
- #13 Liquid
- #14 PSG Talon (assuming roster gels)
- #15 FlyQuest
- #16 Unicorns of Love
- #17 Machi Esports
B Tier (long shots)
- #18 SuperMassive
- #19 Legacy
- #20 Rainbow7
- #21 INTZ
- #22 V3 Esports
Many people call me biased in favor of the LCK teams but DAMWON look like the best team in the World to me and we’re getting them as the third favorite to win this tournament. I think DAMWON and Gen.G are the two best teams in the world right now (nitpicking, JDG and TOP are right there with them). DragonX and G2 would need to place close to their ceiling but we have seen some pretty wild things from both of these teams this year and they’re more than capable of taking down these other teams. Generally I just think the LCK teams are being underrated because the LPL has won the past two seasons and we’re getting them at an extreme discount. The elite teams are all very good and I don’t think the league they play in affects that as much as the market is implying. The pricing here is just out of whack.
Similar to John’s “quad bet” on The Gold Card Podcast which included Gen.G, DAMWON, DragonX, and G2 to net a double up at worst if any of them win (with the odds at the time which have changed), I’ll be cutting G2 from the equation and just taking a weighted version of “Korean Team to win” @ what ends up being +900 in the case of a DAMWON win and up to a +3000 in a Gen.G win because of the weighting.
DAMWON is the best team in this tournament. If you filter to just look at their numbers in games against Gen.G, DragonX, and T1, the clear top four, they STILL have BY FAR the best grade in the objective/economy model (literally the best team in the world by the numbers still). Strictly from a numbers perspective this is the best team in history and it isn’t close. Do I think they dominate this tournament that hard? Not at all but this team has experience here, it’s not their first rodeo and it’s tough to not consider them the favorite in this tournament if you ask me. In the case of Gen.G and DragonX, and to a lesser extent G2 if you were able to get the odds before they dropped from the group draw (they were like +1600), it’s simply a matter of disrespect. These six teams are more or less a lock to get into the quarterfinals to me and they’re all just as capable of winning this tournament. If you narrow the field down to 8 teams that are all mostly capable of beating each other then nobody should be a 17 to 1 to win the whole thing unless they didn’t belong there to begin with such as one of these mid table teams like Rogue or LGD or MAD Lions for example. A top six team that’s on-par in quality with the rest shouldn’t be 17 to 1. Period.
As always with futures shop around, these were all at Nitrogen/5Dimes/Bovada for the sake of ease in writing but the idea is to give you some insight into how I’m approaching this. If you find better obviously take them. I use futures as leverage for later in the tournament. Putting the money away isn’t something some people are comfortable with but I like taking advantage of the ability to arbitrage or hedge later in the tournament to guarantee profits.
I’ll be diving deep on some of the more exotic prop markets like champion picks, damage, etc this weekend or early next week and then doing another piece during the week next week in regards to more forward looking futures for the main event group stage as well.