Photo by @DWGKIA Twitter
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With the play-in stage coming to an end, the League of Legends World Championship will move onto the highly anticipated group stage, where 16 teams will fight in four different groups in the hopes of advancing to the knockout stage.
Every year, the group stage features incredibly competitive groups, thanks to the particular seeding process of the teams from each region. This year, the combination of Group B appears to be an explosive one; LPL summer champions and big favorites JD Gaming, LEC Summer runner-ups G2 Esports, MSI semifinalists Evil Geniuses, and 2020 Worlds champions DWG KIA have all been seeded together.
With such huge stakes on the line, Group B is bound to become merciless. Let’s dive into the teams that will be fighting each other once group stage kicks off.
DWG KIA – Helped by the meta shift
DK has been the most successful team in terms of international results in the last two years. With that being said, the Korean team led by ShowMaker and Canyon have had a rough 2022 season so far. The bot lane roster change and Nuguri’s return weren’t enough for DK to replicate the previous year’s results: the team finished third in both spring and summer and never looked as strong as the other two seeds from the LCK.
Nevertheless, DK is known for being a team that delivers during the most crucial moments. Worlds might be the turning point for them, especially considering how the meta shift can also be an advantage.
Based on what we’ve seen so far in the play-in stage, we saw a large variety of team compositions, as each region or team brought its own ideas to the table. Still, there has been a common pattern throughout the whole stage: the absence of many hypercarries down in the bot lane. The meta now offers the possibility to also play through top lane, which fits perfectly with how DK would like to play. Seo “deokdam” Dae-giland Kim “Kellin” Hyeong-gyu haven’t been a duo that can go one-vs-nine, but they are capable of absorbing pressure.
On the other hand, Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon is the type of player who can choke the enemy laner and extend his lead if given the attention. In this meta, Canyon will likely play around him more which benefits both of them since the Korean jungler himself can also play carry style. All of this gives DK more options, especially in draft. In other words, DK were some of the bigger winners from the Worlds patch.
Overall, DK have a strong chance of advancing to the next stage. It might be tough to advance as the first place team, but second place in Group B should be within reach. As the finalists of the previous two Worlds editions, DK is looking to keep that streak going in 2022.
G2 Esports – Identity crisis?
Photo via Riot Games
After having a successful run until the LEC summer playoffs, G2 found themselves with a huge reality check when they were 3-0’d by Rogue. Not only did they not manage to win a game during the series, but the team’s performance was way off compared to the usual standards, considering how they had already won against RGE in the upper bracket.
While the enemies did make a step up in their gameplay, G2 seemed to have lost their direction. The recent drafts weren’t that optimal since they required Victor “Flakked” Lirola Tortosa to be the main carry of the team. The team, however, found more success when the resources were given to Caps, and this did not happen in the last series against RGE. We’ll have to see whether G2 have realized this issue and what playstyle they want to bring to the table at Worlds.
Despite the issues, though, G2 can still count on great individual talents. Support Raphaël “Targamas” Crabbé has improved constantly over the year, showcasing large champion pool flexibility and strong game sense. Jankos and BrokenBlade had some poor performances recently, but they can rely on multiple years of international experience to handle the pressure.
All in all, G2’s chances at a top-eight finish at Worlds will primarily depend on whether they can find pinpoint the right picks that work for the team. Caps will be the key to G2’s run and the rest of the team should play around mid as much as possible. If the team is at its best in terms of preparation, then G2 can fight for a top-two finish.
JD Gaming – Best all-around roster
Image via @JDGaming Twitter
The LPL Summer champions have landed at this year’s Worlds as one of the big favorites. JDG not only have great teamfighting abilities, but they can also count on the most well-rounded lineup. No matter the role, JDG had top-three LPL players in every category and some were even the best ones after the end of the split.
In particular, top laner Bai “369” Jia-Hao and support player Lou “Missing” Yun-Feng have been standing out from the rest. The first was the most consistent top laner in China, having the capability of playing both carries and weakside at peak level. It didn’t matter what champion he was on, but you were sure that he was going to make a major impact on any match.
Missing, on the other hand, flew under the radar, especially for those who don’t actively follow the LPL. Throughout the year, the support player showcased mechanical prowess with both enchanters and engagers. With such a large champion pool, he gives the team a massive variety of options, which will come in handy in the later stages of the tournament.
As for the rest of the squad, there isn’t much to complain. Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok continues to deliver as one of the most complete jungle players in today’s League, mid laner Zeng “Yagao” Qi earned the summer playoffs Finals’ MVP, and JDG can always count on Wang “Hope” Jie for the late-game teamfights.
Given the results and the type of roster JDG has put together, the team is expected to make it out of Group B as the first-place team. Even if they won’t get the first spot due to the best-of-one format, JDG should still easily make it to the Knockout stage.
Evil Geniuses – Dark horse of Group B
Photo via Riot Games
Home heroes Evil Geniuses had to work hard in the play-in stage to make their way to Worlds’ group stage. They went through a total of 10 games already, having played two tie-breakers after the end of the group stage and then a series against the LEC team MAD Lions.
Against the expectations, Evil Geniuses dominated the EU representative, sending them home with a quick and convincing 3-0. The LCS team neutralized MAD’s jungler Javier “Elyoya” Prades Batalla by banning his most used champions and then proceeded to choke Nisqy in the mid lane with constant roams from top by Impact. EG found the enemy’s strength and shut them down in all three games.
After their strong performances so far, EG should have racked up some confidence ahead of their great test against three formidable teams. Jungler Kacper “Inspired” Słoma has been the key to EG’s success and Muhammed Hasan “Kaori” Şentürk is also delivering solid gameplay. With that being said, Group B’s level is on another tier compared to play-ins, so it’s unlikely that EG will manage to advance to the Knockout Stage.