After the play-in stage, Worlds 2022 main event is starting this weekend with the group stage. 16 of the best League of Legends teams clash in four groups of four with a double round-robin system, and only two from each group will be able to qualify for the playoffs where they will fight for the Summoners’ Cup.
This Worlds includes so many favourites that it is dubbed the “best Worlds in history”, all eight Asian teams are championship contenders and Western teams are strong enough to pull upsets against them. Let’s see what awaits us in the group stage and go over them one by one.
Group A includes a rivalry we have seen countless times in World Championship, T1 vs EDward Gaming. North American champions Cloud9 and Europe’s #4 Fnatic who looked strong in the Play-In Stage will add more spice as T1 and EDG try to lose as little as possible against them.
MSI 2022 and LCK runner-ups T1 are my favourites in this group. Although their performance dropped in the summer, not being able to outclass Gen.G is not enough for me to count T1 out. Worlds 2021 champions EDward Gaming looked better towards the end of LPL, being the number one rival of T1 in the group.
Cloud9 is a strong team, with beautiful gameplay, and although they might steal a game, I doubt if they can make it to the playoffs. Fnatic also looks better since the LEC playoffs but what we saw from them so far isn’t enough to put them in front of T1 and EDG yet. However, games against FNC and C9 will decide who qualifies for the playoffs as the first place.
The death group of Worlds 2022, it includes LPL champions and Worlds favourites JD Gaming, Europe’s #2 G2 Esports, G2’s long-standing nemesis and Korean juggernauts DWG KIA and North America’s Evil Geniuses who made it through the play-in by dominating MAD Lions.
JD Gaming is my favourite at Worlds 2022 and Group B. We will see if they can start with a good group run considering that LPL doesn’t have best-of-ones. South Korean teams tend to do better in the group stage, thus, I think DWG KIA will be very close to JD Gaming, eclipsing the rest.
G2 Esports will force second place and I wouldn’t be surprised if they outperform DWG KIA, but my expectations are low from the Western teams at Worlds 2022. Evil Geniuses’ play-in stage was exciting, but a 0-6 run wouldn’t be surprising. They will have to wait for next year. Players like Kaori and jojopyun have time to get better, and this will be a great experience for them.
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Group C looked cleaner until DRX showed up incredibly strong in play-in stage and defeated Royal Never Give Up. LEC champions Rogue and LPL #2 Top Esports will face them, and Vietnamese champions GAM Esports will be there to get one or two wins and increase the chaos in the group.
Obviously, Top Esports is almost as good of a team as JD Gaming and they are the favourite in Group C. I thought Rogue will easily follow them considering DRX’s LCK performances, but defeating RNG is not an easy job and DRX looks like they have learned from their mistakes.
There will be a great war between Rogue and DRX to get to the playoffs, and their games against GAM Esports might be decisive. The Vietnamese will look to get some upsets and if Rogue and DRX drop one, they might miss the playoffs.
Finally, Group D includes Korean champions and the second favourite of the tournament, Gen.G. PCS champions CTBC Flying Oyster will face them in the group, together with North America #2 100 Thieves and Chinese #4 and MSI 2022 champions Royal Never Give Up.
Gen.G are obviously the favourites. They have the strength both in terms of playing as a team and individual skills. However, who follows them to the playoffs is a good question. CTBC Flying Oyster is a strong team that will challenge Royal Never Give Up, but we won’t know for sure until we see them on stage.
100 Thieves enters Worlds 2022 after one of their worst performances, which was still enough to get them here. I doubt they can challenge RNG or CTBC Flying Oyster to make it to the playoffs. They might steal one or two and decide who takes second place, but I don’t expect more from them.