The first phase of the group stage is over at Worlds 2022, all teams played three matches each. Starting this Thursday, one group will end each day with all the remaining games in the group being played the same day. Let’s see what happened so far at the group stage and what to expect from the last four days.
This is the last step before the quarter-finals, the playoffs phase of Worlds 2022. North America’s woeful 0-9 start points out to three disappointing eliminations, while Europe managed to catch up with China and Korea in overall score. Some of the great teams participating in the event will be eliminated, and not just North American teams.
Group A started out to be fascinating: on the first day, Fnatic started by stomping North American champions Cloud9 and establishing their dominance. While FNC’s play-in performance was good, C9 was expected to show a better performance: they are sitting at 0-3 and they don’t look like they can do any better.
T1, EDward Gaming and Fnatic failed to fully take the control in the group: T1 defeated EDG, EDG defeated FNC, FNC defeated T1. Qualifying for the playoffs will be a close call, and dropping a game against C9 or losing a game that you should’ve won easily (we have seen several so far) will be mistakes that won’t be forgiven.
It is hard to determine a winner at such a group, but we will likely see one or two tie-breakers at the end of the day. I don’t expect Cloud9 to get more than a single win on Thursday night, but it’s a wild guess. The one that they defeat may be any of the teams, C9 definitely has the strength to surprise.
T1 and EDG are my favourites to make it to the playoffs, but Fnatic and especially Humanoid performed perfectly. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a repeat of the first phase with three 2-1 scores. In the end, I expect T1 to top the group followed by EDG. However, Fnatic’s chances are significantly high, and they will definitely work hard to get to the playoffs.
Although they weren’t clearly better, as there were visible problems in their games, JD Gaming managed to top Group B with 3-0. DWG KIA followed them with 2-1, which meant that the Western participants took the last two spots with G2 Esports defeating Evil Geniuses to secure a better position.
JD Gaming struggled in all three of their games but managed to win in the end, while DWG KIA played a close game against JDG but didn’t have problems defeating the rest. Even though they are behind JDG, I think DK’s first phase was better.
Let’s start with the Westerns: It doesn’t look doomed for G2 Esports, still. The game against JD Gaming was promising, and if they had played better, they could have won it to get a good advantage. Now, they will have to defeat EG and wait for JDG and DK to drop some to be relevant to the race. Evil Geniuses, however, only played an acceptable game against JDG, I don’t think they have the ability to win mid to late game against such good teams.
DWG KIA might take the lead in the second phase, especially if they manage to play better during the day. The game between JDG and DK will be played at the end of the day, making it the perfect chance to steal the top place. JDG may drop a game against G2 Esports as well, so watch out for their matches, JD Gaming doesn’t look as strong as they sound.
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Group C is the first group where we have a solid leader: Rogue. LEC champions kept their amazing form for Worlds 2022 and destroyed Group C, dominating DRX, Top Esports and GAM Esports. Top Esports looks very similar to FPX 2021, and they are clearly behind DRX and Rogue in terms of gameplay right now.
Although they are not the perfect team, DRX definitely has a better chance than TES, and even defeated them during the first phase. Vietnam’s GAM Esports failed to participate in the competition, they are outclassed and I don’t expect an upset from them in the second phase.
I expect Rogue’s good form to continue: defeating DRX and Top Esports at the same time is not an easy task, and the matches being best-of-ones definitely help. In contrast, GAM Esports will probably continue to perform badly, as they don’t offer anything unique to help them get wins against such strong teams.
DRX has the advantage over Top Esports so far, and if TES can’t fix their mistakes before Saturday, Zeka’s form should be enough to keep DRX at the top with Rogue. It is wise to wait for the first games, but my expectations from TES are very low at this point.
Another team from the play-ins, Royal Never Give Up showed up amazing at Group D. Defeating tournament favourites and LCK champions Gen.G, RNG found the advantage that will help them in the second phase of the group stage. 100 Thieves are stuck at the bottom with 0-3, following the North American trend.
CTBC Flying Oyster managed to defeat 100 Thieves once, but besides that match, they failed to play up to the Worlds standards. Thus, Gen.G was able to stay in top two even though they dropped one against RNG and struggled to defeat 100 Thieves.
Monday, October 17
Gen.G (1.06) vs 100 Thieves (7.50) - 00:00 CEST
Royal Never Give Up (1.05) vs CTBC Flying Oyster (8.00) - 01:00 CEST
Gen.G (1.48) vs Royal Never Give Up (2.50) - 02:00 CEST
Considering the first week performances, I expect RNG and Gen.G to continue their dominance over CFO and 100, deciding the first place on the last match of the game. If RNG loses that one, an extra tie-breaker will probably be played. However, Gen.G didn’t look their best against 100 Thieves, if 100 can solve their problems, the first place of the group may be decided earlier.
CTBC Flying Oyster should defeat 100 Thieves to keep them at 0-6, but although they are clearly better than shaky looking 100 Thieves, their level isn’t enough to challenge RNG and GEN.