Worlds 2022 Play-In Stage predictions

Worlds 2022 kicks off this weekend with the play-in stage, where 12 teams fight for four spots in the main event. From China’s Royal Never Give Up to Brazil’s LOUD, many teams from different skill levels will fight each other and the weaker ones will have to surprise us to stay alive. Let’s take a look at what might happen in these groups.

Worlds 2022 Play-In Stage will have two groups of six, and finishing in first place will automatically qualify you for the main event, leaving only two spots for the rest of the teams. The third and fourth places of each group will play a best-of-five series against each other, and the winner will play another best-of-five series against the opposite group’s second place. The winner of that series moves on to the main event.

Worlds 2022 Play-In Group A

Group A includes Europe’s #3 Fnatic, North America’s #3 Evil Geniuses, PCS #2 Beyond Gaming, Oceania champion Chiefs Esports Club, Japanese champion DetonatioN FocusMe and Brazilian champion LOUD.

While Group A was very clear for me before the tournament, considering that Fnatic’s bot lane will not make it to Mexico in time makes things interesting for all six teams in the group. Plus, the second favourite of the group Evil Geniuses also went through some problems during LCS Summer Playoffs. Their wonderful ADC Danny had psychological issues and left his place to substitute ADC Kaori.

These changes increase the chance of Beyond Gaming topping the group, and the minor regions getting a few more wins than what they would originally have. Fnatic is still my favourite for first place, but now, EG has an equal chance to finish at the top. Beyond Gaming was a clear third place. EG and FNC were clearly better than BYG. Now, I believe they will be closer to the top two and might steal the direct qualification.

Among the rest, considering their past international performance, DFM seems to be the best candidate for fourth place. LOUD’s roster has the potential to challenge them, but even though Chiefs dominated Oceania invincibly, I don’t think they are at the level of the rest of the group.

Take a look at our predictions below:

Predictions Team Region
1 (5-0) Fnatic Europe
2 (4-1) Evil Geniuses North America
3 (3-2) Beyond Gaming Pacific
4 (2-3) DetonatioN FocusMe Japan
5 (1-4) LOUD Brazil
6 (0-5) Chiefs Oceania

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Worlds 2022 Play-In Group B

MSI 2022 champions Royal Never Give Up, South Korea’s #4 DRX, Europe’s #4 MAD Lions, Vietnam’s #2 Saigon Buffalo, Latin American champion Isurus and Turkish champion Istanbul Wildcats participate in Group B.

Even though their performance dropped during the summer playoffs, Royal Never Give Up is still the number one favourite as the MSI 2021 and 2022 champions. DRX is following them as they were able to make a comeback at LCK’s gauntlet after disappointing performances in the summer season and playoffs. The rest of the teams in the group have very little chance of challenging these two and stealing the top two spots.

Europe’s MAD Lions and Vietnam’s Saigon Buffalo look very strong, making Group B even harder for minor region representatives like Istanbul Wildcats and Isurus. Saigon Buffalo’s aggressive playstyle impressed us at MSI 2022, and welcoming Vietnam back to the Worlds will be an amazing experience. MAD Lions not winning a single best-of-five series in all of 2022 hurts their chances against SGB, but they should take the 3rd-4th places.

Group B’s fate is already determined after the group draw. Especially considering Latin America’s and Turkey/Istanbul Wildcats’ earlier international performances, their chances against such strong teams are pretty low. If they can get the 3rd-4th places by eclipsing MAD or SGB and lose the following best-of-five, it will be the best-case scenario for both of them.

These are our predictions for Group B:

Predictions Team Region
1 (5-0) Royal Never Give Up China
2 (4-1) DRX Korea
3 (3-2) MAD Lions Europe
4 (2-3) Saigon Buffalo Vietnam
5 (1-4) Istanbul Wildcats Turkey
6 (0-5) Isurus LATAM

As always, Worlds 2022 Play-In Stage looks doomed for the weaker teams, but the games will be best-of-one in the group stage which means anything can happen. Last year, DetonatioN FocusMe made the impossible happen. There’s always a chance of upset from DFM, LLL, CHF, IW or ISG.

In the end, I predict that RNG and Fnatic will take the automatic qualification, and Evil Geniuses and DRX will follow them to the main event after the best-of-five series. We will see if anyone can take on the favourites and hand them an early elimination.