Worlds 2019 Play-In - Preview

Across a gruelling five-week tournament, the top 24 sides from Riot’s 13 regions will battle it out to be crowned as number one, starting with the play-in stage on 2nd October

Lee "Couple Sodi Pops" Jones
Freelance Esports Writer
3rd Oct, 2019·☕️ 6 min read

The highlight of the League of Legends calendar, the World Championship pits the best teams from around the globe against each other to determine the planet’s greatest. Across a gruelling five-week tournament, the top 24 sides from Riot’s 13 regions will battle it out to be crowned as number one, starting with the play-in stage on 2nd October.

Competition Information

As Worlds heads to Europe this year for the first time since 2015, competition will kick off in Riot’s LEC Studio, home of the League of Legends European Championship. The play-in stage consists of the top seeds from six minor regions, as well as second and third seeds from some of the larger leagues. In all, 12 sides will face off for the chance to be one of four teams making it to the group stage, where they will go on to meet the rest of the top teams from the most competitive regions.

LEC champs

The action gets underway on Wednesday 2nd October at 13:00 CEST / 20:30 ACST and sees the teams split into four groups, each with three teams that will play in a double round-robin concluding on Saturday 5th. The top two teams from each group will then proceed to the knockout stage.

In the knockout stage, each first-place team from the groups will face a second-place team in a best-of-five series, with the winning team from each of the four series proceeding to the main event. This knockout stage will take place over two days from Monday 7th to Tuesday 8th October.

The Current Season

The Groups

The groups were drawn based on three pools that were determined based on the strength of the region teams were competing from. Pool 1 (the strongest) consisted of the third seed from the LCS, LCK, LMS and LEC. Pool 2 included the second seed from VCS and first seed from LLA, TCL and CIS. Pool 3 rounded off the competing teams with first seeds from LJL, CBLOL, OPL and LST. These were then drawn into the below four groups.

Group A

Clutch GamingLCSNorth America
Unicorns Of LoveCISRussia

Group B

DetonatioN FocusMeLJLJapan
Isurus GamingVCSLatin American

Group C

Hong Kong AttitudeLMSTaiwan
Lowkey Esports.VietnamVCSVietnam
MEGALSTSoutheast Asia

Group D

Flamengo eSportsCBLOLBrazil
Royal YouthTCLTurkey

Sodi Pops’ Picks

Group A - Clutch Gaming & Unicorns of Love

group AA

MAMMOTH’s first international experience arguably couldn’t have been drawn into a tougher play-in situation, going up against teams from regions that have had plenty of success making it into the main stages in previous Worlds iterations. Clutch come into the tournament off of the back of a brilliant playoff and regional qualifier run and will be likely favourites for the first seed. UOL, meanwhile, finally make a Worlds appearance after years of trying in Europe, only to miss out on a franchise slot and move to Russia where they qualified at the first time of asking. Guided by experience support Edward, the CIS squad should have enough quality to see off OPL’s champions and secure second seed.

Group B - Splyce & Isurus Gaming

Group BB

Looking to be one of the easier groups, Splyce are all but a shoo-in to top the group while Japan and Latina America’s winners will battle it out for second spot. Though Japanese teams have shown improvement in recent international performances, LLA’s Isarus should have the quality to see off their fellow minor region to earn a shot at the main stage in knockouts. Mid-laner Seiya has won nine out of his last ten domestic splits, appearing on the international stage twice, and will look to spearhead his team through play-ins.

Group C - Hong Kong Attitude & Lowkey Esports

Group CC

As Vietnam continues to improve as a region, it’s teams are now almost guaranteed to make it through initial play-in groups and Lowkey Esports have a good chance of progressing through the knockout stage depending on their matchup. While Taiwan’s LMS is still one of the game’s five major regions, player departures and lack of funding have had a detrimental effect on the performance of teams from the league and this has shown on the international stage. Despite this, Southeast Asia’s LST has yet to show itself as a competitive region and LMS’ Hong Kong Attitude should still have enough quality to progress.

Group D - DAMWON Gaming & Royal Youth

Group DD

LCK giants DAMWON Gaming come into group D as the clear favourites as Korea’s third seed must qualify through play-ins for the first time. Though drawn into one of the tougher groups, the Worlds first-timers should get through the group with ease and will be the expected to comfortably make it to the main event. Turkey’s TCL and Brazil’s CBLOL show two large regions with huge fanbases whose teams have arguably underperformed at international events in recent times. Both regions failed to make it past this stage in the 2018 World Championship while Flamengo will look to be the first Brazilian side to do so since play-ins were introduced in 2017. Despite being led by legendary homegrown ADC brTT, Flamengo will struggle to make is past TCL’s number one seed as Royal Youth should be able to see their way to the knockout stage.


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