22 teams entered the 2020 World Championship through the play-ins and group stage, however only the 8 top sides now remain.
22 teams entered the 2020 World Championship through the play-ins and group stage, however only the 8 top sides now remain. They make their way through to the knockout stage, beginning with the quarter-finals, as they continue their battle to lift the Summoner’s Cup.
Continuing in Shanghai, China, the knockout stage will take place across three rounds; the quarter-finals, semi-finals and grand final. All stages will be played out in best-of-five series.
The quarter-finals will start on Thursday 15th and end on Sunday 18th. The semi-finals occur the following weekend, on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th, before the grand final takes place on Saturday 31st.
The quarters and semis will continue to be held in the Shanghai Media Tech Studio, where augmented reality has so far been used to place the competitors amongst the Shanghai skyline.
Pudong Football Stadium was scheduled to host the grand final of the game’s 10th World Championship and was to be used as esports’ first full stadium spectacle. However, plans have been understandably halted due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The stadium will still hold the final, instead with a reduced crowd of approximately 6,000 fans to be allowed inside.
The world’s largest region, China’s LPL, includes three sides in the knockouts; Top Esports, Suning and JD Gaming. Korea’s LCK also sees three teams making it through in Gen.G, DAMWON Gaming and DRX. Finally, Europe’s most dominant sides G2 Esports and Fnatic progressed to the knockouts to complete the octet.
North America’s LCS saw no teams progress from the group stage for the second successive year, while PCS’s PSG Talon and LCL’s Unicorns of Love also made it to groups but unfortunately did get any further.
Top came into the World Championship after winning the LPL Summer split, inevitably making them tournament favourites. They topped group D with relative ease while LPL MVP knight stood out as one of the world’s current best players. ADC Jackeylove is looking to win his second World Championship having taken the crown with Invictus Gaming in 2018, and he’s continued to be a top tier ADC ever since.
Fnatic have had a much shakier season before regaining their playoff buff to finish the LEC split in second place. Selfmade’s carry performances dragged Fnatic through a number of their wins, while the likes of Nemesis and Hylissang have since begun to recover their best form.
Despite the European’s resurgence, Top look to be a step too far and understandably come into the series as heavy favourites. On their strongest day, Fnatic are a side that could put up a real fight against the LPL giants, however they also have the much lower lows of the two sides and anything but a stellar performance will see a very one-sided matchup. As a result, I’ll be surprised to witness anything other than a decisive Top Esports victory.
Top Esports 3-0 Fnatic @ 2.08
Suning entered the tournament as a relatively unknown side to most Western fans, having never won the LPL or competed on the international stage before. Support SwordArt is quickly recognisable for his success with Flash Wolves in the past, however it’s jungler Sofm that has shone brightest for them so far in the tournament.
JD Gaming won the LPL in Spring and would’ve been disappointed not to do so again in Summer after taking Top to five games in the final. Spring MVP Kanavi has shown his pedigree on S tier junglers Lillia and Graves, while support LvMao has done the same with especially notable performances on Bard.
Keeping with the difference in LPL positioning this year, I’m tipping JD Gaming to come out on top in this all-Chinese matchup. The jungle will be a particularly exciting matchup where both will look to take over the game, however I give the slight edge to JD’s Kanavi ahead of his Vietnamese counterpart.
JD Gaming 3-2 Suning @ 4.70
Of the 2017 World Champion Samsung Galaxy side, only ADC Ruler remains; seeing the team through two re-brands but no further titles since then. Mid/jungle duo Clid and BDD are among the best in their roles and the former will hope to avoid being knocked out of international competition by G2 for the third time in a row after losses at both MSI and Worlds last year.
G2 themselves have so far failed to hit the heights reached in 2019, however winning both the Spring and Summer split this year has still not been too shabby. Star mid laner Caps has managed to rid himself of the Craps/Claps meme, cementing himself firmly as the latter as he carried his side through their inconsistency in recent months.
Call it EU bias, but I can still see G2 getting back to their best and making it through against a tough Gen.G side. G2 Esports is famously a stronger team in best-of-fives than they are in best-of-ones, with this iteration of their roster only losing two Bo5 series since they’ve been together these last two years.
G2 Esports 3-1 Gen.G @ 5.00
LCK holders DAMWON Gaming have been widely tipped as Korea’s best chance of retaining the World Championship, hoping that they can end China’s reign before it becomes a dynasty. Top laner Nuguri is known for his lane dominance, which was displayed in groups perfectly as he bullied Rogue’s Finn with a Lulu pick against Gangplank.
On the other side of the rift, DRX will be looking at the performances of Chovy and Deft to see them through to the semi-finals. The former, along with top laner Doran and coach cvMax, joined DRX after success with Griffin in previous splits. However, he is still yet to win a major title in his career despite two 1st place regular season finishes in 2019.
A repeat of the LCK Summer final, I’ll be surprised if we see anything other than the same 3-0 scoreline in DAMWON’s favour. DRX’s best chance to win the series will be through Chovy in the mid lane, however DAMWON’s ShowMaker has proven himself just as good, if not better, than the former Griffin man. To top it off, one of DRX’s weaker spots is Doran in the top lane and his lane opponent Nuguri will undoubtedly look to take full advantage.
DAMWONG Gaming 3-0 DRX @ 2.22