There’s only one more spot up for grabs to represent North America at the 2017 World Championship, and we now have all the details on who will be competing for the opportunity.
Thanks to Immortals impressive season and second place finish in the NA LCS Summer Split Playoffs, both Cloud9 and Counter Logic Gaming will be competing in the Worlds Play-In gauntlet. This will mark the first time since 2014 that the Worlds representatives for North America weren’t Team SoloMid, Counter Logic Gaming and Cloud9.
Joining those two teams in the gauntlet are Team Dignitas, who haven’t been to Worlds since season two — though they were part of a different organization at the time — and FlyQuest, a team with a few players who have experienced Worlds in one way or another every year since 2013.
With so much talent and experience, this should be the best Worlds Play-In gauntlet that North America has ever put together.
Like the name suggests, the Play-In will have a gauntlet style format with the highest seeded team, Cloud9, starting in the finals, the second highest seed, Counter Logic Gaming, starting in the semifinals, and the two lowest seeded teams starting in the quarters. This forces teams to compete against progressively higher seeded opponents leading up to Cloud9 who earned the most Championship Points during the regular season, meaning they only need to win one series to qualify for Worlds.
It’s difficult to say which version of FlyQuest is going to come into this tournament. Back in the Spring Split, when they had AD Carry Johnny “Altec” Ru, they were a formidable team for anyone in the league to face and managed to earn fourth place. But, when they replaced Ru with Jason “Wildturtle” Tran for the Summer Split, FlyQuest lost their primary threat and the best tool they had for winning games that went past 30 minutes. And their record reflected the loss, coming in seventh during the Summer Split and barely earning enough points to qualify for the Play-In.
Team Dignitas spent the Summer Split caught somewhere between being a good team and being a great team. At their best, they could take over games completely, leveraging the talent of star top laner Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho to prevent their opponents from having a chance at coming back. At their worst, Dignitas struggle to coordinated around objectives and end up completely blown out of games, much like the third place match against CLG.
For Counter Logic Gaming, every series they play is a chance to get exponentially better. Thanks to their mid-season roster move changing out former jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett for current jungler Omar “Omargod” Amin, CLG are still trying to get their feet under them as a team. Thankfully for them, the roster seemed to really click for the first time ever when they played the Third Place match against Team Dignitas in Boston during the NA LCS Playoffs. If CLG continue to play as well as they did there, they may have the best chance of anyone at making it to Worlds.
This hasn’t been the best split for Cloud9. Throughout most of the split, it has seemed like their only reliable way to win was to focus all of their resources on mid laner Nicolaj Jensen and trust that he could carry them. While that strategy may have worked well enough to get them to the playoffs, once they got there they were immediately knocked out by Team Dignitas. If Cloud9 is going to have any chance in this gauntlet, they will have to prove that they have more ways to win. The good news for them, is that they only need to win one series.
Friday. September 8
Team Dignitas vs FlyQuest, 3-0
Saturday, September 9
Counter Logic Gaming vs FlyQuest, 3-1
Sunday, September 10
Cloud9 vs Counter Logic Gaming, 3-1