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Forget everything you thought you knew about regional strength at Worlds

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The concept of an upset has been put to bed, then shot repeatedly and thrown in the sea.

Riot Games

Regional strength is meaningless.

In the weeks leading to Worlds, Power Rankings spewed forth onto the internet like magma from a Volcano, with the acrid scent of sulfur burning noses and sparking rage. Many criticized any attempt to quantitatively rank teams as lacking a regional multiplier - that is, a scaling factor on how strong a region is.

We now know that the strength of a region is only as good as the play style and execution of its teams. Flash Wolves beat SKT but fell to IMAY. INTZ took down EDG, the number 1 seed in China, then fell to H2K . Albus NoX Luna beat CLG, who beat ROX Tigers, that most favored as the best team in the world.

The sample size is large enough to be sure that this isn’t teams ‘getting lucky’, and it’s not cheese. The decision-making and play styles being exhibited interact with each other in different ways. And while this year’s “Worlds Meta” is starting to take shape in the form of Syndra/Jayce/Kennen/Lee Sin, the plans they are being used to execute look nothing alike, and work with varying degrees of success in different situations. Yes, there are strong champions, but there is no strong plan.

Worlds, as it should be, is a global Rock Paper Scissors.

As we move into the rematch phase of the Group stage, iteration and pivot come into play as the teams begin to understand the thought processes of their opponents. The teams that will succeed are the ones that have the ability to critically analyze how their competition is able to win games, in the context of how those games were defended.

We have been treating power as a measurement with one dimension, but we’re not dealing with just force anymore.

In Physics, a vector has both a direction and a strength. Currently, our teams are firing with full force in different directions, and the ones with the most fortuitous angle of attack are the ones that push through. As the meta is tuned for power, so must the teams adjust their angle, and so we cannot rate them simply by their strength, but also by their ability to adapt.

It is not power, but the ability to redirect that power that will bring victory. Not rate, but rate of change, as we all adjust our vectors in search of the path to the Summoner’s Cup.

The second phase begins in three days.

Expect the unexpected.

And don’t call it an upset.