While the Play-in may not be the most exciting thing for North American fans, they’ll at least have a good reason to tune in to Group B as Cloud9 take on the Dire Wolves from OPL and CBLoL champions, Team One eSports for a chance at making it to the World Championship Group Stage.
Dire Wolves will enter the competition coming off of a spectacular year as a team. After representing their region at the Mid-Season Invitational, the team once again won their region taking down Chief Esports Club to secure their trip to the Worlds.
For Team One eSports the the road to Worlds started earlier this year in the CBLoL Challenger Series, and included an incredible run through playoffs, where they took down Red Canids and Pain Gaming to earn their way to Worlds as one of the youngest and freshest rosters at the tournament.
Finally, as most North American fans already know, Cloud9 made it here despite a fairly poor Summer Split. After getting knocked out in the first round of the playoffs, the team began preparing for their Gauntlet finals, a spot they had qualified for on points despite their early playoff exit. In that gauntlet series, they managed to take down Counter Logic Gaming with little struggle looking better than they had in months, giving them fresh confidence coming into Worlds.
While all three teams faced a difficult road to get to Worlds, only two will advance from the group and have a chance at making it into the Group Stage.
Who will win the group: Cloud9
Cloud9 couldn’t ask for a better group during the Play-in stage of the World Championship. During the 2017 Summer Split, Cloud9 most often showed up in the form of a one dimensional team that focused most of it’s resources the way of mid laner Nicolaj Jensen, with an occasional big performance from AD Carry Zarchary “Sneaky” Scuderi relying on one of the two players to carry. All the while playing fairly traditional team fight focused games, without overly complicated level one plays, or split pushing in the late game.
So, why does this work for their play-in group? Because the other two teams aren’t doing much different from C9 themselves. And if Jensen can carry against some of the stronger North America teams like Counter Logic Gaming, teams from smaller regions, that may not come in with the same level of gameplan, should be more than doable for the first team all LCS mid laner.
Who to watch out for: Team One eSports
While Cloud9 are far and away the best team in the group, Team One eSports shouldn’t be counted out immediately. They’re a fairly young team, and may not have the experience of some of the other smaller region sides, but winning CBLoL is always an impressive feat and they accomplished it with a style we rarely see from smaller region teams.
During the playoffs Team One favored objectives over kills in almost every game. Overall, they had fewer average kills than any other team, but the most towers and the best drake control. This may be a difficult style to pull off against a team like Cloud9, who are adapt at forcing teams into fights, but if Team One advance and wind up with a better stylistic match up, it isn’t hard to image them sneaking into the official Worlds Group Stage.