When the groups for the Play-in stage were drawn earlier this month, it was easy to see the winners in the first three groups. Each one had a strong team from a major region that seemed destined to advance from the moment their names were drawn. Group D isn’t like that.
With the largest team in the group, Hong Kong Attitude, representing the first ever LMS third seed to be sent to Worlds, their presence isn’t exactly the same as that of the other major regions. They don’t suck the air out of the group in the same way.
Meanwhile, 1907 Fenerbahçe Espor battled through a Turkish league that has sent a representative to the tournament more than a few times, but never quite had a team that looked ready to compete with the best in the world.
The final team in the group, Japan’s Rampage, were slightly disappointing when they came into the Mid-Season Invitational, but proved they were better than that performance when they showed up to Rift Rivals ready to compete. With those two different performances in mind, there’s really no telling how good Rampage could be, and whether or not they could give the teams from the more established regions a run for their money or not.
With no clear winner, and no obvious stand out team, it’s easy to get excited about just how strange the results from Group D could get.
Who will win the group: Hong Kong Attitude
While the group may be close, Hong Kong Attitude still come in with the best chance of winning by quite a wide margin. It’s difficult to overstate just how much it can help a team improve and grow getting to play alongside the talents of a major region during their regular season and while Hong Kong Attitude may not have looked spectacular during the Summer Split, they proved themselves to be a strong LMS team during the Worlds Play-in gauntlet where they dominated the competition.
If the team can sustain that level of play, with a strong laning phase that transitioned into a focused objective style that rarely got off-track, they should be able to continue the success they found for the first time in the gauntlet.
Who to watch out for: 1907 Fenerbahçe Espor
Turkish League of Legends teams have never been easy to get a handle on at international events. While the individual performances often look strong, and right on the cusp of breaking into the higher tier of smaller regions, the games themselves never seem to end in victory for the teams. But as the competition in the TCL improves so too does the chance that one of the teams from the region will perform well on a big stage.
1907 Fenerbahçe is the latest in that line of Turkish teams hoping to do their region pround, and they look like they might actually be able to. Where as, in the past, Turkish teams have been picture perfect examples of “wildcard Teams” that would use clever tricks and daring level one strategies to try to get snowballing victories, 1907 Fenerbahçe is a more lane focused team that has a strong mechanical foundation that will serve them well in a group without a stand out team, where first place may not be out of their reach.