This is the year, this is the time to shine, and this is the weight of the world on the shoulders of NA to finally prove they are better than just a meme. While CLG might not get a chance to dispel the mockery bestowed upon them in past years, TSM and C9 must be feeling the pressure to not disappoint this year at the LoL World Championship 2017. But despite all the hype surrounding TSM, and even IMT, they have shown poor performances in the past when it truly matters. Can they finally prove their haters and critics wrong this year? Let’s dissect each of the North American representatives to see the possibility of them making it out.
Having won pretty dominantly in the play-ins, this should be a team that many should give a chance to make it to the knockout rounds. Unfortunately for them, they were drafted into an extremely rough group as we previously explained in abother article here. With SKT, EDG, and AHQ joining them, C9 has a group of well seasoned world attendees that have put up incredibly shows in the past. In fact, this group has every team having a history of making it to the quarterfinals at one point or another.
Though, there is still some hope for C9. With Untara out and Huni in, Impact is going into a lane matchup that he has done before in the past and won when Huni was a part of IMT. He knows how to beat him and can win this matchup. If AHQ play with Westdoor, Jensen will have a favorable lane as well since Westdoor hasn’t been playing to the same prowess of the past.
But a few winning lanes here and there are not what make a won match. SKT is still SKT, the three time LoL World Champions on the path for a fourth. EDG has been touted as a team that might even be able to best SKT in a few matches to challenge for the number 1 seed. Along with AHQ being a team that likes to play fast and loose, C9 might be lucky just to get 3rd place in this group. However, I still advocate to give your energy to them in Twitch chat, seems to help them a lot.
This is the first showing of the organization to the LoL World Championship, but you can’t be fooled by that. Every member of IMT, outside Cody Sun, have been in on an international stage. Flame with LGD Gaming, Xmithie and Pobelter with CLG, and Olleh even attended the 2015 All Stars for LMS. Each of them have felt the pressure in the past and can bring that experience to the rift to help them with their group.
Unlucky though because hopes to get a number 1 seed is out of the window. Longzhu Gaming are easily the favorites to usurp SKT from their title and bring us a new variety of champion skins besides another line of SKT. If they can even make the game close against them, it would shock everyone and make people wonder if they might be able to get out of groups and maybe even to semifinals.
That’s the thing though. Unlike C9, there is a lot more hope for IMT to be able to make it out of the Group Stage. Gigabyte Marines took the world back in MSI when they showed the power of the GPL with their great mechanics and fast paced gameplay. But IMT are all consistent players that don’t tend to get caught out often and play phenomenally into the mid and late game where GAM struggles.
Alongside GAM, there is Fnatic. FNC play a similar style to IMT, but have been a lot sloppier about it. FNC even dropped games to Young Generation in the play-ins and have me wondering if FNC might end in last place in their group. The only true problem for IMT would have to be GAM, since LZ are most likely going to win every game in their group. Second seed is going to be a likely bet for IMT.
TSM. I don’t think Riot could have padded it any more than they already have for you. If you don’t get out of the Group Stage, I...I just don’t know. I will stare at a wall for hours and contemplate life, existence, and why the word overmorrow isn’t used more to describe the day after tomorrow.
Don’t get me wrong here, none of the teams in Group D are bad. They have Flash Wolves, the notorious Korean killers, to contend with. If a team is regarded as a Korean killer, you should fear. However, this has been a difficult year for FW. MSI didn’t treat them well, the summer split was rough with them barely managing to get first seed after having dropped games to Hong Kong Attitude in the last week of the season, and have had numerous disciplinary issues all year.
Moving over to Misfits, this is a team that struggled massively during the regular season of the Summer Split for EU. Granted, they pulled off a miracle run to make it to the finals against G2, it was a bit too late to truly impressed anyone. In the playoffs, they played a fledgling Unicorns of Love and FNC and then proceeded to get swept by G2 in the finals. Keep in mind, this is a G2 that won only one game at Rift Rivals against C9, going 1-5 at said event.
Lastly, Team WE. It’s hard to tout WE has the best team in the LPL like so many are doing at the moment. Had they decimated the play-ins, I probably would now, but they failed to deliver. Even though they didn’t lose a single game, they seemed shaky in the early game. We also discussed WE's prowess in abother article here. Against YG, they lost almost every early game and only managed to win since they had superior macro rotations and calls to the GPL squad.
TSM have something over all of these teams. FW have been dropping games to teams not as mechanically skilled as themselves. MSF couldn’t take a game off of G2 in the finals. WE look weak in the early game. TSM can pick apart FW by playing cleanly and exploiting over aggression. They can shut down MSF with Bjergsen beating PowerOfEvil in lane. They can use superior laners to win the early game and keep the pressure with good objective control. It might be too soon to say they can get a number 1 seed, but on paper they should. Getting out of the Groups is a good consolation prize.