The 2018 League of Legends World Championship took a turn for the slightly predictable on Group C, as KT Rolster and EDward Gaming emerged as favorites to qualify from it. However, the circumstances of that qualification turned out to be unexpected.
There are no expectations for such surprises in Group D as two teams stand atop their opponents. Both feature in the match(es) of the day, which pit them against one another.
Invictus Gaming is China’s second seed, but only because of the necessity to separate the LPL's first seed from its second one: their strengths and weaknesses were a headache to top LPL seed Royal Never Give Up, and it took a series of minute misplays in Game 5 of the LPL Summer 2018 finals to determine seeding. As a foil to RNG’s lategame powerhouse status, iG are extremely potent in the early game. Their aggressive attack upon their opponents’ win condition and their adaptability in terms of building team compositions make them lethal in best-of-1 settings, although opponents can adapt to them in best-of-5s and take risks — such as punishing Ning and the portion of his champion pool where his efficiency is off the charts (Camille, Zac, Trundle and Kindred during the summer split).
One should not expect Fnatic to do that unless they have tunneled into their preparation (to the risk of disrespecting 100 Thieves and G-Rex). However, Fnatic’s red side draft may help them keep a counterpick for their core member (either Rekkles or Caps, depending on the composition that Dylan Falco and YoungBuck devise). However, Fnatic are unlikely to play in a bold risk-taking manner (see: botched Baron Nashor attempt against iG), but more conservatively as they set their winning conditions, which are likely team fight oriented if we follow their biggest strength in Europe.
However, both teams have shown different sides in other games, and during the season. Fnatic’s trademark “Party bot” calls (involving 5v2 or 5v3 situations in early-game bot lane towerdives) and reckless diving in the mid lane are easier with Galio/Nocturne combinations. Likewise, Invictus Gaming can send TheShy (who hasn’t played against Fnatic yet) on a split-pushing spree, in view of possible 1-3-1 testing against some of the second seeds (such as G2 Esports).
Although I fully expect there to be two Fnatic vs. iG games tomorrow (the first one to Fnatic’s advantage, the other one being a tiebreaker), the two substitute top laners could completely change the course of predictions — with Bwipo’s dissimilarity potentially proving problematic to TheShy should Ning be limited, and with sOAZ (or XXLOAZ, as some in South Korea call him during big games) being more experienced for side lane snowballing and split pushing.
Find out who among Fnatic and Invictus Gaming will end first in the group starting Oct. 17 at 10:00 CET / 1 a.m. PT / 17:00 KST live on the event hub!