Similarly to group A, this group has a clear projected first and last place, with a battle between the two middle teams for a second place finish. With EDG seeming set for first place and INTZ projected as last, AHQ vs H2K will be the matchup with the most impact in this group.

   Edward Gaming (China 1st seed)

       Overview: After their dethroning of SK Telecom at last year’s Mid-Season Invitational, Edward Gaming was looking set to be an easy contender for the world championship title. Unfortunately for them, the hype built up around the Chinese titans completely failed to deliver. After looking like top competitors for the entire year, all of the teams that China had sent were easily sent home by the stronger teams. It seemed that either China had become worse as a region since MSI, or that they’d stagnated while the rest of the world made leaps and bounds towards shortening the gap with Korea. Coming off of their best seasons since the organization’s formation, EDG are considered the #2 team in the world. With the pressure on them for the second year in a row, the Chinese behemoths will be looking to learn from past mistakes, and live up to the standard set for them.

       How they win: At a tournament with some of the best AD carry players in history, Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu is still a standout player. In a region filled with other Korean imports, Deft has been one of the most successful. While many of his counterparts have chosen to rest on their laurels in the Chinese league, Deft has been eager to improve. Despite being a Korean import, Deft is one of the most popular players in China, due to his consistently top of the line performance. Whether domestically or internationally, Edward Gaming’s ad carry is almost always able to carry the team to victory. EDG’s roster not only boasts one of China’s most popular imports, but also one of their most popular domestic talents. Ming “Clearlove” Kai is an incredibly versatile player, being able to put up stunning performances while playing nearly any style of jungler. The currently popular playstyle for the superstar jungler is one that involves constantly visiting Deft’s lane, which helps to get him even further ahead.

       How they lose: EDG are no strangers to being considered contenders to win the world championship, but they’ve unfortunately developed somewhat of a stigma for their performance the last time they were faced with this situation. While last year’s EDG crew was eliminated by one of the best teams in the tournament, and didn’t drown in their group, they still performed lower than expectations and will have to prove that they won’t choke again. While another uncharacteristic performance would be the only foreseeable reason for an early loss, the team may suffer later in the tournament for having lost their star mid laner Heo “Pawn” Won-Seok since last year. Pawn has had to cut back significantly on his play time due to severe back injuries, and is no longer able to consistently be the team’s starting mid laner. While his replacement Lee “Scout” Ye-chan does a more than serviceable job, he may have more trouble standing up to imposing players like Faker than Pawn would have.

       Reasons to cheer for them: Edward gaming are both China’s current best team, and one of the best teams in the world. For anyone hoping to see Korea’s winning streak come to an end or to see China redeemed at this year’s world championship, EDG are the likeliest team to make those scenarios a reality.

 

edg
Photo Credit: Riot Esports

AHQ e-Sports Club (Taiwan 2nd seed)

         Overview: With both an emphasis on mid game strategy over lane dominant play and inconsistent performances, AHQ are somewhat of a fusion between group A’s Counter Logic Gaming, and group B’s Flash Wolves. After winning their region’s international qualifier in order to get to worlds, the team will be looking to keep their momentum, and not fall back to their poorer form.

       How they win: Much like the famous Mount Everest, jungler Hsure “Mountain” Chao-Hong has one of the highest peaks in the world, and can present an impossible challenge for those not prepared. If he can play at his best, Mountain should be able to keep his lanes from losing too hard, so that they can reach their stronger mid game. While AHQ’s bottom half of the map will need their jungler’s assistance, top laner CHen “Ziv” Yi should be more than capable of holding his own. The team’s top laner may have looked shaky during a large part of the split, but he seems to be in an excellent form now that lane swaps are no longer happening. If AHQ plan to make it far in the the tournament, it will most likely be on the back of Ziv outlaning  his opponents, and Mountain keeping the rest of the team afloat, until they can reach their second wind in the mid game.

       How they lose: Unfortunately for his team, Mountain lives up to his name in more ways than one, as it’s also not every day that we get to witness his incredible peaks for ourselves. With their once renowned mid laner Liu “Westdoor” Shu Wei’s consistent decline, the team often lives or dies by Mountain’s performance. If their players don’t keep their current hot streak going, AHQ may be facing defeat before getting to their coveted mid-game surge.

       Reasons to cheer for them: While some may see wildly varying results as disappointing, others may consider it appealing in a team. While it may be frustrating to watch AHQ struggle at their lower points, it can make their flashes of brilliance all the more enjoyable. With that in mind, anyone who likes to live for the unexpected should feel right at home among the team’s supporters.

 

ahq
Photo Credit: Riot Esports

H2k Gaming (Europe 2nd seed)

        Overview: Whether it’s their lane dominant style in game, or their antics over Twitter, H2K’s players love nothing more than being the first to strike. The team began their season by revamping their roster, in hopes that it would dig them out of the third place rut that they seemed to have made for themselves. Unfortunately for them, this season has only further increased the crew’s reputation as playoff chokers. As much as their consistent third place results are less than the players may have hoped for, the other top performers from the previous split seem to have fallen. This shift in rankings means that the team’s consistency has paid off, and their respective fourth and third place finishes in spring and summer were enough to qualify for the world championships via circuit points.

       How they win: H2K’s jungler Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski has been dubbed the “first blood king” in his region, and for good reason. This moniker was given to him due to his reputation for consistently earning (and occasionally giving) the first kill of most games, due to his tendency to invade the enemy’s jungle. While Jankos is earning advantages over the enemy jungler, the team’s bottom lane is often also earning advantages over their enemies, at every opportunity they get. The biggest contributing factor to this advantage is ad carry Konstantinos “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou’s imposing playstyle, which often manages to throw enemies out of their comfort zones. If both players are allowed to be on the attack without being punished for it, H2K should have a winning formula.

       How they lose: It’s no secret among the league of legends community that FORG1VEN hates being ganked by enemy junglers, due to his forward laning habits. If defending against jungle interference continues to be a problem for their ad carry it could spell trouble for H2K, particularly in a group with skilled junglers such as Clearlove or Mountain.

       Reasons to cheer for them: Much like their YouTube series “H2What”, H2K’s public and in game personas have come to resemble an ensemble cast in a sitcom. While the Polish duo of Jankos and support player Oskar “VandeR” Bogdan are constantly trashtalking with other pros over Twitter, and going for risky or aggressive plays in game, Ryu “Ryu” Sang-wook serves as the straight man to their antics, with a consistent play style in game, and a carefree and sleepy persona on camera. While their brand of comedy may not appeal to everyone, some fans may be pulled in by H2K’s larger than life personas.

 

h2k.jpg
Photo Credit: Riot Esports

 

INTZ e-Sports (CBLoL region, wild card qualifier)

        Overview: INTZ are one of the two wildcard qualifiers, and the #1 team from Brazil. Much like Hard Random from group A, their main goal at the tournament will be to gain experience from the opportunity to practice against world class opponents.

       How they win: Although the odds are stacked against them, INTZ could win a few games from the other teams in their group, if they play their cards right. One of the bright points on the team’s roster is their jungler Gabriel “Revolta” Henud. The jungler has a plethora of pocket picks, many of which are carries that could be used as a surprise counter pick in order to pull out a win against unsuspecting opponents.

       How they lose: Unfortunately for them, INTZ will likely be in a losing scenario. As much as they may be able to learn from their experiences and pull out a few wins by the end of the week, the skill gap between wild cards and other teams is an unfortunate reality for them.

      Reasons to cheer for them: Other than wanting to support the team for regional reasons, fans may also want to support Revolta and his team, after the jungler’s recent feature in Riot’s “Legends Rising” miniseries on YouTube. If fans are coming from Legends Rising expecting outstanding results on top of the personality that they enjoyed, they may want to show support for either the Rox Tigers or EDG, as both are favorites to win the tournament, and have a player featured in one of the season’s episodes.

intz
Photo Credit: Riot Esports

 

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