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South Korea back at the top – Euphoria at the Worlds

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October 22, 2019 2:23 pm

South Korea back at the top - Euphoria at the Worlds

The group phase of the League of Legends World Cup is over, and the balance of power between the individual regions has been clearly illustrated.

South Korea is at the top, with Europe just behind. For North America, on the other hand, the Worlds ended in another disappointment – especially for ‘Doublelift’.

This year the viewers of the Worlds did not get the chance to experience a fierce rivalry between Europe and North America. Already in the past tournaments, it had become apparent that the gap between the two regions is widening more and more. But the current World Cup marks a new extreme point: Of the three LCS teams from North America, not one made it further, the three LEC teams from Europe all reached the quarter-finals.

North America desperate

The end for Team Liquid is particularly bitter. Before Sunday, the team of star player Yiliang ‘Doublelift’ Peng still had a balance of 2:1, as well as Damwon and Invictus Gaming in Group D. Since Liquid could only win against outsiders, in the second half of the season, the team now has to travel home. For ‘Doublelift’ it is already the fourth year in a row that his team with a 3:3 balance and a win too little eliminated. “More than ever before, I think we were a strong team, but simply unlucky. It’s so depressing,” Peng said about social media following the final defeat.

The LCS champion’s exit once again sparked the discussion about what is necessary for North America to keep up with the world leaders. Several experts, but also team leaders and commentators, addressed the server, SoloQ environment, league format and talent promotion as the biggest issues. A general overhaul seems necessary. Or to put it in the words of C9 boss Jack Etienne: “We have to think of another strategy because that’s not how it works.”

Europe rejoices

On the other side are the three European teams: G2 Esports, Splyce and Fnatic are all second in the group. After the first half of the season, this could not have been foreseen. Splyce and Fnatic, however, increased drastically in the second half of the week and were able to win almost all their matches – only in the tiebreaker against FunPlus Phoenix Splyce lost. Meanwhile Fnatic impressed with victories against tournament favourite SK Telecom T1 and Royal Never Give Up. That was enough to survive the supposed death group and even moved team captain Martin ‘Rekkles’ Larsson to tears.

G2 Esports missed the end of the group stage. After five wins in a row, they lost twice to Griffin. The South Koreans played the European champions up against the wall in both matches and celebrated clear victories. That’s what’s worrying for the quarter-finals. On the other hand, the team of German coach Fabian ‘GrabbZ’ Lohmann has already shown in the past that they are not upset about such defeats. After the defeats, he also mentioned how important it is to be punished for one’s mistakes to learn from them.

South Korea dominates

Even better than Europe were the South Korean teams. Griffin, SK Telecom T1 and Damwon Gaming all reached the quarter-finals in the first place. After a somewhat disappointing World Cup last year, this result sends a clear signal to the competition: South Korea is back and ready to climb the throne again.

In the quarter-finals, Europe will meet South Korea twice. Splyce will face SK Telecom T1, and G2 Esports will face Damwon Gaming. Fnatic will face FunPlus Phoenix from China while defending champions Invictus Gaming will face Griffin. The matches will take place on 26th and 27th October in Madrid.

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