Worlds 2018: The Eight Best League of Legends Teams in the World

It’s anybody’s Worlds

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The 2018 League of Legends World Championship is well past its halfway point and the 24 qualified teams at the beginning of the tournament have been whittled down to the final eight. The earlier rounds of Worlds 2018 has been the site of some of the biggest upsets and eliminations in the most recent iterations of the world’s grandest international League of Legends tournament.

The absence of the longstanding SK Telecom T1 isn’t the only big change at Worlds. The toughest teams from the western regions have proven that they are no longer the same sandbaggers that only serve as stepping stones for Chinese and Korean teams. The skill gap is disappearing not merely because the Korean and Chinese teams are losing their touch, the western teams came to Worlds ready for a fight and they just might make it all the way to the Summoner’s Cup.

Let’s meet the eight remaining teams in the running for the Summoner’s Cup.

Cloud9: The Patriots

Kicking off the list of the remaining teams at Worlds 2018 is the North American squad Cloud9. C9 has been a consistent competitor in the most recent World Championships, but this is the first year where they are very clearly the region’s only hope. This year’s C9 roster had its share of crushing setbacks but they managed to bounce back in the most magnificent way.

The departure of some of their veteran players struck quite the blow for C9’s performance, dooming them to the final slot at the North American local league. Their coach, Reapered, took a wild chance on fielding in two rookies in the roster and the choice has proven to be fortuitous for the NA team.

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The may have started from the 10th spot at the NA LCS Summer tournament but have fought their way to win the NA Regional Finals, the Play-In Group Stage and Knockout Stage, and the Main Event Group Stage. Cloud9’s biggest feat came in one of their most recent group stage games where they eliminated the defending world champions, Gen.G, from Worlds 2018.

It’s unclear just how far this rookie-emboldened squad can make it in Worlds 2018, but it would be an unwise choice to count them out solely because they come from NA. North America has yet to secure a Summoner’s Cup for themselves, and Cloud9 are more than capable of finally breaking the seven year dry spell.

Fnatic: Royalty Reborn

Fnatic qualified for Worlds 2018 as the strongest EU team as they qualified as the region’s first seed. Unfortunately for the first royal family in League of Legends, much of the audience attention gravitated to the two other EU representatives given their amazing performances in their respective groups.

Fnatic, not to be outdone, changed gears in their final elimination group stage match. Fnatic has always been a presence at Worlds but have seldom been noteworthy squads that deserved much attention. EU’s first squad dispelled all of those beliefs in their final group stage sprint against the then undefeated team, Invictus Gaming.

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Rekkles, Fnatic’s most senior member, led the charge against the Chinese juggernaut as they went 2-0 at the end of the day to seize the first seed position from iG. Not many teams can bounce back from a 1-2 group stage deficit to overtake an undefeated team, but Fnatic managed to pull it off.

The pressure is always on the shoulders of Fnatic as the first team to ever win a World Championship, and this year is no different.

G2 Esports: The European Samurai

Count G2 Esports‘ path to the Worlds 2018 Quarterfinals as one of the greatest redemption stories in LoL Esports. G2’s mid laner, Perkz, erupted onto the professional scene in 2016 and soon started tearing through multiple iterations of their local EU league. Unfortunately, they were ultimately unable to perform on the international level.

Their lack of success in international tournaments was compounded by several instances of Perkz’ negative comments and excuses on social media. This unfortunate combination served to tarnish G2’s image overall, leaving them with not that much support.

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The G2 Esports at Worlds 2018 however, is a completely different story. G2 has wowed casters, analysts, and fans in almost every match since their first game in the Play-In stage. G2’s biggest achievement came with their overwhelming victory against Taiwan’s Flash Wolves for the final Quarterfinals slot of their group. G2 Esports, and more importantly Perkz, has surely matured into a fine Worlds contender.

They face their biggest challenge this weekend as they’re set to face off against the tournament favorite Royal Never Give Up on the first day of the Worlds 2018 Quarterfinals.

Afreeca Freecs: Bandits in Blue

The Afreeca Freecs qualified for Worlds 2018 by virtue of Championship points. The team’s performance in the spring and summer splits have earned them the right to represent South Korea as its second seed. AFs were initially the most underwhelming team in the first days of main event group stage. They were almost voted out of contention given their abysmal performance in the early days of groups.

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There is no pressure lofted on Afreeca Freecs except for the fact that they remain one of the defenders of South Korean League of Legends in a Worlds held on Korean soil. Not much was expected from Afreeca Freecs but they managed to somehow finish on top of their group after an amazing surge in the second half of the group stage. They enter the Quarterfinals along with their fellow South Koreans, KT Roslter. KT may well be the true hope for South Korea, but the Afreeca Freecs should not be counted out so easily.

KT Rolster: Korea’s New Hope

KT Rolster, South Korea’s first seed team, has effectively taken up the mantle of the entire region given the absence of SKT and the defeat of Gen.G. KT salvaged their season in the Summer Split when they managed to secure their first ever local championship title.

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They are without a doubt one of the strongest teams in the tournament, but KT’s is plagued with a very fatal tendency. KT Rolster’s current super team lineup can’t seem to live to how much people hype them up to win. This trend has been noted by casters as somewhat of a curse as KT has had multiple opportunities to win titles in the past.

There are some that claim that KT has finally broken the curse given their first LoL Champions Korea (LCK) title, but we’ll have to wait until the end of Worlds 2018 to see if KT have indeed dispelled their hype curse.

Invictus Gaming: The Chinese Challengers

Invictus Gaming returns to the Worlds stage after failing to compete in any international tournament for the past two years. The current iG roster features a mix of Chinese and Korean players that have somehow melded together to fight as one of the most fearsome Chinese teams in their local league.

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They may have not been to Worlds since 2015 but their dominance of their group stage is an indication of their prowess on an international scale. iG ran into a few roadblocks when they lost two games in quick succession against Fnatic but they qualify for the Quarterfinals all the same.

They have the roughest matchup awaiting them in the Quarterfinals stage as they are set to kick off the playoffs against none other than KT Rolster.

EDward Gaming: The Weathered Dynasty

EDward Gaming has suffered a mighty fall from their past as one of the Chinese frontrunners. They may have dipped in the standings but they managed to secure the third seed for China and have worked hard from the Play-In stage to earn their place in the main event.

EDG holds the distinction of being the first team in the history of League to be able to take down SKT in a best-of-five in an international tournament. The EDG roster that became the champions of the 2015 Mid-Season Invitational may be long gone, but the same ferociousness remains in the current lineup.

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EDward Gaming survived facing off against KT Rolster in their main event group despite dropping a game against Team Liquid. Their performance is shaky at best but they have earned their Quarterfinals slot through their dedication to the game.

Royal Never Give Up: The Would-be Kings

We’ve finally arrived at the end of the Quarterfinals list. Royal Never Give Up, more specifically their AD Carry Uzi, is easily the most hyped up team in the entire competition. RNG have won every local and international tournament that they have participated in this year. Additionally, some of their members were part of the Chinese delegation that took home the gold medals in the 2018 Asian Games, an Olympic sanctioned esports event.

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Uzi was even featured in the official Worlds 2018 animated music video where it was hinted that this would be his year to make the epic climb towards the Summoner’s Cup. Royal Never Give Up as an organization has already made it to two Worlds Grand Finals but has come up short each time. Uzi’s health has been an increasing concern for the team and his fans but given the teams overall amazing performance this year, it may be the best and final chance that the Chinese squad has at finally claiming the World Championship title.

These eight teams have valiantly fought for their spots in the Quarterfinals stage. The matches at Worlds 2018 are only going to get even more exciting as each team gets closer to the Summoner’s Cup. SKT and Gen.G are no more, this is the year for a new World Champion.

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