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Taking the Pulse of the Season 3 World Championship - Group Stages

I am Adel Chouadria (aka Hype Algerian), a Frenchman with a passion for anything concerning League of Legends: the game, the tournament scene, the gossip. My mission, and I choose to accept it, is to elevate the heart rates of my fellow LoL fans by dishing out the skinny, the dirt, and the hype on the last five days’ events and the following days’ fates in the balance of the Season 3 World Championship.

The first two sections of the article will revolve around the group stages and the teams that can still qualify for the quarterfinals. Later sections will approach the Worlds from a different angle.


What to expect from Group A:


Oh My Godlogo std.pngOh My God

The Chinese team has shown to the world why they were considered contenders by many. One of the factors that contributed to their success in the first half of group play was the inclination to perform 1v2 lane swaps and dive heavily in early 3v1 situations. Such a strategy was certainly present in other regions at times, but OMG refined it in new ways to make serious noise in Group A.
The solid picks of OMG contrast with what happened in the playoffs vs. Royal, as OMG seemed to lose pick phase consistently. Their scrimmage schedule was stacked despite the short amount of time they had between the Chinese Regional Finals and the Worlds Group Stages, however, it did not contain a direct competitor (and fellow group favorite), SK Telecom T1.
By the numbers:
The Chinese team is well on its way to the quarterfinals: They advance in 873 scenarios out of 1024 (85,25%), and are tied for second place 98 scenarios (9,57%), failing to advance in only 5.18% of all possible scenarios.
If GG.eu fails to secure a win, OMG’s chances improve slightly; they book their ticket to the quarterfinals in 56 scenarios out of 64 (87,50%), and are tied for second place in 6 scenarios (9,38%)


SK Telecom T1logo std.pngSK Telecom T1

Besides the “things Faker does” and some excellent warding vs. Lemondogs (turning the game upside down), there are other must-see things with SKT T1. Piglet's performance against TSM was off the charts (KDA and Creep Score: 11/2/5, 266), and Bengi’s presence created opportunities out of thin air.
Each player on the team is solid, there are no weak spots in SKT T1’s lineup. Faker stands out as a playmaker due to his mechanical prowess on assassins when he is not picking the equally tricky to handle OriannaSquare.png Orianna or making unbelivable plays on GragasSquare.png Gragas.
The loss against OMG served as an electroshock and put them on high alert: The competition is fierce, and they must not relenquish any advantages to opponents.
By the numbers:
Unlike their fellow Korean counterpart in Group B, SKT T1 is well on the way to qualification. The team books its stay in the competition in 593 scenarios out of 1024 (57,91%), and is tied for second place in 309 cases (30,18%).
If GG.eu keeps losing, the team’s odds at qualification improve slightly (38 scenarios out of 64 - 59,38%), and so is the case for ties (21 scenarios - 32,81%).


Team SoloMidlogo std.pngTeam SoloMid

Are TSM able to beat the big teams? They certainly got outpaced by OMG and SKT T1, but they have shown signs of brilliance every now and then.
Reginald's blunders gave way to an unrecoverable deficit to OMG, and he has certainly gotten the memo: the opposition won't be thrown off by his antics, instead capitalizing on them. As such, he tuned his aggression to efficient levels, instead of the looser calibration it was at beforehand.
The loss to SKT T1 should have taught TSM just as much as their win against Lemondogs did. On one hand, they can recover from poor starts (such as TheOddOne giving two kills early to Lemondogs). Meanwhile, SKT T1’s crisp gameplay allowed TSM to spot weaknesses in their own play. Most importantly, they did not perform awkward rotations, like most teams do when the game snowballs out of control.
By the numbers:
The ‘Baylife’ spirit may carry on to the quarterfinals, but the odds are not as favorable as an OMG or SKT T1 qualification. Dyrus and his teammates advance in 187 scenarios out of 1024 (18,26%), and tie for second place in 344 scenarios (33,59%).
If GG.eu loses all, Team SoloMid’s chances take a hit, as they advance in only 10 scenarios (15,63%). At least, the second-place tie odds swell slightly percentage-wise (25 scenarios - 39,06%).


Lemondogslogo std.pngLemondogs

The young European team has not had an easy road so far; in fact, they are on the brink of going home empty-handed, and there are several notable reasons why.
Nukeduck is being forced to play way out of his comfort zone by his opponents. One of the most subtely brutal examples was SKT T1 Faker’s constant push-and-roam strategy, which constrained Nukeduck’s SwainSquare.png Swain to mid lane, preventing effective map presence.
Against the top teams in the group, Lemondogs struggled to snag a win. Despite great starts (e.g. their game against TSM), they tend to neglect crucial elements in opposing teams’ strategy (such as TheOddOne’s constant pressure over the mid lane).
By the numbers:
It is an uphill battle for the European runners-up in the Summer Split. Lemondogs pass through uncontested in only 35 scenarios (3,42%), and tie in 140 scenarios (13,67%).
Even worse, if GG.eu lose all of their games, the “citric canines” march to the quarterfinals in only 1 scenario out of 64 (1,56%). They tie in 9 scenarios (14,06%). Their chances heavily increase in case of a sweep (4-0 for the remainder of the Group Stages).


GamingGearLogo std.pngGamingGear.eu

The Lithuanian team earned their ticket to the World Championship, but expectations weren’t high among experts. GG.eu’s strategy and champion pools were in full display during the Wildcard Tournament, and it did not take long for the teams in their group to abuse GG.eu’s weaknesses. They are in a do-or-die situation, better than their scrimmage partners, Mineski.
By the numbers:
The Lithuanians pass through in 1 scenario (out of 1024), and give themselves a shot to an upset berth to the quarterfinals in 72 scenarios (7,03%). Each of these scenarios is reliant on GamingGear sweeping through their competition for the remaining games.


Ties at relevant positions in Group A:

Out of 1024 possibilities:

  • 111 involve 3 teams
  • 2 involve 4 teams
  • 1 involves all 5 teams


What is left of Group B:


Fnaticlogo std.pngFnatic

Besides their blunder at champion select against Vulcun, Fnatic has dominated Group B - a group where Samsung Galaxy Ozone were favored over other teams.
xPeke is essential to Fnatic's success, and he consistently delivered up to this point of the group stages. Meanwhile, puszu is making a strong case for himself to hold the Marksman position in Fnatic, as Rekkles stated that he would ask the team to keep him in the roster if they win the Season 3 World Championship. Similarly, his bot lane partner, YellOwStaR and his LeonaSquare.png Leona, has proven to be another instrumental component in Fnatic’s group stage success.
By the numbers:
Fnatic has almost secured their ticket to the quarterfinals. They advance in 28 scenarios out of 32 (87,50%) and tie in only a single case which I will elaborate on later on. Fnatic only needs to win a single game to secure their spot in the quarterfinals. There are also occurences where Fnatic would not win a single game yet still advance.
If Mineski lose both of their games (or if they lose against Fnatic), xPeke and his teammates are guaranteed a spot in the Worlds quarterfinals.


GambitLogo std.pngGambit Gaming

The Russian crew bootcamped before heading to Los Angeles, and it shows. Besides Fnatic, no other team cracked the code to beating Gambit in group stages. It is 2012 all over again, when Groove’s army positioned themselves to take the prize, with some exceptions.
Darien’s havoc-wreaking tendencies in the top lane and Alex Ich’s performances in the mid lane spearheaded the team’s takeovers during the mid and late game phases, and they are nicely complemented by their botlane’s newfound synergy.
The role that Lemondogs played during the semi-finals of the European Regional Playoffs (in exposing the Russian squad’s weaknesses) has shifted to Fnatic. Darien’s attempt to bring back ShyvanaSquare.png Shyvana into the top lane did not yield results in the late game, and Fnatic took control.
By the numbers:
Gambit Gaming has guaranteed that they will have a say in whether they qualify or not. Their fate is in their hands, as they advance in 16 scenarios out of 32 (50,00%) and tie for second place in the remaining 16 (50,00%).
If Mineski lose all of their remaining games, the task is slightly more complicated, as Gambit Gaming qualifies in 3 scenarios (37,50%) and ties in 5 scenarios (62,50%).
The Russians play the role of gatekeepers to any non-European team in Group B. If they win their next two games, they advance alongside Fnatic, regardless of how Fnatic play.


Samsunglogo std.pngSamsung Ozone

The Korean team was poised to be one of the favorites in this tournament, but they have fallen flat so far. The European play style is posing major problems for dade and companions; if anything, their games against Fnatic showed just how vulnerable they were against it.
SSO seems to be struggling due to multiple reasons. Dade's champion pool is a cause for concern, as teams systematically ban him out, allowing the opponents to snowball other lanes, as the mid lane will take care of itself. In addition, Homme has not been able to attend Worlds, causing a rift in the team’s syngery. His replacement, Looper, has done an amazing job, but the team still finds itself in a very uncomfortable position. Another noteworthy reason would be their attitude towards the competition, as evidenced by the following declarations.
By the numbers:
Samsung Galaxy Ozone passes through in 3 scenarios (9,38%) and ties in 8 scenarios (25,00%). Even a 2-0 performance in Day 6 would not guarantee a tiebreak opportunity: A Gambit 2-0 and a Fnatic 0-2 would still spell disaster for the Korean team.
If Mineski lose all of their games, Samsung Galaxy Ozone passes through in 1 scenario (12,50%) and ties in 3 cases (37,50%).


Teamvulcunlogo std.pngTeam Vulcun

Sycho Sid and his teammates had a very up-and-down path to a 3W-3L record: Their first showing (against Fnatic) allowed the viewers to take a peek into what could have been if Vulcun were more consistent. Vulcun is good at taking early leads, but focus issues may prevent them from reaching the next echelon in the competition.
Their matchups have not been the easiest: Samsung Galaxy Ozone elected to shut down mancloud from teamfights, then Gambit shut them out altogether. A feistier Fnatic then struck an even heavier blow to Vulcun’s hopes of group stage advancement.
By the numbers:
Team Vulcun need to win their next two games if they want to have a chance to advance, at the cost of one of the European teams. Overall, they qualify in 4 scenarios out of 32 (12,50%) and tie in 10 (31,25%).
If Mineski lose all of their games, Team Vulcun must win both of their games. That way, they will either qualify (in case of an 0-2 performance from Gambit) or play tiebreakers (if Gambit beats Fnatic).
Either way, if Vulcun win both of their remaining games, they will guarantee a tie scenario at worst. If Gambit loses against Fnatic and Vulcun goes 2-0, the American team will progress to the next round of the competition without the need for tiebreakers. Yet, in a one-in-32 occurence, they could play extra tiebreaker rounds against both Gambit and Samsung Ozone.


Ties:

There are only five scenarios where two teams or more would be involved in a tie for a qualifying seed. This can be further narrowed down to four scenarios.
  1. The Two Korean Objection Credits: SSO goes 2-0, Gambit goes 1-1: Samsung Galaxy Ozone and Gambit play an extra tiebreaker for second place. This scenario counts double, as Gambit faces Fnatic and Vulcun (none of which directly impact SSO’s chances).
  2. The Small American Disruption: Vulcun goes 2-0, Gambit beats Fnatic, Fnatic wins against Mineski. Vulcun and Gambit will face off one last time in the Season 3 World Championship. To the victor go the spoils.
  3. The Filipino-American Alliance: Vulcun goes 2-0, Gambit beats Fnatic, Fnatic loses to Mineski. A 3-way tie for first place would occur. Gambit, Fnatic and Vulcun would play extra tiebreaker matches. The live audience may want to bring sleeping bags, just in case.
  4. A Clash of Cultures: SSO goes 1-1 (win against Vulcun), Gambit goes 0-2. This will lead in an increase in snack and drink sales at the Culver Studios, as a three-way tie for second place will occur between Vulcun, SSO and Gambit.


Around the Worlds


Written by Adel "Hype Algerian" Chouadria - @hypealgerian
Edited by David "TheDynasty" Spitler and Alex "amagzz" Magdaleno - @amagzz


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