Ever since the team walked away from the Mid-Season Invitational as champions, G2 Esports has had their eyes set on a world title. After marching through all of Europe, G2 came to the World Championship ready to face down any opposition that stood in their way. And although the team made quick work of North America and the LMS during the Group Stage, there’s one region that toppled over them to close things out – Korea.
Sure, it’s obvious that Griffin doesn’t represent all of Korea. And it’s most definitely unfair to assume that every Korean team plays League of Legends the exact same way. But, before the dust settled on the 2019 Group Stage, G2 Esports got a glimpse of what the LCK had to offer. And if the European champions are going to become Worlds champions, they’ll need to do a lot of studying on the historically best region in the world.
Let’s say that G2 advances all the way to the World Final. They’d first have to get through their quarterfinal opponents Damwon Gaming, the third seed out of Korea. After that, they’d meet either Splyce or SK Telecom T1 (but probably SK Telecom) in the semifinals. Beyond that, as far as the finals go, it’s hard to argue against the belief that Griffin is the strongest team on the opposite side of the Bracket and that they’d be the ones matching up with G2 come November 10.
When you look at the other side of the bracket, Invictus Gaming has looked shaky down the stretch in 2019, FunPlus Phoenix has played at two opposite ends of the spectrum this tournament, and Fnatic barely made it into the Bracket Stage of Worlds by the skin of their teeth. If there’s any one team on that side of the bracket that looked convincing in every aspect of the game at every possible moment, it was Griffin. To doubt them reaching the finals when the competition they’d be up against has been so inconsistent and shaky would be short-sighted, to say the least.
And frankly, even with Griffin potentially waiting at the finish line, G2 couldn’t have asked for a better bracket draw. One could seriously argue that G2 is the best team on their side of the bracket, even with SKT staring them in the face across the way. Let’s not forget that G2 got the best of SKT in a best-of-5 back in May at the Mid-Season Invitational and holds a 3-1 advantage over Splyce in 2019. No matter who comes out of that other quarterfinal, G2 should have them pinned based off of experience alone.
Even still, if G2 was to meet SKT in the semifinals, it would be difficult to imagine a world where the loser of that series doesn’t walk away from the stage feeling like they’ve fallen short of expectations. If we think back to the opening day of Worlds, and even before that, it was essentially a foregone conclusion that G2 and SKT were the two best teams in the world and a final between them was all but inevitable. Yet, here they are, on the same side of the bracket, itching to break the bonds of their respective quarterfinal matchups and lay their hands on each other.
Needless to say, with a potential bracket run consisting of Damwon, SKT, and Griffin, G2 would have to face off against each LCK representative, knocking them off one by one in pursuit of a title. Of course, anything can happen at Worlds, and with the tournament playing out largely as expected thus far, it’s fair to say that the Knockout Stage is due for a shake-up. In G2’s case, however, a championship has been the goal since day 1 and a run to the finals from them wouldn’t be a shake-up, it would be the expectation.
But, before they can even think of hoisting the Summoner’s Cup, G2 will have to get past their quarterfinal match with Damwon Gaming this Sunday. And while Damwon might be the hottest team at Worlds, winning five consecutive games to close out the Group Stage, the third seed out of the LCK hasn’t faced anything like G2. Even despite the fact that G2 emerged from Group A as a 2-seed and DWG came out of Group D as a 1-seed, it’s hard not to see Damwon as the underdog.
Keep in mind, also, that G2 has yet to lose a Bo5 this season, and has not lost a series to a Korean team since the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational Grand Final when the team was defeated by SKT.
Regardless, for G2, everywhere they turn, they can’t help but bump into the LCK. The road to the title runs straight through Korea. Damwon, SKT, Griffin. It doesn’t get simpler than that. If this new generation of Western talent is going to take over League of Legends, they’ll have to conquer the dynasty that’s held onto it forever.
Photo Credit: Riot Games, League of Legends, Lolesports