LoL Worlds 2020: Favorite Teams to Lift the Summoners' Cup

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"Brandon Beck" by artubr is licensed under CC BY 2.0
"Brandon Beck" by artubr is licensed under CC BY 2.0

For many, the 2020 World Championships is the most exciting event on the esports calendar. Dota2 has “The International” and Counterstrike has the “ESL One”. But, there’s nothing quite like the draw of League of Legends’ most prestigious competition, evidenced by the kinds of crowds and online viewers it continues to get each year.

The 2020 edition takes us to Shanghai, where the best teams in the world face off over the course of a month to see which team will get their hands on the Summoner’s Cup. Worlds 2020 also brings us a new format, with four teams from the LPL (China) and LEC (Europe). The LPL teams have won the competition for the last two years running and the rest of the competition look to stop them from making it three.

In the good ol’ days of competitive League of Legends, it was all about the LCK. But, it wasn’t since 2017 that a Korean team won - in the form of SSG, defeating legendary Korean team SKT T1. Interestingly, this will be the first Worlds that iconic LoL player T1 Faker hasn’t attended. While non-LPL teams remain underdogs with most online sportsbooks coming into Worlds 2020, the unpredictability of this year's teams means they could certainly cause some upsets.

Who could win it?

The LPL’s dominance at World’s is a little overstated, it’s not quite the same as how the Korean teams dominated the competition in the early 2000s. Having said that, in the past two years it’s been Chinese teams that have lifted the cup. Top Esports are the outright favorites to win the competition, having won the summer split early in the year.

Top Esports are in a group with DRX, FlyQuest and the Unicorns of Love. Only the LCK’s DragonX might cause them problems, but they should crush the other two teams without any real trouble. The Top Esports lineup features players like JackeyLove and knight, who have experience at Worlds and make up the spine of the team.

Apart from Top, the other big team out of China is JD Gaming. JD are in a group with DAMWON Gaming, Rogue and PSG Talon. The only matchup that will concern them is DAMWON, who have had a great year and stand as the top-team playing out of Korean. JD Gaming are widely considered as possessing one of the best team-fighting rosters at Worlds, while Top Esports have some of the best individual players around. Notably, the likes of the midlander “knight”, who has seemingly become the new Faker and is regarded by many pundits and players as the best player in the world.

We touched on it briefly, but the only other Asian team we believe is capable of winning this year is DAMWON Gaming. They’re looking very strong at Worlds so far and will make it difficult for JD Gaming to take the top spot. Moreover, DAMWON looked unbeatable during the summer split and will carry that momentum forward. Esports fans and LoL casters feel it’s time for a representative from outside of the LPL to win Worlds. Will Showmaker and the rest of the DAMWON team be able to snatch the cup away from the LPL this year?

Disappointingly, there are no strong teams playing out of the LCS that are capable of winning it this year. So, finally, we look to the LEC and last years’ runners up G2 Esports. G2 went into this year's Worlds with the same roster as they had when they lost the final 3-0 to FunPlus Phoenix in 2019. Having struggled throughout the year, G2 finished the summer split with a convincing 3-0 win over LEC rivals Fnatic.

We feel that G2 has slumped from the team we saw last year. G2 Caps remains one of the top-tier mid laners around, but there’s something missing from the team this year. Maybe they’ll turn it on when it comes to the latter stages of Worlds, but maybe not. This begs the question “were they just a meta team back in 2019?” One could speculate about that for some time, but we believe they weren’t and we expect them to at least make it to the knockout stages.

Everyone knows that the Chinese teams are going to be super-aggressive and use their individual flair early on to control the game. Will G2 bring the kind of coordinated teamplay that took them to the finals in 2019? Will this be the year an LCK team lifts the Summoner’s Cup? With so many questions, the only thing to do is tune in and find out!

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