LoL Worlds 2018 Finals: Where All Roads Meet

After many weeks of upsets and heartbreak, we’ve finally reached the LoL Worlds 2018 finals, where Invictus Gaming will take on Fnatic for the Summoner’s Cup.

It’s been more than a month since LoL Worlds 2018 started. Unlike in previous years, this tournament has been a year of change. For starters, Team SoloMid is no longer present. Meanwhile, all of the LCK representatives were eliminated during the Quarterfinals. Royal Never Give Up, the team everyone predicted would take the tournament, were not as dominant as many hoped and bowed out of the tournament in the quarterfinal as well.

And oh, a North American team made it to the semifinals.

But even so, it still feels eerily similar. The cheers from the crowd are the same. There are champions that teams fight for in the pick and ban phase. The casters lose their voices in the middle of the series. Everyone memes everyone else on Reddit and on Twitter.

And now the defining moment of this season is here. Two teams remain and they seek to lift the Summoner’s Cup. Fnatic, arguably the best team the West has ever produced, and Invictus Gaming, a team that has been in professional League of Legends as long as the esport itself, find themselves wanting the title of the world’s best and become the first non-Korean world champion after five years of Korean dominance.

Here are my thoughts on the LoL Worlds 2018 Finals, per role:

Top Lane

LoL Worlds 2018 Finals

Will TheShy continue to dominate his opposition? (Image via lolesports Flickr)

Both teams in the LoL Worlds 2018 Finals each have a carry-oriented top laner in Gabriel “Bwipo” Rau and Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok. Both also have a more balanced and reserved substitute in Paul “sOAZ” Boyer and Lee “Duke” Ho-seong. But, the fact of the matter is, we might not even get a chance to see sOAZ and Duke play. This is because of how the current meta favors snowballing from solo lanes.

The last time Invictus Gaming and Fnatic met in the group stages, we saw Fnatic lose once with sOAZ, and win twice with Bwipo. As the two played quite the same champions in that stage of the tournament, we cannot really say whether Bwipo was the difference maker. Fnatic may have just adapted well to what Invictus Gaming showed them in the first game.

TheShy is perhaps the most mechanically talented top laner in the tournament, and he showed the heights of his capability in their matches against KT Rolster and G2 Esports. The best strategy for Fnatic might have to be to choose either mid or top lane to sack, and I am of the opinion that sOAZ can lose the lane more gracefully than Bwipo can. Stylistically speaking, since sOAZ can play carries as well, it might be overall better for Fnatic to play him at first and properly gauge how to attack TheShy with Bwipo later on.

Invictus Gaming have shown a reluctance to pick the Viktor, which means that it might be banned by IG on blue side. Other picks that might be contested are Urgot, Aatrox, and Irelia. And do not forget that TheShy’s Fiora might always come up.

Jungle

Will we see more Lee Sin highlight reels from Broxah? (Image via lolesports Flickr)

Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen has been this tournament’s best performing jungler. With his flashier Lee Sin plays and his more stable Xin Zhao ones, he has been able to be Fnatic’s backbone in the early game, allowing the laners to get ahead. Gao “Ning” Zhen-ning, on the other hand, relies on his laners’ lane priority to be able to pull off invades into the enemy jungle.

Broxah’s problem in this tournament is the lack of depth in his champion pool. This was exposed earlier on by Edward Gaming, when they forced him on an Elise that overall made him have a small impact on the lanes. In their match against Cloud9 he was forced to bring out the Rek’sai, which may tell us that he has addressed his champion pool problems, but Rek’sai might be easier to deal with.

Ning was a player that appeared to have champion pool problems at the beginning of the tournament, with analysts saying that if his Camille, Xin Zhao, and Taliyah are all banned then he will not be able to perform and that he will default to his Zac. Over the course of Worlds he has proven us wrong, with superb performances on the Kindred and the Jarvan IV, among others. The only possible criticism to be thrown at Ning is his problems of consistency— he has been making some fundamental errors in the usage of his champions at times.

Broxah has the slight edge in this matchup. Expect both junglers to contest the Xin Zhao, the Lee Sin, and other aggressive picks such as Jarvan IV at the LoL Worlds 2018 Finals.

Middle Lane

LoL Worlds 2018 Finals

Do not be fooled by these smiles, both are monsters in the middle lane. (Image via lolesports Flickr)

This is the long-awaited rematch between Rasmus “Caps” Winther and Song “Rookie” Eui-jin.

In their last three matches, Caps was not able to have a favorable matchup into Rookie even once. In addition, Rookie was able to impress with the heights that he has been able to achieve as a mid laner, while Caps has not had that great of a tournament. He was neutralized by Rookie, and even Lee “Scout” Ye-chan was able to do the same. Caps was only able to rise to meet expectations in the Semifinal against Cloud9.

Rookie is the best mid laner playing in the LoL Worlds 2018 Finals. It wouldn’t even be a stretch to say he’s the best in the world right now. His consistency is remarkable and the way he times his roams with how he manipulates waves is a sight to behold. The fact that he can rotate constantly on champions that don’t typically roam speak a lot about his skill.

If there is a player that is capable of winning all three lanes at the same time without playing on Galio, it’s Rookie.

Caps, on the other hand, while being incredibly talented mechanically, can sometimes be not that mindful of his opponents. He has a high amount of isolated deaths and is overly aggressive. This leads to opponents punishing him for overextending. Hopefully, Caps decides to play with a bit more restraint in the LoL Worlds 2018 Finals.

Either way, expect a high-octane, mechanically-driven matchup between these two, with, hopefully, no Urgots in the lane.

As for who has the advantage, Rookie should outclass Caps.

AD Carry

LoL Worlds 2018 Finals

The Old meets the New: Rekkles against Jackeylove. For the title of best in the world. (Image via lolesports Flickr)

We have two superstars in the bottom lane: the face of Fnatic in Martin “Rekkles” Larsson, and an unpolished, budding talent in Yu “Jackeylove” Wen-bo. Rekkles in this tournament is more about the late game scaling, getting to a point where he can simply carry in a late game teamfight. The other side of it is that they would usually force lane priority in the bottom lane even in a losing matchup, make his support roam to the jungle or the middle lane, and Rekkles would just safely farm. Once Fnatic is able to take out the bottom lane turret, they would rotate the laners to other lanes to pressure more objectives.

Jackeylove is supposed to be a more laning-oriented AD Carry. His team usually relies on him to be solid enough so that Ning could properly invade lanes or that he could assist the solo laners more. Jackeylove is usually put on the Xayah or the Kai’sa for some reliable scaling as well, but recently we have also seen him on a Lucian.

Between the two, Rekkles is the more reliable AD Carry assuming that the game gets to a point where he can comfortably take his team to victory. Jackeylove makes critical mistakes in some high-pressure situations, but the possibility of that is lessening day by day— we saw his Flash forward work against KT Rolster. While that is not something that happens all the time, we can clearly see Jackeylove having grown throughout the tournament. He might end up surprising us with a lane-dominant AD Carry with Draven or Lucian.

Support

The main enablers of the team’s aggression, both supports should look to be the ones pulling the trigger for their team. (Image via lolesports Flickr)

Wang “Baolan” Liu-Yu and Zdravets “Hylissang” Galabov are some of the most aggressive supports that we have in this tournament. While they have more or less the same pool of champions in Braum, Alistar, and Rakan, when not on champions that have much agency they both have a tendency to just lose their play.

Hylissang is the aggressive support: he roams to middle lane, and does his best to expend the opponent solo laner’s Flash, even at the cost of his own. His W, Flash, Q, and ultimate combo on Braum is changing the way teams perceive how to play Braum. This is a new, more aggressive Braum for all of us to see. In addition, his engages are mostly spot on.

Baolan, on the other hand, has had a rather up and down tournament. His Rakan games have shown his best form, but don’t expect Fnatic to let it through. If they play their cards right, Fnatic can drastically lessen Baolan’s impact at the LoL Worlds 2018 Finals.

Ultimately, Hylissang has the slight edge in this matchup. Baolan is far too inconsistent, especially if he doesn’t play his champions of choice.

Final Thoughts

In my opinion, Invictus Gaming will take the LoL Worlds 2018 Finals, 3-2.

While a 3-2 score is often indicative of how close the two teams are, it does not usually happen. A 3-0 or 3-1 is usually the result unless the other team is perfectly capable of adaptation. However, we believe that the solo laners’ capacity is just too great. We also believe that Fnatic has a fair shot of winning it, especially in a five-game scenario. But, once they are down 0-2, don’t expect a comeback to happen.

Betting: Invictus Gaming to win at 1.6 odds. (GGbet)

One last step towards the end. This is the time to take the crown and create history.

Do you agree with our prediction? Which team do you think will win LoL Worlds 2018 and lift the Summoner’s Cup? Let us know in the comments section below!

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