After the upset-filled weekend we just had, we’re in for a Worlds 2018 semifinal that no one most likely expected heading into the tournament.
Now, only four teams remain, and the Summoner’s Cup is up for grabs for any team in the tournament.
Our focus right now is a civil war of a matchup for western fans, as North America’s last hope, Cloud9, takes on the European favourites, Fnatic.
Here are my impressions for the upcoming Worlds 2018 Semifinal per role:
Worlds 2018 Semifinal Breakdown
Here we will see homegrown talent Eric “Licorice” Ritchie go against Paul “sOAZ” Boyer and Gabriel “Bwipo” Rau. The difference between Bwipo and sOAZ is huge: with Bwipo, Fnatic are more aggressive, and the champions he picks mirror that fact: we see Swain, Aatrox, and other carry-oriented champions piloted by Bwipo. sOAZ offers more stability, and is usually played to run the top lane by himself, whether his duty is to lose gracefully or to win the lane altogether. The shot calling and general map play with sOAZ around is more disciplined. This is not to say, however, that Bwipo is a carry-exclusive player and that sOAZ can only play tanks. Both of them can play the same pool of champions, but Bwipo has a greater carry potential and that sOAZ can play losing lanes more gracefully.
Licorice, on the other hand, has improved greatly over his stay as a starter on Cloud9. In the spring he used to be a carry-oriented player only, but in the summer, he was also able to show proficiency on tankier champions as well. In their match against the Afreeca Freecs, Licorice has been able to show the capability to handle losing matchups and still be able to be relevant in a team fight in the later stages of the game.
I expect sOAZ to be a more fitting top laner against Licorice as even winning matchups would not be able to render Licorice irrelevant to the whole game as his matchup with Kim “Kiin” Gi-in showed. Bwipo should still start the series to be able to assess their drafting tendencies around the top lane, and regardless of the result sOAZ should come in to close if ever.
Both teams’ junglers were vital in their quarterfinal wins over the past weekend. Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen found his aggression paying off on different aggressive picks. Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen was identified by Edward Gaming as the catalyst that propelled Fnatic towards their victories, and was forced into a low-impact Elise in game 1, which they eventually lost.
Svenskeren always serves as Cloud9’s main source of aggression— being on picks like the Graves, Taliyah and Nocturne, they always count on him to start fights, and the rest of the team just backs him up. Broxah assists his lanes more often, even on carry-oriented junglers.
It is notable though that both Svenskeren and Broxah are excellent Lee Sin players, and the pick will most likely be contested. Both teams would look to hinder the enemy jungler’s capability to make plays and influence the lanes early on.
This is a battle between two Danish middle laners. Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen and Rasmus “Caps” Winther are both mechanically intensive laners, capable of outplaying their opponents in the laning phase and in team fights later on.
The difference is that Jensen seems to be a lot more stable in the laning phase and beyond that. He never gets so far behind in lane, while Caps, on the other hand, is a double-edged sword. If he gets ahead, he can completely take over games, but if he is behind, he usually just stays behind and is usually irrelevant. In addition, Jensen is more flexible with his champion picks nowadays: it has been shown that he can play champions like the Galio, Lulu, and Zilean. While there is no doubt that Caps can play the same champions as Jensen can, but his carry potential is not maximized when not on a carry like Irelia, Akali, or Leblanc.
Fnatic should draft in order to maximize Caps’ potential to carry a game, while Cloud9 could look to feed on Caps’ inconsistency.
This is the tricky part: Cloud9’s Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi has been doing pretty well in this tournament. His laning prowess has greatly improved, and he completely dominated the opposition on the Lucian. He also does well in the team fighting aspect. In addition, he was able to hold his own well against some of the best AD Carries in the world so far. Martin “Rekkles” Larsson, on the other hand, has been Fnatic’s insurance policy when Caps has been relatively underperforming. His performance in the quarterfinal against Edward Gaming made us think that he may not have taken a leave from the main roster at all.
Sneaky has shown to be prioritized in the draft phase, as he appears to prefer to play for early game power, while Rekkles plays more towards the scaling side of the AD Carry champion pool. Rekkles usually has a good sense of how to play a lane without priority and minimize the risk in going to the late game.
Cloud9 can look to continue their lane dominant picks in the draft and take the fight to Rekkles early, while Fnatic should look to force Sneaky into a scaling game.
Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam is usually with Sneaky in the lane and rarely roams, while on the other hand, Zdravets “Hylissang” Galabov is usually part of Caps’ supporting caps to get the mid laner ahead. Zeyzal has been playing better over the course of the tournament: he has been doing well, whether his job is to be proactive or be reactive. He can employ counter picks against the enemy support. Hylissang needs to be on a champion that can roam effectively and either start the engagement, or provide secondary crowd control.
Expect them to fight over the small support champion pool in the meta in this tournament.
Worlds 2018 Semifinal Prediction
I predict Fnatic to win the match, 3-2. It will be fairly close due to Cloud9’s drafting tendencies in terms of high amounts of engage. It is almost certain that both teams have some surprise picks prepared, and we can look at these to provide shape to the incoming series.
Betting: Total maps Over 4.5 at 2.64 odds. (GGbet)
All Worlds 2018 Semifinal odds courtesy of GGbet.
Do you agree with our prediction for the Worlds 2018 Semifinal? How much of a fight do you think will Cloud9 be able to put up? Let us know in the comments section below!