It’s the most wonderful time of the year… the League of Legends World Championship 2016 is less than a month away. With the teams for Europe and North America now locked in, it’s time to speculate at the groups they’ll each be dreaming of, and the match-ups that will have them waking up in a cold sweat.
Every group consists of 1 team from Pool 1, 2 teams from Pool 2 and 1 team from Pool 3, forming 4 groups of 4 teams each. Teams cannot be placed in a group with another team from the same region.
What is best for the west?
Team SoloMid Dream Group: AHQ e-Sports Club, IMay, Albus NoX Luna
As the highest seed of all the western teams, TSM have the luxury of avoiding heavyweights ROX Tigers and Edward Gaming.
Counter Logic Gaming are exempt from being drawn, so Bjergsen and co. will instead be dreaming of drawing the weakest Chinese team, IMay, as well as Albus NoX Luna, a Russian team that frankly, no one has ever heard of.
Team SoloMid Nightmare Group: SK Telecom T1, G2 Esports, INTZ e-Sports
The prospect of facing both SKT T1 and G2 in the group stages seems too painful to be true, but with this year's seeding, it's an all-too-real possibility.
Despite not holding a 1st seed spot, SKT will undoubtedly be among the favourites once again - Faker is unlikely to conceed his crown easily. As European champions, G2 will be hoping to restore some pride after MSI, whilst Brazilians INTZ are looking stronger each year.
CLG/H2K/G2 Dream Group: Flash Wolves, AHQ e-Sports Club, Albus NoX Luna
Source: Riot Games Flickr
CLG/H2K/G2 Nightmare Group: Edward Gaming, SK Telecom T1, Splyce/Cloud9
Edward Gaming head into the World Championship 2016 as the team to beat, AD carry Deft has been in sensational form this season and looks set to clean up the competition - not a soul is hoping to lane against him in the group stages... except maybe H2K's Forg1ven who certainly enjoys a challenge.
Matching with SKT T1 in the same group as EDG would surely be a death sentence for any western team. The prospect of facing off against another western roster from the third pool really would entail a group of death.
C9/SPY Dream Group: Flash Wolves, AHQ e-Sports Club, IMay
Despite being seeding in the least desirable group, drawing Flash Wolves presents a realistic opportunity to qualify to the knock-out stages top of the group.
Both Splyce and Cloud9 have the potential to overcome the majority of the teams in the second tier, but AHQ and IMAY would probably be the easiest teams to dispatch.
C9/SPY Nightmare Group: Edward Gaming, SK Telecom T1, CLG/H2K/G2
Both Splyce and Cloud9 have shed tears on their route to Worlds - C9 mid laner was left devastated after suffering a finals defeat at the hands of TSM. Meanwhile in EU, Splyce coach Yamatocannon was shedding tears of joy after securing qualification.
There may well be tears again given the likelihood of a horrifying draw, the odds will be stacked against both SPY and C9.