Worlds is more diverse than ever. With the addition of the play-in stage, there are now 13 regions at the World Championships.
League of Legends is a truly global game, and everyone, across the world, has a chance to participate. However, the average viewer might have trouble keeping track of so many regions. IWC leagues, in particular, are often not available outside of the native language, and can be difficult to follow. With that in mind, here are the 5 players you should keep your eye on in the first stage of worlds.
1. Frozen, Mid, 1907 Fenerbahce eSports
As a substitute mid in Korea, Frozen showed promise as a potential future carry. Unfortunately, he was unable to find his place in the highly competitive Eastern region. Instead, he moved to Turkey, where he dominated for much of 2017. Against an admittedly weaker field of competition, Frozen successfully proved his worth as a mid lane star. However, in the past few weeks, Frozen seems to have reached a new level. In the TCL Summer Playoffs, Frozen averaged a KDA of 10.4, blowing every mid laner out of the water, and leading his team to Worlds. If Frozen can make a repeat performance at the play-in stage, Fenerbahce could upset in a relatively easy group.
2. Tussle, Jungle, Rampage, Japan
From the 2016 IWC Qualifier to the 2017 Mid-Season invitational, Rampage have made a name for themselves as one of Japan’s premier teams. However, LJL’s top team has never made it on a bigger stage, failing to advance beyond groups in each of their appearances. The one shining light for the team is Tussle, their star import jungler. Tussle burst onto the scene in 2016, with an excellent showing on champions like Lee Sin and Graves. He was explosive, aggressive, and opportunistic, fun and flashy in his plays. At Rift Rivals, Tussle was instrumental in leading Japan to victory over Oceania and Southeast Asia. Tussle will show off his exciting playstyle once again in Wuhan, China, and hope to bring home Japan’s long awaited success.
3. Diamondprox, Jungle, Gambit Esports, CIS,
If you’ve been around LoL Esports for a while, this next name should a ring a bell for you. Diamondprox became legendary for his time on Moscow Five and Gambit Gaming, famously winning several IEMs and placing 3rd at the Season 2 World Championships. While Diamondprox is certainly no slouch on the Rift itself, much of his importance to the team comes from other areas. The IWC is full of unproven imports and hometown heroes unfamiliar with the big-stage environment that they will compete in. Diamondprox, on the other hand, is used to the fan atmosphere, and won’t be silenced by the 7,000 seat crowd he will face in Wuhan, China. His leadership has already brought his team so far, and he can take them even further.
4. WhiteLotus, ADC, Lyon Gaming, Latin America South
WhiteLotus is another international breakout star who debuted at the IWC Qualifier one year ago. He and Lyon Gaming shocked the world to take 1st place in the groupstage of the IWC Qualifier. While they failed to make the Worlds stage, their performance was impressive for a region whose previous performances were lackluster to say the least. On paper, Lyon is one of the scariest teams from a minor region. Seiya, Oddie, and Lotus himself can all carry their team to success, and have before internationally. However, Lyon’s path won’t be easy. They have to face the toughest group in the entire play-in stage, despite having never advanced beyond groups themselves. it’s a tough road for Lyon, but with commitment and coordination, they can combine their starpower into an unexpected, unstoppable force.
5. Blasting, ADC, Gambit Esports, CIS
Gambit Esports packed their lineup full of famous CIS power. From the LCS legends of Edward and Diamondprox to the Albus NoX remnants of Kira and PvpStejos, much of the CIS roster is instantly recognizable to even a casual fan. But among the stars and storied careers, Blasting is a bit of an unknown. He has never appeared on an international stage, and has only played in the LCL for a little over a year. Despite his inexperience, the Latvian is easily one of Gambit’s most dangerous threats. Alongside veteran support EDward, Blasting has successfully become one of Gambit’s most reliable carries through the LCL season. If he can adapt to the massive stage, Blasting could be Gambit’s big surprise.