The group stage of Worlds 2020 just concluded, and as such, the playoffs draws followed. Without further ado, let’s begin by showing the outcome right away:
Quarters match-ups and expectations
TOP Esports vs. Fnatic: Funnily, Fnatic have been seeded against a Chinese team in quarterfinals each of the 5 times that they have made it to the playoffs. They won twice, and lost the other two 3-1. This time around, they clearly aren’t favored. TOP Esports entered Worlds as an expected contender for the title, and a slip-up against FlyQuest is the only thing separating them from a 6-0 domination.
On the other side, Fnatic are an enigmatic team to grasp. They sure aren’t on their best year, and have taken strong losses to LGD and GenG in groups. However, on the other hand, their wins in that group against TSM and these same two opponents have been convincing for the most part. So, while TES are clear favorites and FNC don’t have a great record against supposed tournament favorites, a European win wouldn’t be the biggest of upsets either.
Suning vs. JD Gaming: While Suning have the higher seed, the higher expectations go to JDG. They went to Worlds as China’s second team, going all the way to the finals of the LPL’s playoffs, and showed slightly better results in groups. Suning was competitive against G2, took two games off of them, and made the third as close as could be, but also gave a game to TL. On the other hand, JDG went 1-1 against Damwon, also perceived as tournament favorites alongside TES. This match-up is by no means decided in advance, especially as those teams haven’t met in playoffs in their region, but giving the win to JD Gaming is the safer bet.
GenG vs. G2 Esports: Another match-up where the lower seed is the heavy favorite. GenG were on the cusp of not taking first place, looked shaky in many of their wins, and also came in as Korea’s third team. On the other hand, this iteration of G2 is the most threatening line-up to come out of Europe. Runner-up of Worlds 2019, 3-0 against Korea in bracket matches, and always stepping up in BO5s, the European champions are highly expected to advance to semis.
Damwon Gaming vs. DRX: This series should be the most predictable one. It’s a rematch of the LCK finals that DMW swept 3-0, and while Damwon have looked dominant in groups, the same cannot be said of DRX that showed weaknesses even in some of their wins.
The first two things to notice about these playoffs draws are that it’s the first time since 2014 that Korea and China have a combined 6 teams advancing, and that the overall strength of the teams that made it is higher than ever – to the point where no unexpected outcome would be a complete surprise, merely a team figuring plans out better than the other.
The third meaningful fact is that all of China wound up on one side of the bracket, with Korea on the other. There cannot be an all-LPL or all-LCK finals, and there can also only be a single China-Korea BO5 at most. Teams from these regions will have to face one of their brethren to make it to finals.
As for Europe, it’s about making it through the region that’s in their side of the bracket. The path to finals goes through two LPL teams for Fnatic, or two LCK teams for G2. For the latter, this seems like the ideal case, with their historic record being much better against Korea than China. For the former… they would be expected to struggle anyway.
Playoffs will begin on Thursday the 15th, with the quarters lasting through the 18th.