Worlds 2020 Group Stage Team Preview: Top Esports

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

We look at Top Esports, their path to Worlds 2020, and how they might fare in the group stage.

Top Esports are the favorites to win the 2020 World Championship after dominating the LPL this season. Their reward for lifting the LPL Summer Split trophy was a place in Group D alongside LCK runners-up DRX and LCS runners-up FlyQuest. Can Top reach their lofty expectations and become the eighth team to win Worlds?

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The Season

Preseason changes were made after Top Esports narrowly missed out on a place in the 2019 World Championship with jungler Xiong “Xx” Yu-Long, AD carry Lee “LokeN” Dong-wook, and support Nam “Ben” Dong-hyun all released by the organization.

Their replacements were 2019 LPL runner-up Hung “Karsa” Hao-Hsuan, 2018 world champion Yu “JackeyLove” Wen-Bo, and promising rookie Liang “yuyanjia” Jia-Yuan.

The new signings made an instant impact as Top Esports climbed to a fourth place regular season finish and a second place playoff finish in the Spring Split, the best result in the history of the organization.

Top were determined to prove that their spring performance wasn’t a fluke and went one better during the Summer Split with a first place regular season finish losing just three games during the double round-robin.

In the playoffs, they cleanly swept Suning 3-0 before facing off against JD Gaming in a rematch from the Spring Split. This best-of-five ended 3-2 in favor of Top Esports, securing their first-ever LPL title and a spot in the World Championship as China’s first seed.

The Roster

Top Lane – Bai “369” Jia-Hao

369 has been a member of Top Esports since 2018 and has reached four LPL playoffs with the team. This will be the top laner’s first appearance in the World Championship and he has been ranked as the second-best top laner heading into the tournament.

In the LPL Summer Split, 369 boasted a 4.0 KDA and 73% win rate. He locked in 13 unique champions during the regular season with Renekton, Ornn, and Mordekaiser being his three most played.

Jungle – Hung “Karsa” Hao-Hsuan

Karsa joined Top Esports in 2019 after lengthy spells with Flash Wolves and Royal Never Give Up during which he won nine major trophies. This will be the jungler’s sixth consecutive appearance in the World Championship and he has been ranked as the tenth-best jungler heading into the tournament.

Karsa averaged 8.6 assists per game during the Summer Split regular season and locked in 8 unique champions, his favourites being Trundle, Lee Sin, and Volibear.

Mid Lane – Zhuo “knight” Ding

knight signed for Top Esports in 2018 following a brief spell at Suning. Since joining the LPL champions, knight has appeared in four LPL playoffs. Much like 369, this will be the mid laner’s first appearance at the World Championship and he has been ranked as the second-best mid laner heading into the tournament.

Top’s mid laner was arguably the best player in the LPL during the Summer Split, boasting an incredible 7.2 KDA and 21 solo kills throughout the regular season. knight also picked a remarkable 18 unique champions during this period, the most popular of which being Orianna, Syndra, and Sylas.

AD Carry – Yu “JackeyLove” Wen-Bo

JackeyLove’s shock move from Invictus Gaming to Top Esports raised eyebrows across the League of Legends sphere but has proved to be a beneficial one so far.

The AD carry has already added to his major title tally on his new team and will be making his third Worlds appearance this year after reaching the semi-finals in 2019 and lifting the Summoner’s Cup in 2018. JackeyLove has been ranked as the second-best marksman heading to Worlds in 2020.

Support – Liang “yuyanjia” Jia-Yuan

yuyanjia is undoubtedly the least experienced member of the Top Esports roster having only made his LPL debut in the 2020 Spring Split. This will be his first appearance at the World Championship at which he has been rated the third-best support in the tournament, despite only playing at the highest level for six months.

Next. Where, When, and How to Watch the Play-In Knockouts. dark

90/50/10 Predictions

90% odds that… Top Esports reach the World Championship semi-finals.

Top Esports are favorites to lift the Summoner’s Cup for a reason. They are arguably the best team in the world right now and should have no problem beating the lower seeds from across the globe en route to the semi-finals. From there, it may become tricky.

50% odds that… Top Esports win the World Championship.

Top Esports’ complete dominance over the LPL throughout the 2020 season means they have every chance of being crowned Worlds champions in October. The expectations are high but they have the experience and talent to meet those expectations.

10% odds that… Top Esports fail to make it out of the group stage.

It is almost inconceivable that Top will fail to reach the knockout stage. However, DRX and FlyQuest have had fantastic seasons and that’s not to mention the potential of being joined by the electric MAD Lions. If Top drop one or two games early on, who knows what might happen.