Worlds 2020: Three Thoughts About the Worlds Play-Ins

Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images.
Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images. /
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Photos by David Lee/Riot Games.
Photos by David Lee/Riot Games. /

Here are the three biggest surprises, disappointments, and takeaways from the Worlds 2020 play-ins.

The League of Legends World Championship play-ins have ended and we were treated to almost a whole week of incredible gameplay. We had everything from upsets, outplays, blunders, disappointments, and decisions we wanted to question mark ping. But there were three big revelations we got from the play-ins of Worlds 2020, so here are my thoughts.

Thought#1 – Team Liquid is good

This isn’t to say Team Liquid (“TL”) will become the first North American team to win Worlds, or even that they’ll make it out of groups. Their route to get out of the group stage isn’t necessarily easy either.

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That being said, they looked like the only team that came from a major region to play like it. LGD and MAD Lions both struggled at times and looked formidable. But TL, from start to finish, looked like they were clearly ahead of the competition for the most part.

The average game time during play-ins was 32:25, but TL, in route to going 4-1, finished their games in an average of 29:49. This might have been the biggest surprise as resident LCS fans had long seen them stall games out and play late game, scaling comps. They had the shortest average game time and they also led in GDM.

So how were they able to do this? Well, from top to bottom, literally, they had really good lane play.

Impact showed in the MAD Lions game, that he can still win lane, as he outplayed Orome multiple times and had an outstanding game on Mordekaiser. Broxah doesn’t play Hecarim, Lilia, or Evelynn particularly well, which is concerning going forward due to them being pretty in-meta strong junglers. Regardless, he has been performing pretty well on both the Graves and the Lee Sin. Jensen played very solid and notched himself two triple kills during the play-ins and shined when put on Twisted Fate.

And last, but certainly not least, the bot lane duo of Core JJ and Tactical was the topic for many. Tactical showed great composure by being able to farm under tower without dying as Twitch while Core JJ spent time roaming and helping secure Rift Herald. And in the late game, he let the world know he was ready for more as he flashed forward for the kills that ultimately led to the win vs. MAD Lions. Core JJ continuously showed why he won MVP in the Summer split with great warding, engage, peel, and shot calling, all of which is allowed by his deep champion pool and TL’s focus on giving him counter pick in lane.

Many believe TL plays too safe and a risk-averse playstyle, but their strength lies not just in playing safe, but more so calculated. They do not take unnecessary risks and are very good at holding onto and expanding leads when other teams slip up. They still have their work cut out for them, but they definitely looked better than a third-place LCS team and have the ability to make it out of the group stage.