Fighting for a miracle

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The quarterfinals of the League of Legend World Championship begin Thursday, Oct. 15. The matchups were drawn over the weekend once the entire group stage was completed. The first seed out of each group, which ended up being Suning, DAMWON Gaming, Gen.G and Top Esports, will each play a second seed from a different group than the one that they were in.  

Several interesting matchups came out of the draw. Top will face off against Fnatic, the second seeded European team. Fnatic are serious underdogs in this matchup, but an underdog European team has upset a favored Chinese team before; in 2018, G2 Esports shocked the world when they eliminated Uzi and RNG in a five-game epic. Fnatic will need to channel some of G2’s miraculous energy when they play; Top is one of the favorites to win the entire tournament and while Fnatic has looked good, they are going to have to play the games of their lives.  

But even with the odds against Fnatic, that is not the most unlikely upset that we could see this weekend. The final quarterfinals game, DAMWON Gaming versus DRX, will require a miracle of epic proportions for the results not to be exactly what is expected; a Damwon victory.  

The teams faced off previously in the LCK, most recently in the finals where Damwon absolutely destroyed DRX. Chovy was the only member of DRX who showed any life in that series and since Damwon has looked as good at Worlds as they did in the LCK, DRX is going to need something incredible. It’s not out of the realm of possibility; DRX is a talented team. If their players bring everything they can, they could take the game. But to win three, you have to believe Damwon will falter.  

The other series at least feel slightly closer. Suning will take on JD Gaming, both Chinese teams, on Friday. Suning is the first seed, but they’re coming out of a shaky Group A while JDG survived a difficult group with Damwon. It’s difficult to choose a favorite, though JDG’s success in Summer likely makes them the favorite. While Suning has performed well so far this tournament, keeping that up in this series is going to require a little bit more from the least talked about LPL team.  

The final series is Gen.G vs G2 Esports. Gen.G, the third seed from Korea, was relatively impressive in being able to grab first seed in its group. While the group, with Fnatic, LGD and TSM wasn’t the most impressive, it’s still an achievement for a third seed to win a group and it sets them up for a matchup against G2. G2, despite being the second seed, are likely the favorites; they have made the finals of the last two international events that they’ve been to. 

G2 Esports also tends to show up in best-of-fives, a fact that was clearly on display in the summer when they came back from a struggling split to win the entire thing. Gen.G, who many believed should be the second seeded Korean team, are the underdogs coming into the series. Despite this, it is a series that Gen.G has the skill to win, especially if G2 struggles as they sometimes have in the last few months.  

Coming out of what turned out to be a relatively calm group stage, surprises in the quarterfinals would be an exciting change of pace. For now, though, it seems almost destined that DAMWON Gaming and Top Esports will face off in the finals in a battle of Korea versus China. But while that might seem like destiny, neither team will make it without winning six games in two series. Neither team will make it on destiny alone; they both have to show up and take it and as we have seen numerous times in the history of Worlds, nothing is guaranteed until the nexus falls.  

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