Worlds 2022 Play-ins are right around the corner and we have our predictions ready right on time! As usual, four teams will qualify to Groups Stage, one for each group.
The Play-ins have 12 participants, instead of last year’s 10 due to VCS’ absence. The teams are divided in two groups of six, with one of those groups seeming much tougher than the other.
Play-ins Group A
Group A is the easiest of the two in terms of competition, but is it the easiest to predict? Not at all. Fnatic and Evil Geniuses should, in theory, easily make it out of this Group, but both have some major asterisks next to their names. But let’s take a look at their opposition first.
Beyond Gaming are back again as the PCS’ number 2 seed. PCS teams are always dangerous, don’t get me wrong, but BYG just doesn’t seem like it given their season. They had a very mediocre regular split, managed to pull of an amazing playoff run only to get smashed by CFO (PCS #1) twice.
CBlol’s last year representative Red Canids had a very similar trajectory to Loud’s, yet only managed to win a single play-ins game. Loud did have a massive resurgence with a 7-game win streak to end the regular season, with two dominant series to finish playoffs, so we might be wrong, but we're not expecting much.
DFM are back again and are still at the uncontested top of the LJL. They were the 2021 Play-ins’ surprise with a 3-1 finish in Group A. Their roster is practically the same (-Aria +Yaharong) so they will not be an easy opponent.
Chiefs absolutely dismantled the LCO and they’re the second most dangerous minor region team in Group A. Peace almost made it through last year’s group and they hadn’t been nearly as dominant in the region. This team will be dangerous.
After last year with Upset having to leave the tournament, the Fnatic disasters are happening before Worlds has even begun. Both botlaners tested positive for Covid, their arrival at Mexico City will be delayed and they’ll likely miss the first games.
Evil Geniuses is another weird one. They’ve confirmed that Kaori will be starting for the team at Worlds, so they’ve traded a player with international experience for a player who’s just been promoted from EG’s academy lineup. Don’t get me wrong, he did look much better than Danny did, but the pressure and the stakes will be much higher in Mexico.
Group A Predictions
Given all that’s going on, here’s our prediction for Group A:
Final thoughts: Fnatic have too much talent to lose against this level of opposition. DFM are coming in hot, this stage is familiar to them and they’ll take advantage of a crumbling EG lineup. EG will drop enough games to not make the top two.
- Evil Geniuses
- Beyond Gaming
Play-ins Group B
Group B is by far the tougher group, but it’s also much easier to predict.
Let’s get it out of the way, RNG are going to dominate this group. They’re only here because the LPL is unbelievably stacked, they’re still the MSI winning roster and their players are still too good to lose to any team here.
Saigon Buffalo are dangerous and experienced. The second VCS seed had a decent showing at MSI, but they do not have what it takes to crack the top three here.
Ístanbul Wildcats did have a great showing in the TCL, but this group is just too strong for their team to handle. They narrowly won their region’s playoffs and they would have had to dominate to even have a chance in this Group.
Isurus Gaming are in a very similar position, but in an arguably worse region. They didn’t win the regular season, won playoffs in a close 5 game series and are now in a ridiculously stacked play-ins group. No chance.
DRX surprised everyone just by making it here. Two 5 game series over favorites Liiv Sandbox and KT Rolster brought this team to Mexico, and they’re making it to the United States when this stage is over. The roster isn’t perfect, but this is Deft’s meta and, even if all else fails, he’ll ensure this team makes it to the top two.
A lot of people are down on Mad Lions after their playoff performance and the “memefied” qualification with zero BO5 wins, but it seems like everyone’s forgetting that these groups are BO1 only. Mad Lions had the same regular season record G2, 12-6. They’re a talented squad with quite a bit of experience and a great coaching staff.
Group B Predictions
Final thoughts: RNG will be unmatched, we’ll be surprised if they drop more than a single BO1. DRX is great in this meta and very experienced. MAD Lions shine in BO1s.
- Royal Never Give Up
- MAD Lions
- Saigon Buffalo
- Ístanbul Wildcats
- Isurus Gaming
Play-ins Knockout Stage
This is the hard one, but we’re pretty set on it already. This is how the Knockout Stage will look:
Evil Geniuses will beat Chiefs comfortably, but will be quickly disposed of by DRX.
MAD Lions have had a long time to iron out their playoff mistakes, and they will. Saigon Buffalo will be no match and neither will DFM.
The four teams making it out of the Worlds 2022 Play-ins are:
Let’s see if Mexico City blesses us with immaculate predictions. We’ll be back when Play-ins ends to bring you our Main Stage predictions.
- Royal Never Give Up
- MAD Lions.
Images courtesy of Lolesports and Leaguepedia.
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