The LoL Worlds 2023 Play-In stage is in the rearview mirror, and the tournament can finally begin! Team BDS and GAM Esports emerged victorious in the play-ins and now joined 14 directly qualified LoL esports teams in the new Swiss Stage, which is set to kick off on Thursday, October 19and run until October 29, when the top eight teams will advance to the knockouts.
The LoL Worlds 2023 draw produced a handful of exciting games for the opening round of the Swiss Stage, including clashes of old rivals, regional derbies, and Team BDS getting the luxury of facing the current favourites, JD Gaming.
T1 vs Team Liquid
When: Thursday, October 19, 7:00 CEST (14:00 KST)
T1 are 1.062 (bet365) favourites to defeat Team Liquid, and as absurd as this price is, I don’t see how it makes any sense backing Team Liquid even at 8.00. TL are not even the second-best team from LCS, and even though T1 had their struggles in the final split of the season, they’re still a few levels above TL.
- Prediction: None
Cloud9 vs MAD Lions
When: Thursday, October 19, 8:00 CEST (15:00 KST)
When we have games between North American and European teams, we always come back to the age-old question: LCS vs LEC, which is stronger? Objectively, LEC is a stronger league as the European LoL squad have accomplished far more internationally than LCS teams, but this can’t be taken at face value when predicting matches between LCS and LEC teams.
This game is a prime example of that.
MAD Lions have been overrated for most of the season, and even though they’re the third-best team from LEC, MAD aren’t that good. Their bot lane is very volatile, top lane is weak, and mid lane is nothing special. Javier “Elyoya” Prades Batalla is the only actually good player on this team and one of the few Western players that could compete in LCK or LPL.
This is not an attempt to undervalue MAD Lions, but no matter how you look at this match, Cloud9 are at a significant advantage. Their bottom lane is stronger and more consistent, they have a far more impactful top lane with Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami, and the jungle-mid can definitely compete with MAD Lions.
The only real enigma with C9 is how will Jang “EMENES” Min-soo do on the international stage as he is potentially the only handicap Cloud9 will have to overcome. But if EMENES proves himself as an elite mid laner, Cloud9 can make it very far.
- Prediction: Cloud9 to win – 1.909 at Pinnacle (open account on ps3838 via PremiumTradings)
Gen.G vs GAM Esports
When: Thursday, October 19, 9:00 CEST (16:00 KST)
Much like the first match of the day, this one shouldn’t produce any surprises. Even though LoL Worlds 2023 Swiss Stage Round 1 is all best-of-one, expecting GAM Esports to surprise Gen.G is way too optimistic.
GAM Esports didn’t look good in the LoL Worlds 2023 Play-in stage, and they surely won’t look much better in the Swiss Stage, facing significantly better opponents. In fact, they got drawn with one of the most unbeatable teams, and the only way things would be any worse for GAM is if they had drawn JD Gamng.
- Prediction: None
JD Gaming vs Team BDS
When: Thursday, October 19, 10:00 CEST (17:00 KST)
Not only do Team BDS lack the individual talent to match JDG, but they’re also far too inconsistent to cook up an upset, although it’s not like Team BDS have any clear win condition here. JD Gaming would have to produce a blunder of the year to come even close to losing this series.
Team BDS didn’t impress me in the LoL Worlds 2023 Play-In stage, and I don’t expect them to do any better in the Swiss Stage – especially against the current LoL Worlds 2023 favourites, JD Gaming.
- Prediction: None
G2 Esports vs Dplus KIA
When: Thursday, October 19, 11:00 CEST (18:00 KST)
Two old enemies meet again, as G2 Esports and Dplus KIA clash in the first round of LoL Worlds 2023 Swiss Stage. Priced at 2.25 (bet365), G2 Esports are expected to struggle against Dplus KIA (1.57), which sounds fair, but there’s definitely a world where G2 Esports win.
G2 Esports have been a bit overhyped heading to LoL Worlds 2023, which isn’t that surprising. They were by far the best team in the LEC; however, since the level of opposition domestically wasn’t that high, it was very easy for G2 to look good. Yet that doesn’t take away from the fact that G2 are a solid team.
I have faith in G2 Esports to do well at this tournament, mainly due to the strong coaching staff this team has and their immense flexibility. G2 Esports can play any type of game and can adapt to situations very quickly.
This might be different when faced with tougher opponents, but it’s not like Dplus KIA are in a very good spot.
As noted before, Dplus KIA have the potential to do extremely well at LoL Worlds 2023, assuming Heo “ShowMaker” Su and Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu can step up. But that’s a big “what if”, and until we see the mid-jungle duo in action, it’s all wishful thinking.
G2 Esports have the tools to do well against Dplus KIA, especially in a best-of-one (Bo1) and at 2.25, I’m ready to pay to see it.
- Prediction: G2 Esports to win – 2.25 at bet365
NRG Esports vs Weibo Gaming
When: Thursday, October 19, 1200 CEST (19:00 KST)
How fitting is it to see NRG Esports and Weibo Gaming meet in the first round of LoL Worlds 2023 Swiss Stage? Even though there’s definitely a massive quality gap between the two squads, they both share one thing in common – extreme volatility.
NRG Esports and Weibo Gaming are two teams that can beat anyone but also lose to anyone, and they’ve shown that numerous times this season. So while Weibo Gaming look much better on paper, the result of this match will come down to one thing – which team will not choke on Thursday.
This is one of the boldest predictions for today, but if there’s one Eastern team NRG Esports can beat, or better said, if there’s one Asian team that can lose to NRG Esports, it’s Weibo Gaming.
- Prediction: NRG Esports to win – 6.00 at bet36
Fnatic vs LNG Esports
When: Thursday, October 19, 13:00 CEST (20:00 KST)
Fnatic have had quite a turbulent year, yet they made it happen, reached LoL Worlds 2023, and travelled to South Korea as Europe’s number two seed. But how far can Fnatic go?
I’m not that excited about Fnatic and their chances to do well at LoL Worlds 2023, mainly because three things must happen for the Black & Orange to be competitive.
Iván “Razork” Martín Díaz has to keep playing at the same level he has shown domestically, and the newest additions in Óscar “Oscarinin” Muñoz Jiménez and Oh “Noah” Hyeon-taek have to perform like one of the top-five players in their position. Fnatic are set in three of five positions with quality players, but the ADC and top lane are a bit questionable.
We’ve seen Noah and Oscarinin do well this season at times, but with rookies, you can never know how they’ll do under pressure.
LNG Esports are clear favourites to defeat Fnatic, and rightly so. They’re the second-seeded team from LPL and, according to the outright betting odds, the third favourites to go all the way. I’ve already mentioned that LNG are very overrated ahead of LoL Worlds 2023, and I’m not trying to say that this is a bad team – they’re just not as good as the betting odds suggest.
The big issue with LNG is their one-dimensional playstyle and lack of flexibility, which is something the old Fnatic could take advantage of. This iteration of Fnatic, on the other side, hasn’t shown as much adaptability.
Still, we’re getting 4.50 (at bet365) on Fnatic, which implies that they can win this match 22.2% of the time, which is a bit low, but I don’t know if Fnatic can do well against one of the top LPL team, as flawed as LNG Esports might be.
There are some betting options that might interest some.
- Prediction: None
Bilibili Gaming vs KT Rolster
When: Thursday, October 19, 14:00 CEST (21:00 KST)
Two underdog teams that can do well, Bilibili Gaming and KT Rolster, will clash in the first round of LoL Worlds 2023 Swiss Stage in what promises to end in a Bilibili Gaming victory. This makes sense, considering Bilibili Gaming are easily one of the best teams in the world; and very underrated.
This season, Bilibili Gaming have made the finals of the LPL 2023 Spring Playoffs and MSI 2023, won the LPL 2023 Summer Split with a 15-1 record and ended the year with a bronze medal from the LPL 2023 Summer Playoffs. The only reason why Bilibili Gaming haven’t won more is JD Gaming, which BLG have yet to defeat this year.
In a world where JDG don’t exist, BLG would’ve likely won both LPL splits and MSI 2023. And, if you believe that JD Gaming are the best team in the world, Bilibili Gaming should be the second-best LoL esports team in the world.
KT Rolster did well this season. They collected two bronze medals from the LPL 2023 Summer and Spring Playoffs and won the LCK 2023 Regional Finals. They have struggled a bit against T1 and Gen.G throughout the year, but no other team has really caused KT Rolster any issues. Yet, while this sounds like a very similar situation to Bilibili Gaming, KT Rolster haven’t looked as good.
The betting odds on this match look fair, so I don’t like either side of the bet.
- Prediction: None