Group D – Press D to Die
Members: Acorn, TBQ, GODV, imp, Pyl
Notable Champions: Lulu, Rek'sai, Diana
May be a supervillain: imp
"You saw Piglet cry, right?" asked AD carry Imp last year, permanently cementing a reputation for an almost sadistic aggression both in and out of the game (the fact that he won the world title in 2014 helps). His recruitment by China's LGD was one of the highest profile international transfers in 2014, helping to bolster what was then a relatively unknown organization into a major powerhouse. Needless to say, as China's #1 seed, it was an astounding success: though they spent most of the year in the shadow of EDG, the alluring scent of the Worlds prize spurred a glory-hungry team to its highest capabilities, and imp is once again in position to tear up the turf down in bottom lane.
But he'll have a hard time controlling the spotlight. Mid laner GODV sits at the center of a hot nexus of anticipation. Rumor has it that he's successfully defeated SKT T1's Faker in scrims, and the team overall has adjusted better to recent balance changes than erstwhile rivals EDG. The question isn't whether LGD gets out of Group D—it's how dominant they look while doing so.
Members: Ssumday, Score, Nagne, Arrow, Piccaboo
Origin: South Korea
Notable Champions: Riven, Elise, Azir
Sick of Skyrim jokes: Arrow
KT Rolster fans have distant kin with Counter Logic Gaming: both know the agony of supporting a team that's ever on the cusp of greatness, always falling a little short of actually winning anything. The tradition started back when H2K's Ryu was on the KT Rolster Bullets, coming within a split second of toppling SKT T1 in their 2013 prime, and continued when KaKAO's KT Arrows with their reputation for exciting maverick plays nonetheless fell short of making it to Worlds. "Someday," they prayed. "Someday, let us actually make it there!" And Chan-ho "Ssumday" Kim heard their prayers.
Is the current iteration of the KT Rolsters a legitimate contender for the title? Well, getting 0-3'd by SKT T1 during the summer playoffs suggests otherwise. Score's move from AD carry to jungle could've been a lot more turbulent than it ultimately proved, but his work in the role is more workmanlike than genius, and Arrow ain't no imp. On the other hand, losing to SKT T1 doesn't really say that a team sucks, merely that they aren't godlike—and there are two western teams in Group D that haven't historically been able to win versus the Korean meta in general. You don't need to be a god to smite the unbeliever—Ssumday's Riven will bop them just fine.
Members: sOAZ, Amazing, xPeke, Niels, Mithy
Notable Champions: Ahri, Corki, Elise
Hasn't actually backdoored a team in ages: xPeke
There's a lot to be said for persistence. Origen are probably Europe's most veteran qualifiers for Worlds—xPeke and sOAZ, in particular, have been at the top of their respective positions for years and can remember when the game's world championship was played in a corner of a convention hall to half-filled plastic seats arranged before a projector screen. Though technically a "rookie" European team, having only qualified during the summer split, the combined experience and capabilities of their roster leaves most of the competition in the dust.
That said, they weren't able to conquer their old team Fnatic in that time period. Second in the summer for the EU LCS is nothing to scoff at, but the intimidation factor isn't as significant. Furthermore, their months-long vacation slumming it in the European semi-professional Challenger scene meant missing out on the scant few international opportunities available to teams during the mid-season period. In short, it's been a while since they've had to take on a high-caliber Asian team, and facing off against two of the best will be more of a challenge than anything they've faced at home in the last year.
Members: Dyrus, Santorin, Bjergsen, Wildturtle, Lustboy
Origin: North America
Notable Champions: Maokai, Gragas, Azir
World's biggest backpack: Bjergsen
Where did it all go wrong? Baylife reigned supreme in North America once, only slacking a bit when Cloud 9 declared a shift towards a greater standard of play. But even Cloud 9 couldn't keep TSM down forever, and the black-and-white quickly reclaimed the North American leadership with European ace Bjergsen spearheading the way. But somewhere over the summer, it slipped out of their grasp: they played without confidence, top and bottom lane were both dying at a rate that made the half-life of transuranic metals look stable, and even long-time nemesis Counter Logic Gaming finally put an end to TSM's cherished tradition of playoff success.
And now they're in Group D, just barely making the cut thanks to their spring split successes, where a confident and powerful Worlds-caliber team is grinning down on them from every angle like sharks smelling blood in the water. As a result, Bjergsen is both their greatest strength and biggest liability: he is by far the strongest and most consistent hard-carry in North America, but everybody else in the world knows that too, painting a neon-colored target on his head.
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