What to watch in esports this week: Worlds Group Stage continues, the Dota 2 Pro Circuit begins and the ELEAGUE Premier comes to an end

by Dennis Gonzales Oct 9
Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot esports Flickr

There is no shortage of esports matches and tournaments happening around the world each week, and it may be hard to keep track of them all, so we're highlighting a few matches that you should watch across a variety of esports.

League of Legends — 2017 World Championship

Worry not League of Legends fans, but the 2017 World Championship is not going away anytime soon. With the first week of the Group Stage completed, teams will be looking to either bolster their lead or to try and make a comeback that will propel them to the Knockout Stage.

With that said, here are the two most important matches you should pay attention to:

Royal Never Give Up vs. Samsung Galaxy

  • Where: Riot Games
  • When: Friday, Oct. 13 at 5:00 a.m. ET
  • Why: The best in Group C fight it out

Sorry G2 Esports and 1907 Fenerbahçe Esports, but the best match of Group C doesn't involve you.

Barring several upsets, the second match between RNG and SSG will decide who is the first seed coming out of Group C. In the first match between the two teams, RNG came out on top in a bloody battle that saw SSG fail to secure any kills in the match. SSG has shown some weaknesses despite winning their other matches in the group, so it remains to be seen if that loss will be a one-off event or a sign of RNG's dominance heading into the Knockout Stage.

Team SoloMid vs. Team WE

  • Where: Riot Games
  • When: Saturday, Oct. 14 at 1:00 a.m. ET
  • Why: Three way tie in Group D

While other groups have clear leaders and losers, Group D is in the midst of a three way tie for first between Misfits, Team SoloMid and Team WE. While each of the matches between the three teams will have an immense impact on who advances to the Knockout Stage, TSM vs. WE will be the most important one for the two teams that were the perceived favorites heading into the group stage.

Group D was thought to be the group of life for TSM, a chance for them to finally get out of the group stage after two back-to-back eliminations in the group stage at previous Worlds. And while their loss to Misfits prevented them from completely dominating, TSM's win over WE in their first match is a good sign that the best team out of NA will move on to the next round

Dota 2 — SL i-League Invitational Season 3

After weeks of qualifiers running nearly every day of the week, the first tournament in the Dota Pro Circuit is upon us. SL i-League Invitational Season 3 may only be a minor, but all eyes will be watching it to see how the start of the 2017-2018 season unfolds.

The opening matches are already set, so let's take a look at two of the more interesting matches.

Team Liquid vs. Mineski

  • Where: StarLadder
  • When: Thursday, Oct. 12 at 9 a.m. ET
  • Why: How will Mineski fare against a non-SEA team?

If there's one team that has dominated Southeast Asia post-TI7, it's Mineski. Led by Chai "Mushi" Yee Fung, Mineski has won every qualifier they've competed in with the exception of ESL One Hamburg 2017, setting themselves up as the team to beat if anyone else wants a shot at any Qualifying Points.

Yet their first match at SL i-League will be against Team Liquid, their toughest challenge so far. The TI winners are coming in as the best team in the world, and should win against Mineski, but the question is whether or not Mineski will go down fighting.

Team Secret vs. Natus Vincere

  • Where: StarLadder
  • When: Friday, Oct. 13 at 9 a.m. ET
  • Why: Secret are on fire

Team Secret enter this tournament as the hottest team in Europe after winning every qualifier they've competed in. Yeik "MidOne" Nai Zheng has been dominating the mid lane in game after game, and Clement "Puppey" Ivanov's drafts have been a major contributor to Secret's success. If you like to watch good Dota, Secret are the team to be watching right now.

Yet of all the teams to emerge from the post-TI7 roster shuffle as a contender, Na`Vi are one of the more surprising. To go from failing to from failing to qualify for any Valve event in the 2016-17 season to qualifying for three (so far) is a great turnaround. They're an underdog in this match up, but they'll put up one hell of a fight no matter if they win or lose.

CS:GO — ELEAGUE Premier 2017

If recent LAN results are any indication, we’ve enter into another era of parity among tier one teams. But with the next Major announced, the ELEAGUE Premier is smack dab in the middle of the season and could set the record straight on where teams stand.

Let’s take a look at each of the openers:

Astralis vs. Fnatic

Viking pride is on the line in this set. Astralis have had some up and downs in their recent performances, but Fnatic have been in a rebuild period since Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer Gustafsson and Dennis "dennis" Edman parted ways.

The Swedish side have a lot of work ahead of them with Maikil "Golden" Selim, who is green in the IGL role, but has been put on a fast track with superstars Robin "flusha" Rönnquist and Jesper "JW" Wecksell playing under him. They will likely have to rely on a much looser calling style, which should not be favorable against Astralis in their current state, slump or no.

RELATED: Astralis' gla1ve: 'I believe that the current state we are in right now is the state most teams only get to after doing a roster change'

North vs. Heroic

A Danish Derby is a common thing nowadays in CS:GO, given the state of Denmark’s best. Dueling at the top are North and Astralis, but Heroic are never far behind and they actually swept North out of ECS Season 4 contention. Skeptics will tout the “it’s only online CS” line, but it’s likely a result Heroic will carry into this set and it could be the mental buffer they need considering the (relatively) lacking LAN experience for the majority of their lineup.

On the flipside, North are never lacking in confidence, which could arguably their worst trait, but after bringing in Valdemar "valde" Bjørn Vangså , they look like they can do no wrong.

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports who is busy staring into the abyss that is Dota. You can follow him on Twitter.

Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking Discipline Priest Pharah a silenced Cavity 9mm Ryu Bounty Hunter Dual Berettas. You can follow him on Twitter.