You know it, we know it. Your favorite team is 100 percent guaranteed, no-questions-asked going to win Worlds this year. You've told your friends, you've told your dog and most importantly, you've told Reddit. But now you have to back up your boasts. You've got to justify the insane act of saying anything other than "SKT will win Worlds again," or "I guess Longzhu has a shot this year too."
Do you need help figuring out why your favorite team in the knockout stage will win Worlds? Well, look no further. Here at theScore esports, we understand your plight, so we've put together a handy cheat sheet for you.
As we’ve previously written, we're not sure if Fnatic made it out of groups. We truly don’t know if we live in a world where they came back from a four game deficit in the group stage and won two tiebreakers in order to make it to the quarterfinals. However, if by some bizarre, eldritch power Fnatic have in fact made it to the quarterfinals, what is to stop those same eerie, infernal forces from guiding them all the way to ultimate victory?
How They Beat SKT: The dread stars align and Rekkles picks Kalista as dead Cthulhu awakens from his dreams.
Royal Never Give Up
Royal Never Give Up have certainly lived up to their name. I mean, Uzi’s been here before — two years in a row to be exact. He made it to Worlds' Grand Final in 2013 and 2014 and ended up losing both times. Imagine how sucky that is — you are a step away from becoming a world champion not once, but twice, and then have two long years to think about it, seething at the memory of everything you could have done differently, all the while dealing with a serious injury. And during that domestic seething, you don’t even manage to win your regional title, racking up more and more second-place finishes.
You’d be pissed, and so is Uzi. Now coming off his best split in years, that boy is Jaws smelling blood in the water and only one thing is certain: everyone else is going to need a bigger boat.
How They Beat SKT: “Hello, my name is Jian Zi-Hao. You killed my Championship Skin. Prepare to die.”
Oh hey, remember how everyone scoffed and said Misfits would never make it to Worlds? Oh, and then when they said they would never ever in a million years make it out of groups? Boy, those people sure look silly now don’t they? I mean, sure, they’re playing SKT in the quarterfinals which is pretty scary considering that they’re three-time world champions and their star player’s nicknames are “God” and “The Unkillable Demon King,” but considering the fact that Misfits are clearly the protagonists of some sort of strange esports underdog movie, narrative satisfaction demands they make it the finals and win through the power of friendship and perseverance.
Oh yeah, and they beat TSM. Who saw that coming?
How They Beat SKT: An anvil falls on Faker.
Seriously, have you not read every power ranking or preview piece on the internet? Longzhu winning is practically predetermined. If we lived in the Minority Report universe, Tom Cruise would arrest Longzhu because the psychic children in the pool would tell him they’re going to murder whoever else has the audacity to meet them in the Grand Final. At this point, the real “Incredible Miracle” would be if Longzhu somehow lose.
How They Beat SKT: Just do what they did in the Summer Split.
In the long bygone year of 2015, a small Challenger team called Ember released a prophecy on to the world. In a post on Medium, the organization stated that an NA team would kiss the Summoner’s Cup by 2017. Team Ember’s first player was now-Cloud9 Jungler Juan “Contractz” Garcia, who is on the only NA team in the Worlds 2017 quarterfinals.
You just have to do the math friends. Do you believe in the prophecy? Why would the glorious seers at Team Ember lie to you? First they released their player salaries, now they release NA from their curse. Contractz is the chosen one and come Nov. 4, his lips will be placed upon the Summoner’s Cup, while Faker looks on from the distance, tears in his eyes.
How they beat SKT: Contractz's prophetic light blinds Faker and Peanut, causing them to miss 40 percent of their skillshots. Jensen claps Faker.
Team WE have a lot going for them. For one, they play C9 in the quarterfinals, which is essentially a free ride to semis. When was the last time NA won anything at all (besides Rift Rivals)? Second, they have home field advantage in China, which should energize their players. But third, and most importantly, they are on the opposite side of the bracket from SKT and RNG. Everyone knows that Korean teams that aren’t SKT are meaningless, and either way, they’ll have to beat each other up, leaving Team WE to tear apart the pieces of whoever is left standing. Team WE have already played more games at Worlds this year than anyone not named C9. Worlds is a momentum game, and the rest of of the bracket is all downhill from here.
Wait that came out wrong.
How they beat SKT: Team WE fans rush the stage and drag SKT out of the venue, but the ref is looking away. SKT are deemed to have forfeited the series, making Team WE your Worlds 2017 champions.
Samsung are fueled by anger at Worlds this year. Anger for placing second last year after coming so close. Anger for being third seed yet again. Anger for constantly being compared to and failing to live up to the legacy of Samsung Blue and White. Anger for sharing a name with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, a phone known for exploding much like their Worlds hopes last year.
But here’s the thing. This Worlds marks the three-year anniversary of Samsung White’s glorious victory. Three is considered a lucky number by the arbitrary decision I have just made, which bodes well for Samsung. I see great things in Samsung’s future. Maybe even… a 3-0?
How they beat SKT: The Grand Finals series between Samsung and SKT is 2-2, just like last year. But this time, CuVee's anger triggers a transformation in him. All his rage centers in the bottom of his back, first releasing a red aura, then a gold one. His hair sticks up up and glows gold. He flies towards Faker as a Super Saiyan. Truly, this will be the battle of the gods.
Look, there’s nothing fun or funny about SKT T1 winning Worlds this year. Be honest with yourself, you’re not cheering for SKT. I’m not cheering for SKT, I’m willing to bet SKT isn’t even cheering for SKT. SKT winning is boring. SKT winning sucks. But you know what else sucks? League of Legends.
If SKT keep winning, then maybe Riot will finally actually make another game. Maybe we’ll all move on to something more productive with our lives, like strip mining or knitting or cross-country yoga. A win for SKT is another nail in League of Legends’ coffin, and through their incredible, all-powerful, unquestionable dominance they will one day kill the game. Why will SKT win Worlds? Because they’re SKT. Should SKT win Worlds? Not unless you want to wake up every morning, say a prayer to you life-sized portrait of God-king Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok and go to work for SK Telecom as a strip miner, finding the oil that fuels Han “Peanut” Wang-ho’s post apocalyptic party bus.
How they beat SKT: SKT stands on stage, their Summoner's Cup in hand. Longzhu lie broken and battered beneath their feet. Faker raises the trophy with tears in his eyes. These are not tears of joy, but tears of sadness. There is no one left to defeat.
But then the doors burst open. Five silhouettes are framed by the light from outside. They are SKT, but glowing with a shadowy aura. Eyes red like fire. They are the Dark SKT and they have come for war. Faker smiles, for he finally has a worthy opponent.
Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.
Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.