League of Legends World Championships quarterfinals will see western teams facing an uphill battle

The quarterfinal draw for the League of Legends 2017 World Championships has been made, producing a balanced list of competitors for the competition’s knockout bracket.

The knockout stage starts on Thursday, October 19, featuring two teams from Europe, one from North America, one from China and three from South Korea.

Those matchups in full, alongside their home countries and the day they’re playing, are below.

  • 1:SK Telecom T1 (SK) vs. Misfits (EU)
  • 1: Royal Never Give Up (SK) vs. Fnatic (EU)
  • 2: Team WE (China) vs. Cloud9 (NA)
  • 2: Longzhu Gaming (SK) vs. Samsung Galaxy (SK)

The numbers 1 and 2 indicate which half the teams will be competing in, so if SK Telecom T1 beat Misfits, they’ll go on to play either Royal Never Give Up or Fnatic. Longzhu go into the quarterfinals in a strong position, with an unbeaten 6-0 run in the group stage.

Unfortunately the balanced list drops solid competitors in each quarte final, meaning most of the western teams are facing a tough quarterfinal fixture. It’s been seen again and again that when a region has no teams left in an esports tournament, viewership from that region often drops significantly, so an upset would be good for the narrative, but also good for Riot, no doubt. 

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