The Worlds 2023 Play-In stage has recently concluded and the quality of matches that we’ve seen has been the best that the esports has provided in years. Usually, fans complain that the play-ins only contain pointless games with teams that don’t even have the slightest chance of beating the major regions but the format has changed for the better. We’d love to see more of this format in the future to help the esports’ growth.
The Worlds 2023 Play-In Stage Conclusion
The Worlds 2023 Play-In Stage had concluded with 2 teams coming out on top. The first is Europe’s Team BDS which was one of the community’s best bets. The 2nd came as a shock when Vietnam’s GAM esports defeated fellow VCS representatives – Team Whales – to secure the final slot of the Swiss Stage. Considering the VCS’s abysmal performance in the past two years, nobody saw them making it to the next stage of the tournament.
The play-ins defined the levels of all the regions in a way that the previous format couldn’t do because of its Bo1 style. In this format, all games are played in Bo3 so teams can redeem themselves even after a single loss. In addition, there is a lower-bracket style that allows teams to get back into the race even after losing to another team. These factors combined give everyone an equal chance to prove that they are ready to compete in the main stage of the tournament.
Of course, the problem of certain teams not giving world-caliber performances still exists which affects the overall entertainment factor of the tournament. However, there is probably no way to fix that no matter what format is used by the League of Legends tournament organizers. The problem lies at the fact that some regions don’t have enough esports support to afford high-quality facilities and coaching staff as well as get access to world-caliber scrim partners.
For Team BDS, they looked a bit shaky at the beginning of the tournament but they eventually rose up to take the challenge. Even though they lost to the VCS, they eventually managed to defeat the PCS #1 seed to qualify for the next stage. The VCS had a fortunate yet unfortunate circumstance where they were guaranteed to make the next stage at the cost of eliminating their fellow region representatives. Eventually, GAM esports defeated their 2nd seed once again to make the next stage.
The VCS Rises From the Ashes
The downfall of the VCS after the COVID-19 pandemic became apparent in the past 2 years. Multiple months of harsh lockdown protocols prevented any kind of competition within the country, much less any kind of participation in international events. These factors combined meant that the region had a short hiatus from competitive League of Legends which would eventually hurt their performance once they made their grand return.
In the past few tournaments, people expected VCS to come back to the scene with guns blazing. Unfortunately, the region failed to meet expectations and felt like a shadow of their former selves. They performed way below expectation and were losing to wildcard teams with very little hope of even competing against decent teams. Regions like Japan and Brazil seemed to have overtaken the VCS in terms of competitive strength.
In Worlds 2023, the opinion that the VCS could no longer perform on the international stage was reinforced when GAM Esports lost to Brazil’s LOUD at the Worlds 2023 Play-in stage. All hope was lost until the VCS’ second seed – Team Whales – managed to get a convincing upset victory over Europe’s Team BDS. GAM esports would also pick themselves up and get revenge over LOUD and eventually qualify for the Swiss Stage after defeating Team Whales.
The Worlds 2023 Play-In stage concluded with one representative from Europe and Vietnam qualifying to the next stage of the tournament. Even though the VCS managed to make it through to the next stage, no one really believes that they’ll make it into playoffs with all 8 representatives from both the LPL and LCK looking like massive threats to the rest of the competition fielding the best Worlds 2023 teams in the tournament. Regardless of whether or not they manage to make it out, this is proof that the VCS is picking itself up to prove it’s a true competitor and deserves its second slot.
Team BDS’ Unusual Strategy and Adam’s GODS Picks
They say that if you are considered a weaker team, the best way to defeat a stronger opponent is to come up with a unique strategy that the opponents will least expect. The majority of Team BDS follows the stock-standard strategy of using meta champions and team comps. However, this team has a secret weapon in Adam, their top laner, who is known for picking powerhouse picks that aren’t usually considered meta champions.
The GODS champion pool consists of Garen, Olaf, Darius, and Sett. These champions are powerful juggernauts that can carry the game when they get an early lead in the laning phase. Combining Adam’s aggressive laning style and Sheo’s top-heavy ganking style, the team usually relies on their top laner snowballing their lead and carrying the game from that side. It usually succeeds, making them a difficult opponent even for teams like JD Gaming.
Should Riot Games Keep this Format?
This format is great but not perfect. There are probably still some ways to improve the overall experience for both viewers and competitors that will highlight the strength of the wildcard regions on the international stage. However, this is a step in the right direction that really helps fans of minor regions to see what their teams are capable of doing on the international stage. It also removes uninteresting games whose results are extremely obvious.
Riot Games shouldn’t feel like there’s nothing left to change in this format but it’s important to let them know that the Worlds 2023 Play-in Stage was a massive success. As long as the fans get to watch more high-quality games from the best each country and region has to offer, the play-in stage will always be a resounding success to the larger community.