On Saturday, Riot Games hosted the World Championship Group Draw Show featuring the likes of former Azubu/CJ Entus Frost mid-laner RapidStar, Elements' Froggen, and OMG's Cool.
For those of you who'd prefer to skip right to the results, we've created a chart of how it all turned out.
Last week we previewed all 16 teams in attendence and based on a combination of that and the results of the draw, we've got a slew of predictions as to who will make it out of the Group Stage.
I feel as if the KOO Tigers a shoehorn in for the easy first place seed out of Group A. The remaining Counter Logic Gaming, paiN Gaming, and Flash Wolves should be left to fight over the second and final spot into the brackets. Kneejerk reactions have CLG advancing with only themselves to blame if they can't do so, even if it turns out that Xmithie can't get his VISA in time and Huhi has to play for him. (This still appears to be the case)
That said, paiN Gaming is the strongest International Wildcard to ever attend Worlds and the Flash Wolves aren't exactly slackers either as the LPL has become much stronger.
Invictus Gaming is probably the most favored to win Group B. All things considered, this looks to be the most competitive group this year. Though Fnatic is extraordinarily strong compared to what we usually see out of the Western teams, it just so happens that both IG and AHQ focus on early aggression, something that FNC has frequently struggled with. As the teams on this stage are much less forgiving than those in the LCS, Fnatic needs to be careful if it wants to make sure it advances. Cloud9 may even have a chance which is nuts considering they were one match away from the promotion tournament.
H2K Gaming and the Bangkok Titans are practically already doomed. Sorted into a group with two of the best three teams in the world, SKT and EDG are heavy, heavy favorites to contend for the World Championship title.
The best Chinese and second best Korean team has landed in Group D alongside Europe's Origen and North America's Team SoloMid. Both have relatively little chance at making it past this stage with some, including LCK caster MonteCristo doubting TSM will even win a single match in their round robin.
Riot Games is once again bringing back its Worlds Pick'Em Challenge, tasking you with predicting the finishing order of each group as well as the full bracket when that time comes. If competition alone isn't enough reason for you to enter, there are a couple of prizes including Summoner Icons and the very rare Championship Riven skin.
Want to join other LolKing fans and see how you stack up? Click this link to join our Leaderboard!
Cho'Gath and Renekton really aren't pleased you stepped on their tails. Might want to watch your back for a bit. While you're at it, study up on all the tail-having champions so this doesn't happen again. Got it?
The five new PROJECT skins for Leona, Master Yi, Lucian, Zed, and Fiora, which we previewed earlier in our model viewer, are now available. Accompanying them is a slew of content including special bundles, icons, a ward skin, and the chance at some special in game occurences. Here's the release trailer titled PROJECT: OVERDRIVE that gives you a look at some of the lore behind the skins.
To view each skin in the model viewer click on its splash art.
Project Master Yi
Riot also released a special themed video that gives you a look at their various ability FX. Check it out.
There's also a special First Strike event going on this week where you'll be rewarded for purchasing these new skins within their first week of availability. They're cool, but there is some fine print. You're basically paying full price (1350 RP for each except for Master Yi who's 1820 RP) and getting these special loading screen borders for doing so.
This lasts until September 15 at 23:59 PDT at which point the skins will be disabled until September 17 so that Riot can ensure everyone is awarded the loading screens. They'll then be renabled on the morning hours of the 17th though the 24th at the normal discounted launch price (975 for the regular skins) sans the special borders. Note: Legendary skins are never discounted.
All can be purchased in a bundle for 7,897 RP, or 12,842 if you need the champions. This too is an exclusive bundle that will go away on September 15, such that you'll get all of the loading screens as well.
You may have noticed the last image spoke about a special Project Icon and Optic Enhancer Ward Skin. Along with the release, Riot has a bunch of thematic icons and other visual treats.
Will you be holding off or are you already chomping at the bit to get your hands on them? As of this posting the store is having some issues handling the load from everyone trying to buy the skins. I'd say they're going to be popular. Riot clearly put a ton of work into this release.
Riot Ve1vet, Development Manager at Riot, commented on Twitter, "We've been working on the PROJECT video since January, so excited its live now!"
The full pool for this year's World Championship has been determined. All 16 teams have battled through their respective seasons and the proceeding playoffs to get here. Each will have its fate determined on Saturday at 1PM PDT/10PM CEST during the Group Draw Show. There we'll see who will have to face the daunting SK Telecom T1, the first team to lock up their Worlds berth this year.
Each organization has been placed in a pool based on the seed obtained from their region. For example, the best teams from Europe, North America, China, and South Korea fill Pool #1.
While patch 5.17 might not be the most revolutionary with Riot is seeking to stabilize the meta before Worlds in October, it does have a bunch of quality of life fixes and makes a few gentle nudges to some champions that are just a bit out of favor. Along with this we got an updated Spectator Mode HUD, a smaller and slightly transparent surrender vote box, and finally a chat box that remembers its location from game to game. LolClass got Bjergsen, Santorin, and Amazing to offer their opinions on the largest of these changes.
The chatbox's position is now stored from match to match.
The spectator HUD has been updated to match the new in-game HUD.
Mana/energy costs can now be displayed in the upper righthand corner of ability icons (via "Show Spell Costs" under the Interface tab of the options menu)
The surrender vote box is finally smaller and transparent.
Ability icons now briefly flash when their cooldown is reduced by another effect to let you know things are working as intended.
Below are the champion changes summarized from the video. Riot has gone out of its way to take down the more abusive champions while giving some others a little hope of prospering in this tougher meta.
Skarner's Crystal Spires (Passive) has been brought in check by now scaling into his bonus movement and attack speed rather than having so much of it up front.
He also receives less percentage mana down to 2% from 3%.
Amazing says this makes his early game a bit weaker and should give players hopes of actually defeating him in a jungle fight.
Caretaker's Shrine (W) now costs a flat 90 mana at all ranks (instead of 100-120).
Magical Journey (E) has a shorter cooldown.
Santorin believes that all of these buffs still aren't enough to make Bard a good champion. The ten less mana during laning phase really won't make a difference in his opinion.
Bruiser Fizz was problematic in Riot's eyes, and therefore it has buffed up some of his AP ratios, reduced his on hit damage, and completely removed the damage amplification from his Chum the Waters (R).
AP Fizz should basically remain unchanged according to Bjergsen.
Gragas has been dominant in the Jungle for too long in Riot's eyes. As such, it's chosen to take away the scaling percentage of maximum health damage on his Drunken Rage (W). Now 8% at all ranks.
Amazing comments saying there will once again be debates between maximizing your Drunken Rage (W) or Barrel Roll (Q) and that he'll be much more vulnerable.
Bjergsen calls these changes "decent" but doesn't think it'll knock Kalista out of competitive play.
The passive on Sentinel (W), which deals bonus magic damage against an enemy when her and her support basic attack in quick succession, now has a longer cooldown and does less damage in the early game.
More than anything Bjergsen says this might make it so that you see her with more bruisers rather than ranged, squishy supports.
Fate's Call (R) also has a 30 second longer cooldown at its first level. "Long overdue," comments Bjergsen.
Lux has been long overdue for some quality of life buffs, especially as more mobile assassins have entered the mid lane.
Light Binding (Q) costs 20 less mana at max rank and now does 100% of it's damage and root duration to the second foe struck as well.
Bjergsen estimates that this will be really useful for trades and all ins.
Riot took a huge trunk chunk out of the official tree of League of Legends.
Vengeful Maelstrom's (R) cooldown has increased by 20 seconds at all ranks. This means he won't be able to make positive trades quite as frequently, opening him up to well timed ganks.
Between the new Juggernaut champions, which do well against tanks, and these repeated nerfs, Santorin suggests that Maokai will have no teamfight presence compared to these other options once he gets shut down in lane.
Nocturne has always had issues in competitive play as it became easier, and teams became more disciplined about vision control. As a result his Paranoia (R) now has 500 increased range at all ranks.
Without these buffs, Amazing equivalates Nocturne to a weaker Rengar.
His passive, An Acquired Taste, now lasts seven seconds, two longer than it did previously.
Devour (W) now spits out enemy champions 100 units further away from himself (and probably your team/tower).
This should give him more time to do his thing.
A slight change, but one that players will undoubtedly feel is the removal of the bonus fury granted by Fury of the Xer'Sai (Passive).
Previously Rek'Sai would gain 15 Fury from the first basic attack after unburrowing.
Amazing maintains that she was more encouraged to stay burrowed rather than unburrowed and pursuing her targets.
He says this should weaken her in longer team fights.