Today I had to lock my picks in for how the rest of the tournament will go. You already saw me say how the first round will go: Griffin beats Invictus; Fnatic beats FPX; SKT beats Splyce; G2 might beat Damwon albeit it's a literal coinflip.
But then I had to go to the next stage of predictions as well.
In Fnatic versus Griffin, I gave it to Griffin. If Invictus wins against Griffin, then Invictus wins against Fnatic. If FPX wins instead of Fnatic, it'll be Griffin still. If both my predictions are wrong and it's Invictus versus FPX, well, FPX are first seat in China and Invictus aren't, but I'd probably still favor the world champions there even though domestically FPX was the better team.
But since you can't make these "what if" alternative predictions, the only official one is Fnatic versus Griffin, with Griffin winning.
In SKT versus G2, I gave it to G2--I said it yesterday and to reiterate again; I feel like whoever wins G2 versus Damwon will win Worlds. There's no world in which Splyce beats SKT, but if that somehow were to be the case, G2 beats Splyce; Damwon beats Splyce. Yet we're just going to see it be SKT, so the real question is whether the alt-prediction matters.
In SKT versus Damwon, well, this is a match that is a domestic rematch. While I've seen both teams clash in their regular season, I didn't actually catch their final bout with one another. I know they fought and I believe SKT won, but Damwon is a team that gets better and better with time, whose main weakness is a lack of experience...experience which if they do beat G2, they'll have begun to earn. So I give it to Damwon.
To talk more about SKT versus G2, this is a rematch. G2 barely won last time against SKT. I watched their five games in their entirety. Both teams were fairly equal in skill. I think that either team could win it, and SKT would be thirsting for vengeance given MSI semifinals, but in spite of that, I still think that by a hair's breadth, G2 wins.
Which gives in the finals my official prediction being Griffin versus G2, with G2 winning.
The other options:
Fnatic versus G2 (how on earth that'd happen, I don't know), G2 has proven twice that they win, albeit only just.
Invictus versus G2, a match which almost happened at MSI, G2 still win in my opinion.
FPX versus G2, G2 win handedly. Splyce a weaker team than G2, managed to go toe to toe with FPX; G2 can do better than that.
Fnatic versus Damwon, Damwon wins.
Invictus versus Damwon, Damwon has proven that they win.
FPX versus Damwon, Damwon still wins.
Fnatic versus SKT, SKT wins.
Invictus versus SKT, SKT still wins.
FPX versus SKT, SKT definitely wins.
It's really not worth talking about Splyce as an option, but sure, to entertain the possibility even though there's not a chance it'll happen,
Fnatic versus Splyce, Fnatic has proven that they win.
Invictus versus Splyce, Splyce win. Yes, really.
FPX versus Splyce, I give it to Splyce.
I only get one official prediction and my official prediction is as I said.
Fnatic versus FPX, Fnatic wins.
Griffin versus Invictus Gaming, Griffin wins.
SKT versus Fnatic, SKT wins.
Damwon versus G2, literal toincoss but I officially locked in G2.
Fnatic versus Griffin, Griffin wins.
SKT versus officially G2, still almost a toincoss but I officially locked in G2.
Griffin versus officially G2, close matchup but I still locked in G2.
Do I think that G2 pull off the golden road in spite of that being my official prediction? Probably not. They have to beat all three Korean teams in a row to pull it off. Every single Korean team they face is basically a cointoss, 50/50, on whether they pull it off.
If it comes up heads, they beat Damwon.
If it comes up heads a second time, they beat SKT.
If it comes up heads a third time, they beat Griffin and win worlds.
But it only takes it coming up tails once for G2 to fall. So they have to win three consecutive 50/50s, three consecutive cointosses, three consecutive close matches. And while officially this is my prediction, I don't think they get that lucky. And make no mistake. With teams this good, it'll be exactly that. Luck. Not a skill gap. Every team G2 faces will punish even the smallest of mistakes and trade blow for blow, objective for objective, kill for kill. But G2 will punish even the smallest of mistakes they make, trade blow for blow, objective for objective, kill for kill. G2 won't make many mistakes; they won't make many mistakes.
It'll be a game of inches stretching to miles, each and every single time. A game of one missed skill shot, one connecting skill shot, one dodged skill shot, one autoattack's difference, to determine win or loss, things which were a 50/50 chance of having gone the other way. Things which we can attribute to human error or human skill, but which in the live environment comes down to basically being human guessing and either guessing right or guessing wrong, where both teams not misclicking and deliberately going where they intend and shooting at where they intend, are guessing at whether this is a good or bad call, and roll the dice on it with a 50/50 chance of one or the other.
And that? That will apply regardless of which teams clash. G2 and Damwon. G2 and SKT. G2 and Griffin. Damwon and SKT. SKT and Griffin. Damwon and Griffin. None of those, in my opinion, have a clear favorite, of "this team is going to win guaranteed". None of those, in my opinion, even really have a "this team has a clear edge, 60/40, albeit still having the chance to lose".
They are all literally close to on the point, 50/50. Where you can't be blamed for predicting the losers to have won, because they could easily have with so much as a single thing having gone differently. You can still make predictions based on what you think, on the day, they will do. And my prediction is that, on the day, whoever of G2/Damwon wins will move on to win the whole thing, and I think that G2 at their best given their experience advantage have a 1% extra chance of winning.
But those four teams are, in my opinion, the best four teams in the whole world. There's a gap between their games with each other and their games with anyone else. You can make arguments for any of the eight teams being competent contenders, but realistically. Fnatic at their best aren't good enough; Splyce at their best aren't good enough; Invictus Gaming might be the world champions, but they've shown that at their best they still can be beaten by others; FPX might have domestically beaten the world champions, but they've shown that at their best they're not undefeatable.
They just won't win.
Whereas any of the four titan powerhouses of the tournament I mention, could easily do so.