After eight straight days of group stage games at the 2018 League of Legends World Championship in South Korea, the field has been cut down in half.
Goodbye, Vietnam and Taiwan, who saw all their teams eliminated from the knockout rounds.
North America, who was primed to join them with zero teams in the quarterfinals, found solace in an org who has made the top-eight its home over the years — Cloud9 — making their fifth quarterfinal appearance in six years.
Europe feels confident sending its two dynastic organizations, G2 Esports and Fnatic, to the knockout stage, the latter having the best chance for a western team to make the finals since 2011, where it won the inaugural title.
South Korea expected to send its trio of teams straight to the quarterfinals but, following a flubbed run by defending champion Gen.G and a near-disaster by the Afreeca Freecs, will only send a pair of teams to the next round. Still, KT Rolster, the country’s champion, stands nearly spotless following the group stages, only losing a single game to its Chinese rivals.
And finally, the only region to keep its numbers intact through play-ins and groups, we have China. The most dominant region over the course of 2018, the only thing left for China to do is win the Summoner’s Cup for the first time in the region’s history. At the forefront, Royal Never Give Up, the winners of the Mid-Season Invitational and both Chinese domestic seasons this year, will have its sights only on the final at the beginning of November in Incheon.
Before the action resumes in Busan, let’s take a look at the matches that will determine the quartet who will be advancing to the semifinal stage in Gwangju.