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Saturday sees some crucial clashes at The International
  1. Esports

Esports: League Of Legends World Championship Thursday matches preview

The action at the League Of Legends World Championship continues on Thursday evening and the spotlight will be on Group A.

This week will see the conclusion of group play, with two teams advancing to the playoffs from each group and the rest being eliminated from the competition. 

As we head into the final day, T1, Fnatic and Edward Gaming Hycan all sit on a 2-1 record, leaving Cloud9 at the foot of the table and needing a miracle with a 0-3 record.

What:Fnatic vs Cloud9, League of Legends World Championship
Where:New York
When:20:00, Thursday October 13th
How to watch:Twitch, YouTube or the League Of Legends Esports website
Odds:Fnatic -225, Cloud9 +163

As the odds suggest, Fnatic are heavy favorites as they look to lay down a marker to kick off Thursday's action. 

The EU squad looked set to have a 3-0 record heading into the second week but fell victim to EDG. Despite that, it was still a very strong week, especially as they had to fight through the play-in bracket to get to this point.

Although Cloud9 entered Worlds on the back of winning the LCS Championship, North America's first seed has struggled against international opposition. Fnatic have plenty to fight for and should pass this test comfortably.

What:T1 vs Fnatic, League of Legends World Championship
Where:New York
When:21:00, Thursday October 13th
How to watch:Twitch, YouTube or the League Of Legends Esports website
Odds:T1 -450, Fnatic +300

Fnatic are quickly back in action against T1 and that turn around could prove crucial in this match. T1 were unable to defeat Fnatic when the sides met earlier in the group, with a heroic Humanoid performance stunning the Faker-led Korean squad.

The draft is always important regardless of the match, but it may prove especially crucial in this specific case given the way it panned out in their previous encounter. T1 are heavy favorites to gain revenge and it is ultimately not hard to see why.

Fnatic had all their individuals playing at their peak in the reverse fixture and it would be surprising to see that be the case again.

What:Cloud9 vs Edward Gaming, League of Legends World Championship
Where:New York
When:22:00, Thursday October 13th
How to watch:Twitch, YouTube or the League Of Legends Esports website
Odds:Cloud9 +500, Edward Gaming -900

When the teams met earlier in the group, EDG came out on top within 30 minutes and the Chinese squad can be expected to do the same in the reverse encounter.

EDG's controlled victory over Fnatic last time was just what the doctor ordered after a disappointing performance against T1 and that sort of level should see them comfortably come past a flailing Cloud9, who are at risk of going 0-6 in this highly-competitive group.

What:Fnatic vs Edward Gaming, League of Legends World Championship
Where:New York
When:23:00, Thursday October 13th
How to watch:Twitch, YouTube or the League Of Legends Esports website
Odds:Fnatic +250, Edward Gaming -350

As previously mentioned, the reverse of this fixture saw EDG control the early game and come out as comfortable winners, despite the game going past the 35-minute mark.

Fnatic are likely to draft differently with the knowledge of EDG's playstyle from that encounter, but it may not be enough to see them come out on top.

Viper was unplayable in the reverse encounter and although the likes of Fnatic's Humanoid and Wunder can individually keep pace with the EDG's best, team cohesion is likely to win out for the Chinese outfit.

What:T1 vs Cloud9, League of Legends World Championship
Where:New York
When:00:00, Friday October 14th
How to watch:Twitch, YouTube or the League Of Legends Esports website
Odds:T1 -800, Cloud9 +450

T1 is -800 to defeat Cloud9 and it is ultimately not difficult to see why. They looked unstoppable when the sides met in the reverse fixture and Cloud9 struggled to lay a glove on them, even in team fights where they looked to have the advantage, on paper.

You can look at this match from every angle, even with rose-tinted North American glasses, and you would struggle to find a single outcome where Cloud9 comes out on top. The odds are reflective of a mismatch and given Cloud9's performances against EDG and Fnatic, that might be a fair assessment.

What:Edward Gaming vs T1, League of Legends World Championship
Where:New York
When:01:00, Friday October 14th
How to watch:Twitch, YouTube or the League Of Legends Esports website
Odds:Edward Gaming +100, T1 -138

The final match of Group A is, perhaps by design, the best of the night. In terms of match odds, it is set to be the closest, with T1 the -138 favorites to defeat EDG, who are +100.

These sides are old rivals and although T1 had the historical edge over EDG in past encounters, a close game was expected when they faced off in the reverse fixture. That did not come to fruition, however, with T1 stomping their old adversaries in less than 23 minutes.

Once T1 got into the lead, they never looked back in a brutal performance and although the same cannot be expected again, T1 are the rightful favorites on the back of that.

We should not forget that EDG won last year's World Championship and that sort of level emerged in their victory against Fnatic. This game is likely to determine either first or third place and with the historical grudge match also factored in, this should be a barnburner.

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