With Groups B and C out of the way, Group D is next to determine the two teams that will advance to the knockout stage. Group D has a three-way tie between China’s WE, North America’s Team SoloMid, and Europe’s Misfits with records of 2-1 so far.
In a video interview with Fomos’ Kim “Kenzi” Yong-woo on Tuesday, Homme reflected on WE’s loss to TSM during the first round of the group stage.
“When I saw (TSM) play in the NA LCS finals I thought they were strong laners, but not that great at other parts of the games,” he said. “No matter what the reason is for our loss, let it be bad drafting or just plain playing worse, I think they are better than I thought they would be.”
Despite the lower seeding, many were under the impression WE — which qualified to worlds through the play-in stage as China’s third seed — was a serious contender to finish the group in first place along with TSM. In the first bout in the group stage, TSM defeated WE with superior map movements and macro game control.
WE has had a steady rise to prominence in China’s LPL, which peaked with a LPL championship in the spring split. Homme said he was initially concerned about the effect of nerves on his players, but was soon relieved to find that his players were able to exceed his expectations.
“I was concerned when we made it to the finals of the LPL because the players never made it that far before, and it might give them some bad nerves since they were playing in front of a large crowd,” he said. “They did a lot better than I thought, and they also exceeded my expectations at Taiwan (in Rift Rivals) as well. Seeing as they adjusted well at those stages, I don’t think they’ll be nervous at worlds. It’ll come down to the team taking care of the players’ conditioning, creating good drafts, and making less mistakes. If we do make all of those happen, I think we can come out at the top of the group, so we will be looking to beat TSM.”
This is Team WE’s second worlds appearance and first since 2012. Homme said the team’s original goal was to make it to the quarterfinals, but now he hopes to go further.
“When we first got here, I was a little concerned because there were parts of the team that looked a little lacking, so the first goal was to make it to the quarterfinals,” he said. “I thought I’d be satisfied with making it to quarterfinals, but now that we’re here playing the games, losing is still very frustrating, I think it would be great if we went above and beyond our original goal.”