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Esports: League of Legends Demacia Cup

It is nearly the end of the year and that means the regular League of Legends domestic seasons are less than a month away.

However, for fans of China's League of Legends Pro League, the Demacia Cup should tide them over in the meantime.

The Demacia Cup is a domestic offline competition within China, which began on Wednesday, December 14th and runs until Tuesday, December 27th.

Elite Esports can be few and far between at this time of year but the A-Tier event is one of the more high-profile tournaments taking place right now, featuring teams from both the development league in China as well as the official LPL.

What: Anyone's Legends vs Royal Never Give Up, Demacia Cup
Where: China
When: 04:00 ET, Thursday, December 22nd, 2022
Odds: Anyone's Legends +100, Royal Never Give Up -138

Stage three awaits

The Demacia Cup began with an initial league format made up of 16 teams - 11 amateur sides and five development squads - with only the top three in the division progressing to the next phase.

Stage two was a single-elimination bracket featuring the three qualified teams from Stage One and 13 teams from the LPL came into the fray.

And now it is time for Stage Three, which is played in a straight knockout format featuring four quarter-finals.

At this stage, the four top teams from the LPL who qualified for this year's World Championship joined the tournament, with one of those being Royal Never Give Up, who lock horns with Anyone's Legend on Thursday.

Royal Never Give Up can reflect on positive campaign

As the year draws to a close and teams turn their attention to pre-season tournaments like the Demacia Cup, one side which can reflect on a pretty positive campaign is Royal Never Give Up.

RNGU were knocked out at this stage of the Demacia Cup last year but went on to make a strong start to the 2022 campaign, initially coming out on top in the LPL Spring Playoffs to claim the first piece of major silverware of the season in China.

They followed that with a strong showing at the Mid-Season Invitational - an event they have now won three times - getting the better of a red-hot T1 team from the LCK in the Grand Final.

They managed to place in the 5th-6th positions in the LPL Summer Playoffs and then it was time for the big one - the League of Legends World Championship.

Roster change should not impact Royal Never Give Up's pre-season preparations

RNGU were made to fight for their place at this year's Worlds, coming through the play-in stage and a subsequent knockout qualifying bracket to reach the group stage, in which they then impressed with five wins from six games.

But their campaign and, therefore, their season would come to an end with a 3-0 defeat to T1 in the quarter-finals.

It turned out to be South Korean domination in this season's Worlds and both RNGU and the LPL region as a whole will need to come back stronger in 2023.

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The bad news for RNGU is that they will have to do without star mid-laner Li "Xiaohu" Yuan-Hao in the new season, with the player having signed up for Weibo Gaming for 2023.

But while that leaves the roster looking weaker, RNGU will still be a force next season and should make their mark at this pre-season event.

Anyone's Legend unlikely to pull off a shock

Their quarter-final opponents Anyone's Legend, formerly known as Rogue Warriors, have improved on last year's showing at the Demacia Cup when they failed to reach the knockout stage.

Anyone's Legends are a level below RNGU, not only having failed to reach Worlds this year but ultimately performing poorly in both LPL campaigns.

They placed 13th in the LPL Spring and 11th in the LPL Summer, missing out on the playoffs on both occasions, and they were not much better at the NEST 2022 in November, placing in the 9th-14th positions.

Granted they put out a different roster for the latter but the point remains that it has been an underwhelming year for Anyone's Legend, who will most likely crash out in the last eight of the Demacia Cup.

A 3-0 win for RNGU looks a decent betting angle and can be backed at +400. A 3-1, meanwhile, is +333.

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