This year’s Worlds Group Stage has definitely delivered. We’ve not only had some insane comebacks and upsets but the groups themselves were very close. Although some teams performed better than expected, there were others that completely underperformed and could have gotten out of groups if they showed better play. Here’s our breakdown on the Group Stage
Overperformers – Misfits Gaming
Despite being expected to finish last in their group, Misfits Gaming showed up big time and managed to finish in second place. Their huge success can be credited to a number of things. Their players performed well, the coaching staff did its job at keeping their approach towards the game was good, their strategies and drafts were solid and above all their in-game play was incredible. Overall the Misfits played well above the expectations many had set out for them. Steven “Hans sama” Liv in particular was a standout player for the team. His ability to weave in damage while staying out of harm’s way on utility focused ADCs like Varus and Xayah was impeccable and it gave Misfits so much room to play in an aggressive and relentless manner.
Underperformers – Team SoloMid and Immortals
Another Worlds, another disappointment for North America. Both of these teams had promising 2-1 starts to their Group Stage. But in classic NA fashion they crumbled in Week 2 and had a quick exit from Worlds. In the case of Immortals it was mostly silly decisions and complete lack of adaptability that lead to their demise. Cody Sun had a fairly weak performance in the tournament and in such a bot lane focused meta he had to play better if Immortals were going to make it out of groups. As for TSM it felt like they completely crumbled under the pressure in Week 2. Everything went wrong for them. From their poor draft, to their horrible early games and also their passive approach to all of the games they played. It just felt like they died a slow painful death in the tournament and it lead to their early exit. While NA’s hopes rest on Cloud9, these two teams will certainly have a lot of regrets when thinking back on this event.
Best performing players
Top Lane – LZ Khan
Although this is his debut at the World Championship, it seems like the pressure hasn’t gotten to Kim “Khan” Dong-ha and he’s playing just as good as he did in Korea. Surprising everyone by picking Nasus and winning against Fnatic with it, Khan has lived up to his reputation so far. Whether or not he will be able to continue playing at the same level going into the Quarterfinals remains to be seen.
Jungle – RNG Mlxg
It has been a rough year for Liu “mlxg” Shi Yu. More than ever before he’s been getting consistently punished for poor jungle pathing and decision making. Because of how much he was exploited in the LPL there were worries that it would be an even bigger issue on the world stage. So far that doesn’t seem to be the case at all as Mlxg has played very well. He’s been consistent which is something that RNG as a team have needed for a while. And it shows in their play because they’ve looked much better with Mlxg doing well.
Mid Lane – LZ Bdd
Just like Khan this is Kwak “BDD” Bo-seong’s debut on the world stage and boy has he been good in it. He’s been playing incredibly well so far despite only playing roaming champions such as Taliyah, Ryze and Galio. If this is what Bdd has to offer on roaming champions then the other teams need to be very worried about what he’s going to show on lane dominant champions.
AD Carry – RNG Uzi / LZ PraY
More Longzhu and RNG players? Not much that can be done about that if their players are performing at such a high level. The same goes for both of these AD Carries. They’ve been stellar in terms of not only their mechanics but also their teamfighting and skirmishing prowess. Kim “PraY” Jong-in’s mastery over Summoner Spells and Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao’s lane dominance and ability to take over games in this Ardent Censer meta are both great to watch. These two players can definitely take their teams far into this tournament.
Support – RNG Ming / LZ GorillA
It would be a crime not to credit the Supports of the best AD Carries at the tournament so far. Up until RNG’s loss to G2 Esports, Shi “Ming” Sen Ming was the KDA leader having not died at all in any of his team’s Week 1 matches. Certainly an impressive showing from him in his debut at worlds. Kang “GorillA” Beom-hyeon has also been as consistent as ever. There have been a few blunders in the early game where he would get caught out or would be left to die but they haven’t been many and they’ve barely cost Longzhu anything.
Biggest Surprise – Hauntzer
Despite their quick exit from Worlds, TSM did have a shining light in the form of Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell. The top laner for the champions of NA stepped up big time in most of their games. His Gnar play in particular was very impressive as he was able to not only play incredibly well to the champion’s range but also land a five man ultimate in TSM’s opening game against Flash Wolves. Hauntzer can at least be proud of the fact that he showed up at this tournament and he wasn’t shaky like last year.
Disappointment of the tournament – Karsa and Flash Wolves’ collapse
Although they were able to win a game against TSM in Week 2, it’s no secret that the Flash Wolves completely dropped the ball at Worlds. Their early game wasn’t too bad and it was definitely better than TSM’s early game. However their ability to close games was atrocious and it’s the main reason why they lost so many games. It just seemed like past the twenty minute mark they were completely lost and had no idea what to do. Hung “Karsa” Hau-Hsuan in particular should be criticized because as one of the core players of the Flash Wolves as well as their facilitator, he was largely invisible during this tournament and didn’t really show much outside of a few good Sejuani games.
It’ll be very interesting to see what the Knockout Stage has for us. But if it’s anything like the Group stage then we’re definitely in for a treat. The Quarterfinals begin on October 19th with Longzhu Gaming facing off against Samsung Galaxy.
Photographs taken by Riot Games