Group Stage Day 1 Recap
The first day of the League of Legends World Championship is over and needless to say, there were more than a few surprises. There were crazy fights, a couple of surprise picks, and one massive upset. Here’s a quick rundown of what you might have missed.
G2 vs CLG: Winner, CLG
When the groups were being drawn, most people considered Group A to be a foregone conclusion. ROX Tigers were the clear favorites, CLG had underperformed during the Summer Split and Albus Nox had looked shaky during the International Wildcard Qualifier. People expected G2 to have a pretty easy road to getting out of the group stage. CLG, however, had other plans. Despite G2 getting some early kills, CLG stayed calm and collected and played the game their way. They took dragons, towers, and controlled the map through coordinated macro play, never giving G2 room to come back. Xmithie in particular had a phenomenal game on Olaf, going 6/0/5, applying pressure all over the map. CLG look like they’re back to Mid-Season Invitational form, while G2 are still showing weaknesses that will need to be shored up if they hope to make it to the quarterfinals.
ROX Tigers vs Albus Nox Luna: Winner, ROX
The number one seed Korean team against a Wild Card team. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happens next. In their defense though, Albus Nox put up more of a fight than some thought, at least in the beginning. Their jungler PvPStejos made a number of good ganks in the top lane, and for a little while was outpacing Peanut. Unfortunately, Albus Nox went a little too far and made a couple of overaggressive dives in the bot lane that allowed ROX to get back into the game. After that, things returned to the status quo, with ROX simply outplaying and out maneuvering Albus Nox. While the end result was predictable, it did show that Albus Nox has the ability to put up a fight, and maybe even pick up a game before the group stages are over.
H2K vs Ahq: Winner, Ahq
Another game that turned out roughly as expected when the two teams’ play styles are taken into account. H2K relies on their strong laners like Odoamne and Forg1ven to snowball ahead with the help of the First Blood King, Jankos. Ahq on the other hand, are known for their weaker laning phases, but exceptional mid to late game team fighting. True to form, H2K jumped out to an early lead with almost a four thousand gold lead at twenty minutes. However, it was around then that Ahq’s team composition came online with Jinx and Malzahar hitting their item spikes. H2K almost turned it around when they took three kills in the baron pit, but Ahq stayed calm and waited for just the right time to get that last big fight. In the end, both teams showed definite strengths and weaknesses that will likely be exploited by more coordinated teams.
INTZ vs EDG: Winner, INTZ
No, you’re not misreading that. On the very first day of Worlds, a Wild Card team beat EDG, the number one seed from China. On paper, it looks impossible, but in reality it was quite incredible to watch. Much like the Albus Nox vs ROX game, INTZ jumped out to an early lead, with their jungler Revolta heavily punishing EDG’s top laner, Mouse. Unlike Albus Nox however, INTZ didn’t try to push things too far. They stayed in control, systematically taking towers and winning skirmishes, until suddenly they had a five thousand gold lead and baron at twenty-four minutes. To EDG’s credit, Pawn and Deft tried their hardest to keep the team’s hopes alive, but it just wasn’t enough. If EDG want to make it out of the group stages, they’ll need to shore up their topside weakness, or else they’ll continue to fall pretty to teams that take advantage of it. As for INTZ, it remains to be seen whether or not they’ll be able to keep up this high level of play, or if it really was just a fluke. Needless to say, we’ll all be watching with baited breath.
Samsung Galaxy vs Splyce: Winner, Samsung Galaxy
Coming into Worlds, people were a little unsure about Samsung Galaxy’s chances. They had a rough path to Worlds, only barely beating out KT Rolster in the Regional Playoffs to claim the number three seed from Korea. However, they certainly did their best to silence the doubters in their first game against Splyce. Crown in particular had an insane performance on Viktor, going 9/2/7, with Ambition helping to set up a lot of those kills on his Rek’Sai. Splyce on the other hand looked unfocused and uncoordinated. Being the third seed from Europe, they weren’t expected to do quite as well, but even so their performance was still underwhelming. Wunder looked lost on Kled, never seeming to have quite enough damage or tankiness to win fights, while Trashy failed to have any kind of impact on Graves. It remains to be seen whether or not Splyce can fix these communication issues and if Samsung will be able to keep up this level of play throughout the tournament.
TSM vs RNG: Winner, RNG
Here it is, the most anticipated game of Day One. Coming off of their best split ever, TSM are heavy favorites to go far in the tournament, and RNG will likely be the biggest obstacle in their way to getting out of the group stages. The match started off interesting, with another Aurelion Sol bug being found, forcing a remake of the game and a new draft. It’s here that TSM hurt their chances at success. Their first draft had a strong teamfighting composition with Doublelift on Ezreal to kite effectively. The second time around however, they changed to Jhin, against a very mobile RNG composition with Hecarim and Sivir. RNG took advantage of this and played to their strengths, fighting often and punishing TSM’s positioning errors. Mata in particular had an incredible game on his signature Alistar. While Svenskeren and Bjergsen did their best to keep the team afloat, the TSM bot lane will have to be a lot stronger in the future if they want to live up to the high expectations placed on them.