Group Stage Day 2 Recap
Sadly, there weren’t quite as many surprises on the second day of group stages as there were on the first. That isn’t to say the day was boring, in fact we had some of the longest and some of the shortest games of the tournament. The highlight reel includes TSM showing up, RNG looking unstoppable, and the death of Brazil’s dreams.
SKT vs C9: Winner, SKT
Coming into this game, C9 was not expected to win. That being said, they were expected to do a lot better than they actually did. Jensen and Impact both commented about how much they were looking forward to the match up, but at least one of them may have come to regret his words. SKT first picked Syndra for Faker, and C9 took Cassiopeia, opting into a losing lane in favor of a stronger team composition. Faker however, had other plans. Beginning with an early first blood gank from Bengi, Faker had Jensen’s number, solo killing him multiple times throughout the match. Wolf also had a strong game on Alistar, roaming all over the map to set up kills for his carries. The one weak point in SKT’s seemingly impenetrable armor was Duke. The top laner went 0/5/8 on Jayce, and C9 were able to punish him repeatedly during lane phase. If C9 or any other team in Group B want to take games off of SKT, it will likely have to be through the top lane.
Flash Wolves vs I May: Winner, I May
Group B is something of a wild scramble for second place. While C9 and Flash Wolves were more heavily favored coming into the tournament, I May showed that they could be a contender as well. The game certainly didn’t start off in their favor though, as the Flash Wolves jumped out to early farm leads, leading to a four-to-one kill lead by eleven minutes. The game stagnated after that however, with both teams trading kills and objectives. Despite the slow pace, the Flash Wolves maintained a fairly consistent three to four thousand gold lead, up until the thirty-six minute mark. The Wolves decided they had had enough of sitting around and started up Baron. They were pushed off. They started it again. They were pushed off. Third time’s the charm right? No, third time around I May gets three kills, the baron, and take control of the game. While I May should be praised for their patience and ability to stall out an unfavorable game, Flash Wolves need to take a step back and see what they did wrong. They had the gold lead, they had a strong teamfighting team, but they could not find the opening they needed. The Wolves need to reexamine their strategy before going up against C9 on day three.
TSM vs Samsung Galaxy: Winner, TSM
After getting stomped by RNG on day one, TSM supporters were a little worried coming into day two. The kings of North America delivered however, and in fact, they made a statement in their game against Samsung Galaxy. Only ceding one kill to Samsung, TSM slowly and methodically grinded their opponents down, one objective at a time. Bjergsen took a page out of Faker’s book, using Syndra’s long range stun and powerful burst to bully his lane opponent. Elsewhere on the map, Hauntzer and Svenskeren made the entire enemy team miserable, with strong ganks, flanking teleports, and applying too much pressure for Samsung to deal with. If TSM can be faulted for anything, it’s that they were almost too slow. With the advantages that they had accumulated, they probably could have finished the game even faster. After their day one loss, they may have been playing a little scared. As for Samsung, they’ll need to shore up their laning phase and early map rotations, as that’s where TSM were able to find their advantages.
RNG vs Splyce: Winner, RNG
In the fastest game of the championship so far, RNG rolled right over Splyce without bothering to slow down once. Uzi in particular displayed an unusually high blood lust, even for him. His Ezreal was all over the map, Arcane Shifting aggressively into team fights, chasing down stray members of Splyce whenever they were out of position, and ending with an impressive 10/0/4 scoreline. Mlxg was also a driving force behind RNG’s win, grabbing multiple early kills and forcing Splyce off of objectives. While Wunder did look more comfortable on Gnar than he did on Kled, the rest of Splyce just couldn’t find their footing. Trashy once again failed to have any kind of impact during the match, and in a meta where junglers are so important to the success of a team, he’s going to need to change something before their match against TSM on day three. As for RNG, they just need to continue what they’re doing and keep the momentum going through the rest of the group stage.
H2K vs INTZ: Winner, H2K
Coming into this match, there were high expectations for both teams. Europe was zero and four in the group stage and both the team and the region needed a win. On the other side, INTZ had just pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the history of professional League of Legends, and suddenly people were looking at INTZ in a new light. They were no longer just another wild card team, they were a very real and potential threat. Unfortunately, only one team could win, and in this case it was H2K on the backs of a surprise Skarner pick from Jankos and two strong performances from Ryu and Odoamne. Despite being the only death for H2K, Jankos was a huge part of H2K’s win, with a seventy-five percent kill participation, setting up multiple free kills for his laners with Skarner’s ultimate. INTZ did manage to hold strong for quite a while though, not giving up first blood until after eighteen minutes. However, they did reveal a serious weakness in the laning phase, falling behind over two thousand gold just through farm differential and a single turret being taken. They’ll need to figure something out to compensate for that if they hope to pick up any more wins.
EDG vs Ahq: Winner, EDG
Despite being a professional player since the inception of the LMS, Chawy has never played a game at Worlds. He was a substitute for the Taipei Assassins at the 2014 Championship, and was suspended for elo boosting just before the 2015 Championship. However, his time has finally come and he was allowed to start for Ahq in their match against EDG. Unfortunately for Chawy, the match went sour as EDG overwhelmed Ahq with superior map rotations. Part of the reason for this was EDG’s fast moving composition, with Clearlove on Hecarim, and support from PawN and Meiko on Karma and Nami respectively to speed him up. Clearlove was all over the map, sporting an eighty-two percent kill participation, particularly punishing Ziv and Mountain whenever they were out of position. Overall, EDG looked much stronger than in their loss against INTZ, covering for Mouse’s weak early game and showing better macro play than they did on day one. Still, the outlook wasn’t completely bleak for Ahq. Chawy looked pretty good, landing some good double bombs on Zilean and having a few very clutch ultimates to save his team mates. If Ahq can clean up their mid game movements and shotcalling, then they should still have a good chance of making it out of the group stage.
Even though it’s day two, there are still a lot of unknown factors hovering over the group stage. Group C is completely tied up, with all the teams even in record. Group D is a little more distinct, with RNG sitting at the top and Splyce stuck at the bottom, but there’s still six more days of games to get through and a lot can change in that time.