It was a hell of a first week at the 2016 League of Legends World Championship, and not an analyst, professional player, or spectator around could have predicted that the outcomes of some of these matchups. This has undoubtedly been the most competitive World Championship to date, with every team with at least one loss, and all but two with at least one win. Unfortunately, Europe has left us much to be desired, but fans of the Wild Card teams have a lot to be proud of. We are only at the halfway point of the group stage of the tournament, and the fates of two groups will be determined these next two days.
Group ‘A’ is currently a three-way tie for first with all but G2 standing at 2-1 and G2 in last at 0-3. The must-watch matches for this group are the ones that will determine our top two places. As much as I do not want to, I am pretty much counting G2 out of this tournament. The potential for them to make it back is there, but it is unlikely.
Thursday, October 6
This match is our real battle for second place. While all teams (except for G2) are 2-1, Rox is still our assumed first place team in this group. Last time these teams faced each other, ANX emerged victorious. Has CLG improved enough to take this game? Are ANX able to keep up their great performance so far? Find out in this game. There are a few major concerns for CLG. There is no way ANX will allow them to pick Aurelion Sol. Huhi will not perform as well on any other champion. CLG also probably do not have any tricks up their sleeve or some crazy pocket pick, as they needed to use things of this nature already. The only downside for ANX in this situation is that they must spend one of their three bans on Aurelion Sol. This is, however, hardly a downside at all compared to having no hidden strategies and your mid laner’s comfort pick being taken from him. Over all, I have no idea who will win. Albus Nox did beat CLG last time the two faced, but they are on pretty even ground as far as skill and teamplay goes. This is definitely the match to watch of this group, and it will affect the standings more than any other.
One of two major upsets on day four was CLG taking down the top seed from Korea, Rox Tigers. With all of group ‘A’ aside from G2 tied up for first, every game counts. If Rox want to maintain their dominance in this tournament and win the whole thing as is predicted, they will need to redeem themselves for losing to the North American second seed. Of course there is no way they will let Aurelion Sol through the pick/ban phase, but CLG are still the one team to take a game off of them so far. The edge here is going to Rox even though their match history leans in CLG’s favor, and this is due to the fact that the pick/ban phase can deal with CLG altogether. By getting Huhi off Sol and potentially aphromoo off of a playmaking support, CLG is somewhat neutralized. I concede, however, that CLG have traditionally done well in international competition and should be able to at least put up a good fight, but a win may be a bit too optimistic.
Friday, October 7
Last time we saw these teams battle was on day two. It was pretty close for the majority of the game, with EDG being ahead by a few thousand gold the entire time. That was until about 38 minutes in when EDG got Elder Dragon, Baron, five kills, four turrets, an inhibitor, 8,000 gold, and a win all within three minutes. This game will probably determine the first place team in this group. I don’t necessarily think the loser is guaranteed second, but they will definitely have to try harder against H2K and INTZ to secure a spot in the quarterfinals. EDG is predicted to win, but AHQ definitely have avenues for success. Mouse is still the weak link on EDG, even if they have been able to cover for that since INTZ exploited that weakness. Both teams also had a very sloppy early game on day two, and cleaning that up is definitely ideal. I look forward to watching this game, and you should too.
While EDG-AHQ is our battle for first, this game will be to determine something as well. The loser of this game will almost definitely take last place, and the winner will be in contest with the loser of EDG-AHQ for second. While both teams are 1-2, they each have different reasons one would predict a win for either team. H2K have performed stronger over all. They have better stats player for player. The most important factor is that they won last time these teams squared off, giving up only a single kill and single dragon, never losing the gold lead they established early. It was one of the most one-sided games of this tournament. INTZ’s advantage lies in that they were able to take down EDG, a much more skilled opponent, so we know the ability is there to perform better than they did when these two teams last met. Aside from that, H2K should be able to lock in this win pretty convincingly, but INTZ have surprised us with more shocking upsets in the past.
Thursday and Friday will be the days that groups ‘A’ and ‘C’ finalize their teams moving on to the quarterfinals. Don’t miss a game, but if you have to, make sure you watch these!