Group D was arguably the strongest group in this tournament. Almost every team in Group D deserved to make it to the quarterfinals, making the results difficult to digest for many fans.
Since the skill gap between the teams in this group were so close, there were no real upsets, despite the many surprised reactions to the final results. Out all teams who advanced to the quarterfinals, the two teams from Group D look to be the strongest and most complete teams, but that could change after Group B plays.
First Place: Samsung Galaxy
Match Score: 5-1
Coming into the second week of play, Samsung’s early game became dramatically better. Instead of falling behind the other teams in the first 10 minutes of the game, Samsung was now edging out slight gold leads. Couple this with their fantastic team fighting, and Samsung was now a very fearsome team. It’s unbelievable to think Kang “Ambition” Chan-yong could be the best jungler in the tournament. But after seeing the other junglers in the tournament underperform alongside his stellar performances in Samsung’s wins, it raises the argument that the former mid laner could be the best in his role at worlds.
Samsung’s mid laner Lee “Crown” Min-ho also had a breakout performance in the second week of the group stage. Making his Viktor a must ban, Crown dominated every other mid laner in his group, including the western superstar Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg. After such a performance, both Crown and the rest of Samsung definitely deserved the first seed in Group D.
Second Place: Royal Never Give Up
Match Score: 3-3
RNG had very inconsistent performances throughout the group stages. In one game, RNG could decimate every lane and cleanly close out the game, but in their next game, they looked like they didn’t know what to do. But, in both games RNG played against TSM, RNG looked like the former rather than the latter.
After two losses in a row, it looked quite bleak for RNG to make it to the quarterfinals. They had to beat TSM, who were coming off a very clean win against Splyce, who just beat RNG. But, in RNG fashion, the Chinese team managed to surprise everyone yet again. Revealing Li “xiaohu” Yuan-Hao’s secret Aurelion Sol pick, RNG dominated TSM. RNG’s performance in the quarterfinals is entirely dependent on whether or not they can play around their peak skill ceiling. While a secret pick like Aurelion Sol may work in the group stage, it won’t be enough to beat the Korean teams in a best-of-five.
Third Place: Team SoloMid
Match Score: 3-3
For North American fans, this was the most shocking part of the tournament so far. Team SoloMid, the NA hope who ESPN ranked fourth in the world, failed to make it out of the group stage. For the team who repeatedly said that anything but a top-four finish at Worlds was considered a failure, this group stage exit came as a major shock.
TSM’s main problem throughout the group stage was that they had almost no idea how to play the mid game if they didn’t already have a gold lead. If the opponent had the gold lead, TSM wouldn’t respect the other team’s strength. Instead, TSM would continue to play as if they were at least even with the enemy, causing them to fall more and more behind.
TSM’s draft in the second week was also questionable. In their loss against Samsung, TSM left up Viktor, Crown’s signature champion. Similarly, in their loss against RNG, they left up Aurelion Sol, one of the strongest champions in the whole tournament. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that there are going to be changes within TSM during the offseason.
Fourth Place: Splyce
Match Score: 1-5
Despite only winning one game, Splyce was competitive in almost every game in this tournament. Splyce managed to get many early game leads, but could not translate them well into the mid game, causing the Danish team to throw many games. The most notable example of this was in their first game against TSM. Splyce had an enormous gold lead against TSM, with their mid laner Chres “Sencux” Laursen having a scoreline of 9/0/1. With no clue on how to properly close out the game, Splyce started to get caught up, allowing TSM to get back in the game and inevitably win the game.
Splyce’s bot lane had a very impressive showing at this tournament, solo killing TSM’s bot lane, as well as almost doing the same to RNG in their second game. The rest of Splyce also had impressive showings in at least one game at Worlds. It will be amazing to watch how much these young players grow over the next year of play, and see if they can win the EU LCS title in the next season.
What are your thoughts on the Group D results? Did you predict them correctly? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting us on Twiter @GAMURScom.
Photos Courtesy of LoL Esports
Article by Malcolm Abbas. Follow him on twitter @SmashhLoL