League of Legends World Championship Group Stage Recap: Day 1
In just the first day of the season six League of Legends World Championships, we were presented with six games full of upsets. For many analysts, this day was full of wrong predictions. You could argue that this day alone had more upsets than the entire group stage of previous Worlds.
Here is a recap of the upset filled first day of the group stage:
Game One: G2 Esports vs. Counter Logic Gaming
Winner: Counter Logic Gaming
Starting strong with the good old fashioned rivalry between NA and EU, the group stage’s first game was between Europe’s G2, and North America’s Counter Logic Gaming. While most people wrote off CLG (some people believed they shouldn’t even be in this tournament), this game changed the opinions of many people.
With the surprise pick of Olaf coming in for Jake "Xmithie" Puchero and Poppy from Darshan "Darshan" Upadhyaha, CLG dominated G2. From CLG’s tower dive in the bot lane in the early stage of the game, it was apparent G2’s top laner Ki "Expect" Dae-han was lagging behind the rest of the team. He would continuously have slower teleports then Darshan, allowing CLG to win almost every team fight.
Couple that with the many picks CLG got in G2’s jungle, and Xmithie’s spectacular jungling, having 100 percent kill participation throughout the whole game, and you have a decisive CLG win. Everyone's eyes are now on G2 to see if they can rebound from this game, or if they will fail to make it out in the group stages.
Game Two: ROX Tiger vs. Albus NoX Luna
Winner: ROX Tigers
The early minutes of this game looked quite scary for tournament favourites ROX Tigers. After a greedy jungle invade took the lives of both Han "Peanut" Wang-ho and Song "Smeb" Kyung-ho, the Tigers kept getting caught out. By the 10 minute mark, Albus NoX Luna was up 800 gold and three kills.
The game was looking dire for the Tigers… until they realized who they were and proceeded to stomp the rest of the game. By 15 minutes, the ROX Tigers were now up 3000 gold and in control of this game. PraY carried this game for the ROX Tigers, creating a flame horizon over Albus NoX Luna’s AD Carry Vladislav "aMiracle" Scherbyna.
In a post-game interview, Smeb attributed their poor start to stage jitters. Credit needs to be given to Albus NoX Luna’s jungler Alexander "Stejos" Glazkov. His creative jungle pathing allowed for Albus NoX Luna to get those early kills to present a challenge to the tournament favourites.
Game Three: H2k-Gaming vs. AHQ Esports
This was H2K’s game to lose. After gaining a 4000 gold lead, all H2K had to do was cleanly win the game through map rotations, but their opponent had other plans. H2K decided to haphazardly team fight around the Baron pit for 10 minutes, causing them to give over the Baron to AHQ at the 30 minute mark.
Since AHQ drafted a late game team composition, as soon as they got Baron, the game was basically over. AHQ proceeded to slowly close out the game, something H2K could have done 15 minutes earlier. H2K needs to shape up their macro play, because if they continue to play like this, they will definitely not make it out of groups.
Game Four: INTZ e-Sports vs. EDward Gaming
Winner: INTZ e-Sports
INTZ’s win over EDG is definitely the biggest group stage upset in the history of League of Legends. This is the first time a wild card team has defeated a clear favourite to win the whole tournament. INTZ made history today with their win over EDG.
INTZ’s win is mostly due to their top laner Felipe "Yang" Zhao and jungler Gabriel "Revolta" Henud. Revolta’s successful repeat ganks top lane allowed Yang to take control of the game on Gnar, even solo killing EDG’s all-star jungler Ming "ClearLove" Kai.
INTZ cleanly won this game, coming out ahead in almost every team fight. With such impressive play from INTZ, the question is not if INTZ can play spoiler to any tie breakers, but if they can get out of groups all together.
Game Five: Samsung Galaxy vs. Splyce
Winner: Samsung Galaxy
For this champion’s first game ever played in competitive, Kled did not look impressive in the hands of Splyce. This game looked like a standard game win for Samsung. Lee "Crown" Min-ho, Samsung’s mid laner, was able to play Victor, his signature champion.
Samsung gained gold advantages over Splyce through having their lanes out-roam the enemy to get team kills. These advantages added up to a 6000 gold lead by 20 minutes for Samsung. From this point on, Samsung played around Baron until they could take the buff. After they finally took Baron at 30 minutes, Samsung was able to use the buff to close out the game and begin the tournament 1-0.
Game Six: Team SoloMid vs. Royal Never Give Up
Winner: Royal Never Give Up
The early game looked very promising for the North American champions. Team SoloMid was winning their lanes, and Dennis "Svenskeren" Johnsen was dominating the map. It seemed as if TSM was going to win the game until Royal Never Give Up’s bot lane solo killed TSM’s duo.
TSM’s rookie support Vincent "Biofrost" Wang kept getting caught out by RNG. Cho "Mata" Se-hyeong, former world champion and RNG’s support, had a spectacular showing on Alistar in this game, making Alistar a must ban for future games.RNG won teamfights off Mata’s Alistar combos.
Around the 25 minute mark, all of TSM was continuously getting caught out, allowing for RNG to easily take Baron and win the game. This version of RNG looks entirely different from the one that showed up at the LPL finals. If they can continue with this kind of play, RNG will easily get out of groups.
What was your favorite moment from the first day of action at Worlds? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @GAMURScom.
Photos courtesy of LoL Esports