The Week That Was: A Phenomenon Called ‘Worlds’

Earlier this week, Les Docks de Paris played host to the beginning of the group stage of the fifth iteration of the World Championships. The purpose of this article is to go over the groups and see where the individual teams stand, and how they fared.

This was written before Group A played their matches, but was delayed due to unforeseen circumstances. I have not altered Group A based on the results as this is a recap of the first week. 

Earlier this week, Le Dock Pullman played host to the beginning of the League of Legends World Championships. The purpose of this article is to go over the first week of groups and see where the individual teams stand, and how they fared.

Group C

This one pretty much went to plan. SKT has looked significantly stronger than all other teams in the tournament, bar OG (bet you never thought you’d see me write that), due in no small part to the failure of LGD. Of course, this doesn’t mean that EDG is playing poorly, but given their one meeting was somewhat of a mismatch, it would be appropriate to say that EDG hasn’t shown us their ability to play at a high level against elite class opposition.

SK Telecom T1

1st with a record of 3 Wins & 0 Losses.

Pretty much as expected, the best team in the tournament so far by a considerable margin, amplified by the failure of LGD. Additionally, from the one encounter we’ve witnessed between SKT and EDG it’s safe to say a substantial gap between the two teams has grown during the Summer Split. However, it would be disingenuous to imply that EDG cannot defeat SKT at this point as the only evidence we have is one best-of-one.

Regardless, there’s no doubt that SKT are the end boss as far as this World Championship goes, and they look practically unbeatable — particularly when compared to the skills the participating teams have displayed so far.

Edward Gaming

2nd with a record of 2 Wins & 1 Loss.

A faltering performance in the playoffs wasn’t enough to stop EDG attending worlds, and more to the point it wasn’t enough to stop them winning. Given the poor performance shown by H2K and the fact that BKT is one of the worst teams ever to attend an international tournament, the first and second seeds seem locked in for Group C, meanwhile the only chance EDG has for placing first is a tiebreaker with SKT (by going 1-1 with SKT and winning the rest of their games). However, as we saw in the first game, EDG honestly do not look to be near the level of the Korean powerhouse at this juncture.

H2K Gaming

3rd with a record of 1 Win & 2 Losses.

Unfortunately this is the worst hand H2K could have been dealt. They’re probably only going to beat BKT as both SKT and EDG have shown reasonably good play over the past week, so there’s not much to say. With respect to H2K, any team that was drawn into this group would be in this position, but we knew that at the time. It’s just a shame that H2K got the two Asian teams in the tournament that aren’t underperforming.  

Bangkok Titans

4th with a record of 0 Wins & 3 Losses.

They’re dead, Jim.

Group D

Probably the most interesting group of the tournament so far, but for mostly wrong reasons. Origen has risen to become a super power, it would seem. Meanwhile, LGD has fallen to nothing — the butt of all jokes. Seriously, even TSM beat them.

Whether you’re filled with a sense of pride when you look at this group, or heartbreak, one thing is certain: this group is one hell of a ride. Some of you might want off, but that’s okay.

Let’s talk about it.


1st with a record of 3 Wins & 0 Losses.

A sublime performance. Heading into week two, Origen look to be one of the best teams in the tournament based on their play in the first week. With the relatively poor play seen by the other performers in this group, it’s very likely that Origen will progress to the quarter finals.

KT Rolster

2nd with a record of 2 Wins & 1 Loss.

Inconsistent is a term to describe many teams at the World Championships, and KT Rolster may just be the flagship for that description. However, that doesn’t mean they look like a ‘bad’ team. In fact, looking at the games in this group, there’s a sense that it’s rather clear cut in that OG and KT will both progress.

Team SoloMid

3rd with a record of 1 Win & 2 Losses.

TSM had a horrible start to Worlds, and there’s still a lot of questions for the team to answer. One would hope they used the time in their break wisely, as they need significant improvement if they hope to place anywhere in this group. Their losses to OG and KT were systematic – slow, painful and decidedly one sided. Against LGD, their win came on the back of Bjergsen’s Twisted Fate, but it was still messy for a game where they controlled so much.

Unless they’ve benefited significantly more from the break than their competitors, it’s very likely that all hope is gone for the American team.

LGD Gaming

4th with a record of 0 Wins & 3 Losses.

Absolutely the biggest letdown of the tournament so far. Going 0-3 in the first week already puts LGD in a horrible position going forward. Their only consolation is that TSM has shown shaky play at best, but despite that their chances of getting out of groups are extraordinarily low at this point. Given that essentially every educated analyst in the League of Legends world had LGD somewhere in their top three, the performance they have displayed as a collective unit is one of the biggest failures in League of Legends history.

It is a true disappointment, and we can only hope that they show up for their remaining three games. But given that KT only needs to win one game to force a tie breaker (in LGD’s best case scenario), LGD may have left any potential run a mite too late.

Group B

This group didn’t just ignore the script, they scratched it, shot it, burnt it, binned it and shot the bin for good measure. Originally, this group seemed clear cut. The consensus was that Fnatic would make it out along with either Invictus Gaming (if they performed) or ahq.

… The consensus was wrong.


1st with a record of 3 Wins & 0 Losses.

Forget everything you knew about C9 this season. The team you originally saw and the team we have been witnessing since Hai’s reintroduction to the starting squad are completely different. From where they began to where they are now, it is absolutely a phenomenal story, one that cements Hai as one of the best strategical minds ever to grace competitive gaming.

In the context of this group, C9 has been spectacular. They’ve exploited the weakness of every team they have faced and players like Sneaky and Incarnati0n have come alive when it matters most.

Let’s bring some realism into this though, because there are fleeting comments that include C9 as one of the potential teams that can win the tournament. We’ve already acknowledged the tremendous success the team has had to get this point, the incredible story of Hai and the impressive play Sneaky and Incarnati0n have exhibited of late. These are all absolutely breathtaking factors that belong in a great story, and we are truly lucky to have these narratives in this tournament.

However, C9 will not win Worlds.

FNC have obvious weaknesses to play on, and as we’ve already stated tactical and strategic superiority is one of C9’s strengths.

IG and ahq both have a lot of flaws, so much so that analysts from both regions were apprehensive regarding how they would perform in this group. Both teams are suffering from a drastic lack of form so far, which C9 has done well to capitalise on.

Even with these things considered, their games haven’t been particularly clean. The game against FNC was a good example, where they trailed for 16 minutes after leading before taking advantage of a questionable mistake to end the game. Such is the issue with best-of-ones.

The message here is to be mindful. Yes, the C9 story is fantastic. Yes, their play has been acceptable relative to the group they are in. But that doesn’t mean it is okay to blow the hype out of the water.

That said, C9 is in an extremely strong position to progress to the quarter finals.


2nd with a record of 1 Win & 2 Losses.

The European monsters, having won two successive regional championships and amassed a record of 47 wins and 17 losses from 64 games over the course of the year, many expected FNC to be the dominant team heading into the group stage. While they are by no means out of the tournament, the faults in their play have been somewhat shocking. Here’s a fun fact: in all three of their games so far, FNC has been in the lead of all of them with 15 minutes to go. In their two losses, they lost through their own mistakes.

There isn’t much to say here. Their problems are solvable. Logic dictates that FNC is still the best team in this group, and with the days they’ve had off there’s no reason to believe that they won’t secure their promotion position.

Invictus Gaming

2nd with a record of 1 Win & 2 Losses.

As previously mentioned, Chinese experts expressed concerns regarding IG and as it turns out, they were right to worry. So far we have seen two different types of play from IG: poor, and resilient but messy. They’ve shown little to prove that they can topple FNC at their best, or even C9 in their current form. Given how the records currently stand and how we can expect the teams to perform coming out of the break, it’s hard to see IG making it to the quarter finals.

ahq e-Sports Club

2nd with a record of 1 Win & 2 Losses.

Much like IG, the experts of Taiwan expressed some concern over ahq heading into the group stages. In addition, there was a lot of excitement thanks to the strong performance Taiwan showed at MSI. These two elements coupled with the fact that hardly anyone from the West watched their regular season games meant that for the most part everyone was uneducated on this team.

While ahq has shown some sparks of ingenuity and flair, their play is inconsistent and more often than not, poor. Despite their shortcomings this team is tenacious and their individual members are impressive, AN in particular proving to be a phenomenal marksman.

If AHQ find any measure of consistency, they may prove a challenge.

Group A

Easily the tightest groups at Worlds, this is a pleasant surprise as despite inconsistencies, all of these teams have shown some measure of high quality play throughout their first week. While this makes for an entertaining group, unfortunately whoever makes it to the quarter finals will likely be the underdogs against all the promotion contenders of their rival groups.

Counter Logic Gaming

1st with a record of 2 Wins & 1 Loss.

Fortunately, thanks to Xmithie securing his visa the organisation was able to field their full strength team for the entirety of the World Championships. Interestingly, parts of the team seem to have performed at a decent level in different games, but by no means has it been a flawless performance. In their first game against Flash Wolves, ZionSpartan had a poor showing as we saw both teams play out a rather messy encounter. Although CLG ultimately won, both teams did make a lot of mistakes. This fact was overlooked somewhat as Doublelift had a spectacular performance on Jinx, aided by Pobelter’s strong Lulu play.

Indeed, over the first week Doublelift has been the consistent performer (aside from the KOO game, which was rather brutal). The star marksman’s performance is a promising trend for the American team, who won their regional championship on the back of his splendid form.

CLG has displayed an impressive level of play in what appears to be an extremely tight group. They’ll be looking to continue their good form, but a mistake could easily see them drop out of the promotion positions with the intense competition surrounding them.  

KOO Tigers

1st with a record of 2 Wins & 1 Loss.

It would be disingenuous to say that KOO aren’t the best team in this group. While CLG have performed admirably, they haven’t shown a level of play that is high enough to be considered better than the South Korean team.

So far in the group stage KOO has amassed two wins, both of which have been absolutely dominant. Their one loss came at the hands of the FW, and frankly… it was weird. Analysts have attributed the game to KOO perhaps trying to hide their hand (potential drafts and picks) a little too much, where some others simply think they didn’t respect FW in the draft phase. Despite the draft, they managed to hold a lead for 26 minutes before losing a mid-game teamfight and as a result, control of the game.  

Based on what we’ve seen, it’s safe to assume that KOO are likely to progress through the group.

Flash Wolves

2nd with a record of 1 Win & 2 Losses.

FW have proven that they’re no pushover. Give them a decent draft, and they’ll take anyone in this group to their limits. Normally three best-of-ones don’t tell much about a team, but in this case it’s actually kind of strange. In three standard games FW have had radically different performances, ranging from brilliant to baffling. They’ve taken CLG to the brink, only to make a silly mistake and lose. KOO gave them a good draft and they played it out relatively well, snowballing a pretty clean game to victory. And then they barely lost a mistake-ridden slugfest with PaiN Gaming.

Basically, these three games did tell us something and no, it isn’t that Steak is our XiaoWeiXiao replacement. From their games we can discern that we have absolutely no clue what to expect from FW. They’re inconsistent, and the fact that the format has shifted to include all of the group games in one day means that they could very well just have a good performance and blow all three games out of the water to either promote or force a tie breaker. At their best, the troops of FW do look like a dangerous bunch. The best of whom is arguably SwordArt, who has shown mastery over Thresh and Morgana thus far, despite his teams inconsistencies.

Is that likely? Well, maybe not. But it’s on the table, and that’s the strange thing with FW. If they manage some measure of consistency, this team could very well make a surprise run to the quarter finals.

It would seem this is the tournament for it, after all.

paiN Gaming

2nd with a record of 1 Win & 2 Losses.

PNG may not be the first wildcard team ever to win a game internationally, but they may be the first one to actually be competitive in the group they were drawn into. You might even do a double take now that I’ve said that, probably with good reason because their first two games were rather one sided.

Slow down a minute. They’re probably not going to get out of the group, but they’re more than likely the strongest wildcard team ever to grace the international stage. This team can take games off of the other three teams in the group, as we’ve already seen. And to that extent, it seems that the promoting teams will be decided by who drops games to PNG.

They might not be strong enough to get out of the group, but they can play spoiler for someone, and given the general inconsistencies of the group it’s almost guaranteed to happen.

Credit to LoL esports for the images. You can find their album here.

Written by Mitchell ‘Zeju’ Smith. Apologies for the short delay on this piece, but thankfully Group A was rather easy to predict. Now that I’ve gone and said that, watch every other group be a complete failure. If you liked this article or enjoy laughing at Australian internet, you can follow me on Twitter.