Three up, three down: KT Rolster shines as Origen falters
Only one more day left of group stages, and the seventh day of the League of Legends World Championships wasn't without surprises.
Today was the showdown of Group D, with matches between Korean third seed KT Rolster, Chinese first place LGD Gaming, European third seed Origen, and North American second seed Team SoloMid. Prior to its matches, the group received the name “The Group of Death,” due to its stacked lineup of top teams.
Last week, though, that "death" took on a different meaning. Specifically, LGD Gaming fell hard as it lost all three games, an incredible result for a team of their standing. And with its fall, Origen stepped up, leading the group with a 3-0 record, even topping Korean side KT Rolster.
But today, the tables turned. Here’s who went up and here’s who went down.
After a bumpy week last week and an unexpected loss to Origen, KT Rolster showed who’s boss today. The team managed to take victories over all three of its opponents, Team SoloMid, Origen, and LGD Gaming.
Top laner Kim "ssumday" Chan-ho dominated on Renekton, Darius, and Olaf, crushing his opponents in the match as expected. Star support Lee "Piccaboo" Jong-Beom pulled out a new pick for him in Shen support, of which he performed exceptionally on. And mid laner Kim "Nagne" Sang-moon led the team to a victory on Azir—known widely as his best champion—in smashing fashion.
KT Rolster took the first seed from their group when they beat Origen at their own game, using two teleports and two global movement ultimates to stay one step ahead of the wily Europeans.
KT Rolster will face one of EDward Gaming, KOO Tigers, or a to be determined team from Group D in the quarterfinals. And with today's performance, they're probably the favorite to win that series whoever they face.
On Thursday, LGD Gaming announced that top lane legend Lee "Flame" Ho-Jong will start, hoping to ignite a fire in a team suffering through a lackluster event.
Fans were more than excited. His previous career in the Azubu and CJ Entus lineups have made him a legend. And due to very little playtime in China, fans hoped that he would see the stage at this year’s World Championship.
His debut, though, was rough. KT Rolster top laner Ssumday ended up reaching the “Flame horizon”—the act of surpassing your opponent by 100 creep score, which was named after Flame’s success years ago.
But Flame bounced back, managing to look sharp versus Origen and Team SoloMid. He took victories over both with great score lines on Darius and Olaf.
That's hardly a solace for LGD Gaming, who was eliminated from the tournament with the loss to KT Rolster. But at least fans got to see one of the legends of the top lane compete on the big stage, and in a group featuring four other stars of the position.
Many tempered expectations on a supposedly rusty Flame entering the lineup, but he showed at Worlds that with some work, he can still compete at the top level of League of Legends.
Given Cloud9’s Nicolaj "Incarnati0n" Jensen’s performance on this champion in the first day of competition last week, many teams have opted to ban the pick if their opponents have any inclination to play it.
But today, Veigar saw play from Team SoloMid’s Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg and he didn’t disappoint.
In the match, Bjerg singlehandedly kept the game close between Team SoloMid and KT Rolster. The danger of a Veigar stun followed by a combo capable of instantly destroying a champion kept Team SoloMid in a long match against KT Rolster. But their late game mistakes eventually doomed them anyway.
Veigar’s high AP kit makes him a threat in the mid-lane, particularly versus heavy AP compositions. Today showed more power of the champion that randomly appeared while teams bootcamped in Korea, so expect more Veigar in tomorrow’s games and the knockout stage.
Today marks rock bottom for the team. After a bumpy split, of which it failed to take its first place title since Spring 2014, Team SoloMid took fourth in its group after losses to KT Rolster, Origen, and finally LGD Gaming.
To add some finality to the proceedings, top laner Marcus “Dyrus” Hill played his final match of professional League of Legends. And although Hill has gone under heavy criticism from analysts around the world in the past few months, the French crowd mourned the loss of one of the game’s greatest veterans.
It was a disappointing end to a season that showed so much promise for Team SoloMid, who became the first American team to win an international League of Legends with Koreans in attendance at IEM Katowice in March.
Since then, it's all been downhill, and that means there may soon be more open positions in the lineup than just the top lane.
AD Carry WildTurtle continued his poor positioning and questionable decision making today by getting caught out alone and killed in every match his team played. He's making the same mistakes he always does but seems to lack the playmaking edge that made him unique and successful in the past, playing as if he's scared to make a mistake.
His support, Ham "Lustboy" Jung-sik, wasn't much better, often caught in no-mans land and missing key skillshots, like a point blank Dark Binding on Morgana that cost Team SoloMid an early kill.
Jungler Lucas "Santorin" Tao Kilmer Larsen looked outclassed by most opponents.
But mid laner Bjergsen showed he’s still world class as he faced Enrique "xPeke" Cedeño Martínez, Wei "GODV" Lian, and Nagne. Although his performances weren’t enough to pull it through for his team, Bjergsen continued to prove his worth in the lineup.
The departure of Dyrus removes the last vestige of the Team SoloMid old guard from the team. That may also mean its time for a bigger house cleaning as an organization that accepts nothing less than the best looks to improve its fate.
Last week, Origen shined above all of its opponents. Today, however, it failed to keep up the tempo.
The Europeans first lost to LGD Gaming, which given the Chinese team’s poor performance last week, was unexpected. But in many ways it wasn't an important game; Either way Origen still needed a win over KT Rolster to top the group, so they didn't want to reveal too much to their Korean foes. Still, most of the Origen players looked outclassed, with the bot lane of Jesper "Niels" Svenningsen and Alfonso "mithy" Aguirre Rodriguez particularly failing to perform against Gu "imp" Seung-bin and Chen "Pyl" Bo.
Then, in the deciding match, they faltered again against KT Rolster in a close match, despite Niels’s stellar performance. Top laner Paul “sOAZ” Boyer put in a dismal performance on Kennen, giving up 9 deaths and letting Ssumday’s Darius get out of control. Still, Origen's mid and late game map movement, while more mistake-filled than last week, allowed them to stall out the game and give them a chance at victory.
All in all, Origen still looks better than most of its Western counterparts. But it’s uncertain who it will meet in the quarterfinals. Falling to KT Rolster may not hurt them if they face a team like Flash Wolves, but they're playing Russian roulette with SK Telecom T1 as a potential opponent now. Still, if they make less mistakes, like last week, they can probably beat anyone.
On July 22, jungle champion Evelynn received minor nerfs which knocked her out of competitive play. But at Worlds, she’s made a small resurgence, with play from Bae "Bengi" Seong-ung, Maurice "Amazing" Stückenschneider, and Zhu "TBQ" Yong-Quan.
While Bengi had success versus H2K, TBQ and Amazing fell flat today with the champion. The champion’s performance seems as if she is one of the weaker junglers currently in the meta.
Both junglers today went negative in their kill-death-assist ratios and provided very little to their team’s compositions.
It might be best if players stay away from Evelynn for now.
Photo via Riot Games/Flickr