After a rollercoaster of a second week, Group B’s games finally conclude the group stage. Out of all four groups, this was the only one where the expected teams to top the group actually managed to make the quarterfinals.
Group B’s second round of matches consisted of one team getting a sizeable gold lead and the viewers watching to see how long it took them to close out the game. This resulted in games that were not very competitive, but more of a test to see if these teams learned how to close out a game after their horrific matches in week one.
First Place: SK Telecom T1
Match Score: 5-1
While SKT went undefeated in the second week, they revealed some of their team’s weaknesses. In their games against Cloud 9 and the Flash Wolves, Kang “Blank” Sun-gu had a horrible early game. Blank’s jungle pathing during the laning phase caused him to get caught out multiple times, as well as constantly lagging behind the enemy jungler when trying to answer enemy ganks. Blank’s main saving grace is his amazing mechanics. Blank almost always performs well during team fights due to his mechanics. It was most likely due to this factor that SKT played Blank more than Bae “Bengi” Seong-woong during the group stage.
Coming into the quarterfinals, SKT should focus heavily on Blank’s communication with the bottom lane. Going up against Royal Never Give Up, the last thing SKT wants is for their bot lane to get behind, hence giving Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao an advantage. Uzi demonstrated in the group stage that when given a lead, he will carry the game, and unlike the teams SKT faced in the group stage, RNG won’t throw their lead.
Second Place: Cloud 9
Match Score: 3-3
After Team SoloMid’s group stage exit, Cloud9 became North America’s last hope to make it into the quarterfinals. Coming to the second week of the group stage, C9’s jungler William “Meteos” Hartman returned with an improved early game. Compared to the first week, Meteos’ pathing was much better and he was actually having an impact on the game through his ganks. C9’s support Andy “Smoothie” Ta displayed impressive roaming in C9’s games against SKT and IMay. Smoothie’s confident play and shot calling created a reliable pillar for C9 during their games.
The main gripe against C9 in their games is still their inability to close out a game well. In their game against IMay, C9 struggled to end the game with a substantial gold lead. There were many instances in that game where IMay could have turned the game around but didn’t capitalize on it. When C9 play against Samsung in the quarterfinals, Samsung won’t make the same mistake. Samsung will exploit any mistakes C9 make in the late game.
Third Place: I May
Match Score: 2-4
Midway through the group stage, IMay was hit with adversity. Their support Yun “Road” Han-gil was hit with a one game ban due to toxicity. This caused I May to double role swap, having their mid substitute Kang “Athena” Ha-woon play jungle, and their jungler Fan “Avoidless” Jun Wei play support in their game against Flash Wolves. While everyone thought that this was going to be a free win for Flash Wolves, IMay did what they do best and beat Flash Wolves through a late game comeback.
Even with their impressive win against Flash Wolves, IMay went on to lose their next two matches. Against C9 and SKT, IMay’s early to mid-game was subpar. Both C9 and SKT were teams who could exploit IMay’s terrible early game into an easy win. Although they were not able to make the quarterfinals, IMay should be proud of what they accomplished. Going from being EDG’s B-team, to a world championship contender in a matter of months, IMay’s 2016 run was truly astounding.
Fourth Place: Flash Wolves
Match Score: 2-4
(Due to losing the head to head tiebreaker with I May, the Flash Wolves ended last place in their group.)
The Flash Wolves were the most promising team in the whole tournament. Their early and mid-game were second to none. In every single game they played at world’s, they managed to have a gold lead at twenty minutes. The Flash Wolves big problem was that they were terrible at closing games. Flash Wolves could take inhibitors and even nexus turrets, but still find a way to throw the game.
Flash Wolves mid laner Huang “Maple” Yi-Tang, and jungler Hung “Karsa” Hau-Hsuan both had phenomenal performances in almost every game they played, making their sudden drop off in the late game so disappointing. If Flash Wolves could have learned how to somewhat close a game in their week of practice, this team would have without a doubt made it to the quarterfinals.
What are your thoughts on the final day of Group Play? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting us on Twitter – @GAMURScom.
Photos courtesy of LoL Esports
Article by Malcolm Abbas. Follow him on twitter @SmashhLoL