Last night, fans of League of Legends (LoL) witnessed what can only be described as weeks of tension and training culminate in the first day at the 2016 League of Legends World Championship (Worlds). In a beautiful display of high-Elo competition, we saw 12 groups compete in six matches to earn points in the beginning part of Group Stage games.
In Group A, we saw Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) triumph over G2 Esports (G2) from the underdog position in typical CLG fashion while ROX Tigers (ROX) defeated Albus NoX Luna (ANX).
From Group C, we saw ahq e-Sports Club (AHQ) triumph over H2k-Gaming (H2K), before INTZ e-Sports knocked down Edward Gaming (EDG).
From Group D, we saw Samsung Galaxy (SG) take the W over Splyce, and Royal Never Give Up (RNG) beat down Team SoloMid (TSM) after many bugs and fixes.
During this match, we saw intense concentration from both sides as the game unraveled, with CLG coming out on top. Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaha was an absolute master of the Poppy gank last night, and Jake “Xmithie” Puchero played a vigilant Olaf, moving wherever the team needed exactly when they needed it. Clutching the win early and snowballing into late game, CLG showed everyone just what the underdog position entails!
In a thrilling feline-vs-feline matchup, ROX started to gain the advantage just 10 minutes into the game. ROX’s temperament left them temporarily, playing cocky and taking unnecessary risks that ANX made sure to punish. As the game continued, ROX cemented their win with a solid hold over objectives. But ANX did not just throw in the towel, though. They put up quite a fight. With a three-minute Double Kill on the No. 1 team coming into Worlds, expect them to prove that a wild card team is just as relevant in the days to come.
Battling it out for what is presumed to be Group C’s second place following EDG, these two teams seemed evenly matched until the mid game. A Baron fight led to AHQ taking Baron and two kills while losing three of their own. After a second Baron fight and smart positioning, AHQ led H2K into a 5v4 fight in the pit, resulting in an Ace and AHQ’s first win of Worlds.
Hearing that EDG is the expected winner of Group C, INTZ were looking to shut them down early, which they did in an absolute domination of the former. INTZ took their early lead and snowballed with it, not letting it wither away like ANX did earlier in the night. Forcing EDG’s Irelia to become irrelevant by having their jungler camp top lane was a wise choice, and ultimately led them to victory.
The crowd was ecstatic to see everyone’s favorite cantankerous cavalier picked by Splyce’s top lane. However, Splyce regretted it after not too long. Martin “Wunder” Hansen used Kled’s ultimate, Chaaaaaaaarge!!! to rush blindly into unfavorable fights and positions resulting in a relatively free lane for SSG’s Lee “CuVee” Seong-jin on Rumble, one of the strongest top laners in the game. A heavy win for SG over Splyce’s surprise picks.
Three minutes into this match, an Aurelion Sol bug forced a remake and Aurelion Sol ban until the bug becomes fixed. The dragon’s orbs were invisible, and that posed problems for both teams. After the remake, TSM wasted no time in taking the upper hand, taking objective after objective with little to no resistance from RNG. But unknown to TSM, they were just biding their time.
Knowing that their team comp scaled much more quickly than TSM’s, RNG lay in wait for their time to strike. Arranging team fights based on the Flash cooldown of Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong to utilize his Alistar Headbutt. RNG dominated almost every team fight during the late game. This game proved that Mata meant business. If he continues to compete at this level of play, RNG may just have a higher chance than we thought.
An excellent, worthwhile show from all the teams involved. Day 1 has me just as excited to see how Day 2 unfolds tonight.
Post your predictions and thoughts in the comments below!