The dust has settled after the Worlds Group Stage, with the best pro League of Legends players throughout the entire world meeting to go head to head on Summoner’s Rift. Miracles happened, hearts were broken, expectations were shattered again, and eight teams will proceed to the grueling Knockout Stage.
The NA Curse
North American darlings Team SoloMid found themselves the victims of proper preparation. After a solid week one that ended 2-1 in Group D, the other three teams seemed to realize that TSM’s early game was a major problem. And although they were able to secure a victory against EU’s former Challenger upshots Misfits in their regular Week 2 match, TSM’s loss against Flash Wolves, when the representatives from Taiwan were already too far from possibly advancing, caused a tiebreaker between TSM and MSF. That final game got off to a slow start, and it wasn’t until the laning phase was mostly over that Misfits secured first blood, rendering TSM the only team in the Group Stage to fail to secure a game’s first kill.
Things only spiraled from there, as TSM Hauntzer failed to gain traction on Jayce, and TSM Doublelift’s Kog’Maw wasn’t able to scale fast enough to come online when he was needed most. TSM did manage to bite back and finally secure some kills at 30 minutes with an open Nexus, but it was too little, too late.
Social media immediately turned vitriolic, with plenty of references to last years Week 2 performance of 0-10 for the region. While the scoreline wasn’t quite as bad as that, the team that was thought to be NA’s best hope of making it out of Groups had fallen hard. According to a post on Twitter from TSM’s head coach Parth, somebody else will be taking the reigns for next season.
Sorry to our fans. Last year it was inexperience, but no excuses this year. That was my last time on stage.
— Parth (@parthenaan) October 15, 2017
LPL Teams Posturing For Victory
Meanwhile in Group D, Team WE, who were bested by TSM in Week 1, redoubled their efforts to make that their only loss in the Group Stage. They stomped through their Week 2 matches, in a show of dominance that exhibited tighter game play than their first week. Ending 5-1, they head to the Knockout Stage alongside Misfits. The latter, although they have performed exceptionally well considering this is their first Worlds competition and that they were a Challenger league team in 2016, weren’t able to pull a game off WE. Group D was considered by many to be the “easy group,” and Misfits now stare down much tougher competition.
Over in Group C, G2 Esports found themselves in perhaps the hardest group to make it out of. And while they didn’t even need a miracle run the likes of Fnatic to do it, they found themselves in a story line more similar to TSM’s. The LPL’s RNG also won all three of their Week 2 match ups, while Samsung Galaxy was able to defeat G2 for second place in the group. But the performances from the EULCS’s number one seed left fans feeling like the team would have made it out of nearly any other group.
SKT Is Still Very Good at League of Legends
Group A was the last to be decided last night, and it seemed, at first, like things might get interested. The first match between last year’s Worlds Champions SK Telecom T1 and Taiwan’s ahq actually ended in an upset victory for the LMS representatives. It takes a perfect game to take down SKT, and ahq had one in their back pocket.
SKT was able to shrug the game off as their only loss in the Group stage. The real excitement from Group A Week 2 ended up coming from the incredible bounce back from China’s EDG, who started the week off at 0-3. But Cloud9, NA’s final hope for making it out of Groups, performed consistently enough to bag an even 3-3 record. That meant EDG had to best everybody in their group in Week 2, including SKT, to cause a tiebreaker with C9. Much to the delight of NA fans, SKT was able to take EDG down in the final match of the night, despite the incredible moment EDG had on the day.
Off to Guangzhou
The eight remaining teams will now head to Guangzhou to begin the Knockout Stage quarterfinals. Draws have already been made, and things aren’t looking hopeful for EU and NA. But then, how could they? At least one LCK will not make it to semifinals (and at least one will), as Longzhu and SSG find themselves pit against each other. Longzhu has yet to lose a match at Worlds this year, after taking home the LCK regional Championship. Fnatic and Misfits both have tough hills to climb, staring down matches against RNG and SKT, respectively. And after both teams clawed their way all the way from Play-Ins, WE and C9 each look to send each other home. Matches continue in the wee hours of the morning this Thursday, but fans can choose their Pick ‘Em predictions for the Knockout Stage in less than one hour. Will SKT prove once again that they are the best in the world? Would they lose to Longzhu again? Will either of them make it to the finals? All will be decided within the coming weeks.