We are now halfway through the League of Legends World Championships. The Cinderella story that was Albus Nox Luna has been vanquished. All three Korean teams that qualified are still very much alive. And the last remaining Western team is on a serious roll.
Coming out of the group stage in San Francisco and into this past weekend in Chicago, the teams that were expected to win are hitting their stride. SK Telecom T1 (SKT), ROX Tigers (ROX), Samsung Galaxy (SSG) — all Korean teams, and H2K — the only Western team took first seed in their respective groups. All four teams dominated during the second week in the Bay Area, and that momentum carried over into the Windy City.
DAY 1 – Cloud9 vs. Samsung Galaxy
The weekend started off with North America’s “last hope,” Cloud9 (C9), facing off against SSG. The Koreans made quick work of the Americans. From the beginning, you could see that things were going SSG’s way. C9 tried to set up some early plays and get some kills for their mid laner, but SSG was able to turn the tables and gain advantages. They also punished those plays that didn’t work in C9’s favor by gaining more map vision. That was the story of the series, C9 tried to take the initiative and be proactive, but in the end SSG was too much for them and just had better execution.
SSG beat C9, 3-0
DAY 2 – SK Telecom T1 vs. Royal Never Give Up
For the second day of elimination games, we saw Korea’s SKT take on China’s Royal Never Give Up (RNG). This was a highly anticipated matchup as it was the reigning champs (SKT) taking on a team that had high expectations coming into the tournament.
RNG showed some fight and took down SKT in the first game, but SKT got their groove going and looked stronger than their Chinese counterparts in each subsequent game as they steamrolled over them on their way into the semifinals. SKT’s discipline proved to be beneficial in a lot of the team fights, and it showed in the individual play of SKT’s members, as well as the overall gameplay.
SKT beat RNG, 3-1
DAY 3 – ROX Tigers vs. Edward Gaming
The third day saw (yet again) Korea vs. China going head to head in a match between ROX Tigers (ROX) and Edward Gaming (EDG) — and the result was much the same as the previous battle. However, the biggest difference of how it was done was shown in the style of play by ROX. Where SKT was disciplined and methodical, ROX played with a controlled chaos that often times left EDG confused and reactionary. But that chaotic aggression also presented a possibility for EDG to take Game 3, which they capitalized on.
All in the all, ROX’s only loss came from their over confidence and trying to get cute with their picks (Smeb chose Fiora in the top lane, which traditionally is a good pick for him, but does not fit in the current Worlds meta).
After rebounding from that loss, and getting some phenomenal play from their jungler Peanut, ROX was able to solidly close out the series and book their ticket to the semifinals.
ROX beat EDG, 3-1
DAY 4 – H2K vs. Albus Nox Luna
On the final round was probably the most anticipated and exciting contest for this tournament. The Cinderella hopefuls that were Russia’s Albus Nox Luna (ANX) (who gained a lot of fans with their play, and their personality, from the group stage) went against Europe’s H2K.
Part of the reason ANX did so well in Groups was due to their unknown status, style of play and unconventional picks. But after two weeks of film, a week to prepare, and going 4-0 to end their stay in San Francisco, H2K did not underestimate their quarterfinals opponents. This showed in how easily they dominated the series.
From the beginning, H2K’s top laner (Odoamne) was dominant. Just 4 minutes into Game 1 he gets his team into the lead with a First Blood and a double kill — and from that point on H2K snowballed ANX into elimination. Overall, H2K was able to win without showing too much of their hand when it comes to picks and bans strategy. This sets them up well going into the semifinals as they can potentially surprise their next opponents.
H2K beat ANX, 3-0
With the teams now set for the semifinals, action will begin on Friday, October 21st at 3pm PDT. If you want to see the next round you can view it live on Riot Games’ Twitch channel.
To watch any Worlds games you missed, and get caught up to speed, you can view all of the VOD’s on the LoL eSports website.
Who do you think will advance to the Finals and ultimately take the championship? Which players are you excited to see? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.