If you’re a fan of underdogs, upsets, intense competition, amazing plays, and tournaments being thrown upside down, then you should be watching the League of Legends World Championships. If you’re not already, what’s up with that?
— lolesports #Worlds (@lolesports) October 3, 2016
North America’s Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) opened up the tournament with a victory over Europe’s G2 Esports. In General, CLG has been criticized for their lack of consistency, but they showed some strong teamwork in this first outing.
Another highlight from day one was Brazil’s wildcard team, INTZ, upsetting the number two seeded Chinese team, Edward Gaming (aka EDG). Coming into the tournament, analysts considered EDG to be one of the favorites to win it all. That was put into question when the unknown Brazilian squad (after a slow start) was able to pull out the win.
Finally, this day also saw the temporary ban of a major LoL champion, Aurelion Sol. This in-game character is one of the strongest mid-lane champions as he has the ability to fly over the map, disregarding walls that normally block you, and is very good at dealing out sustained AOE (area of effect) damage. This would prove to have a major impact over the course of the weekend.
With that said, the match of the day to highlight was SKT against Cloud9 (C9). This was a reunion of sorts for Cloud9’s top laner, Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong. Impact was a part of the SKT squad from 2013 to 2014, but left the team a year before SKT won Worlds in 2015.
Despite all the hype surrounding the matchup, SKT proved too strong for Impact and the rest of C9.
Aurelion Sol was still banned from all competition.
Day three started to heat things up as we saw two notable upsets, an amazing Kennen ultimate play, and the 2nd longest game in Worlds history.
Starting off the day saw CLG go up against Russia’s Albus Nox Luna (ANX). League of Legends is not widely played in Russia as Dota2 is the main game of choice, but even so ANX was able to find their way to Worlds. Because of this, not much was known of the Russians prior to arriving in San Francisco, which potentially led to teams underestimating them. Despite a loss to ROX Tigers on Day 1, ANX was able to put together some good set plays & solid team fights to come out triumphant over CLG.
Cloud9 vs Flashwolves (FW) was the third match and it turned out to be a nail-biting, back and forth tug of war. On average, a game of LoL lasts about 30-45 minutes. C9 and FW pushed the clock to an insane 70 minutes of game time (the Worlds record is 71 minutes).
Overall, FW controlled the game for the first 50-55 minutes by winning team fights, getting kills, having a solid gold lead, and taking out all three of C9’s inhibitors, but C9 held on long enough. They continuously gave themselves a fighting chance and at around the 60 minute mark things began to turn around.
After a few kills from team fights, an Elder Drake, and a Baron Nashor buff, the 3rd place North American team began to push the pace. It all culminated when C9’s jungler, Meteos, was able to engage FW, create a team fight and give his team a few kills. This led to another Baron Nashor, an Elder Drake and a final push down mid-lane that ended the marathon in favor of C9.
The second upset came during the last game of the night. Korea’s Samsung Galaxy (SSG) squad was able to knock down RNG by scraping together some jungle ganks, staying consistent by building an early lead and snowballing their Chinese counterparts into disarray.
Again, Aurelion Sol was banned from all competition.
Upon entering the final portion of Week 1, the sixteen Worlds teams saw the re-emergence of Aurelion Sol. It also provided three upsets and at the end of the day, the group standings were most likely not what people expected.
ANX proved once again that they are a force to be reckoned with, CLG’s mid laner (Huhi) showed how dominant Aurelion Sol can be, and FW (unofficially dubbed the “Korean Killers”) made SKT look human.
All in all, the first week gave us a lot to be excited about. The expected favorites and power houses were brought back down to Earth. Anything is now possible as to who will make it out of the group stage, and the second week will no doubt show us who has the fortitude to step up. Just like in any other sports competition, these are the moments when players can take their game to the next level and propel their team to a championship.
If you want to catch up (and you definitely should) and relive the awesomeness that was the first week of Worlds, you can see the VODS over at LoL eSports’ website. Then let us know what your favorite moments were in the comments below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.Source: LoL eSports