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League of Legends Worlds Starts with Upsets

September 30, 2016 - Esports

When a tournament is as big as World Championships, many people analyze every little thing about it, trying to predict how it’s going to go. League of Legends Worlds is certainly no different. Most analysts reached a consensus concerning the first day of competition. First, CLG has almost no chance. Second, EDG is the second best team in the tournament. Third, it’s not a question of IF TSM makes it into the Playoffs, it’s a question of whether they will do it as the first or second seed. Well, shit. Stuff went down.

G2 vs. CLG

The first, shall we say, interesting result came in after the very first match of the tournament was over. To refresh your memory, G2 Esports was thought to be the strongest team from Europe, practically guaranteed to make it into the Playoffs in second place, after ROX Tigers. Apparently, CLG didn’t get the memo. When G2’s AD Carry went for his first back, their Support stayed in lane to set up a wave for his lane partner, backing when the creeps came in. The AD was halfway to the lane at that point. CLG’s jungler, Xmithie, figured out that it would happen and started moving bottom. Once Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen came back into the lane, he got dove and killed 3v1. Then, most of the G2 team came to the bottom side of the map and a fight broke out. CLG won the whole thing and rode it to victory, with Xmithie really showing up for his team.

In Mid Season Invitational, G2 struggled, only to body fools in the next Split, while CLG, who made the Grand Final of the whole tournament, barely made it into Worlds because they didn’t play the following Split well at all. And yet, despite that, Counter Logic Gaming defied logic once again. They bootcamped, they supported each other, they gave support to their bottom lane, where Trevor "Stixxay" Hayes was at a disadvantage against one of the best bot lanes in the world, and they won the game. Congratulations on your great start, CLG.

EDG vs. INTZ

What happened in this match was amazing. Before the tournament, everyone’s written off INTZ E-SPORTS in this and most other matchups. Looking at rosters, it was a logical conclusion to make, however, eSports wouldn’t be interesting if everything went as expected all the time. That’s what was likely to happen with EDG winning in kills 2-1, after killing both INTZ ADC and Support, at the cost of their own Support’s life, with the kill going to INTZ’s Braum. Then, the Brazilians’ Ashe poked down the best ADC in the world, playing Ezreal, and pushed them to the turret. That’s when the Revolta show started. Coming through the red side tri, he helped his botlane dive the Chinese team and started going around the map, bringing death and destruction to EDG. While the favorites managed to keep up in kills a little bit, INTZ’s lead grew and they choked out the one team they were supposed to have an icicle’s chance in hell against, creating the biggest upset in the tournament, if not the whole season.

Why did EDG, probably the second or third best team in the world, lose against some Brazilians? There could be several reasons, some of them more likely than others. First, it could have been nerves, though I’m doubtful, because… EDG’s roster of  Mouse, ClearLove, Scout, Deft, and Meiko are no rookies, some of them are counted among the upper tier of players worldwide in their role. The second reason could be that EDG simply didn’t prepare for the match at all, choosing to dedicate the time to some stronger opponents, assuming that there’s no way INTZ can win, while the Brazilians had nothing to lose and wanted to try and stick it to some of the tournament’s superstars, exhaustively preparing for the match and managing to catch them off-guard. Also, Revolta’s Lee Sin was godly that game. Finally, it’s possible that EDG’s read of the meta was a little bit wrong There are many reasons for this result, however, objectively, one thing is a fact, INTZ is not a better team than EDG. In a best of 10, they wouldn’t be able to win. The discrepancy of skill is simply too great. However, let’s give credit where it’s due, INTZ did manage to catch EDG with their pants down and stick it to them. That is a feat that will be remembered for a long time, anecdotally or as a cautionary tale.

TSM vs. RNG

Remember the Aurelion Sol bug that caused a remake in a TSM match in NA? Yeah, that happened again. It might have had a bit to do with the result of the match.

The match between Team SoloMid and Royal Never Give Up didn’t have a huge favorite. Yes, TSM was supposed to win based on performance prior to Worlds, where they dominated NA, while RNG played terribly, however, you just have to look at RNG’s roster and it becomes clear that they are no bye (for those who don’t know, in Magic: The Gathering tournaments, you get a bye, a free win, when your opponent doesn’t show up or there’s an odd number of competitors and you’re the odd one out), having some of the strongest and most famous players in the world.

This match was set to be Vincent “Biofrost” Wang’s induction into the world elite. Playing Nami against Cho “Mata” Se-hyoung’s Alistar was a big challenge. The Nami pick was sort of understandable. My best guess is that TSM expected RNG to try and bully the American bottom lane; thus, they picked Nami, a lane bully, to set themselves up to defend against it. The problem was that mostly after seeing the immobile and squishy comp of Kennen, Lee Sin, Orianna, Jhin, and Nami, RNG decided to just get some great engage in the form of Hecarim, Sivir, and Alistar, supported by Cassiopeia and Rumble. Their objective was simple, combo either Jhin or Orianna with Alistar, delete them, and see what happens after.

Partly due to superior vision control and partly due to some macro mistakes, which are likely and expected to happen when playing in an unknown meta with first-day jitters to boot, RNG accomplished everything they planned. Biofrost on Nami was practically invisible. Even before everything went to shit, he kept whiffing bubbles. Doublelift didn’t play his best game either. He failed to Flash Alistar combo, opened himself up for it several times. Mata showed why he’s one of the best Support players in the world, Biofrost was seemingly far behind, RNG slightly upset TSM.

Despite that, it’s way too early to start foretelling TSM’s demise. Yes, they played quite badly, definitely below expectations with their Summer Split performance in mind, however, true fans will root for their favorite team even when it’s doing badly. Before you join the circlejerk that says that Doublelift, Biofrost, or anyone else is bad, keep in mind that they are playing against some of the best in the world. It’s not shameful at all to get outclassed, as long as you try and work to get better. This is double round robin, all surprising losers mentioned in this article will have another chance. Let’s wait for those matches to conclude before we start crying. Better yet, let’s not cry at all. Positive thinking, people.