Just like in traditionals sports, crazy stuff, which will be talked about in hushed whispers for years, if not decades, to come, happen in eSports as well. Okay, that’s overstating things, however, the fact remains that the state of Group C standings after the last match of the Group Stage ended, was mind-blowing. Coming into the week with a 1-2 score, H2K, the last realistic hope for representation in Playoffs from the EU LCS, was in a very bad spot. And yet, despite that, this team was in the first place when the dust settled at the end of the day.
Despite the surprising outcome of the day, not everything went to hell. Everyone beat the Wildcard INTZ e-Sports, EDG won against ahq, just as expected. It’s the rest that went off the rails. I do not know what the H2K coaching staff did, but both them and the players on the team should get mad props for what happened next.
The first match, played by H2K, was against ahq e-Sports. While H2K dominated the match for the most part, that’s not what is going to be remembered. Instead of the numerous plays made by H2K, the most memorable moment of the game belongs to ahq’s Support, Kang “Albis” Chia-Wei, who played Karma in this game. H2K were rushing a Baron at 29 minutes with 3 ahq players dead, as you do in that position, when Albis calmly walked by through the river, ignored by everyone on H2K, and stole it with Inner Flame. Just like that. I admit, I laughed. Hard. While many players would have tilted out of their minds, mad at themselves, H2K must receive credit where it’s due, they didn’t fall apart and won the game.
The next important match on H2K’s road to the Playoffs was obviously the one against Edward Gaming. H2K managed to wrestle the early game initiative from the Chinese gods, starting with a gank in Middle lane, which net them a First Blood, though it was at the cost of Ryu “Ryu” Sang-wook’s life as well. Nevertheless, the gold allowed the Korean Mid to start stacking tear on his Ryze. The initiative didn’t belong to the Europeans, however. Following 2 more kills going to H2K, the Chinese rallied and started using roaming Death Squad tactics to try and get a lead. H2K floundered a bit but managed to recover in the end, winning the match and putting themselves into a position to surprise League fans all over the world, with only INTZ standing in their way.
Next, H2K predictably won against INTZ, while EDG took their anger out on poor ahq e-Sports. With the regular matches in Group C over, two teams stood at the record of 4-2. Edward Gaming, the overwhelming favorites of the group, and H2K, the team, which needed a miracle to have a chance. Well, a miracle is precisely what happened. Now, they were in position to not only make it into the Playoffs, but do it as the first seed from Group C as well. All they had to do? Defeat EDG again.
Winning the Tiebreaker match against Edward Gaming was supposed to be a hard ask for H2K and yet, they did it in a match that took almost 45 minutes. Looking at each team’s kill counts (16-11), one might think that the game was close, however, the number of dragons and turrets H2K had over their opponents (+4 dragons and +7 turrets) added up to a considerable gold lead of 12k gold. In the end, Europeans shocked the world by defeating the Chinese Juggernaut not once, but twice, finishing the Group Stage as the first seed.
Good luck to the poor souls who have the pleasure of facing an angry EDG roster in the Playoffs.