As soon as H2K’s Quarterfinal opponent was announced, most analysts and fans immediately cheered, believing that an European team is going to be in the Semifinal of Worlds. H2K players themselves probably had that thought as well. While they had a good reason to think that, it was also a very dangerous mindset to have. After all, there is a reason why Albus NoX Luna won against EDG in a 60+ minute slugfest, only to get smashed in the tiebreaker match against the same team. The Wildcard ANX is at its most dangerous when it’s underestimated. The team more than proved it in the Group Stage.
With that said, H2K managed to do something that not even traditional sports teams managed when playing against teams which are huge underdogs against them. They took their opponents seriously. The QF series was quick and brutal, H2K absolutely obliterated Albus NoX Luna in three games, however, there’s no reason for ANX to feel sad. After all, they achieved what they set out to do. One of the best League of Legends teams in the world gave them respect. Yes, they got clobbered as a result, however, that is much preferred to the casual disregard they suffered through the Group Stage.
Albus NoX Luna got outdrafted pre-game and outplayed in the Summoner’s Rift, with all of their laners getting dismantled, just as analysts and fans expected, but H2K brought their A game. In terms of team comps, H2K gave a nod to Kiriil “Likkrit” Malofeev’s Support Brand by banning it every game. Also, they put a snag in Dmitry “Smurf” Ivanov’s plans by banning Poppy, while also getting rid of Jhin in two games and Nidalee in one.
On the other hand, ANX banned Nidalee, Ryze, and Kennen in Game 1, adjusting the bans by getting rid of Sivir (why?!) and Ryze for the last two, with Olaf taking up the third ban in Game 2, and Nidalee getting banned in Game 3. The Sivir and Olaf bans were the most mystifying. Granted, Konstantinos “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou is very good at Sivir, however, is an utility Marksman a big enough threat to warrant a ban? Doubtful. The Olaf ban was weird as well. In Game 1, H2K’s Jungler, Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski ripped people apart on Lee Sin. Then, ANX banned Olaf, which they themselves played in Game 1. Why would you ban Olaf, when Jankos can just happily play Lee Sin, unless you are planning to take the Blind Monk away from them? Seeing as ANX ran Elise with Lee still open, that wasn’t their plan.
Anyway. The team comps were very static in this series. H2K got Jayce Top to go vs. ANX’s Gnar in all three games despite the CIS team’s Top Laner getting smashed all the time. Then, Jankos played Lee Sin in all three games, while Alexander “PvPStejos” Glazkov had Olaf in Games 1 and 3 and Elise in Game 2. In the Mid Lane, Ryu “Ryu” Sang-ook allowed ANX Mid Laner to have Syndra in games 1 & 2, playing Vladimir against it, and took Syndra himself in the third one, making Michael “Kira” Garmash take Zilean. The Bot Lanes were mostly static as well. H2K had Sivir Zyra in Game 1, adapting to the Sivir ban in the next two games by taking Lucian, against ANX’s Caitlyn Bard in two games and Caitlyn Alistar in one.
Seeing as it wasn’t working, it was very weird to see ANX picking basically the same thing over and over again. After all, the definition of insanity, according to Albert Einstein, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Still, you have to let it go, because chances are that ANX didn’t really have much of a chance no matter what they did. The skill gap between the two teams was just too wide. It is not that surprising that H2K won 3-0, after all, that’s what happens when you smash all lanes game after game.