After a long wait, the Group Stage of the 2017 League of Legends World Championship has finally started. Six matches took place in Day 1. Some were more interesting, some were more boring and predictable, but all were important because ever win matters if you want to get to the Playoffs.
The first match of the World Championship was honestly quite… hypeless. After all, Royal Never Give Up, one of the two best teams in the LPL, was considered to be significantly stronger than the Wild Card 1907 Fenerbahçe from Turkey.
Even though RNG wasn’t likely to lose, Fenerbahçe did earn some respect in this match by holding the Chinese off for a respectable amount of time, as the match ended at almost 39 minutes. Even though the Turks had a decent early game comp, RNG’s Ryze, Cho’Gath, and Kog’Maw meant that they had the late game advantage.
If the first match of the day between RNG and Fenerbahçe was predictable and without any real hype surrounding it, the next one more than made up for it. G2 Esports faced off against Samsung Galaxy.
While nobody was under the mistaken illusion that G2 Esports were favored to win, they at least had a chance if they could perform at their best and Samsung was a little bit off. Of course, as MMA fighter Ronda Rousey’s mom always said, you have to be good enough to win against anyone on your worst day.
G2 Esports was nowhere close to winning against the Koreans. In fact, the game took less than 28 minutes to be concluded. SSG’s mid laner Lee “Crown” Minho delivered a performance which was supposed to silence his critics, ending up with five kills, the most out of anyone in the game. Lee “CuVee” Seongjin and Park “Ruler” Jaehyuik also put in work for the team. Boys, this is not looking good for the west so far.
The next match featured one more attempt by the West to stand up against the might of South Korea in the form of NA 2nd seed facing the winners of the 2017 LCK Summer Split, Longzhu Gaming.
Despite the fact that Immortals was the second best team in the 2017 NA LCS Summer Split, they would have had to punch way above their weight to actually win against Samsung, at least in theory.
Fortunately for us, that’s what seemed to be true in game as well. While Immortals’ Lee “Flame” Hojong stood up to his own lane opponent, the mid lane and bot lane were a different story. Both Kwak “BDD” Boseong and Kim “PraY” Jongin proved to be considerably better than their NA opponents. The one bright spot was Eugene “Pobelter” Park, who did manage to get himself some nice stats on Ryze despite failing to stem BDD’s power.
In the end, Longzhu showed who’s boss, taking 30 minutes to win.
While Fnatic wasn’t expected to make it out of the Group Stage, the team was supposed to at least manage to win against GIGABYTE Marines. That is NOT what happened when the two teams faced off against each other in the fourth game of the day.
While Fnatic’s mid laner and AD Carry tried to do something and got some kills despite dying numerous times, Paul “sOAZ” Boyer had a terrible game on Maokai, dying a total of eight times. Fortunately, that didn’t look that terrible because his lane opponent, Minh “Archie” Nhựt Trần, also managed to die 6 times on Galio.
While we were mildly concerned for Fnatic when they stumbled in Game 1 against Young Generation in the Play-In and then lost in Game 2, this loss to GIGABYTE Marines is really troubling. It would have been entirely understandable if that happened against Samsung Galaxy or even Immortals, but this is not acceptable.
Let’s be honest here, even the most die-hard NA and Cloud9 fans couldn’t have said that they expected C9 to win against Lee “Faker” Sanghyeok and the rest of the SK Telecom T1 lineup.
After all, even if they have Jung “Impact” Eonyeong, whose claim to fame is a Season 3 World Championship title with SKT T1, the Korean teams has three-time world champion and the best player in League of Legends history, Faker, as well as one of the best bot lanes in the world and two of the best junglers on the planet as well.
There is simply no way for Cloud9 to match the raw difference of individual skill between themselves and the World Champions. Even in strategic play, C9 is weaker. After all, SKT has Faker, who is used to attention being directed towards him all the time, while C9’s ace is just Baby Faker, Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen.
This was clear as day in the teams’ first match of the 2017 LoL World Championship. SKT simply outmechaniced and outsmarted their opponents, just as expected. It took them less than 27 minutes to do it too. The game was carried by Faker on Cassiopeia and Bae “Bang” Junsik on Kog’Maw, with the support of Lee “Wolf” Jaewan’s Janna.
We like to dream of the gap between South Korea and the West closing, but this game showed that it’s still a bit of a pipe dream.
Group A was a very unlucky seeding accident for ahq e-Sports. With SK Telecom T1, EDward Gaming, and Cloud9 in the game, their chances to make it out of there were honestly quite low.
At least they got the chance to test themselves against EDG in the first day of Group Stage. Somewhat surprisingly, the two teams played each other extremely close for a very long time, despite EDG have an early lead. ahq’s Chou “An” Chun-An got a Quadra Kill on Twitch, equalizing the gold somewhat. EDG did keep control of the action after that. For most of the game, the teams kept within a thousand or so gold within each other, before starting Baron dancing at 36 minutes, when ahq found a pick on EDG’s mid laner and used that plus low health on the top laner and jungler to get themselves a Baron Nashor.
The Baron Power Play didn’t go as expected, however. EDG stopped the push and took Elder Dragon, getting themselves a gold lead a bit later.
In the following minutes, EDG managed to build themselves a decent lead, but it didn’t really matter at that point, because both teams had full builds, EDG’s Lucian mid even sold boots for Phantom Dancer.
Ultimately, another Baron came up. ahq found a great engage on EDG, killed several members of the Chinese, took down the Nashor and rolled on through the topside of EDG’s base.
Wow, that was honestly a pretty big upset. Not as big as the one where Fnatic somehow managed to lose to GIGABYTE Marines, but close.
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