Day 3 of Worlds groups wraps up. Historic lows for the western scene.
The World Championship (also known as Worlds) is the second of two yearly international tournaments in the League of Legends Esports scene, where players compete on franchised teams for fame, pride, a considerable salary, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash prizes.
22 teams from 12 regions (The Vietnam Championship Series couldn’t send their 2 teams due to covid travel restrictions) will compete for the ultimate prize in LoL esports, the 70-pound Summoner’s Cup. The tournament started with the play-in stage on October 5th, before advancing to the main stage groups which are happening now, before eventually ending with the finals on November 6th.
Day 3 has wrapped up and the fan in me is dying inside. I can appreciate good League of Legends, I just wish some of my teams would play it. I will be going through each game, giving the result, a headline that sums up the match, and a summary of how the game went, and a look at who the teams will play next.
Game 1: (LPL)
TLDR: RNG get full control of group C. HLE lose a close game off simple mistakes.
Summary: That game could have very easily gone either way. Both teams picked up some of their favorite champions with Cryin getting his 3rd Twisted Fate, Xiaohu getting his undefeated Lucian, Morgan getting Camille again, and Chovy picking up Sylas. HLE took control of the early game as they picked up key objectives and Deft getting some early kills. This game would be a long one (40 minutes) as the gold lead was never more than 3.5k for either team. The kills were close, as were the objectives, and the game was on a knife’s edge for a long time. Unfortunately for them, Hanwha Life would shoot themselves in the foot with some bad play and worse itemization.
Chovy was far from his usual self as he wasn’t the carry HLE needed. Morgan looked about as bad as he did yesterday. Xiaohu had his number and everyone on RNG had a good day. But the biggest blunder of the day came from the member who was primed to carry. And it wasn’t a play either.
If you know about League of Legends, you notice the issue with this picture and if a player on your team did this, you hit the report button immediately after the game. For those who aren’t aware, Deft’s third item Infinity Edge procs its passive (the main reason you buy it) at 60& critical strike chance. That build does not give 60% critical strike chance. It’s one of the most expensive items in the game and it doesn't serve its main purpose. Even worse, his 5th item was Guardian Angel. Guardian Angel does not give crit chance. As a result of this god-awful itemization, Deft was using IE for it’s intended purpose for a whopping 30 seconds of the 40 minute game. Perhaps if he is doing the damage he is supposed to, maybe HLE win some of those close fights. You cannot make basic mistakes like that on the biggest stage.
Game 2: (LPL)
TLDR: LNG are in full form and MAD Lions are underwhelming.
Summary: MAD Lions had a real chance to show something today. The early minutes were quite even with action back and forth. The top side of the map would be the battle ground as Armut found 2 early kills on his signature Gnar. On the other side, the kills were spread out between Ale’s Camille, Tarzan’s Lee Sin, and Icon’s Syndra.
Then Elyoya jumped into 3 people on Xin Zhao for no reason.
Then Humanoid (who was already getting outfarmed and was far behind) got dived bot lane/
Then Armut had a late teleport and jumped into 3 people with no backup for no reason and Kaiser was caught out on the retreat.
And just like that, any and all of MAD’s early advantages went out the window. Those kills gave LNG a plethora of options to carry the game. All LNG had to do was pick the flavor of their victory. Perhaps they wanted to win through Ale’s Camille which couldn’t be matched in a sidelane. Maybe they wanted Tarzan to carry with incredibly clean Lee Sin mechanics. Light and Iwandy were on point on the Jhin/Leona bot lane. Or perhaps LNG just wanted to abuse the colossal difference in mid lane. Humanoid was put behind early and had a bad game on Ryze, dying often and ending 2/6/2. Icon received some early kills on Syndra and never looked back. He wanted to show the world he was an elite mid laner. He did as he went deathless and dealt the most damage in the game.
With this game, LNG break away from the pack in group D while MAD continues to underwhelm. This was the year the LEC had to prove that they were more than just G2. The first seed has not stepped up to the occasion. There was some real hype surrounding this team going in and they haven’t lived up to most of it.
Game 3: (LPL)
TLDR: FPX clean up their act. Rogue slapped back down to reality
Summary: With Rogue showing signs of life and FPX having a messy game, this was the make-or-break game of the group. If this group was going to go any other way than the expected one, Rogue would need to do something special.
Instead, Rogue came out with another questionable draft. Odoamne picked Rumble into Jayce. Almost nobody else has been playing Rumble and he wasn’t seen as a power pick in the patch. There were other meta top laners open. They also drafted Braum for Trymbi. His champion pool was pinched and not taking something early for him hurt. They let DoinB pick up Ryze. Ryze both allows DoinB to carry the game and get out onto the map. Between a carry pick for Nuguri, a Viego for Tian, and Jhin/Leona for the bot lane, FPX got pretty much everything they wanted.
Neither player looked comfortable on their champion. Once again, Odoamne looked completely outmatched by his elite competition as Nuguri ran him over on Jayce. Trymbi did very little on Braum, dying 7 times while not accomplishing much. Inspired was almost invisible on Lee Sin. The summer MVP couldn’t get anything done on the map. Larssen was decent, but decent is not enough against DoinB who looked back on form on Ryze. The only bright spot of Rogue was Hans Sama. He was the only one keeping them in the game and he certainly tried his heart out to carry the rest of the team. It’s no exaggeration to say that over the course of the 1st round robin, Hans Sama has looked like the best ADC in group A by a significant margin. Just look at this!
He should join Doggo’s club of “ADC’s looking for real teams to play with” I hear you get a free shirt if you join. Unfortunately, 1 great player isn’t enough to beat a very angry FunPlus Phoenix. FPX completely dominated the other 4 positions and quickly beat the life out of Rogue with a convincing victory.
For anyone who was betting on FPX being a tournament favorite, they seem to have woken up. I now look forward to the rematch with Damwon KIA. If both teams are on form, it should be an incredible match to watch.
As for Rouge, I think if week 2 goes as poorly as it did last year you give the coaching staff the axe. I have not liked the drafts I’m seeing from them. I will give them a bit of benefit of the doubt as I’m not sure if the coaches are behind these or if some members of Rogue just can’t play meta picks. Odoamne has looked just as bad as and sometimes worse than Finn did last year against similar competition. Graves has been looking like one of the strongest top laners of Worlds and he looked terrible on it. Rogue must clean up the early game and for the love of God: get Hans Sama some help if they want to get out of groups. He is playing well enough to get out. The rest of Rogue is out.
Game 4: (PCS)
TLDR: That was certainly a game of League of Legends.
Summary: Fnatic aggression really doesn’t have an off switch, does it? Fnatic picked up a free Rift Herald, but decided to fight and paid dearly for it. They would bring it back with constant skirmishing bot lane. The two teams looked to fight each other at every opportunity with varying results, regardless of whether it was the smart thing to do. They would trade towers, dragons, and barons. Despite the constant skirmishing mostly being initiated by Fnatic, PSG Talon were the ones coming out ahead. Hanabi’s GangPlank was a monster come late game. He could one-shot any member of Fnatic dumb enough to stand near a barrel. Adam was not as threatening. He did have his moments, even hlping them secure the Ocean Soul, but Hanabi did much more when it mattered most. River had great mechanics on Lee Sin while Bwipo was nowhere near as impactful on Jarvan IV. Maple looked great on Sylas, but Nisqy was also set up to carry on Tryndamere. Bean actually had Unified beat. He was one of the strongest members of Fnatic and went deathless on the day. In the end, it would come down to PSG being the better team on the day, Nisqy died with Tryndamere ultimate up in base and popped it way too early in the other key fights. As he was able to steal his ultimate, Maple was a better Tryndamere than Nisqy was. He was able to completely disrupt the backline in the crucial fight at 45 minutes.
I had low expectations for Fnatic the moment I heard they were having to play a sub, but now I’m just convinced they would still be 0-3 anyway. Bean has been the most consistently good player on Fnatic so far. A man who didn’t even play in LEC is looking better than some Worlds veterans. I really think Bean will make an LEC next year, but the rest of Fnatic have looked inconsistent at best, and terrible at worst. Nisqy finally shook off the naysayers with his amazing playoff run. They are now flocking back to him in droves as he is having an awful tournament so far (2 horrible games, 1 game he was doing well tarnished by bad ulti usage and getting outmatched by Maple).
For PSG Talon, they are now in prime position to make it to knockouts. They would be the first team from the LMS region to make Worlds quarterfinals since 2015! Maple has been around for a very long time, and he is showing up in a massive way. Hanabi helped carry this game. Unified did the same against Hanwha. Kaiwing and River are looking good. With even more doubters coming in after Beyond Gaming disappointing in Play-ins, PSG Talon could very well bring some glory back to the oft-forgotten region.
Game 5: (LCK)
TLDR: Gen. G pull a DK/RGE. TL play terribly early and make too many mistakes late.
Summary: This game should not have been close. Gen. G had a 5k gold lead before 15 minutes. Clid’s Trundle and Burdol’s (who subbed for Rascal) Camille found first blood onto Alphari’s Jax. Jensen looked completely outmatched on Irelia against BDD’s Sylas. At this point it’s almost tradition for TL to have Jensen competley fall apart against good international mid laners (Perkz at MSI, Rookie at Worlds, etc.). Tactical was having a quiet game on Ziggs with some beginner mistakes. He knocked Ruler out of his own ultimate. He tried to teleport top in front of Ruler and got killed for it. Team Liquid looked about as outmatched as they did against LNG as Gen. G was proactive early and TL could do nothing about it. The battle between former Worlds winning teammates was not living up to the hype.
Then Gen. G decided to throw TL a lifeline at 28 minutes. I wasn’t kidding when I called this DK/RGE 2.0.
Unfortunately, Team Liquid would do far less with their lead than Rogue did. Alphari got an 800g shutdown. He was supposed to be the main win condition. What did he do with it? Nothing. The only thing he did was get caught out in a sidelane to lose the game. Jensen may have kicked off the key fight by surviving the dive, but he was terrible in early game and nonexistent in late game. Clid won the key smite fights over Santorin and was the key to Gen. G’s victory. The casters even straight up said “it was a mid/jungle diff”. Gen. G were practically trying to hand victory to Team Liquid on a silver platter, but so few of the key players even showed up.
Game 6: (LCK)
TLDR: Kahn is having a great tournament as DK choke out C9.
Summary: Not much to say about this one. Blaber died level 1 and lost almost everything. The last pick Jax from C9 would not quite work out. Kahn’s Graves completely shut him out early. He was up over 2k gold before 15 minutes and for the first 15 minutes, Fudge resembled a melee minion more than he did an actual champion. Cloud 9 would hold a kill lead, but they never really had a shot at victory. Damwon were finding all the important objectives and were getting their item powerspikes faster than C9. It would all fall apart at 22 minutes when C9 tried to catch out Canyon with a realm warp. He survived long enough for reinforcements to arrive and Ghost wiped out almost all of C9. It was a good play when they drew it up, but DK were just too far ahead in gold. It wouldn’t be much longer before Damwon would break the base and take the win, securing the LCK’s 2nd win on the day.
With this victory, almost any chaos that people thought might happen has all but vanished. DK and FPX sit ahead of the group and the western teams are fighting for table scraps. Just like people were expecting.
Game 7: (LPL)
TLDR: DFM give EDG the best fight of anyone so far, but the LPL 1st seed’s teamfighting pulls through
Summary: DFM actually made EDG work for that game. That is more than can be said for 100 Thieves. DFM held a lead, that is more than can be said for T1. Steal looked incredible in the early game and Evi’s Poppy found great plays early. Although the kill lead was going DFM’s way, EDG’s superior laning kept them very close in gold. Despite DFM’s best efforts, the dam would eventually break as EDG won a critical teamfight that allowed them to get baron and run over the rest of the game.
Despite the anticlimactic ending, all props must be given to DFM for even making this a game. T1 and 100T completely ran them over and EDG looked far-and-away the best team in the group. Coming into this game, EDG were expected to decimate DFM. No member was conceivably a match. But thanks to some great early game play from Steal and Aria, DFM gave EDG a scare. This was the highlight of the group stage for the LJL so far and if they keep that level of play up, maybe they can even fly home with a win.
As for EDG, they shook off the early game to pull off a convincing mid and late game. Viper was great on Ezreal and everyone came back to overtake their counterparts. Even with the early slip-up, EDG look like the best LPL team so far, and should cruise to 1st in the group.
Game 8: (LCK)
TLDR: 100 Thieves fail the basics as the west goes 0-6
Summary: That game was lost as early as draft phase. 100 Thieves picked so many low range champions that rely on dashes into Poppy and Kennen. How is anyone supposed to play the game? T1 choked 100 Theives out early and then 100T got desperate. They tried to force a play onto a T1 retreat in the bot lane, but they completely lost track of Faker’s Twisted Fate and Canna’s teleport. Is it even a surprise that Canna popped up behind them and dropped a massive Slicing Maelstrom and T1 crushed the fight to get an insurmountable lead? 100 Thieves showed almost nothing inspiring or interesting (only highlight was a baron steal) as T1 quickly stomped out all hopes and dreams from the NA first seed. This game was a complete stomp from start to finish and T1 wasn’t challenged at all. Happy birthday Keria! Have a free win as a present.
With this loss, the LCS and LEC went a combined 0-6! I see they felt bad for TSM not being here and decided to cosplay their 2020 Worlds run. No western team is finishing the first round-robin with a winning record. 2-7 for both regions and 4-14 overall. 1/3rd of them are winless. Fnatic and Cloud 9 look dead, 100 Thieves and Team Liquid are uninspiring, MAD Lions is underperforming, and Rogue is stuck in the group of death. It has been a miserable Worlds for LEC and LCS fans and unless the teams massively level up over the short break it is unlikely to get any better.
The World Championship will continue October 15th with the conclusion of Group A, starting at 6am CST. You can find the full schedule at https://lolesports.com/, and catch every match there, on the LoL Esports YouTube channel, or at https://www.twitch.tv/riotgames.