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  • Edward Brady

Day 4 of Worlds wraps up. An absolute marathon as 2 teams set themselves up for one last test.


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 will take begin on October 11th before eventually ending with the finals on November 6th.

Day 4 has wrapped up and boy, was it a long one. The first match went 5 games, there was an almost 1-hour technical delay, and the 2nd series also went 5 games. The games began at 6 AM CST and ended at 3:30 PM 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.

Match 1: (PCS)

3-2


(TCL)

TLDR: Beyond Gaming pull off the reverse sweep to keep the dream alive. Doggo crushes all 5 games and the rest of his team shows up eventually.


Summary: Going into this best-of-5, I felt this could go either way as neither team had much momentum going in. Galatasaray looked incredible on the first day and fell flat on the 2nd. BYG only escaped on tiebreakers and at this team’s worst it is just Doggo trying to carry 4 anchors over the finish line. I thought whoever won this series would finally answer some lingering questions I had about their capacity for long-term success. How well do Galatasaray deal with adversity? Will the rest of BYG finally be consistently good?

Now I just have more questions than ever.


The final score may read 3-2 for BYG, but if we are talking about individual players, that score would be 5-0 for Doggo. It’s no exaggeration to say he was having the series of his life. Every game showcased his trademark aggression and outperformed Alive at almost every turn. Over the course of 5 games Doggo went a combined 39/9/40 in the 5-game series. He looked incredible at almost all points no matter what his team was up to. And if we are judging by the early games of games 1 and 2, this shouldn’t have even been a match.


The game 1 early game was fantastic for BYG. Although Liang unfortunately got ganked early and was suffering on the Irelia, Maoan’s Yone, Doggo’s Kai’Sa, and Husha’s Lillia were all deathless, at 2 items, and had kills. BYG had a 6k gold lead at 20 minutes and was set up for success.Then Kino whiffed his Leona ultimate and Crazy found a massive ultimate on Kennen to give Galatasaray a 2nd lease on life. They had no real reason to pick the fight and Ocean Dragon was coming up in a few seconds, so they could have set up to deny the soul point and fought them on their terms, but a massive over-force allowed GS to establish a win condition. And, come ocean soul time, Mojito won the smite fight. BYG would still win the fight and get baron off it, but there was one big issue.

Despite the early lead, Bolulu massively outperformed Maoan. Maoan did almost nothing while Bolulu was the star of the show. He couldn’t miss on Zoe and was almost unkillable. While Maoan only did a little over 10k damage, only more than the supports, Bolulu did almost 37k damage. Poor decision making and more heroics by Bolulu resulted in him stealing the elder dragon at 33 minuites. Although BYG would survive the first elder, Bolulu’s poke forced them away from the 2nd elder and they stomped the final fight at 42 minutes to take game 1. Liang got set behind early and did very little on Irelia, Husha missed the key smite at dragon, Kino was the one who decided to flash in and give GS a lifeline. BYG played early well enough to win, but bad decision making and poor play from the solo laners resulted in them throwing massive gold lead multiple times.

Game 2 would be more of the same with Beyond Gaming playing well enough to win, but inexcusable mistakes in the mid-game would cost them dearly. With a 6k gold lead and 3 dragons to none at 20 minutes, Doggo and 2 others would try to dive GS under their own turret. The dive went horribly wrong as Alive’s Miss Fortune ripped through them with a bullet time, picked up the key shutdown gold, and gave Galatasaray a fighting chance. There was no reason, nothing to gain from being that aggressive. Yet BYG made the worst possible decision to make a complete stomp into a game again. At 24 minutes, they would completely misplay the ocean soul fight and delay their win condition by 5 minutes. Nobody was hitting the dragon and Mojito got a free shot at smite. Even when they made a good play, they immediately followed it up with an amateur mistake. After getting Ocean Soul, BYG decided to do Baron. Not a bad play, but Galatasaray tried to contest it. After getting pushed back, BYG decided to reset without placing any vison in the pit. It’s like it never even crossed their minds that Galatasaray might try to take the baron for themselves. Kino had already backed and nobody was in position to contest for it. Alive would rip apart Maoan with a bullet time that forced the rest of BYG away, and Mojito took the baron. Although BYG couldn’t get the elder dragon at 36 minutes, they would kill every member of GS to make it useless and take the baron, Galatasaray would somehow win the final fight.

If BYG make even 1 good decision in mid-game in either game, this is a 3-0 sweep for the PCS. Props to Galatasaray for taking advantage of Beyond’s mistakes but they had done very little in making their own advantage.

Thankfully for them, and unfortunately for the TCL reps, BYG would clean up their act in a big way. Kino would show up and be one of the only players to make support Amumu work (the pick which was hyped up before Worlds was 1-7 before the series) with crucial bandage tosses to net BYG the first two kills. Kino and Doggo would rip through Galatasaray with the Amumu/MF combo. The early game was just as strong as last time, with all 5 members performing rather well, but this time, BYG wouldn’t throw it away. They would make good choices when setting up for objectives. They wouldn’t over-force. The game was a complete stomp from start to finish and the momentum was swinging BYG’s way.

Game 4 was much closer. The gold would BYG favored, but nothing like the 5-7k gold leads of games past. BYG would secure almost all the major objectives aside from one ocean dragon and one baron. BYG would take game 4 despite Maoan’s best efforts (ended 1/7/14) to take it to 5 games. Doggo would put the team on his back with a huge 11/0/8 performance and 24k damage on Miss Fortune. Almost 2.5 times more damage than Alive’s Ezreal.

Game 5 was back-and-forth. BYG would lead in kills and gold, but GS had 3 dragons. Although Doggo was about as good as ever, the true carry would come from an unexpected source. Maoan suddenly played his best game of the series at the most critical time. His damage on Ryze was massive and his realm warps would save his teammates multiple times. He did it once to get them out of a massive teamfight, and another to save them around Baron. Those warps would give them the time and the health needed for Husha to steal the baron and get out with no consequence. Galatasary would keep it close and put up an incredible fight in the final game, but Maoan would save Kino and Husha again from a culling from Alive while they were stunned. From there, BYG won the fight and completed the 2nd reverse sweep in Worlds history!

I really don’t know what to think about Beyond Gaming. The only constant on this team is Doggo. The rest of the team’s play feels like a tossup. Sometimes Husha steals a baron in game 5, others he walks away from baron with no vison. Sometimes Maoan saves the game on Ryze, other times he almost throws it away on Syndra. Sometimes Kino shows his skill by landing critical bandage tosses on Amumu, others he misses a flash 2-man Leona ultimate and gets his team killed on an over force. BYG will need to clean up their consistency, and their decision making if they even want to stand a chance against Hanwha Life Esports tomorrow.

On the plus side, the matchup will be thematically appropriate. The two teams who are known for one player doing everything while the rest of the team are just side characters. Regardless of how true the narrative is (Deft has stepped up while Maoan stepped up in game 5).

Match 2: (LCO)

3-2

(CBLoL)

TLDR: 5 games are played. None of them are competitive.


Summary: The early game was the name of the game as almost every game in this series was decided by the 10-minute mark. The series was explosive and both teams would look for fights at every moment. But in the end, PEACE would be the one to move on.

Game 1 would see some players get some surprising picks. Vizicsacsi got his Rumble which he has played quite a bit while Grevthar would get one of his most played champions in Kled mid. There would be many early fights, but they would go relatively even. Vizicsacsi was having a great game on Rumble, while the bot lane went all RED Canids’ way as TitaN had a statement game on Ezreal. The game was a bloody one with 40 combined kills at 30 minutes. RED Canids would eventually take game one due to one man putting the team on his back. TitaN was unstoppable on Ezreal. On top of being almost 5k gold ahead of Violet, his stat line was insane.15/3/4, 34k damage, over 1k damage per minute, 41% of his team’s damage, 70% kill participation. Although the rest of RED wasn’t terrible, they would take a 1-0 lead off a 1 man show in the bot lane.

Game 2 would see PEACE get an early advantage off the backs of good movement from Tally’s Sylas and Babip’s Nidalee while the bot lane would trade 1 for 1 and get 1st blood. Aladoric would set up Violet for success while Guigo wasn’t getting much with his Kennen ultimates. Vizicsacsi was a great frontline while Aladoric’s Leona would catch out many members of RED Canids for Tally and Babip to take down. Grevthar’s signature Kled wouldn’t get much done early while TitaN had a quiet game on Ezreal. A poor choice to fight in mid lane when massively behind by TitaN would seal the deal. Violet’s Culling would chunk out Jojo and TitaN and Vizicsacsi would pick up a double kill. Tally would steal the Kled ultimate to run down RED and PEACE would ace them. Vizicsacsi had a great game on Jarvan IV going 6/2/5 while Tally would end the game by winning a 1v3 in the bot lane and PEACE capitalizing off it. He went 8/0/7 and was a big reason why the game was a complete stomp from start to finish.


Game 3 would see PEACE finally give their fans something they’ve been asking for since day 1.

They got Vizicsacsi his Poppy. According to LoLEsportsStats, Vizicsacsi has some of the most games on Poppy of any pro player at 34 and has won 24 of them. This was to counter the many champions with dashes on RED Canids like Guigo’s Yone, Jojo’s Rakan, Grevthar’s Sylas, and Ageis’s Lee Sin. Despite all the hype top side, the rest of PEACE would be the key members in stomping RED into the ground. Tally’s mid Aatrox would completely outclass Grevthar as his roam to top lane paid off and he would take over the mid game. Violet and Aladoric got first blood and completely ran over the early laning phase. The game wouldn’t be completely flawless. RED would look for fights to get back in it, but the frontline of Aatrox, Poppy, Leona was way too strong while Violet was untouchable. Tally and Violet would be the stars of the show as Grevthar did little on Sylas while TitaN couldn’t out damage Violet. Guigo would try to fight back on Yone, but his ultimates wouldn’t find their mark in the early game. RED Canids would have the same story play out as their group stage run. They would never lie down and die, but their constant aggression wouldn’t pay off. The casters even said after the game that the game was pretty much over by 10 minutes. I think it was over by draft. Vizicsacsi would stonewall any engages and Violet had all the time in the world to free fire on Aphelios to take PEACE to match point.

With their backs against the wall and suffering 2 back-to-back stomps, RED Canids saw the writing on the wall. For game 4, RED Canids would make yet another gamble in a high stakes situation.

After a disappointing game 2 and 3, Grevthar was subbed out for Avenger. The mid laner who joined at the 11th hour and took RED to Worlds was out in favor of the man they played the whole regular season with. When the news broke to the casters, the reaction was rather negative. They believed the fault lied in the drafting, not Grevethar’s play. They were skeptical as it has been a little over 2 months since Avenger stepped on a professional stage.

Avenger would make them eat their words as RED Canids absolutely dominated game 4. Guigo survived an early gank long enough for reinforcements to arrive. Avenger’s Zoe and Aegis’s Lee Sin would arrive and trade 2 for 1. Babip would make a return gank and this one would be more successful only a minute later. The fights would be early and frequent like they had all series, but this time, they would begin to go RED Canids’ way. Even when PEACE would take herald and send 3 top side, Guigo wouldn’t give PEACE a chance to dive him while TitaN would get 3 turret plates for free. Aegis and Avenger would take advantage of this as TitaN and Jojo would get help and they would get many kills bot lane. The Rift Herald didn’t even get a charge. Therefore, as a result of the 3-man herald take that got TitaN and Avenger ahead by giving them time to far, PEACE got NOTHING. RED Canids got way too fed, way too early. Even when Tally found a great 2-man knockup on Yone, he couldn’t secure any kills. There was no way for PEACE to come back. This game was about as one-sided as LNG vs Infinity, that’s how bad it got. Every player was performing better but special mention goes to TitaN (for absolutely crushing it after getting gold off bad macro from PEACE) and Avenger (who went deathless on Zoe in the biggest game of his career so far). This match was also going to 5 games.

Unfortunately, game 5 would be a massive anti-climax. RED Canids completely crumbled under pressure as Jojo flashed into 4 people at level 1 against a comp with a stronger level 1. Guigo took a terrible trade top lane and went in on no health. Vizicsacsi would get another kill early and Aegis would miss his Lee Sin Q point blank and had to flash away. PEACE had a 3k gold lead before 8 minutes. Guigo’s ignite TP Camille was completely worthless as his jungler had more CS than he did. TitaN never even got a chance to play the game as his support gave away the game at 2 minutes. Aeigs couldn’t put out the many, many fires in the lanes. This is the kind of game in Solo que where everyone reports all 4 of their teammates for feeding and turns off the game for the rest of the day. This was somehow, an even bigger stomp than game 4. PEACE broke the base by 18 minutes.The gameonly lasted a little under 24 minutes and PEACE ended with a 15.6k gold lead. RED Canids got 4 kills that game. Nothing else.

PEACE became the first OCE team to win an international best-of-5 (Technically PGG played 5 games against UoL but that was only because of a wonky group stage) as they advance to play Cloud 9 for a chance at the knockout stage tomorrow. Realistically, there should be no way PEACE take it. They had so many moments where they overextended this series and they showed nothing against the major regions. But if PEACE somehow wins tomorrow, it will be the most poetic thing in LoL history. NA fleeces OCE for all their big names only for one of their teams to knock out their pre-season super team in play-ins.


It shouldn’t happen.


It won’t happen.


But it would be really funny if it did.


With only 2 more best-of-5’s before the play-in stage wraps up, 2 more teams will not be advancing. The first to fall was…

Galatasaray Esports (TCL) (2-2), 2-3 L to BYG: Strong start, weak finish

After the weak day 2 and the painful reverse sweep, it can be easy to forget that Galatasaray Esports started with a very strong 2-0 on day 1. Crazy and Mojito looked incredible, the TCL was making up for MSI. But they just couldn't finish the job. There’s no way around it, those last two losses in groups were ugly, and the main reason that series went to 5 games was because of Beyond Gaming’s constant bad decisions rather than Galatasaray’s skill. They still had skill, Bolulu’s Zoe is hard to forget, but in the final 3 games, GS were almost completely incapable of taking over the game off their own merits. They could keep it competitive, but they were never really in control of the series. If all BYG steps up to their game 5 form, this is a 3-0 sweep and an 0-5 finish to Worlds after a 2-0 start.

Considering how dominant they were in the TCL, it feels like there is little reason for them to make big off-season moves aside from hanging on to their players. We’ve seen the impressive players from minor regions head over to the major regions in hopes of a big paycheck (Armut to MAD Lions, FBI to GG, Josedeodo to FLY, almost all of OCE to NA, etc.) and if GS want to make it back to the Worlds stage, they will have to give incentive to players like Bolulu and Mojito to stay.


The second team to fall was…

RED Canids (CBLoL), (1-3), 2-3 L to PEACE: Small steps.


RED Canids were the next step in the potentially long journey for the CBLoL to regain international relevance. It’s no secret to say that 2018-2020 have been some very dark years for the region with back-to-back-to-back dead last finishes at Worlds. PaiN Gaming took the first step at MSI by putting up a fight against some of the big names, finishing above the TCL, and not getting last.

RED Canids continued this small ramp up with a victory over a rival league in the group stage, and just refusing to stop fighting against any opponents. Even when they lost, they kept it entertaining. That series was very winnable, and it was just nerves that cost them big time. RED Canids can hold their heads high as they weren’t even supposed to be here. This team barely even snuck into CBLoL playoffs. Only TitaN had been to an international event. There were very few expectations and I had them at last in the group. This was valuable experience for the young roster, and if they keep this fire in 2022, they’ll be back on the international stage soon enough.


It won’t be easy to shake this off though. That was a painful way to go out.

Finally, before this piece ends, I just want to shout out the unsung heroes in the Worlds broadcast team. The casters, host desk, technical crew, and everyone else behind the scenes had a 9-and-a-half-hour stream before including things like the pregame, postgame, and set-up and break-down. And despite the delay, the on-screen talent kept everyone entertained throughout the entire game. The amount of effort put in can’t be overlooked and the show they have put on so far has been phenomenal.

The World Championship will continue on October 9th with a best-of-5 between South Korea’s Hanwha Life Esports and Taiwan’s Beyond Gaming 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 athttps://www.twitch.tv/riotgames.


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