League of Legends Worlds 2018 Group Stage: Day Three Recap
So far, this has not been a western fan’s favorite World Championships. They cheer when Fnatic wins, or when G2 Esports does well, but North America has yet to show up with serious wins. The Eastern powerhouse, Korea, is faltering, with most of their representatives being knocked down early. It is China, the perennial “bridesmaid” that has finally grown up and shown up to Worlds 2018.
Game One: MAD Team vs KT Rolster
Prior to this game, anyone could have guessed what would happen. The Korean juggernaut would run over the Taiwanese second seed and easily take them down. KT was able to change it up in the draft and flex Irelia to the top lane in an attempt to throw off MAD. In the grand scheme of things, KT needed the power of the Irelia to offset their magic damage heavy team.
MAD Team looked afraid of KT. They had decent engage on their side, but there were no real attempts to engage onto KT. MAD was using their engage tools to defend themselves, which lead to KT capitalizing on their missteps. KT was able to grab the Baron and escort their minions into the MAD Team base for a win. The best looking Korean team was able to take down a Taiwanese team with ease.
Game Two: Team Liquid vs Edward Gaming
Team Liquid is this close to actually beating these powerful teams they are facing. Their early game is so much better than a majority of the teams at the tournament. They are able to capitalize off early ganks and are able to commit to plays others would think to be crazy. However, as the middle of the game approaches, the enemy usually figures them out, and is able to have more items than Liquid. This then leads to poor teamfights and losses from Liquid.
Game two started, for Team Liquid, in favor of their playstyle. The bottom side of the map was winning, they had secured a number of kills and were marginally ahead. Team Liquid was able to secure the first dragon on the map and even pick up a kill. However, as the rest of Edward Gaming showed up, the team-fighting prowess of the more advanced team killed three members of Liquid. Many times more throughout the game, Edward Gaming was able to pick up teamfight win after teamfight win. This obvious advantage then lead to Liquid being over ten thousand gold down to Edward Gaming. The advantages wrought by Edward Gaming were too much for Team Liquid to handle and they lost their base to EDG easily.
Game Three: Fnatic vs Invictus Gaming
Invictus Gaming knew what they wanted to do coming into this game. They attacked the power and late game carry, the bottom lane of Fnatic. It wasn’t until a four man tower dive in the bottom lane that Fnatic was able to stop the bleeding on the bottom side of the map. The game continued for a while with Invictus Gaming in the driver’s seat. As Invictus Gaming started up the Baron, however, Fnatic called for a beautiful Sion ultimate and looked to stop them. A displacement ability from the enemy Ornn knocked the Sion out of his Decimating Smash ability. This allowed for Invictus Gaming to get away and even get a kill on the Sion.
This play must have given Fnatic confidence to continue the game, as they ran it back into Invictus Gaming with reckless abandon. They were able to get a few kills in their jungle and then run it towards the Baron. However, their confidence was to no avail, as they simply got wiped at the Baron pit and lost the Baron to Invictus Gaming, signalling the end of the game.
Game Four: 100 Thieves vs G-Rex
Excuse me, what was this game? 100 Thieves made a fool of themselves in the previous game they played against Fnatic, and then win against one of the stronger teams in their group? This was a very close game for the majority of it, with 100 Thieves gaining a meaningful lead only after winning a pivotal teamfight. Off the teamfight win, 100 Thieves were able to take out the Baron and take a number of towers and inhibitors. In an impressive fashion, 100 Thieves get the win over G-Rex.
Game Five: Royal Never Give Up vs Team Vitality
What an upset it would be if Team Vitality would be able to knock off another pre-tournament favorite to win it all. However, they were unable to do so, as Royal Never Give Up showed that they are the superior team. As most of their wins at Worlds have been, RNG’s win condition was to get their star bottom laner ahead. Get him ahead they did as well, as they were able to secure the first blood and unlock the bottom lane in their favor. Meanwhile, the rest of the map was seemingly going in Vitality’s favor.
For a large portion of this game, the gold was very close. When RNG, who was ahead but slightly, was ahead it wouldn’t be more than two thousand gold. This, of course, changed when they won a massive teamfight that transitioned into a Baron secure. The death timers of Vitality were enough for RNG to step up and usher their minions into Vitality’s base, overwhelming the European team and taking the win.
Game Six: Cloud9 vs Gen. G Esports
This game was very conservative from both teams. Each one came in with something to prove. Cloud9 wanted to be able to take down the reigning champions, while Gen. G was focusing on not losing to a North American team. I believe that this game was lost in the draft phase for Cloud9. They have shown before that they are willing to take the Hecarim into the Aatrox. If they had, they could have flexed it between the jungle, which was being pinched by Gen. G and the top lane. Both the players that C9 had in their jungle and their top lane have played the Hecarim and looked good on it when they played it. Instead, they went defensive and took the Galio and Jarvan.
This game was played in a way that caused Cloud9 to look like they were losing for a majority of it. Though it was only a twenty-four minute game, it definitely did not feel this short. The lack of kills from both sides made it feel as if Gen. G was playing cold and calculated. They were gently getting more and more gold, getting more objectives in their favor and eventually were able to take the Baron basically uncontested. Cloud9 played very risk averse in this game, afraid they would lose too quick if they attempted something sub-optimal, and it looked as if they were unsure of their power-level. This led to their loss at the hands of the reigning world champions.
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