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LoL World Championships Group Stage Review

17 October 2017 14:45

The main event group stage of the 2017 LoL World Championships put the top 16 teams in the world head-to-head in a double round robin, best-of-one format. The format meant the action was always going to be fast and furious, with teams playing multiple matches per day over a 10-day period. Two teams would qualify from each group for the knockout stage, whilst the other two would be sent packing.

Group A

Group A consisted of SK Telecom T1, Cloud9, EDward Gaming and ahq e-Sports Club. As defending champions, SK Telecom T1 were the obvious favourites from the get-go. The Korean powerhouses did not disappoint, going 5-1 in their matches to qualify top of the group. It was perhaps a surprise that one match was dropped to ahq e-Sports Club, the eventual bottom-placed team in the group at 2-4. Cloud9 managed to claw second place in the group after going 3-3, despite splitting the two games against EDward Gaming.

Group B

Group B had contained the tournament favourites, Longzhu Gaming, along with Fnatic, GIGABYTE Marines and Immortals. Longzhu walked the group stages, going a perfect 6-0 and barely needing to break a sweat in most of their matches. After four days of action, GIGABYTE Marines were 1-2, Immortals were 2-1 and Fnatic were 0-3 at the bottom of the group.

In perhaps the craziest turn of events ever seen in LoL World Championship group stages, Fnatic ended up qualifying in second place in the group by virtue of some crazy results. Immortals had a chance to lock up a knockout spot against GIGABYTE Marines in the first game on day five, but slipped up to see both teams at 2-2, whilst Fnatic lost again (yes, again!) to stand at 0-4. To the credit of Fnatic, the team didn’t panic, knowing that if they won their last two games then they would still be in a chance for qualification as Longzhu Gaming would likely beat the other two teams to leave all three at 2-4. Fortunately for the European team, that’s exactly what happened, and the three would enter a tiebreaker for the final knockout spot. Fnatic knocked off both Immortals and GIGABYTE Marines in this tiebreaker to take the final knockout spot, becoming the only team ever to go 0-4 in group play and still qualify for the knockout stages.

Group C

Group C was made up of G2 Esports, Royal Never Give Up, Samsung Galaxy and 1907 Fenerbahçe. Samsung Galaxy were looking to make amends for their runners-up spot at last year’s instalment of the annual tournament, whilst 1907 Fenerbahçe were loving their Cinderella run through the play-in stages that they weren’t expected to make it through.

Royal Never Give Up surprisingly topped the group, going 5-1 and only slipping up once against G2 Esports, whilst 1907 Fenerbahçe sadly went 0-6 to come bottom, but can firmly leave this tournament with their head held high. That meant it was down to Samsung Galaxy and G2 Esports for the second qualifying spot, and it was the Koreans who managed to steal the place after beating G2 Esports in both their meetings. It’s another disappointing World Championships for G2 Esports who just cannot get out of the group stages at the world’s biggest tournament, despite having success against their Asian counterparts in the mid-season invitational.

Group D

The final group consisted of Flash Wolves, Team Solomid, Misfits and Team WE. Flash Wolves, the #1 seed from LMS, had a straight up shocker going 1-5, whilst Team WE, the lowest seed after coming through the play-in stages, went 5-1 to top the group. Team WE were certainly not the worst team in the group before play began, but they were only seeded that way after having to come through the play-in stages due to being the third seed from LPL.

That meant that it was between Misfits and Team SoloMid for the second knockout spot. It looked like Team SoloMid’s spot to lose after they started the group with two wins over Team WE and Flash Wolves, but then went 1-3 over the next two day’s action to finish 3-3. Misfits came into day seven at 2-1, and then went to 3-1 after beating Flash Wolves in the first match of the day. Playing Team SoloMid later in the day, Misfits knew that just one more win would see them progress through, but two consecutive losses saw them finish at 3-3 and this group heading for a tiebreaker. The tiebreaker wasn’t much of a spectacle, with Misfits winning in regulatory fashion and progressing through as the group’s second seed.

Knockout stages

The knockout stage is where the action really heats up, and the match-ups are going to provide some unreal play in a best-of-five format. All matches take place in the incredible Guangzhou Gymnasium infront of 10,000 fans, with the action kicking off on Thursday 19th October, and culminating on Sunday 22nd.

Kicking off the action is two of the sport’s biggest teams; Longzhu Gaming vs Samsung Galaxy. Last year’s runner up against this year’s favourite - what’s not to love about that?

On Friday, SK Telecom T1 will take on Misfits. SK Telecom T1 have had slow starts in nearly all their matches so far, whilst Misfits have come out the gates firing. There’s no way the defending champs could fall this early, is there?

Saturday’s action puts Royal Never Give Up against Fnatic. After one of the craziest group stages of all time, can Fnatic put it together to progress as the lone European team left in the competition?

Finally, Team WE face Cloud9 in a battle between two teams who have made it through both the play-in and group stages. Can Cloud9, the final remaining American team, beat the Chinese power house?

Lots of questions will be answered in the next week of play, and we think it’s pretty obvious how excited LoL fans are across the globe.

Pulished on:
Updated on: 2017-10-17

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