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LoL World Championships Play-In Stage Review

2 October 2017 14:47

Twelve teams would open the 2017 LoL World Championships as part of the play-in stage for the main event group stage. The play-in stage was comprised of teams that finished third in premier LoL leagues across the world, along with winners and runners up from some of the less prestigious leagues. The stage would begin with a double round robin group stage, consisting of four groups of three. The top two from these groups would go through to a best-of-five knockout stage to determine the four teams who would join the main event group stage.

Group Stages

Group A consisted of Team WE, Lyon Gaming and Gambit.CIS. Team WE were the obvious favourites having come from the LPL league, easily the top LoL league in the world, whilst Lyon Gaming and Gambit.CIS came after winning the LLN and LCL leagues. The group went exactly as expected, with Team WE winning all four of their matches to qualify first, whilst Lyon Gaming took the two wins over Gambit.CIS to take the second knockout spot.

Group B was made up of Cloud9, the third seed from the NA LCS, Team oNe eSports, winner of the CBLoL and LG Dire Wolves, winner of OPL. Cloud9 were head and shoulders above the rest, as you would expect coming from the far superior NA LCS league. In their two head-to-head matches, Team oNe eSports and LG Dire Wolves split the series 1-1 and had to play a tie-breaker match for the second qualification spot. Team oNe eSports won this tie-breaker in a pretty stable match lasting just 29 minutes.

Fnatic, Young Generation and Kaos Latin Gamers were all put into Group C to kick off the third days action. Fnatic, the highest rated seed in the group after coming from EU LCS, didn’t have it all their own way as they went 3-1 and dropped a game to Young Generation, but still qualified top of the group. Young Generation split their series with Kaos Latin Gamers to finish the group stages 2-2, advancing to the knockout stages along with Fnatic.

The final group, Group D, contained HK Attitude, 1907 Fenerbahçe and Rampage. HK Attitude, the highest rated team in this group as number three seed from LMS, finished the group stages joint top at 3-1 with 1907 Fenerbahçe after both teams split the series against one another and swept Rampage 2-0. The tiebreaker to decide the winner of the group was an absolute cracker, lasting 46 minutes and having a total of 30 kills. It looked like HK Attitude would win easily, building a 5.4k gold lead at the 29 minute stage, but 1907 Fenerbahçe reeled off nine player kills, two baron kills and destroying four towers in the final 10 minutes to seal the upset-victory and top the group.

Knockout Stages

The first match put Cloud9 up against Lyon Gaming. The first game went Cloud9’s way in just 24 minutes, taking 10 kills to Lyon Gaming’s 2 and having over 10k gold advantage. The second game was arguably the best game of the tournament so far, last nearly 62 minutes with only 27 total kills taking place in the match.  Lyon Gaming were leading by as much as 5.9k gold at the 40 minute stage and looked like they would take a convincing victory, but the final 10 minutes was just a surge of power from Cloud9 to take another win, showing why they are seeded so highly. The third game was won convincingly again by Cloud9 in just 27 minutes, sending them to the main event.

The second match put Fnatic, winners of Group C, against HK Attitude, runners-up from Group D. HK Attitude came in to the play-in stages as one of the big four, but two slip ups in group play saw them having to take the hard way should they want to qualify for the main event. The first game started in HK’s favour, taking the first four towers and slaying the first dragon to be leading at the 10 minute marker. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t score a single kill from this stage out to lose the match and allow Fnatic to take a 1-0 lead. Things would not improve over the next two games either, with Fnatic not having to work particularly hard to secures games two and three in 29 and 35 minutes respectively. Fnatic progress to the main event group stages, whilst HK attitude head home after an exceptionally poor performance.

The third match saw surprise team 1907 Fenerbahçe take on Team oNe eSports, with a chance for either team to score a major surprise and make it to the main event. The first two games between these two teams were split 1-1, with neither team managing to produce a dominant performance, instead just progressively winning their respective games. The third game swayed backwards and forwards, but at the 32-minute mark 1907 Fenerbahçe went on a tear of slaying a dragon and two barons whilst destroying seven towers and an inhibitor to take the win in 42 minutes. Team oNe eSports never really showed up in the crucial fourth game, taking a crushing loss in 26 minutes to knock them out the tournament. 1907 Fenerbahçe qualify for the main event and will hope to continue their Cinderella run!

The final knockout round saw Team WE take on Young Generation. The first game went exactly as expected, with Team WE leading start to finish and taking the win in just 25 short minutes. The second game, however, did not go to plan, with Young Generation leading by over 5k gold at the 20-minute mark and having an impressive hold over the game. That all changed at the 30minute stage, with WE Condi stealing a Baron from Young Generation, then WE Mystic scored a triple-kill and a tower destruction before the rest of WE ran rampage to take the game win in impressive turnaround fashion. Perhaps the second game used all of Young Generation’s energy, because the third game was once again a whitewash in Team WE’s favour to see them win the round 3-0 and head to the main event.

HK Attitude not making the main event is a surprise, but it’s great to see a team like 1907 Fenerbahçe continue a great run and give perhaps a lesser known team a chance to compete with LoL powerhouses like Samsung Galaxy and SK Telecom T1. Action for the main event begins on Thursday 5th October.

Pulished on:
Updated on: 2017-10-02

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