The League of Legends World Championships, an eSport competition, will determine a champion out of the top 16 five-man teams around the world. The games began with a group stage in Paris that divided the teams into four groups of four. EU Favorites Fnatic and Origen battled their way through the group stage and to the quarterfinals, while others, especially some NA favorites, struck out despite massive support from their fans. The remaining teams must battle on Summoner’s Rift to take home the championship on Oct. 31.
Due to Cloud9’s several shaky starts in LCS this year, one of the greatest surprises of the tournament came the first day when Cloud9’s sieging power with Sneaky (Tristana) led to a 9-2 win against AHQ. The results had many people questioning the prior assumption that Cloud9 would finish the tournament in last place, a prediction that 15 out of 21 analysts made. It looks like they were wrong!
Fnatic emerged victorious against Invictus Gaming, forcing them to surrender after taking two turrets in the first 13 minutes and a Baron eight minutes later. They finished the game shortly after with a 10k gold advantage, but later lost to AHQ due to a series of explosive teamfights, leading to the hope, at least among their fans, that AHQ’s loss to Cloud9 might have just been a fluke.
When Fnatic’s turn to face Cloud9 arrived,, Fnatic lived up to their reputation with a hilarious first blood: LemonNation (Morgana), sprinted towards a turret with low health in the hopes of an execution instead of a free kill; but Febiven (Orianna) took the kill by a narrow margin. Despite the early advantage, they were defeated by a Cloud9 comeback in which Balls (Darius) took the first pentakill of the tournament
Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) lucked out with their first match of the tournament when Pobelter (Lulu) earned CLG a double kill shortly after their opponent, Flash Wolves, took a 32 minute Baron. Not banning Lulu, who thus far has the third highest ban rate of all other champions in this year’s World Championships, arguably led to CLGs comeback and ultimate victory.
Fnatic dominated Invictus Gaming and Cloud9 in week two of the group stage which, while not surprising to most of the analysts, was certainly a letdown for Cloud9 supporters. With the former match ending at just over 25 minutes with a 15-5 kill ratio and the latter in 22 minutes with a 28-8 kill ratio, neither team had high chances against this EU favorite. These matches weren’t about misplays, either. Though Fnatic won most of the teamfights with little to no losses, champions were not caught out of position, nor were teamfights initiated hastily by the opponent. Instead, these matches were about outplays.
The following match between Invictus Gaming and Cloud9 had a couple of notable mistakes which cost Cloud9 the game. Sneaky (Tristana) was unable to use sieging power to the extent seen in week one, and was caught somewhat out of position when they ran into a bush that the enemy team was hiding in. With one of Cloud9’s strongest carries unable to play as aggressive or take a lead like usual, the team slowly fell behind to an eventual 10k gold disadvantage. At that point the game was decided.
By week two, Origen (EU) picked up a 4-0 winning streak against LGD Gaming, Team Solomid (An NA favorite), and KT Rolster. But as the week continued, Origen faced a couple of surprising losses. LGD Gaming took their first win of the tournament during their second match against Origen, largely due to what analysts considered to be sloppy plays. The next match ended in KT Rolster’s favor due to the global mobility and teamfight power achieved by Piccaboo (Shen), Arrow (Jinx) and Score (Rek’Sai), as well as a teleport on Ssumday (Darius). Despite these losses, Origen had already secured their spot in the quarterfinals when they took their fourth win.
Only eight teams could move on to the quarterfinals: AHQ, Edward Gaming, Flash Wolves, Fnatic, KOO Tigers, KT Rolster, Origen and SKT. They were then divided into four different matchups and expected to win the best of five games.
The results are as follows:
- Origen (EU) def. Flash Wolves (TAI), 3-1
- SKT (KOR) def. AHQ (TAI), 3-0
- Fnatic (EU) def. Edward Gaming (CHN), 3-0
- KOO Tigers (KOR) def. KT Rolster (KOR), 3-1
Origen, SKT, Fnatic and the KOO Tigers, two teams from the EU and two from Korea, progressed to the semifinals. The champion will take home the 70-pound Summoner’s Cup, along with a cash prize of $1,000,000, on Saturday.