Worlds: wins for Gigabyte, Longzhu, SKT
Worlds 2017 is underway, and the first round of group stage matches already brought us some exciting matches.
After a spectacular opening ceremony, home team Royal Never Give up started their Worlds campaign with an unsurprising victory. Fenerbahce made them work for it but RNG’s experience and closed showed through in the end. A strong early game from the Turkish side gave RNG something to think about, but the runners-up from the LPL Summer Split evened things up and eventually won comfortably. The second game of the day followed a similar path, with G2 esports taking an early kill lead against Samsung. Unlike the opening game, however, G2 never had a lead, as Samsung simply out-farmed their opponents and picked up kills and objectives as the game wore on. The Koreans cruised to a worryingly simple victory in their first game.
Longzhu made it back to back wins for Korea, but they were made to work even harder for it. Whenever a Western team holds a lead against Korean opposition, one often wonders how long it will take to fall apart. But Immortals seemed dominant for the opening 20 minutes and it was a snap call to go baron while Immortals were on dragon that turned the tide in Longzhu’s favour. From there, the Korean team eased up through the gears to end the game in mere minutes, as if the opening 20 minutes had never happened.
Fnatic made it to Worlds the hard way via the play-ins, but an opening game against Gigabyte Marines proved that things would not get any easier. Gigabyte thrived in the chaos they created by picking Nocturne and having him double jungle with Galio. The Vietnamese team broke out their infamous lane swap alongside it and Fnatic struggled to adapt. A hectic early game seemed to be fairly even, but Gigabyte’s superior mobility around the map started to tell as the game went on and Fnatic had no answer. Gigabyte secured a win in an early contender for most entertaining game of the tournament.
The defending world champions got off to an ideal start against Cloud 9. A beautiful outplay by Faker on a C9 gank gave his team an early advantage which they would never let slip. Peanut’s Jarvan was everywhere in the early game, a fact that paid off in dividends later, leading to turrets and a 23 minute baron and a 27 minute victory.
Edward Gaming and AHQ closed out the opening day and it was the LMS team who picked up first blood thanks to a botched dive from their opponents. Action was slow, thanks to both teams’ play styles and some unusual build choices, but a posthumous quadrakill for An’s Twitch led to a tower kill and a roughly equal game as the clock hit 30 minutes. This was the opposite of Fnatic-Gigabyte: calculated, tenuous, with only rare bursts of extreme violence. AHQ picked off Sout and took a baron, but while splitting up to push multiple lanes they were caught out by a Sejuani ulttimate, giving up four kills and an elder dragon. The second baron went EDG's way and a miscued engage from Mountain gifted EDG an elder drake to go with it. EDG were unable to capitalise, though, and a third baron went the way of AHQ. With iBoy's Kog'maw still dead from an earlier fight, AHQ were able to finally take down the enemy nexus.