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Worlds: perfect group stage for Longzhu

LoL Michael “Zechs_” Radford

Longzhu was the first team to qualify for the quarter-finals and they did it in dominant fashion, going 6-0 in their group.

Gigabyte Marines had yet another off-meta pick for fans, this time in the shape of a top lane Urgot. But it was Levi’s Kayn who was dominated the early game, going 3/1 and securing an early infernal drake in the opening 15 minutes. The Vietnamese team pushed the tempo with a 2-0 tower lead opening up the map as well as a gold advantage. The marines did not let up, taking tower after tower and a 25 minute baron, off the back of a won team fight. Immortals had no answer except to watch their nexus explode a few minutes later.

After a dreadful week one, Fnatic was almost at the point of playing for pride. It only got worse against Longzhu, leaving Soaz and co on a 0-4 record after a dominant win for the Korean champions. But a nail-biting win against the Immortals respawn timers threw Fnatic back into the mix, with an outside chance of making it to a tie-breaker. After a long, back-and-forth game, it was Rekkles who was gifted a kill by the enemy AD Carry flashing forward to die after a botched team fight from Immortals.

The Maries continued to switch things up, locking in Xilean support and Rengar jungle against Longzhu. Another lane swap did not help, as a five man jungle invade secured first blood for Longzhu, but after messy opening 10 minutes, Gigabyte held a lead thanks to first tower gold. The Vietnamese team entered the first real team fight with a small lead and left it with three kills to zero, a baron buff and a 3.5k gold lead. Another fight around infernal drake went 5-1 in favour of Marines but even a second baron wasn’t enough to close out the game. A clean ace and infernal drake for LZ put the brakes on Gigabyte. A third baron, Longzhu’s first, was enough to even things up and a successful fight over the elder drake was enough to complete the comeback.

Fnatic had to defeat Gigabyte Marines to maintain the chance of a three way tie and they started well, with a very early first blood. Archie’s Urgot was camped relentlessly after blowing his flash, opening up a 4-0 kill lead for Fnatic, but a skirmish in the bottom lane eventually led to first tower gold for the Europeans.   That lead just grew and grew, and with a 25 minute baron extending it to 10k, the game looked surprisingly easy for Fnatic.

Longzhu could do both Fnatic and Gigabyte a favour by forcing tie-breakers if they beat Immortals. A top lane substitution set nervous hearts aflutter, but Rascal’s Shen was heavily involved in picking up first blood for his team. Longzhu held a lead of slightly less than 2k gold by the time baron spawned and the game became very tentative from there. A handful of kills were traded, but the real advantage for quite a while was just LZ’s three dragons, including an infernal and mountain. A fight finally broke out around the baron pit, and with three kills and a baron, Longzhu opened up the biggest lead thus far. A second baron allowed LZ to take three inhibitors down, following it up with an elder dragon and a perfect 6-0 group stage. Immortals, on the other hand, would go into a three-way series of tiebreakers.

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Michael “Zechs_” Radford

Michael "Zechs" Radford is an esports veteran and has been writing about professional gaming for longer than he cares to remember. He currently lives in Leeds and is hoping his upcoming offspring will be talented enough to play esports professionally rather than just write about other people doing it.

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