If you are a fan of the esports scene like I am, you have to respect how over-the-top the first day of the League of Legends World Championship has been. With some unusual champion selections and one massive upset, it has been wildly entertaining thus far. The three favorites entering the tournament (China’s Edward Gaming, Korea’s ROX Tigers, North American Team SoloMid), and their results for the day was varying at best.
Game one was G2 vs. Counter Logic Gaming. G2 was the number one ranked team from the EULCS, while CLG ranked number two at the North American counterpart. CLG started the Championship series hot, with strong macro-play compared to the poor timing of several gank and counter gank attempts from G2. While the game went back and forth, the beefier CLG lineup of Poppy, Olaf, Vlad, Caitlyn, and Nami allowed them to dictate the pace and close out the game.
Korea favorite ROX Tigers then played the number one LCL team, Albus Nox Luna (ANX). As a wildcard team, fans had put a little too much faith in their ability to keep up with the tournament favorite. Whenever ANX would try to make a play, ROX would fire back much crisper. The Tigers made the underdog look like they didn’t even belong, and held control of the match for all 30 minutes.
The third match of the day was by far the biggest story thus far. INTZ E-sports took on another major favorite to win in Edward Gaming (EDG). While INTZ was the number one team from the CBLoL, nobody in their right mind would have picked them to compete, let alone eek out a win. Almost as improbable, they managed to do so with a team composition that at best could be described as a risk (from top to bottom lane, their picks were Gnar – Lee Sin – Syndra – Ashe – Braum). EDG had left top lane completely isolated, allowing INTZ to capitalize and get ahead. In a moment heard around the streets of San Francisco, INTZ player MicaO launched an Ashe Ultimate (a map-wide arrow that stuns the first target hit), and it landed right in EDG player Clearlove’s face. INTZ pounced on the opportunity and cleaned up both Baron Nashor and the Elder Dragon. EDG then surrendered, giving INTZ a highly improbable win.
To close out the day, TSM played Royal Never Give Up that started out oddly. The officials were forced to remake the game due to a visual bug on the champion Aurelion Sol. Now knowing what the other team would ban and pick, each team shifted their overall strategy. TSM looked to dominate the first twenty minutes of the game, but a fantastic triple-kill by RNG turned the momentum around. From there on out, RNG capitalized on each of TSM’s horrid mistakes, claiming victory in the end.
The LoL World Championship series will continue this weekend in San Francisco, then move on to Chicago for the quarterfinals, New York for the semifinals and finally the finals in sunny Los Angeles on October 29th. Stay tuned each week for recaps.