Wednesday evening saw the first of the play-in teams at the League of Legends World Championship 2017 secure its spot in the main event when Cloud9 blew away Lyon Gaming in a quick 3-0 series. The former has earned a chance to prove themselves against the best in the world, while the latter will have to watch from the sidelines.
The first and last games were complete stomps, to be sure, but the middle game was a gem that highlighted just how strong the representatives from Latin America North League (LLN) truly were.
Unlike the other two games in the series, Lyon Gaming managed to take control of Game 2 early on, which not only gave it a fighting chance, but gave it a shot at upsetting the North American third seed. While that didn't end up being the case in the end, the 61-minute slugfest was still the best game that we've seen at Worlds 2017 thus far, as it highlighted the strengths of all the major players involved. Both of Lyon's carries, AD carry Mattias "WhiteLotus" Musso and mid laner Ali "Seiya" Bracamontes, looked absolutely incredible, and were more than a match for its North American counterparts. In the end, however, the scaling was just a tad in favor of Cloud9, with a huge clutch play by mid laner Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen giving Cloud9 the time it needed to get there, as he handed WhiteLotus his first death of the game around the 40-minute mark.
The other two games in the series were, unfortunately, far less competitive, and thus far less entertaining. Cloud9's jungler, Juan "Contractz" Garcia, went deathless with a combined Kill/Death/Assist of 4/0/15. He completely buried his LLN counterpart, Sebastian "Oddie" Alonso Nino Zavaleta, in the process. Whether it was his bold invades, clutch ganks, or his aggressive teamfighting, there simply wasn't anything to hold against Contractz during both of Cloud9's easy victories, and without him the series would have been a much closer affair than it ended up being.
With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that the player of the series was Cloud9's jungler, Contractz. While he was certainly outshined by every carry on the rift during the climactic Game 2, it was due to him that Cloud9 was in a winning position by the time Game 2 came along. Contractz did an excellent job of tracking and exposing Oddie in Game 1, and did an even better job of the same in Game 3, where he ensured that Oddie's Zac had no impact whatsoever. If Cloud9 manage to stay alive through the Worlds group stages, it'll certainly be thanks to its star jungler, as his performance has been phenomenal thus far, especially considering his inexperience at Worlds.