Cloud9 1-0 EDward Gaming
Cloud9 secured its second victory of the 2017 League of Legends World Championship Saturday morning by dispatching Group A counterparts EDward Gaming in a brutally one-sided affair that handed the Chinese team its third straight loss of the tournament in Wuhan, China.
The loss made EDward Gaming the first team to go 0-3 to start a Worlds group stage on its home soil since Team Dignitas did so in Los Angeles in 2012, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
The greatest surprise of the series was the performance of jungler Juan "Contractz" Garcia, who brought out a pick that had yet to be seen on the World stage, Graves, and thrived with it. His pressure around the mid lane was immense, and he started out the game by enabling a pair of kills on Lee "Scout" Ya-chan's Lucian, which was enough to all but remove the EDG mid laner from the game.
While both members of EDG's bottom lane put up a valiant attempt to pull their team out of its death spiral, neither could do enough to help EDG (0-3) out of its hopeless situation, and Cloud9 took the game after a series of back-to-back power plays that all started with the acquisition of Baron.
With this victory, Cloud9 (2-1) has clawed its way to sole possession of second place in Group A, and along with Group D, North American brethren Team SoloMid (2-0) should bring some hope to Western fans. EDward Gaming, on the other hand, is now all but eliminated from the tournament, as it needs to not only win all three of its games in Week 2 in order to have a chance of advancing, but also needs ahq e-Sports Club to beat Cloud9 next week and no one else. Considering EDG has proven incapable of closing games against any of its rivals in Group A, such a feat seems unlikely, to say the least.
-- Wyatt Lyles
SK Telecom T1 1-0 ahq e-Sports Club
SK Telecom T1 picked up its third victory of the group stage in a fairly standard 35-minute affair in Wuhan, China.
To the credit of ahq (1-2) the game was far closer than anticipated, thanks in part to its preemptive decision to sub out veteran mid laner Liu "Westdoor" Shu-Wei in favor of his younger understudy, Wong "Chawy" Xing-Lei. The younger player proved capable of doing what Westdoor never could and matched SKT's Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok blow-for-blow throughout the early game despite a horrendous matchup, as Faker once again brought out his trademark Fizz to counter Chawy's Syndra. While Faker did eventually get the better of the matchup, Chawy survived the notoriously difficult bout for far longer than many players have in the past.
SKT struggled in the early game yet again, and it's a weakness that the team has shown throughout the tournament. Even more troubling for the Korean juggernaut was the fact that top laner Seung-Hoon "Huni" Heo, whose very presence at Worlds is a controversy in itself, struggled to have a larger impact than ahq top laner Chen "Ziv" Yi. That raises questions about whether he'll be able to stand against some of the more consistent top lane talent later on in the tournament.
-- James Bates
Samsung Galaxy 0-1 Royal Never Give Up
Royal Never Give Up crushed League Champions Korea representative Samsung Galaxy Saturday with a sub-30 minute win in Group C action.
Royal Never Give Up AD carry Jian "Uzi" Zi-Hao can put the team on his back, especially when given a strong hyper-carry champion like Tristana. Uzi came alive in this Ardent Censer meta, and RNG played well around him, resulting in first blood and first tower bonus gold in the top lane at 10 minutes. Samsung simply looked lost as RNG came into the mid- and late-game stages, with some members forcing poor engages without backing from the rest of the squad.
It's hard to expect anything from SSG after drafting losing lanes across the map, but RNG's explosive teamfight at 25 minutes showed just how dangerous the Chinese squad really is. In a deathless performances for all of RNG, Uzi shined with a 6/0/4 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) for 91 percent kill participation.
Samsung looks to get back on track against 1907 Fenerbahçe at 7 a.m. ET on Sunday, while Royal Never Give Up closes out the first week of the group stage against G2 Esports at 8 a.m. ET that day.
-- Dylan Sen
G2 Esports 1-0 1907 Fenerbahçe
G2 Esports showed no mercy to underdogs 1907 Fenerbahçe during Group C action Saturday.
The top seed out of Europe seemingly controlled an advantage in every lane early on, and the team had no trouble exerting pressure and began to choke 1907 Fenerbahçe out of the game. By the 15-minute mark, G2 had taken down three towers and claimed the Rift Herald for itself. G2's AD carry Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen even completed both an Infinity Edge and a Static Shiv just 16 minutes into the game.
Although 1907 Fenerbahçe didn't give up many deaths early in the game, it gave up just about everything else to the opposition. Without any control of the map or objectives, the team allowed G2 to claim forward vision and posture for an early Baron and subsequent victory. Although G2 chose not to go for the early Baron, its positioning set up several skirmish victories that furthered the gold gap. Finally picking up Baron, G2 was able to force another two teamfights, claiming both without losing a single member of the team. As a result, G2 took a near-perfect 32-minute victory.
Unfortunately, 1907 Fenerbahçe may have its biggest test in front of it yet, when it takes on Samsung Galaxy at 7 a.m. ET on Sunday, while G2 readies itself for an 8 a.m. ET matchup against Royal Never Give Up.
-- Chase Geddes
Flash Wolves 0-1 Misfits
Fresh off disappointing Group D defeats, Misfits and Flash Wolves both desperately needed a win Saturday in an effort to survive into the next stage of the competition. Unfortunately for Flash Wolves, Misfits seemed much better prepared, and the European squad picked up the crucial win with relative ease despite a drawn-out match.
From the start, Misfits seemed to welcome the pressure of the underdog role, granting Flash Wolves several massive late-game threats in Cho'Gath and Jinx, and in turn rolling with Kog'Maw and Orianna as its main damage dealers. The champion select advantage immediately played out on the Rift, as Misfits and mid laner Tristan "PowerOfEvil" Schrage's Orianna ran away with the early portion, locked up first blood and, slowly but surely, built up a meaningful gold lead.
Flash Wolves tried desperately to respond to the teamfight plays of Misfits, utilizing mid laner Huang "Maple" Yi-Tang's Corki to trade back towers frequently. Unfortunately, these meager objectives were all Flash Wolves could find as the game quickly snowballed out of control, with no reliable way to eliminate the enemy Kog'Maw and Orianna as the duo rained death upon its overmatched opposition.
It was clear Misfits regained its composure after a bit of a demoralizing loss to Team WE on Friday. Whenever there was an opportunity to fight, the team quickly peeled off objectives, forcing favorable skirmishes to widen the gold gap. After claiming multiple Barons and an Elder Dragon, Misfits methodically closed out the game in 47 minutes without giving up a single kill to the enemy team. So long as AD carry Steven "Hans Sama" Liv remains untouched, as he was Saturday, Misfits could very well dictate a similar type of pace in its final two matchups of pool play.
Misfits will have its work cut out for it in its next matchup at 5 a.m. ET on Sunday against Team SoloMid. Flash Wolves will attempt to rally from an 0-2 start to the tournament with a game at 4 a.m. ET Sunday against Team WE.
-- Chase Geddes
Team SoloMid 1-0 Team WE
Team SoloMid took sole possession of the top spot in Group D with a win over Team WE on Saturday in Wuhan, China.
Team SoloMid certainly seemed to have cleaned up its act compared to its touch-and-go victory over Flash Wolves on Friday. The team found itself with a significant scaling advantage in this game, as Team WE opted for the early power from Shen, Syndra and Xayah against the Cho'Gath, Corki and Tristana that TSM drafted. Well aware of its early disadvantage, TSM put together brilliant defense early on, playing the map in a way that prevented Team WE top laner Ke "957" Chang-Yu from using Shen's Stand United to make any sort of aggressive move. In the process, TSM also managed to grab two Mountain Drakes as well as the first turret. The early game wasn't perfect from the North American squad, however, as jungler Dennis "Svenskeren" Johnsen's struggles from Friday continued into Saturday, and his Gragras gave away two kills to Team WE.
Things started to pick up for TSM in earnest when star mid laner Soren "Bjergsen" Bjerg's Corki found a solo kill onto Su "xiye" Han-Wei's Syndra at 22 minutes. Thanks to the Rift Herald, this also granted TSM the outer turret in the mid lane. Shortly after, a gorgeous engage from support Vincent "Biofrost" Wang on Rakan, coupled with a stellar Explosive Cask from Svenskeren, gifted TSM a 2-for-0 fight victory, as well as a Baron buff. From there on in, it was all measured play from TSM, as it methodically took turrets with the buff to cement its gold lead before taking one final fight to end the game at 34 minutes.
Team WE still has control of its own destiny in the group should it manage to take down Flash Wolves on Sunday at 3 a.m. ET. Directly following that matchup, Team SoloMid will look to secure its lead with a win over Europe's Misfits.
-- Brendan Hickey