Last week, we brought you news of the League of Legends World Championships Play-In Round 1. Since then, the tournament has moved on with the results of the Play-In Round 2 now known. Thus, the identities of the four teams moving forward into the Group Stage are now confirmed.
Recapping the Play-Ins
From the opening Play-In Round, the four No.1 seeds — EDward Gaming, G2 Esports, Cloud9, and G-Rex — were drawn against the No. 2 seeds. Those were Gambit Esports, DetonatioN FocusMe, Infinity eSports, and SuperMassive eSports respectively.
For once, the seeding of the teams appeared to be spot on. In each of the Play-In Round 2 games, the No. 1 seeds progressed into the Group Stage.
Cloud9 were pushed hard in their game with Gambit Esports, which went to a final and deciding match after the teams had shared the opening four games. There, however, Cloud9 clinched the win to progress. Then, EDward Gaming made light work of DestinatioN FocusMe. They came through 3-0 while G2 Esports and G-Rex both made it through with 3-1 wins.
These four teams joined the 12 already set for the Group Stage.
G2 Esports moved into Group A alongside Flash Wolves, Phong Vu Buffalo, and Afreeca Freecs. Cloud9 were drawn into Group B alongside Royal Never Give Up, Team Vitality, and Gen.G.
Then, EDward Gaming landed in Group C alongside KT Rolster, MAD Team, and Team Liquid. Finally, G-Rex earned a Group D berth against 100 Thieves, Fnatic, and Invictus Gaming.
Group Stage opening day
The Group Stage began on Oct. 10 with matches in three of the four groups (Group D doesn’t play its first two games until Oct.11). Over the next seven days, the teams will battle it out until two teams from each group advance. All matches in the Group Stage are best of one. Each team will play the others in the group twice throughout the next week.
- Flash Wolves – 1-0
- G2 Esports – 1-0
- Afreeca Freecs – 0-1
- Phong Vu Buffalo – 0-1
Flash Wolves got the Group Stage off to a solid start. They earned a solid victory over Phong Vu Buffalo in the opening game in the group. A short time later, G2 Esports caused arguably the first big shock of the tournament when the EU-based team defeated the much-fancied Korean outfit Afreeca Freecs in their opening game.
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The beaten Afreeca Freecs now face a tough second game tomorrow against Flash Wolves. Then, Phong Vu take on G2 Esports, who will be hoping to push home that advantage against arguably the weakest team in the group.
- Royal Never Give Up – 1-0
- Team Vitality – 1-0
- Gen.G – 0-1
- Cloud9 – 0-1
Group B began with Cloud9 putting their skills to the test against the much fancied Royal Never Give Up. It was the latter which came through the game, defeating the qualifier to claim the win.
Team Vitality then caused one of the biggest shocks of this tournament. They defeated the defending champions Gen.G in their opening game in Group B, ending what has been a miserable day for the once seemingly unbeatable Korean teams. Both Gen.G and Afreeca Freecs lost their matches against EU LCS opponents.
For many years now, people have speculated whether Korean teams dominance of the tournament will come to an end, though most experts felt it would be the strong teams from China, most notably EDward Gaming and Royal Never Give Up, that would pose the biggest threat.
However, the EU LCS teams getting the better of two LCK opponents in the first day of Group Stage action bodes well for arguably the most exciting and open League of Legends World Championships in many years.
- EDward Gaming – 1-0
- KT Rolster – 1-0
- MAD Team – 0-1
- Team Liquid – 0-1
EDward Gaming made light work of their first opponent in the Group Stage, continuing their fine form from the Play-In Rounds to earn a 1-0 win over MAD Team. In the other game, the Korean giants KT Rolster also got off to a solid start with a well-earned 1-0 victory over Team Liquid.
This could well be the tightest of the four groups at this stage. These teams have a rest day on Oct. 11 with their next games scheduled for Oct. 12. MAD will face KT Rolster while Team Liquid face a crucial game against EDward Gaming.
Group D does not get underway until Oct. 11 with the first two matches of the group seeing 100 Thieves take on former World Champions Fnatic. Meanwhile, in the second game, G-Rex will be hoping to continue their progress against Invictus Gaming.
Once the Group Stage is completed at the end of this week, the top two teams in each group will head into the Playoffs. These begin Oct. 20 and will be a straight knockout tournament with each round a best-of-five match. The top teams from each group will be drawn randomly against one of the second-placed teams.