2018 World Championship/Worlds Recap
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On this page you'll be able to read brief recaps of each Worlds Day. If you weren't able to watch the games for a certain day for any kind of reason, we've got you covered!
- 1 Play-In Stage, Day 1: Cloud9 and G-Rex dominate
- 2 Play-In Stage, Day 2: SuperMassi̇ve surprise with impressive performances
- 3 Play-In Stage, Day 3: Cloud9 and G-Rex deliver, DetonatioN Gaming impress
- 4 Play-In Stage, Day 4: A surprising loss for EDward Gaming! G2 Esports overtakes SuperMassi̇ve
- 5 Play-In Stage, Day 5: C9 wins a close match against GMB, EDG smash DNG
- 6 Play-In Stage, Day 6: G2 and GRX advance, main Groups are drawn
- 7 Main Stage, Day 1: EUPHORIA, South Korean struggle and Chinese dominance
- 8 Main Stage, Day 2: South Korea goes 1-4, NA and EU trade games, China undefeated
- 9 Main Stage, Day 3: China continues to dominate, South Korea rebounds, Taiwan disappoints
- 10 Main Stage, Day 4: South Korea strikes back and hands China their first loss of Worlds
- 11 Main Stage, Day 5: Shocking events unfold! RNG and C9 advance
- 12 Main Stage, Day 6: AFs rebounds, G2 overtake FW in Tiebreak Match!
- 13 Main Stage, Day 7: A day of disappointments
- 14 Main Stage, Day 8: FNC triumphs over iG!
- 15 Quarterfinals, Day 1: Two of the biggest upsets in Worlds history!
- 16 Quarterfinals, Day 2: The West prevails!
- 17 Semifinals: Europe prevails over North America! A re-match in the Finals!
- 18 Finals: China captures their first Worlds title as iG takes down FNC!
The opening game of the day was Cloud9 facing off against KaBuM! e-Sports. There isn't much to say about this game as it was quite a stomp. KaBuM showed little resistance as C9 breezed through their first win of Group C. The player that stood out was Licorice, as he had a big lead against his lane opponent Zantins. In similar fashion to the first one, the second game was somewhat one-sided in favor of G-Rex who took down Gambit Esports. Although the CIS squad put up more of a fight than KaBuM, it was still a decisive win in favor of the LMS team. Lodik in particular was impressive as he was able to keep his team in the game with solid positioning and skirmishing. On the LMS side it was Empt2y who stood out with his impressive early game ganks and map movement. If the first two games showed us anything, it's that C9 and G-Rex are now heavy favorites to advance onwards.
The next two games saw DetonatioN FocusMe taking down KaBuM and G-Rex completely obliterating Kaos Latin Gamers. While the win against KLG was quite the stomp, DetonatioN's game against KaBuM was somewhat interesting and worth watching. Things were even early on, however KaBuM started to gain momentum into the mid game with superior teamfighting. Later on though DetonatioN was able to outsmart KaBuM and pick up a Baron. As soon as they had the buff, they were unstoppable and pushed through for the win.
In Game 5, DetonatioN surprised C9 with an aggressive early game, transforming early picks, especially on Blaber, in a decent gold lead. They kept the momentum going in the mid lane, where they managed to take down part of C9's base. C9's teamfight composition finally awoke, and the North Americans stayed in the game, but after losing the third Baron and an Elder to DetonatioN, they were on the brink of defeat. The LJL squad paid for their overeagerness and a perfect flank by Licorice saw them aced by C9, who rushed to the other side of the map to close the game.
In the final game of the day, Gambit secured a relative easy win against Kaos Latin Gamers. The LAS team didn't show up on Day 1 and Tierwulf in particular no stepping up seemed to hurt KLG's early game, something they are known for in their own region.
Play-In Stage, Day 2: SuperMassi̇ve surprise with impressive performances
In Day 2 of the Play-Ins, the main story is SuperMassive's great performance. Although they were expected to do well regardless, their win against Europe's G2 Esports was quite dominant and showed us what the Turkish squad is capable of. On the back of their South Korean players GBM and SnowFlower, the TCL champions had a slightly slow start against G2 but as soon as the mid game rolled around it was entirely the SuperMassive show. Their dominance continued in Game 4 against Ascension Gaming as once again they had a slow start. However as soon as GBM's Kassadin got some items and scaled it was a clear victory for SuperMassive. If they can continue playing the way they are right now, they will have a very good chance of advancing to the main Group Stage.
Group A has been a bit more straightforward. EDward Gaming took down Infinity eSports CR in the first game of the day. It was rather one-sided so there isn't much to say about it. However it's worth noting that Scout's LeBlanc pick was able to handle Cotopaco Lulu with ease. It's understandable considering it's Cotopaco's first Worlds appearance so the young Mid Laner shouldn't feel too discouraged. Sadly for Infinity eSports they were handed a second loss by the Dire Wolves. The OPL squad had to use substitute jungler UDYSOF due to Shernfire's suspension. Despite an early rough game, the rookie jungler was able to perform admirable and wasn't a liability for the team, allowing them to come out with the win.
Game 5 saw EDG taking down the Dire Wolves after snowballing their lead well into the mid game. Later on the Dire Wolves would have a desperate Baron attempt. However it only lead to EDG taking down the Dire Wolves while Ray was able to splitpush his way to the Nexus with Darius. Although the Dire Wolves attempted to Teleport back in the base and save the game, the rest of EDG's team was able to take most of the down while Ray finished the game.
In the final game, G2 won against Ascension Gaming after a rather slow start. Ascension Gaming gained a lead in the early stage by taking the Dragon and Rift Herald. The team secured most of the objectives and while the players were winning team fights and picking up kills, they weren't able to turn them into a major advantage. The game reached a turning point when Ascension Gaming started Baron Nashor in the mid game and Jankos flew into the pit to steal the objective while the rest of G2 picked up all opponents and secured a 7k gold lead. G2 then smoothly followed up by pushing mid lane and destroying Ascension’s base.
Play-In Stage, Day 3: Cloud9 and G-Rex deliver, DetonatioN Gaming impress
Day 3 of the Play-Ins has wrapped up! The big surprise of the day is LJL's DetonatioN FocusMe advancing to the Knockout Stage over KaBuM! e-Sports. In their first game of the day the two teams faced each other. Although KaBuM had a good early game, Steal was able to snatch the Baron from their hands. Sadly it wasn't enough and with their solid team composition KaBuM was able to take the win. Poor Baron execution continued to haunt KaBuM when they faced Cloud9 in Game 4 of the day. Although they got off to a good start, in part due to Cloud9's odd team composition, their lead crumbled with the poorly handled Baron attempt giving C9 the win in the end.
Next up it was DetonatioN who had a chance to beat Cloud9 and dodge a tiebreaker. Despite an impressive Syndra performance by Ceros, C9 had better teamfight and team composition understanding and ultimately won the game. In the deciding tiebreaker it was DetonatioN taking down KaBuM who showed little resistance, especially after DetonatioN took the Baron. With that game Group C concluded with Cloud9 finishing first undefeated and DetonatioN in second.
Over in Group D we would see G-Rex taking down Gambit Esports in the first game of the day. Empt2y was once again very actively in the early game. This time around though Diamondprox was able to match him for the most part leading to a more even early game. In the mid game however it was caNdy's Syndra picking off Gambit members left and right.
G-Rex's dominance continued in their game against Kaos Latin Gamers later on. It was a rather scrappy game with lots of skirmishing and teamfighting. Despite KLG managing to take a Baron and the gold lead, while they were trying to escape the Baron pit and go back to base they were caught by G-Rex members and most of them were taken down. With the Baron threat being for the most part nullified, G-Rex continued to win teamfights and eventually the game itself. KLG themselves were eliminated earlier in the day after losing a game to Gambit. Off the back of Lodik's great play and consistency throughout the Play-In stage, Gambit was able to take a Baron in a messy situation later into the game. They would use that Baron power play to win the game, sealing their 2nd place finish in Group D with G-Rex taking 1st without dropping a game.
Play-In Stage, Day 4: A surprising loss for EDward Gaming! G2 Esports overtakes SuperMassi̇ve
The opening game of Day 4 was Bahçeşehi̇r SuperMassi̇ve against G2 Esports. The teams showed a very even early game performance. Supermassive's support SnowFlower excelled with Morgana, rarely missing the timing of his Black Shield. Supermassive took an early dragon and beat G2 in a teamfight, however G2 secured the Rift Herald soon after, as well as Infernal Dragon along with two kills. Supermassive won a team fight but G2 used their Rift Herald to push the Mid Lane. G2 also picked up Baron Nashor later and tried to siege mid while Perkz split pushed in the top lane. This forced Supermassive to retreat from the mid lane siege to protect two open inhibitors in their base. While team fights were very even throughout the whole game, G2 managed to pick up a second Baron and rolled through Supermassive’s base towards an ace and the victory.
In the next game, EDward Gaming faced the underdogs Infinity eSports CR for the second time in Group A. To the shock of many it was Infinity picking up the win. EDG secured an early game lead by picking up kills, fending off ganks and winning team fights. Scout showed off his great mechanics with Galio. Infinity however started striking back in the mid game, as the teams repeatedly clashed in team fights. EDG gradually increased their gold lead and secured objectives, but Infinity found their dream team fight, aced EDG and took the Baron. Cotopaco was excelling with Irelia and Renyu’s Kai’sa performance was equally brilliant. Minutes after this great action, Infinity found another opportunity in the opponents' base, erased EDG in a second flawless team fight and ended the game.
SuperMassive vs Ascension Gaming was pretty even until the 9th minute mark when a team fight broke out in bot involving everyone but the top laners, SuperMassive eventually won the fight with GBM racking up most the kills and putting his team 3k gold ahead. In the mid game there were two very close teamfights with a few people falling on both sides. Even with the gold lead it looked pretty even thanks to G4's Corki. A fight broke out for dragon at around 23 minutes where SuperMassive got 3 unanswered kills and the dragon. They used this advantage to force a baron, winning the fight, getting the objective, and pushing in for the win.
In Game 4 of the day Infinity eSports faced off again the Dire Wolves in a very important match that would later on decide their fates. Both teams decided to play around mid with Cotopaco gaining a small lead and SolidSnake getting very far ahead of the opposing jungler. This allowed them to crush most of the mid game fights until Dire Wolves pulled out a miracle fight and almost aced Infinity. They then postured to baron but were too low to do it. Infinity were too far ahead and captured the Baron after an explosive teamfight. They then pushed for the win with Renyu picking up a Pentakill.
Closing out Group B, G2 Esports had a very solid win against Ascension Gaming. Despite once again playing a rather messy early game, the European team quickly showed off their superior macro skills, opening a substantial gold lead that snowballed into a fast and decisive victory after barely 25 minutes played. Shortly after that in the sixth game of the day, EDward Gaming had a very dominating performance over the Dire Wolves, taking 1st place in Group A in likely the most one-sided match of the tournament so far. EDG players showcased excellent individual play and solid team play in order to dismantle the Oceanic team and eliminate them from the tournament.
The deciding tiebreaker for the day was G2 Esports facing off against SuperMassive again. This time around it felt like SuperMassive put up less of a fight as the top side of the map took care of business for G2. With the win G2 secured the #1 seed heading into the Knockout Round of the Play-Ins. Later during the broadcast the draw took place and resulted in C9 vs Gambit, EDG vs DetonatioN, G-Rex vs SuperMassive and G2 vs Infinity eSports.
Play-In Stage, Day 5: C9 wins a close match against GMB, EDG smash DNG
In Day 5 of the Play-In stage we saw two of the Knockout Matches take place, with four spots in the main Group Stage being on the line. While Gambit Esports was considered the weakest 2nd place team heading into the matches, they were able to pull off a very close series against Cloud9. The pick of the day for Gambit was Lodik's Varus. Off the back of their consistent AD Carry, Gambit was able to win a couple of games and stay in the series for a while. However when Lodik was pushed on a champion he wasn't as effective on, Gambit suffered for it and lost the series 2-3. On the other hand his duo lane partner Edward had a disappointing series and would get caught out on more than one occasion. In the Mid Lane although it was expected that Jensen would heavily outplay Kira, it was actually Jensen having a poor series while Kira held his own. All in all, while the Gambit side stepped up and performed better than their group stage matches, Cloud9 wasn't in top form and their victory was largely due to Zeyzal and his consistent engages.
In the second series of the day things went a lot more according to expectations. EDward Gaming came in as heavy favorites and to no one's surprise they won 3-0 in a rather dominant fashion. The first game being the most dominant one, at least for the EDG bottom lane. DetonatioN FocusMe's bottom lane of Yutapon and viviD went a combined 0/9/0 in the first match of the series. EDG's Scout also had an impressive series, dominating in game 2 with Akali, after receiving some help from Clearlove's Skarner. DetonatioN put up a little bit of a fight in Game 3 off the back of Steal's impressive early game performance on Nocturne. Sadly it wasn't enough for them and EDG took the series after a disastrous Baron attempt from DetonatioN.
Play-In Stage, Day 6: G2 and GRX advance, main Groups are drawn
The Play-In stage has concluded with G2 Esports and G-Rex advancing. G2 took down Infinity eSports CR in a 3-1 win, although it was much closer than expected. Infinity opened up the series with a win off the back of Arce's impressive Alistar performance. G2 struck back soon enough with two wins in the next few games. A large part of their victories was Wunder as he heavily outclassed his lane opponent. In Game 4 things looked dire for G2 as they picked a squishy and risky team comp without any major tanks. Infinity came close to winning but could not close out and made mistakes that lead to them getting picked off and eventually losing the game and the series.
The second match of the day featured G-Rex taking down SuperMassive 3-1 in yet another close series. The Turkish squad did open up with a win off the back of their bot lane, in particular SnowFlower who managed to land plenty of multi-man engages onto G-Rex. In Game 2 it was once again SuperMassive gaining a big lead, with GBM picking Ahri and playing her in a unique way which was using Glacial Augment on her. Sadly for SuperMassive however, they continue losing teamfights and being unable to close out the game. Eventually G-Rex managed to catch out Zeitnot with a great engage and won off of it. Games 3 and 4 were also rather close and both teams had plenty of chances to win it. However it was G-Rex that came out with victories in both and advanced into the next stage of the tournament. Kai'Sa was a priority pick in the series and Stitch was largely impressive on her, getting two Player of the Game awards.
With the Play-In stage having concluded, the main groups have been drawn. G2 Esports heads into Group A with AFs, FW and PVB. Cloud9 is heading to Group B, also dubbed the "Group of Death" for this tournament, which consists of RNG, GEN and VIT. EDward Gaming has been placed in Group C along with KT, TL and MAD. Last but not least G-Rex who are heading into the explosive Group D consisting of FNC, iG and 100.
Main Stage, Day 1: EUPHORIA, South Korean struggle and Chinese dominance
Day 1 of the Main Stage Groups has been wild to say the list. The biggest surprise has been Europe managing to get two awesome upsets against South Korean teams. First it was G2 Esports taking down Afreeca Freecs in a game they were expected to lose. Hjarnan however went on to prove why his Heimerdinger is so potent and dangerous as he lead G2 to victory. Afreeca Freecs did play uncharacteristically though and it was clear the nerves got to some of the players. Not to mention their team composition was somewhat odd. Nevertheless the victory was still impressive from G2 as all of their players performed very well.
The second upset of the day was a much bigger one with Team Vitality taking down the defending world champions Gen.G. Although Gen.G got off to a great start and it was going as expected at first, in the mid game they would start to lose ground to Vitality's chaotic style and constant aggression. Getting picked off multiple times and playing more and more disjointedly, Gen.G eventually lost grip of the game. After winning a teamfight and taking a Baron, Vitality shattered Gen.G's base. And while three Vitality members went to take dragon, Gen.G tried to stop them. This proved to be a fatal and silly error on their part as Vitality sent their other two people into the base and they won the game for Vitality.
It wasn't all bad news for South Korea though as KT Rolster picked up an expected victory against Team Liquid. Although TL's bottom lane had a poor level 1, they stabilized and with some great ganks from Xmithie TL was able to stay in the game. Things went south though after Pobelter got solo killed by Ucal and conceded mid lane control. From there on KT exploited Team Liquid's poor preparation and over-reliance on taking dragons, eventually winning the game without much trouble.
In the less noteworthy games of the day, Royal Never Give Up and Flash Wolves managed to decimate both Cloud9 and Phong Vũ Buffalo respectively. For RNG it was the Uzi show as usual while for Flash Wolves it was mostly a team effort, with everyone playing a part in the victory. EDward Gaming was also able to take down their opposition in MAD Team although in a closer game. What made it close was how scrappy and teamfight heavy it was. This allowed MAD Team to go head to head with EDG and have a good showing for themselves. In the end though EDG did pick up the win, putting China at 2-0 alongside Europe.
Main Stage, Day 2: South Korea goes 1-4, NA and EU trade games, China undefeated
The dream continues for the Chinese region! Day 2 of Groups saw Royal Never Give Up defeating Gen.G in surprising fashion. The game was close up until the mid to late game when LetMe pulled off a great Sion ultimate at Mid Lane. It caught out Ruler who panicked and flashed straight into it. RNG then killed off Gen.G's bottom lane and pushed straight into mid, winning the game off of that one play. Invictus Gaming also did well for China, taking down G-Rex in a game that started off slower than expected. Eventually however IG started to completely dominate teamfights and won under 30 minutes, with RooKie and Ning having great games on Irelia and Zac respectively.
In Group A Afreeca Freecs lost a somewhat one-sided game to Flash Wolves. Betty had another stellar performance in teamfights, showcasing why he's arguably the best AD Carry in the LMS. With Afreeca and Gen.G's losses, Korea is collectively sitting at 1-4, the worst record so far at the tournament out of any region. Certainly a monumental and odd thing to see!
In the eternal NA vs EU rivalry, the regions went 1-1 for the day. First it was Fnatic easily defeating 100 Thieves without much difficulty. Caps stood out with his Irelia by getting multiple solo kills against Ryu. NA struck back however when Cloud9 won a super close and messy game against Team Vitality. In the last game that needs to be mentioned Phong Vũ Buffalo took a surprising win against G2 Esports despite their weak Day 1 start. Veteran Vietnamese AD Carry BigKoro took matters into his own hands and had a monster game. With the win, Phong Vu Buffalo backed up some of the pre-tournament hype surrounding them and made their group much closer and deadlier.
Main Stage, Day 3: China continues to dominate, South Korea rebounds, Taiwan disappoints
New developments have unfolded in Day 3 of the Group Stage. China continues to dominate, remaining undefeated at 7-0 after picking up three wins during the day. It was EDward Gaming's turn first when they took down Team Liquid in a rather peculiar game. Although TL had a better early game this time around, they seemingly lost their focus into the mid game and started making mistakes left and right. From macro blunders to mechanical mishaps, TL was outclassed in teamfights and EDG picked up the win. Scout stood out with an impressive game on Azir.
Next up it was Invictus Gaming taking down Fnatic in a very hype match-up. Although the gold was close for a long time, IG's carries got fed way more, in part due to their superior laning in the game. Eventually a lackluster Baron attempt by Fnatic saw them aced and IG demolished the European squad's base to pick up the victory. Finally it was Royal Never Give Up grabbing a win against another EU team in Team Vitality. While the gold was close for a good amount of time, it never felt like Vitality was actually in control and could win the game at any point. With the win RNG continued LPL's undefeated streak in the Groups.
South Korea on the other hand managed to bounce back somewhat by taking a few wins. KT Rolster was able to easily defeat MAD Team in a largely uneventful match. Reigning World Champions Gen.G also grabbed a win by taking down Cloud9. Although it was close in the first 10 to 15 minutes, it only took Gen.G ten more to gain a huge lead and close out the game in a dominant fashion.
Taiwan on the other hand disappointed throughout the day, first with the loss to KT but even more so with G-Rex's loss against 100 Thieves. It was definitely the Ssumday and Aphromoo show as the former was unkillable and a menace on Urgot while the latter landed almost every hook he threw on Thresh. With the unexpected loss, it seems like Taiwan may in-fact still be a one-threat region, with only the Flash Wolves posing any major threat.
Main Stage, Day 4: South Korea strikes back and hands China their first loss of Worlds
It was a rough start for South Korea but the region is finally finding their footing in the tournament! Afreeca Freecs finally picked up their first win with a confident win over Phong Vũ Buffalo. Kiin in particular looked much more like his regular confident self, picking up a solo kill in the game. Later on in the day KT Rolster handed China their first loss by taking down EDward Gaming and separating themselves in 1st place within their group. Although KT was largely dominant and EDG didn't put up much of a fight, the team composition chosen by EDG was rather stranger. It had no tanks in it and was low on CC, leading to EDG members dropping almost instantly in teamfights.
In another notable match of the day, G2 Esports defeated the Flash Wolves and took control of 1st place for the time being. A concerning thing for G2 right now is their reliance on comfort picks like Heimerdinger and Camille. When taken off those picks, they look like a different team and not in a good way. Time will tell if G2 can remedy this issue. For now things are fine and G2 have a solid chance of escaping their group. But in Quarterfinals and onwards, this problem can be heavily exploited by the top teams in a Best of Five. Still despite their issue, G2 played out the game well and did what they had to do to secure the win. Flash Wolves did look like they had an off-day but that shouldn't discredit G2's win.
The rest of the games for the day were somewhat predictable and uneventful. Team Liquid took down MAD Team in a slower than usual game. Both teams tried to play risk-free and it was TL coming out on top in the end. Invictus Gaming stomped 100 Thieves in a 20 minute game. Although at first 100 Thieves picked up some kills, IG quickly gained a lead and won off of it. TheShy made his Worlds debut but had a quiet game and was focused by 100 Thieves several times. Fnatic took down G-Rex in a rather one-sided game with Broxah having a very impressive performance on Lee Sin and picking up a lot of kills.
Main Stage, Day 5: Shocking events unfold! RNG and C9 advance
Day 5 was possibly the most historically significant day throughout the history of the World Championship. It was filled with major upsets and crazy developments. The biggest one being that for the first time since 2013, a South Korean team has been knocked out of the Group Stage. After a horrible groups performance according to South Korean standards, reigning champions Gen.G have been eliminated from the tournament with a 1-5 record. This means that we will have a new World Champion. Gen.G was also the first winning team to return to Worlds with the same roster. Sadly however, they won't be able to repeat their success. Although they picked up one win against Cloud9 early on, during Day 5 they went 0-3 and showed little signs of life. In the end, the current fast paced playstyle that seems to be dominating the League of Legends landscape was a bit too fast for a slower paced team like Gen.G. Not to mention their players haven't exactly been performing amazingly either. A bittersweet ending for Gen.G but a very historical one for League of Legends as a whole.
A Cinderella story also unfolded as Cloud9 went 3-1 throughout the day and secured their spot in the semifinals. The Western teams as a whole were largely amazing and deserve a lot of credit. Both Team Vitality and Cloud9 defeated Gen.G and Royal Never Give Up, setting up a tiebreak match between each other. In that match it was Cloud9 coming out on top with a creative and chaotic team composition which included Zilean and Singed for the solo lanes. This day was by far the most successful one for Western teams at Worlds, at least during the Group Stages. And although Vitality are not advancing, they played their hearts out and showcased why they are a team to watch next year.
To cap off the day we had a tiebreaker between RNG and C9 to decide who would advance as the 1st seed from the group. Although RNG handicapped themselves to some extent by picking a composition that gets outscaled and has troubles in a 5v5, they managed to make it work somehow. Cloud9 was winning and grew a small lead heading into the mid game. Around Baron however, it was Ming that managed to create the perfect engage for RNG. Off of one decisively won teamfight, RNG pushed for the win and secured the 1st place in the group. Mlxg also made his return to the line-up and although his performances weren't stellar, the team was able to go 2-0 with him throughout the day.
Main Stage, Day 6: AFs rebounds, G2 overtake FW in Tiebreak Match!
We are getting close to having our Top 8 teams for this year's World Championship decided. Day 6 of the group stage gave us two more teams that advanced to the Quarterfinals. Following their disappointing first half of the group stage, the Afreeca Freecs have seemingly recovered from their bad start and managed to secure 1st place in the group. A large part of that is the fact that they are finally playing in their own style. While Kiin is put on a carry split pusher, the rest of the team focuses on winning 4v4s or simply surviving. This style worked well for Afreeca and it's showing results here at Worlds. Although Afreeca went 3-0 throughout the day, their games weren't super dominant and there's still areas that the team needs to work on if they want to get past the Quarterfinals.
The battle for second place was between G2 Esports and Flash Wolves. Earlier on in the day Flash Wolves was able to take down G2 Esports in a game with a slightly controversial pick in champion select. G2 decided to put Hjarnan on Brand. While early game it worked fine, later on in teamfights G2 was lacking a consistent source of damage and Flash Wolves' Betty took over the game on Sivir. Although G2 later on lost to Afreeca Freecs, Flash Wolves was unable to secure 2nd in the group after dropping a game to Phong Vũ Buffalo. Forced to play a tiebreak match against G2 for the 2nd spot out of the group, Flash Wolves picked a controversial pick of their own by putting Betty on Mordekaiser. The pick never really had much of an impact on the game. Hjarnan was allowed to play his 100% win rate Heimerdinger and that record wasn't tarnished as G2 used the pick to siege continuously for the win. This marks the third year in a row where Flash Wolves have been unable to get past the group stage.
Phong Vu Buffalo was knocked out early after dropping games to G2 and Afreeca. Although their Worlds journey was also cut short, they also showed some promise like the Flash Wolves. In particular it was Top Laner Zeros who showed his prowess by picking Jayce against G2 Esports. And although the game ended in a loss, he was able to handle himself in lane very well. Still a fairly young squad, Phong Vu Buffalo has a lot to look forward to in the coming year.
Main Stage, Day 7: A day of disappointments
Although this may come as a bit of a pessimistic outlook, Day 7 of the group stage was somewhat of a letdown. And that was the case for all teams. While for KT Rolster things went great for the most part, they did fumble in their surprising loss to EDward Gaming. In a rather scrappy game, EDG was able to beat KT in mid to late game teamfights. It was later brought up on the analyst desk that KT may get exploited in that area by teams like Royal Never Give Up. Despite the loss KT was able to win their other matches and secured their #1 seed in the Quarterfinals.
EDward Gaming was another team that disappointed. Although they pulled off a great upset against KT and positioned themselves to play with KT again for the number one spot, they suffered a surprising loss to Team Liquid later in the day. This single loss was enough to push EDG to second place, significantly reducing their chances of advancing further into the tournament due to having to play a #1 seed. With how things are looking, it's very likely EDG will have to play against RNG or Invictus Gaming. And if domestic performances are to be considered, EDG's chances of beating either of those teams won't be high.
The curse of the #1 North American Seed continued as Team Liquid lost KT Rolster early in the day. Although they still had a chance to play with EDG for second place, KT's surprising loss to EDG meant that Team Liquid was knocked out early in the day. Sadly for them, they were never really able to showcase their identity as a team and only did so in the final game against EDG when the pressure was off. They did pick up a win and denied them the chance of a tiebreak match for first place so TL certainly didn't leave the tournament on a bad note. But it's still bittersweet that once again the #1 team coming from NA was unable to translated their domestic success on the international stage.
MAD Team also suffered losses throughout the day and became the first team from a major region to go 0-6. It just never felt like they had a chance of winning in any of their matches. Sadly for Taiwan, their record has suffered greatly at this Worlds due to MAD Team losing all their games and Flash Wolves getting knocked out. In a way, all teams in Group C disappointed in one way or another throughout the day. Some just not as much as others.
Main Stage, Day 8: FNC triumphs over iG!
The Group Stage has finally concluded. Group D was the final one to get wrapped up and it did see a major twist to it. Although Invictus Gaming held the 1st place spot for some time, that changed today. Both Fnatic and IG took turns stomping their opposition in G-Rex and 100 Thieves. For the most part it felt like both squads were trying to see who could beat the weaker teams faster. Finally when it came time to play against each other, Fnatic came swinging hard with a very well rounded out composition. TheShy ended up playing for Invictus Gaming and picked Fiora. On the other hand for Fnatic it was Bwipo subbing in, although he was mostly put on tank duty. TheShy did do well for himself but IG's team composition and Fiora's limits within teamfights placed him in a spot where he couldn't have much impact. Bwipo also did fine and even managed to survive ganks or trade a kill in 1v2 situations.
The big problem for IG throughout the day was their bottom lane. In the first round robin both JackeyLove and were consistent and contributed greatly to IG's wins. In the second round robin however, they contributed heavily to their losses. JackeyLove got caught out multiple times and would often die early in fights and skirmishes. Baolan on the other hand had mechanical misplays and lacked coordination at some points with his teammates. All of IG's players had moments where they misplayed, including even RooKie, however it was the bottom lane that bled the most for the team. With back-to-back wins against IG in the final match of the day and the tiebreaker, Fnatic secured themselves the first place in the group and a much easier road to the Summoner's Cup going forward.
100 Thieves and G-Rex were both knocked out of Worlds and were mostly used as Fnatic and IG's punching bags in a metaphorical sense. In their direct match-up, 100 Thieves ended up prevailing once more and locked the 3rd place in the group. The loss put G-Rex at 0-6 alongside fellow Taiwanese squad MAD Team. It was definitely a very rough Worlds for Taiwan as they suffered a great number of losses, so there's still a lot to be learned by the region.
Quarterfinals, Day 1: Two of the biggest upsets in Worlds history!
The unthinkable has happened. In just a single day, the two favorites to win the whole tournament have fallen in Best of Fives. Not only is this unprecedented but it also guarantees that we will not have two South Korean teams in the finals for the first time since 2014. Not only that but it's also confirmed that either Invictus Gaming or G2 Esports will be in a Worlds final, something that would have been crazy to predict months ago.
The first match of the day was KT Rolster taking on Invictus Gaming. In the first two games IG heavily beat KT in teamfights and managed to gain a commanding 2-0 lead relatively fast. On the brink of elimination KT was losing in Game 3 as well. However they stayed alive by taking some fights in their favor during the mid game. In one of the most insane base races ever, TheShy tried to splitpush to victory on Fiora. Smeb however slowed him down and messed up his wave, stopping him from ending the game fast enough. This proved to be the deciding factor as the rest of KT took down the remaining KT members and initiated a base race of their own. In the end after Smeb was revived by his Guardian Angel, he teleported in IG's base and helped his team end the game, barely doing so as TheShy needed only a few more hits on the nexus to win the game for IG and close out the series.
In the following Game 4, KT showed an improved performance and seemed more motivated. They were able to take the game and brought it to a Game 5. Sadly that was the end of the road for them. In a fashion familiar to the KT fans, the team seemed to disappear in Game 5 and allowed IG to steamroll over them. This marked the first time when a #1 seed from South Korea was knocked out in the Quarterfinals by a non-Korean team. Definitely a monumental upset but not as much as the next one.
Series #2 of the day pitted Royal Never Give Up against G2 Esports. Despite being heavy underdogs, G2 came into the series with confidence and never stopped believing they could win. RNG did pick up Game 1 in a decisive fashion by sticking to their style, but G2 struck in Game 2 winning in their 1-3-1 style. The next two games were also similar, both teams sticking to their guns and trading wins. Despite being expected to easily win, RNG was brought to match point against Europe's #3 seed.
In Game 5 it felt like everything would go wrong for RNG, while everything was done right by G2. The Thresh pick was heavily punished by G2 as they would place a bunch of wards on top of the lantern every time, preventing RNG members from using it as an escape. Eventually G2 snowballed their lead hugely and it was only some fortunate teamfight victories for RNG that kept them in the game. Despite Uzi being on a late game Sivir, he wasn't able to have enough impact on the game. Not to mention throughout the day G2's solo laners were stellar while RNG's were very inconsistent. In a shocking turn of events, G2 took down Uzi in a mid lane siege and took down the rest of RNG, ending the game then and there and making Europe proud by upsetting one of the tournament favorites.
Quarterfinals, Day 2: The West prevails!
The shocking turn of events continue to unfold at the World Championship. For the first time ever since the Season 1 World Championship, we are guaranteed to have a western team in a Worlds final. There's no doubt now that this has been the Worlds where the West finally gets their revenge over the East, particularly South Korea for always knocking them out of Worlds.
The day began with a match between Cloud9 and Afreeca Freecs. There isn't much to say about the series as it was a 3-0 sweep in favor of Cloud9. Although Afreeca put up a fight in some skirmishes and teamfights, in the end they were outclassed. A big contributor to C9's win was Sneaky as he significantly improved his performance compared to how he did in the Group Stage. Licorice also continued to be C9's top performer, managing to steal a Baron from Afreeca by killing Spirit and then securing it with an auto-attack. Overall C9 was the better team and they made history by being the first NA team that makes Semi-Finals since Season 1 and also by eliminating the last South Korean team, preventing them from reaching Semi-Finals for the first time.
The other match of the day was Fnatic vs EDward Gaming. This one was surprisingly even more straightforward from a strategical standpoint. It was mostly EDG throwing punches and kicks in the early game, and if Fnatic could withstand them, they would outclass them in the mid to late game. In Game 1 EDG did pick up a win off the back of Scout's insane LeBlanc performance. Game 2 was heading towards an EDG victory as well however one bad mistake by them gave the momentum to Fnatic and cost them the game. In Game 3 EDG had a huge lead but ended up throwing it little by little. And although they had the gold load throughout the entire game, Fnatic come out with the victory. And finally in Game 4 it was simply Fnatic being the better team and winning with relative ease.
A couple of things to note from the match were Bwipo starting in all four games. And also Caps having an uncharacteristically weak series. This may be a concern for Fnatic heading into the Semi-Final as they will definitely want their mid laner on point against someone as strong as Jensen.
Semifinals: Europe prevails over North America! A re-match in the Finals!
Two teams were eliminated and two teams remain in the World Championship. Although there was plenty of hype behind them, the Semifinals ended up being much more one-sided than expected. After all was said and done, Fnatic will face Invictus Gaming in a Semifinals re-match heading into the Finals.
The first semifinal bout saw IG battling it out with G2 Esports. The #3 seed from Europe made it much much farther than anyone would have expected a month or two ago. And they did it mostly off of the back of their solo laners. Both Perkz and Wunder have been playing amazing all throughout the tournament, being reliable rocks for the team. But despite the 1-3-1 strategy working for G2, it wasn't the case against IG. And the main reason for that was TheShy and RooKie popping off and completely outclassing their lane opponents. TheShy especially proved why he is considered by many to be the best Top Laner in the world. From almost out-damaging G2's entire team on Jayce, to landing four man knock-ups with Aatrox, TheShy will be one of IG's main win conditions heading into the finals.
The other semifinal was the battle of the west featuring Fnatic taking onCloud9. It ended up being pretty similar to the IG vs G2 series. In Game 1 it was Fnatic handily winning in a very one-sided affair. Game 2 was mostly the same although not as one-sided. And finally in Game 3 C9 did put up more of a fight but Fnatic showed that they were the superior teamfighting team. It was the same story for Europe's champions as both of their solo laners outperformed their counter-parts. Although it should be noted that Caps didn't take down Jensen completely on his own and had help from his jungler several times. Still though, Fnatic was the better team and move on to the finals for an explosive Group D re-match that is likely to be amazing.
Finals: China captures their first Worlds title as iG takes down FNC!
We have ourselves a new champion crowned! History has definitely been made as Invictus Gaming becomes the first Chinese team to win Worlds as well as the first team with imports to win the event after taking down Europe's Fnatic. Not only that but Duke becomes the first player to win Worlds on two different teams. With such a historic win under their belt, IG also set a new record for the fastest Worlds Final ever.
In Game 1 of the series things were even in the first 5 to 10 minutes. However with some stable play from RooKie in the mid lane, IG gained a small lead in that lane thanks to a few early ganks from Ning. Although they created their lead little by little, once IG was in the driver seat there was no stopping them. Despite getting his explosive Irelia pick, Caps had a pretty bad first game. Not only did he rush into IG in a reckless way on multiple occasions but he also gave away several kills.
Unfortunately things got even worse for Fnatic in Game 2. Broxah unable to exert the same amount of pressure and ganks that he had done so in previous matches. This was a big factor in Fnatic's weak early games throughout the series. Not to mention Ning's incredibly Gragas play in the second game. He would go on to camp Bwipo hard in the early game and got fed pretty hard off of him. This impressive performance plus the one from the previous game is what got Ning the Finals MVP award. IG's bottom lane wasn't a liability this time around and actually did very well against Fnatic's bottom lane. With three winning lanes on IG's side, they were able to decisively win the game and go 2-0.
The final deciding match of the series saw the return of sOAZ as he subbed in for Bwipo. Although the did well for himself and Fnatic's early game was better this time around, JackeyLove had other plans in mind. Quiet getting fed on his signature Kai'Sa, he snowballed out of control in the mid game and was untouched throughout most fights. Able to output massive amounts of damage, he was the driving force that pushed IG towards the victory. With every member of the IG squad pulling their weight and most of Fnatic's members having a weak series, things were closed out in decisive 3-0 fashion. IG's win cements 2018 as the year of the LPL and brings a close to the 2018 Season!