The first week of Worlds 2017 had it all—close fights, impressive comebacks, and spectacular shortcomings. With so many things to keep track of, we examine the defining moments and most important stories of the championship so far.
Group A: SKT’s miracle comeback
If you’re looking for highlights, look no further than the Group A match between EDG and SKT! The Korean powerhouse bounced back from a massive 10k gold deficit, and while that’s impressive enough, it’s the way SKT T1 kick-started their comeback that made the Chinese crowd as silent as the grave:
That being said, not everything was sunshine and rainbows for the LCK fans.
In every match they played, SKT’s early game looked shaky, to the point they had to rely on superior scaling and clutch teamfighting to just squeeze out a win. They still finished Week 1 with a 3-0 record, but unless SKT shore up their weaknesses we can see them struggling against teams like RNG or Longzhu.
As for the rest of Group A, Cloud9 have a firm grip on the second place. It’s a bit troubling that we haven’t seen them play well from behind yet, but whenever C9 find a lead, they push it to the absolute limit, never letting up until they’re at the enemy Nexus. That's certainly something North American fans should be excited about.
AHQ’s position is much shakier, and the #2 LMS seed finds itself on the verge of not qualifying for the knockout stage. Of course, their 1-2 record isn’t too bad, but the way AHQ are playing around their mid and bottom lanes leaves a lot to be desired. That doesn’t bode well for their chances in the current meta.
Meanwhile, EDG have suffered one tragic defeat after another. Barring the match against Cloud9, every game has had the LPL champions fall short inches away from a win. With three consecutive losses behind their backs, it’s increasingly unlikely that EDG are going to make it out of groups.
Group B: The rise of Immortals
In predictable fashion, Longzhu have been dominating Group B.
The LCK champions leave no breathing room for their enemies, overwhelming them with sharp mechanics and explosive play. A lot of it comes down to the 4-man squad of Bdd, Khan, PraY, and GorillA that has been the core of Longzhu since the beginning of the 2017 Summer Split. And considering Cuzz is also pulling his weight, this team is in the perfect spot to make a deep run in the tournament.
Perhaps more surprising is that Immortals are on the way to become the #2 seed of their group. Flame and Pobelter have been rock solid so far, but the real star of this team is Xmithie who seamlessly finds one early game lead after another. The shot calling also looks on point, and we’re excited to see how far this team can go.
GIGABYTE Marines have started the tournament with a bang by busting out a well thought-out lane swap against Fnatic, but their fire has since fizzled out. The best GPL team hasn’t been able to find any more openings. Their off-meta strategies are wildly creative, but even the most intricate plan will backfire if your players are a cut below the competition, and that might be the case for the Marines.
And then there’s the staggering fall of Fnatic. The lineup that took over the EU LCS Summer Split now struggles to show up with a stable performance on the Worlds stage. With sOAZ being left to dry in the top lane and Rekkles making uncharacteristic mistakes, Fnatic simply have too many holes in their play that other teams can exploit.
Group C: RNG seize first
Uzi fans can rejoice because Royal Never Give Up have taken over Group C! Their playstyle is a mix of overwhelming aggression and monstrous teamfighting that seeks to punish the slightest positioning errors. And when you match it up against the sluggish early game of SSG and G2, it’s no wonder the Chinese team comes out on top.
Despite their shortcomings, Samsung Galaxy look ready to claim the #2 seed of this group. Sure, their laning phase can be hit-or-miss, and their shot calling is a mess without Ambition, but when SSG hit the late game, this team routinely dismantles its opponents with one 5v5 after another. That’s a skill you can’t ignore in the current slow-moving meta.
G2 find themselves out of their element. They’re not as confident in the early game as RNG, and their late game is inferior to that of SSG’s. It doesn’t help that Zven hasn’t been performing up to his standard recently, although Trick and Expect present far bigger problems. With that in mind, G2 have a very narrow window to make something happen in groups, and so far, they haven’t been able to find it.
It’s been a fun ride for 1907 Fenerbahçe, but it’s about to come to an end. With the substitution of Crash into the jungle position, the team doesn’t have the synergy to stand up to the competition. On their own, Fenerbahçe’s players can find leads in the laning phase, but they have a hard time snowballing these and closing out their games against their competition. It isn't looking pretty.
Group D: The three-way tie
That’s right, three teams in Group D are sitting at a 2-1 record.
Contrary to their reputation of the late game juggernauts, Team WE came out with a much more aggressive playstyle in groups that seeks to push their advantage in the mid game. Using this approach, they overwhelmed Flash Wolves and Misfits, but had a hard time making anything happen against TSM.
Speaking of TSM, the North American champions have started the tournament as clear-cut favorites, especially when it came down to late game teamfighting. Their loss to Misfits however puts a giant question mark over their laning phase. Most notably, Svenskeren has been looking like he’s the weakest link on the team. Still, it helps that Hauntzer is playing out of his mind, and his game crushing five-man Gnar ultimate against Flash Wolves is the prime example of what he brings to the table.
Finally, we have Misfits, who have unexpectedly shown up as the best-performing EU LCS team. The 3-man core of Alphari, Maxlore, and PowerOfEvil has been vital in finding the necessary leads to transition this squad into a smooth mid game. And even though Hans Sama did have a few weak showings at the start, he’s since gotten rid of his nerves and even beaten Doublelift in a 2v2. The deck may be stacked against Misfits, but we’re very much liking what we've seen from them so far.
As for Flash Wolves, their chances of making it to the knockout stage are close to zero. The Korean slayers find themselves at a loss with no LCK teams in their group, and their usual early game prowess is non-existent. Even so, their game against TSM came down to the wire, and we could see Flash Wolves pulling off a surprise upset or two in this group if they can pull things together.
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