Currently, in League of Legends, teams don’t represent cities or countries, but regions — groups of people based on proximity that play on the same set of servers together. For the Season 7 League of Legends World Championships, regions individually selected the teams that represent them on the international stage. For major regions, such as North America, the path to Worlds was relatively easier — finish in the top two and you’re in.
Don’t get me wrong — this is still a difficult feat. On the other hand, teams from minor regions or that finished third in major regions had to play in the Worlds Play-ins in order to earn their spot in the main event. Every team has extreme pride in earning the privilege to represent their home region. Unfortunately, four teams were eliminated after the group phase of Play-ins, and another four were eliminated in the knockout matches. Here’s what happened in those knockout matches:
Cloud9 swept Lyon Gaming 3-0
Game one was a fairly clean game for Cloud9, or C9, in which their bot lane showed that they’ve fixed some of the mistakes that they’d been showing since the League Championship Series summer playoffs. Game two was a back-and-forth 61-minute comeback in which Lyon spread C9 out thin with great wave control. C9 eventually won the game after winning a massive teamfight at Baron. Game three was much of the same that we’ve seen from C9 in the group matches of the play-in stage, in which the team funneled gold into their mid-laner, Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen, who carried the team to victory.
Fnatic dominated Hong Kong Attitude 3-0
Given how poorly Fnatic played during the group matches, I predicted that Hong Kong Attitude, or HKA, would pull off an upset. Rasmus “Caps” Winther had other plans in mind. He picked up his play significantly from the group matches, dominating the mid lane against Chen “M1ssion” Hsiao-Hsien. In game one, Caps found a pick on against HKA’s jungler, Cheung “GodKwai” Ho Wan, which allowed Fnatic to secure Baron, propelling them to victory. In Game two, Fnatic found an early-game lead off of ganks, which allowed Paul “sOAZ” Boyer to split push on Shen and hand Fnatic an easy win. Game three was much of the same, in which Fnatic found numerous picks on HKA’s players until they eventually secured Baron and sent HKA home.
1907 Fenerbahçe defeated Team oNe 3-1
In game one, Fenerbahçe’s bot lane developed a massive creep score advantage, allowing their marksman, Ege “Padden” Acar, to get extremely ahead of the clock and secure the win. Team oNe bounced back in game two, gaining superior vision control which allowed them to find constant picks in the jungle and to take Baron twice. Their marksman, Luis “Absolut” Felipe Carvalho, would find his opportunity to scale and carry Team oNe through late-game teamfights. In game three, Fenerbahçe fell behind in the early game as Berke “Thaldrin” Demir and Lee “Crash” Dong-Woo struggled to synergize with each other and the rest of the team. Nevertheless, they would find a pick on Team oNe’s jungler, Alanderson “4LaN” Meireles, allowing them to secure Baron and turn the game. In the end, Padden scaled on Twitch and almost earned another pentakill in the game-three victory. Fenerbahçe closed the series out in game four after Kim “Frozen” Tae-il developed a massive lead in the mid lane on Aurelion Sol, snowballing his team to an easy win.
Team WE crushed Young Generation 3-0
Game one demonstrated great synergy between WE’s jungler, Xiang “Condi” Ren-Jie, and their bot lane. Condi snowballed Jin “Mystic” Seong-jun’s lead as the team’s carry and marksman, allowing WE to end the game in about 25 minutes. Game two was a comeback for WE, in which Condi pulled off two Baron steals to make up for some sloppy play in the early game. Game three was another instance of Mystic showing why he is the star of WE, carrying the team through teamfights for an easy victory.
The four teams to move on from the play-in stage were Cloud9, Fnatic, 1907 Fenerbahçe and Team WE. Cloud9 was drawn into Group A with SK Telecom T1, EDward Gaming and ahq e-Sports Club. Fnatic was drawn into Group B with Immortals, Longzhu Gaming and GIGABYTE Marines. 1907 Fenerbahçe was drawn into Group C with Samsung Galaxy, G2 Esports and Royal Never Give Up. Lastly, Team WE was drawn into Group D with Team SoloMid, Misfits and Flash Wolves.
For teams such as 1907 Fenerbahçe, Immortals and Gigabyte Marines, this is their first ever appearance at the World Championships. They’ll be competing alongside perennial world championship contenders and former world champions. The fact that they’re here at the World Championships means a lot to them, their organizations and their respective regions. They should be proud of what they’ve accomplished so far, and they plan to show the best their regions have to offer.
Lawrence Zhao covers eSports. Contact him at [email protected].