Recap of Worlds 2017 Group Stage Week 1
Recap of Worlds 2017 Group Stage Week 1
SKT were the winners of Group A, though it may be their weakest lead in some time. The week started off great for SKT in a match against C9 that was embarrassingly one-sided and seemed to reaffirm the team’s dominance. However, it was SKT’s drafting and even-tempers that saw them through an EDG game they were soundly losing. Obviously, SKT has got to be happy to have this lead, but it is a much shakier one than predicted.
In a huge surprise to probably everyone, Cloud9 holds the second spot, having dominated both EDG and AHQ in their games. Contractz stepped up to the plate in both games playing far more aggressive junglers than we are used to seeing out of him and constantly working in union with top lane Impact – who had some amazing Shen games all his own. Overall, C9 looks solidly like the second strongest of this group.
Meanwhile, AHQ hold the position everyone thought they would hold and rightfully so. Their performance has been marred by inconsistencies with Ziv getting some great teleports and engages against SKT but making mistake after mistake against C9. If they could play at the top of their game consistently, they would be a real contender, but until then, it’s unlikely they will rise above.
EDG is the true surprise of Group A, having lost all three of their matches. Their matches started off shaky with a toplane Shen that they never showed real comfort with into an SKT match where they played strong and hard but drastically underestimated the CCing strength they were up against. If nerves haven’t gotten the best of them yet, their 0-3 record has.
The story of Group B is handily led by the current top team in Korea, Longzhu Gaming. Moreso than SKT, Longzhu have shown up rather strong in nearly all their matches, but especially against wildcard team GIGABYTE Marines. This match truly demonstrated the sturdiness of LZ and their ability to not falter or blink under unique or surprise comps.
Immortals, on the other hand, are scraping by. Their game against LZ was closer than many thought it would have been, and their match up against Fnatic nearly spelled disaster. It was Pobelter and Flame taking control one game and CodySun and Olleh doing it the next. IMT showed themselves as a term strong in nearly every lane, but not spectacular in any.
The most creative and unpredictable of the group still falls to GIGABYTE Marines, a group completely unafraid to hurl lane-swaps, new metas, and new champions at their enemies. GAM’s strength is in their ability to so completely commit to a strategy and a composition. When it works, it works well, and when it doesn’t, they crash and burn. If anyone is going to continue to surprise us, it’s them.
As the third seed from Europe, who have done historically poor this split, Fnatic did not have a lot of support coming into this, and that may have been a cause for the disunity we saw on the Rift. Their gameplay has been uneven and sloppy, with every gaming bringing a new player forward to make blunders and mistakes. Whatever funk FNC is in, it is unlikely they will see it through to climb out of this pit.
Royal Never Give Up’s lead has been as much about their successes as it has been about their opponents mistakes. A close game against SSG was thrown away by extreme passivity and confusion, and a lead by G2 was wasted when the team seemingly forgot that RNG was sitting on a Twitch waiting to pop off. RNG’s own plays have nee good, but not great. They have a tenuous hold at the front of the pack, but they haven’t shown enough to convince us they’ll keep it.
Samsung Galaxy’s second place spot is a surprise considering the dominance that Korea has generally shown, but competing against first seed’s out of Europe has proved something they can handle with relative ease. They’ve also shown great adaptability, being one of the first teams to adopt a Tank Buster focus with Trundle.
Unfortunately for Europe, G2 simply hasn’t shown up in the way they would have liked this week. Against inexperienced teams like 1907 Fenerbahçe, G2 has decimated opposition, but the moment they are faced against teams with a depth of experience and strategy, they begin to show their overconfidence. Like other World champs, if G2 wants a shot back in, they have to assume every competitor is as good as themselves. No team wins by assuming they are better than their enemy, and G2 do this far too often.
Rather predictably, unfortunately, 1907 Fenerbahçe trails the pack. At the Play-in stage, their style was interesting and unique enough to push them through, but their inexperience at international competitions as well as against such a variety of skills and techniques shows glaringly obvious.
Somehow, Group D has managed to be the most competitive, aggressive, and exciting of the four Groups. When TSM drew the pick, everyone sighed with relief that they had been put into the easiest slot, but after Week 1, TSM is sitting tied even with Team WE as well as Misfits. Each team has shown a tenacity that has brought them success as well as weaknesses that have brought them failure.
For shortcomings, Team WE struggles in the early game, often focusing too heavily on objectives and falling prey to more experienced teams. Meanwhile, Misfits fell prey to poor team strategizing, and TSM showed an inability to draft against strategic thinking. However, for their weaknesses, we’ve also seen truly impressive strengths.
TSM’s aggression, mechanics, and ADC in Doublelift have been unparalleled. When not falling into a drafting pitfall, they have been one of the cleanest teams at Worlds. Team WE have also shown constant improvement and a focus on shoring up their early game deficits while Misfits have come back huge from their loss to start challenging and changing the meta.
While these three teams have all battled for supremacy with their own distinct styles, Flash Wolves have fallen solidly into last place. The tragedy for Flash Wolves is that they didn’t play poorly. They weren’t crushed underfoot as FNC or FB were. Instead, they fought long, hard games that for the most part could very well have gone in their favor, but ultimately, one team had to fall into the last slot. Maybe next week it will be a different team taking that spot. With this Group, anything is possible.
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