League of Legends Worlds 2018 Group Stage: Day Five Recap
Day five would be all of Group B playing. This included the reigning world champions in Gen. G Esports as well as Royal Never Give Up, the pre-tournament favorites. Included also in Group B were two teams that many had counted out and figured they would not do well, Cloud9 from North America, and Team Vitality of Europe. By the end of day five we would know who is moving out of the group stage.
Game One: Team Vitality vs Royal Never Give Up
An honest person would tell you that this game should go in favor of Royal Never Give Up. They were undefeated, after all, going into this game. Shouldn’t they be the favorites? RNG even started off the game with a bang, getting a number of kills toward their bottom lane. Vitality looked outmatched as the game began to get later, where they would eventually lose to the scaling composition of RNG. However, Vitality make the decision to engage onto RNG and win the fight, taking down two middle towers.
From there, Vitality began to revel in the chaos they wrought. They began taking fights in the jungle and engaging when they knew they could win. They secured themselves the Baron off a won teamfight in the RNG base, and looked to end the game with a single push. Vitality then won the ensuing teamfight around the middle inhibitor and end the game, taking down the tournament favorites to take it all.
Game Two: Gen. G Esports vs Cloud9
Cloud9 did what so many analysts have said in the past for success of Western teams at Worlds. They played this game like they wanted to, getting the Hecarim in the top lane and flexing the Shen to the support position. This seemed to be enough for Gen. G to be unsure about their strong points on the map, since they did not make many proactive moves. Many of their moves were reactive and they kept losing objective after objective.
Cloud9 played a seriously solid game this game, not letting Gen. G get a single tower in all of the game. They executed their teamfights with impunity and were able to kill the damage dealers of Gen. G almost instantly in each fight. There was one fight, however, that they underestimated the damage to come out of Gen. G, where they lost only a single member. Off that play and lost teamfight, Cloud9 managed to secure the Baron and chase down many of Gen. G for the win over them.
Game Three: Team Vitality vs Gen. G Esports
All of the momentum coming into this game was in the hands of Team Vitality. They had just came off a huge win over the team many figured would be in the finals. On the other hand, Gen. G lost a pretty one sided game against Cloud9 less than ten minutes prior. Assumedly, this would give an advantage to Vitality and allow them to secure a win. Momentum is exactly what Vitality had coming into this game, they were able to start off the game with an expert gank into the top lane and from there, the map was theirs. Vitality was able to secure a number of kills onto Gen. G with little to no resistance.
As the Baron spawned, Vitality began to bait it and bait Gen. G in. From the bait they killed two, but backed off the Baron. Then, Vitality attempts once again to take the Baron only to get surprised and forced away. However, for Vitality it only takes one good engage to take a fight and win the game.
Game Four: Cloud9 vs Royal Never Give Up
Royal Never Give Up is mortal. They can be beat. Vitality did it which means Cloud9 should be able to beat them, right? All the hope of the Western fanbase was backing Cloud9. Could Cloud9 beat RNG? Sure. How? By playing comfortably and their style. Cloud9 should not play whatever it is the meta dictates and what the enemies think they will play.
Amazingly, Cloud9 came out to a hot start. They were able to grab five kills to one within the first fifteen minutes. The scaling composition of Cloud9 was able to win the early game and looked good doing it. This then led to increased pressure along the whole map for Cloud9. They were able to take down four members of RNG in a teamfight they set up in the topside jungle and from there, they took the Baron. This Baron was integral to the next fight that Cloud9 took. They assaulted the RNG base and took down the top inhibitor along with the Nexus towers almost with no issue. It was only when they were attacking the Nexus that Cloud9 got assaulted and almost dropped.Superior teamfighting and auto-attack spacing was enough for Cloud9 to take the game from RNG.
Game Five: Cloud9 vs Team Vitality
No matter what happened in this game, either NA or EU would get out of groups. However, there only can be one. Western fans were split in their decisions, fans in Europe rooted for their Team Vitality, as Cloud9 heard cheers from North America. Shown the recent performance of both these teams, it was hard to pick a side in the game. Both teams came in riding high off wins. One of these highs, however, would need to be cramped.
Vitality’s level one strategy in this game was outrageous. They managed to get behind the Cloud9 support but they failed to kill him. This did not dissuade Vitality, however, and they continued to poise aggressively. It was this aggression that eventually led to their downfall, as Cloud9 was able to turn around Vitality’s aggression in the midlane into a kill. From there, it was almost all Cloud9 till the end. Vitality had moments where they looked to have advantages, only to falter and get killed. In the end, Vitality looked unsure of what to do when they began losing, and this contributed to Cloud9 taking them down.
Game Six: Royal Never Give Up vs Gen. G Esports
It was all up to Gen. G. They needed to take down RNG to make it almost certain that they both Cloud9 and Vitality would make it out of the group stage. However, Gen. G was unable to take the win and looked quite poor in their showing. Royal Never Give Up was able to swap in their second jungler and change up the game completely. Their second jungler is the one who most often is used to close out series, as he brings an unpredictable style to the game.
This game was all but over by the level one play out of RNG. They were able to sniff out a play that Gen. G was planning and they ended up getting the ball rolling on the bottom side of the map. There were moments where Gen. G looked as if they had what it took to take down RNG, but all in all, they played scared. They did not know what to expect with the RNG substitution and it looked like they were afraid to make any proactive plays. This then obviously led to their loss and elimination from Worlds 2018.
Game Seven: Royal Never Give Up vs Cloud9 (Tiebreaker)
It came down to all of this and many would say that it did not matter who won, as long as both teams made it out of groups. The people who would say that are wrong, since this game decided who was first in the group, and who was second. The seeding mattered, as a first seed will always draw a second seed team to play against in the semifinals. A second seed is usually weaker than the first seed, and therefore easier to get through. Cloud9 wants that easier team and wants to stand tall over Royal Never Give Up.
At a number of points in this game, Cloud9 looked like they could do it. They were ahead for a long while in the game, with trade kills abound. Cloud9 looked to be huge in the teamfights, taking advantage of those without flash or with abilities on cooldown. This showing was very promising for Cloud9, as they looked like real contenders and only got taken down by a single fight by the Baron pit where they were split up and ripped apart. Tragically, Cloud9 was unable to best RNG once again, and had to settle for the second seed in the group behind the tournament favorites to win it all.
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