League of Legends Group Stage: Day Two Recap
Coming into day two, a number of teams would be playing their second games. Seeing the strength of a team develop over time is what makes the World Championships the premier competition. Day two also brought to light Group D, the presumed “group of life” where the West rested most of their hope on the backs of Fnatic.
Game One: Flash Wolves vs Afreeca Freecs
After day one, this game became much more interesting. Flash Wolves looked very strong out of their first game, a win over Phong Vu Buffalo. On the other hand, Afreeca looked like they were quite weak against G2 Esports. This game would show where the true power levels of the teams really sat. For example, G2 could have simply ran the Heimerdinger and gotten the upset through that pick alone. As well, Phong Vu Buffalo were not supposed to win many games in the World Championships, so a win from Flash Wolves would be expected.
What we saw was what someone who saw Flash Wolves vs Phong Vu Buffalo would think that all Flash Wolves games would be. In a very decisive game, much like their win over Phong Vu, Flash Wolves decimated the Afreeca Freecs. This has to do with their picks in the draft. Flash Wolves are picking the champions they want to play. They are dictating the meta, not adhering to it as strict as the other teams. This separates them from the pack and catapults them to first place in their group.
Game Two: Phong Vu Buffalo vs G2 Esports
This game was the simple problem with underrating the Vietnamese team. G2 likely saw the way that Phong Vu Buffalo played against Flash Wolves and figured that this game would be a walk in the park. However, G2 choked and ended up giving up a game that they should not have lost. The strength of the Phong Vu Buffalo kept them rolling through the game. As one would assume, G2 did not get the ability to choose Heimerdinger, and they attempted to get fancy and switch around the draft, putting Aatrox in the midlane and Ryze in the top lane.
There wasn’t much that G2 could do to stop Phong Vu once they got started, as they took out a couple inhibitors in quick succession. To end the game, Phong Vu Buffalo grabbed the Baron and a number of kills, surprising and breaking down G2’s final defenses.
Game Three: 100 Thieves vs Fnatic
This game has to be the worst Worlds performance by any North American representative in recent history. 100 Thieves managed to get a single kill along with a single tower. Compare this to the sixteen kills and eleven towers that Fnatic was able to secure, and you have quite a one-sided game. For some reason, 100 Thieves thought that it was a good idea to start their rookie AD Carry instead of their seasoned veteran.
All over, this game was messy from 100 Thieves. Fnatic was able to systematically dismantle 100 Thieves and take them down within thirty minutes. A large gold lead was accrued as Fnatic secured eight towers in quick succession. This advantage was gained through the acquisition of the Baron only a few minutes after it spawned into the game. Altogether, 100 Thieves looked like they were not ready for this game.
Game Four: Invictus Gaming vs G-Rex
In a closer game than many people would likely expect, G-Rex, one of the four teams that came out of the Play-Ins, looked to impress against the Group Stage teams. Taking a game off Invictus Gaming would certainly cement their place in the group. However, this was not the case. G-Rex looked okay in most of the game, keeping the gold mostly even. It wasn’t until an advantageous fight around the Baron pit that Invictus Gaming was able to balloon the lead. They had secured the Baron and looked to take the base of G-Rex soon after. Invictus Gaming was able to end the game with a clean ace and silenced G-Rex.
Game Five: Team Vitality vs Cloud9
EU vs NA. The classic rivalry rears its ugly head once again. As we learned earlier in the day, 100 Thieves, a North American team, was unable to best Fnatic. Was the loss due to Europe being the superior region? Or could Cloud9 take down the Kingslayers in Vitality? What a game this was, forty-seven minutes long, and the gold graph looks like the stock market leading up to the 2008 crash. Vitality looked, for the majority of the game, in complete control. However, it took only one fight around the Elder Dragon and a dominant command of the Baron area that pushed Cloud9 to a late-game win.
Game Six: Gen. G Esports vs Royal Never Give Up
This game was one of the most anticipated games of Worlds. Pre-tournament, this match was thought to be the finals of Worlds. Gen. G, the defending champions, would be up against the Kings of 2018, Royal Never Give Up. Each team would come into the finals off of unrivaled runs and clash in the finals, where only one could come out victorious. This was the second day of Worlds and we witnessed this legendary game.
For a large portion of this game, RNG was ahead. They did not get that far ahead, with a max gold lead of just under two thousand gold, but they were ahead. Piece by piece, Gen. G was able to claw their way back into this game until a single fight in the bottom side jungle of Gen. G. They were able to get the fight they wanted on their own conditions. This got them an advantage that stretched until just moments before the end of the game. A singular engage from the RNG support followed up by a full team committal was enough for Royal Never Give Up to run it down midlane and take every tower they came in contact with.
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