BY BRYANT "HUSKKIEE" NG
The first week of League of Legends Worlds 2017 has come to an end with all groups experiencing their fair share of triumphant moments and heart-shattering upsets. Some teams that have monumental hopes pinned on them delivered, while others disappointed slightly; some teams that weren’t in the list of favorites came out guns blazing and shocked their competitions. With the second week kicking off soon, here’s a list of teams that have met expectations.
*This list excludes LCK teams which includes SK Telecom T1 (SKT), Longzhu Gaming (LZ), Samsung Galaxy (SSG).
Royal Never Give Up (RNG)
Reigning from the LPL, RNG entered Worlds as the second seed, trailing behind EDward Gaming (EDG), but has convincingly put up heck of a performance that took Group C by storm and nailing them a 3-0 clean slate for the first week.
Placed in an arena with G2 Esports (G2), Samsung Galaxy (SSG) and 1907 Fenerbahce (FB), RNG demonstrated their bread and butter aggression with Uzi being the ADC and Xiaohu dominating the mid lane. Their often aggressive patterns have brought them success as well as failures; but that wasn’t the case in this group as no teams have been able to answer their constant bloodlust.
Despite being taken down through an upsetting reverse sweep by the hands of EDG during the grands finals of the LPL Summer Split, RNG have shown that even the second seed can be a fearsome predator on the rift. Their play has been more refined as they calculate their aggression before execution which often rewards them with kills and objectives. Communication wise, RNG has definitely stepped up on delivering commands across the team as their combos and teamfighting became cleaner and more polished during the group stage.
If there’s one thing that RNG has consistently shown to the rest of the globe, it’s that they are out for the kill with their relentless pursuit. They are a squad who smells blood with every step and they won’t stop until their opponents lay dead and defeated. They might be the second seed from LPL, but they lived up to their name and never gave up. With their perseverance and skill, they now rule over Group C with their tyranny.
*Fun fact: Their support, Ming, is the only person who has a clean slate of no kills and deaths by the end of the first week.
IMT set foot onto the international stage for the first time as the second seed from NA LCS and they have definitely proved their worth to earn a spot on the world stage, and on this list. Despite dropping a game to Longzhu Gaming (LZ), IMT closed out the first week with a convincing 2-1 tally, strapping them at the second spot in their group for now.
They say every great team needs a greater leader, and Xmithie is definitely the man for the game. A natural born commando with a taste for perfection, Xmithie has led IMT to countless success during the the summer split, even going as far as the finals before losing to Team SoloMid (TSM). Precise shotcalling won’t work if the team can’t execute the plan, but that’s not the case for IMT as Olleh completes the roster with his near perfect saves and set-ups. IMT plays a slower pace compared to other teams but once they get the ball rolling, they will reap victories after victories with their patience and superior teamfighting.
A particular highlight from the first week of Worlds’ Group Stage was their game against LZ which saw them dominating the Korean champions early on before eventually being taken down due to slight mistakes. Although they couldn’t fully convert their lead into taking down the enemy Nexus, they definitely showcased their in-game patience and clarity, constantly keeping tabs on the enemy jungler and counter-ganking when the enemy pulls the trigger.
IMT might be stepping into the grand slam ring for the first time, but they get back up every time they are knocked down. They don’t like to play fair games as Xmithie and the rest of his army is always waiting for a chance to launch a counterattack on unsuspecting victims. It is one thing to play foul by always having the number advantage, but it’s also another thing to be immortal on the battlefield. IMT has definitely improved their early game playstyle, taking safer routes to set up their lanes for success and being at the right place at the right time. If there is one team that has the potential to take down LZ, it will be IMT; but whether the undying can take down the dragon remains a mystery till the group stage resumes.
A team that has upsetted the EU LCS with their mischief and unpredictability, MSF is the brat around the block that no one expected to stomp the EU powerhouses, eventually securing the second seed into Worlds. Even on the world stage, they have demonstrated their skills which caught other teams off guard, netting them a 2-1 score by the end of the first week of group stage, setting them up for a 3-way tiebreaker with Team SoloMid (TSM) and Team WE (WE).
Their team name spells evil, and PowerOfEvil is the embodiment of that title in the mid lane. With a history of beating the best mid laner from NA, Bjergsen from TSM, PowerOfEvil is a force to be reckoned with especially when he gets his hands on champions that can instantly delete his enemies from the battlefield. Other than the EU demon king in the mid lane, Hans Sama is another misfit that knows how to carry the team on his back. With both of their combined force, Misfits is a team that will strike you at the most unexpected moment and make sure you never get up.
Even though MSF don’t have an outstanding run in the early phases of the EU LCS Summer Split, they definitely pulled through when it mattered the most. As one of the few underdogs in Worlds, they have made their statement by taking down Flash Wolves (FW) and TSM in Group D. The most obvious progress made by them is their mid laner strengthening his 1v1 dueling capabilities and their ADC being the marksman that the team needs in crucial fights. Their focus fire has improved since the summer split and now they are aiming at making out of their group and into the knockout stage.
MSF might not have much attention, but they have earned that throughout Worlds with continuous upsets onto other teams. Now locked in a 3-way tiebreaker with WE and TSM, MSF has one more royal rumble with these titans before they can finally claim to be the dominant team. Never underestimate the kid that you once bullied, because MSF is coming to get back at everyone on the grand stage.