We've waited all year for the 2017 LoL World Championship, and we're into week two faster than SK Telecom T1 Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok flashing away from a Rek’sai ultimate.
There’s been plenty of exciting moments, but let’s take a look back at a few surprises and disappointments during the opening week of the group stage.
After a stellar Summer Split culminating in a second place finish in Europe, Misfits earned their way to the organization’s first World Championships appearance in their first year in the LCS. Not much was expected out of this team.
After excellent performances during the group stages, including a near perfect win over Flash Wolves and an equally impressive win over TSM, Misfits now find themselves in a three way tie for first place in Group D. Led by Carries Steven “Hans sama” Liv and Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage, it’ll be interesting to see who eventually earns a spot for the playoff portion of the bracket. For now now Misfits have put teams on notice after an excellent start.
Sure, they’ve only won one game and are unlikely to reach the quarterfinals, but every time this team takes the Rift something surprising happens.
Their stunning strategy to lane swap in their opening game of the tournament helped upset Fnatic, while picking Mordekaiser and trying to double jungle saw them combust against Longzhu Gaming. They’re a must-see team if you're looking for entertainment, despite relatively low expectations coming into the event .
Royal Never Give Up’s dominance
Their dominance has been impressive to say the least. RNG crushed the competition in week one and starlets Shi “Ming” Senming (33.0 KDA), Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao (30 KDA), and superstar AD Carry Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao, who leads the tournament with 18 kills, all sit atop the KDA leaderboard heading into week two. The team looks to be mounting a legitimate challenge for the Summoner's Cup.
EDward Gaming and Clearlove
When your enter as a major region’s number one seed, a 0-3 start is an unmitigated disaster.
In truth, their record is unreflective of their performances. EDG lost a close game against ahq E-Sports Club before throwing away a huge early game lead against SKT in game two, before capitulating to Cloud9 in the final game of the opening week.
Expect some regression to the mean in week two, but it’s going to be tough to qualify for the knockouts. Ming “Clearlove” Kai’s poor Worlds performances continues, and in front of his hometown fans, it’ll sting that much more if EDG fail to progress.
EU LCS teams (except Misfits)
Both G2 and Fnatic have struggled so far with a 1-5 record between them. Little was expected out of Fnatic but after a 1-2 week in Group C, where their only win came against wild card region team 1907 Fenerbahçe, G2 have also disappointed in the opening period.
It seems fairly clear that the EU LCS is a rather poor training ground for Worlds preparation as the top teams don’t see much competition in their home league during the regular season. As it stands, it’d be a major shock to see either team qualify for the quarterfinals. Paul “sOAZ” Boyer is under the cosh most of all with an unenviable 2/16/6 KDA heading so far. Expect Fnatic to make major changes during the off season.
Flash Wolves 0-3 week comes as a pretty big shock. Qualifying for the tournament as the League of Legends Master Series’ (LMS) first seed, Flash Wolves have disappointed pundits by not winning a single game.
After impressing internationally for years, much was expected out of the team placed in the only group without a Korean line-up. Perhaps they've missed that competition, given that they're one team that has consistently taken out SKT in the group stage.
After playing quite well for Team SoloMid at the 2016 World Championships, Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen’s paltry 0/10/15 KDA after Week 1 leaves a lot to be desired. The good news is that TSM sits at 2-1 heading into week two, but with everything on the line in terms of bracket play, Svenskeren will need to step up his play to ensure TSM reach the knockout stages.
By Ethan Sexton
Image: LoL Esports Photos