The first day of the League of Legends World Championship had a little something for everyone: North American vs European showdowns, two darling wildcards, and a golden opportunity for a handful of regions to stake their claim as the rightful heir to Riot Games' throne.
GamingGear.EU vs TSM Snapdragon
Many had TSM Snapdragon pegged as an underdog heading into Sunday, the team certainly wasted no time making a statement in the first match of the World Championships. They dropped just two towers to GamingGear.EU, who suffered from a mix of both questionable bans and weak bot lane play. TSM’s teamfight strategy highlighted some of their cohesion issues on an otherwise well-executed route.
SK Telecom T1 vs Lemondogs
Game 2 saw early control from Lemondogs until a team fight at their blue resulted in a 2 kill trade and Lee Sin walking away with double buff. While LD managed to hang most of the match, SKT T1 showcased their superiority individually which was most notably led by strong Ahri play from Faker. SKT slowly pulled away from an otherwise close game, finishing with double the amount of kills and roughly 17k more gold than LD before the nexus dissolved just under the 35 minute mark.
Winner: SKT T1
TSM Snapdragon vs OMG
The second match on the day for TSM saw a decidedly different squad than the one that had just bettered GG.EU. Odds favored OMG after bans had been set but the strong individual play usually noted by their opponent was noticeably absent, with Xpecial missing multiple ults and cooling down from an otherwise warm start to Sunday’s play. Cool and San of OMG played exceptionally well in what would go on to be an impressive Sunday for the squad collectively.
Lemondogs vs GG.EU
The fourth Group A game resulted in another stomping of GG, who failed to take a single LD tower and struggled against Nukeduck’s Ahri throughout as Mazzerin’s Fizz was unable to successfully counter. Dexter played well as Elise, finishing 9-0-6 by game’s end at the 29 minute mark which left many wondering if wildcard teams at Worlds are viable competition.
OMG vs SK Telecom T1
Faker’s play for SK was impressive once more but wasn’t enough to grant what could’ve been SK’s second win on Sunday. OMG LoveLin’s dives kept SK on their heels throughout and more or less afforded his team map control for the duration of the match, earning them the biggest upset on the day and the top spot coming out of Group A.
End of Day 1 Group A Standings:
SKT T1 1-1
Gaming Gear 0-2
Vulcun TechBargains vs Fnatic
One of Sunday’s most anticipated matches was another entry in the NA vs EU debate, where mancloud made a case for himself as the best Mid in his region. Not to be outdone was Zuna, whose flash save against Caitlin was easily one of the day’s top plays. Fnatic’s uncharacteristically poor showing was due to multiple missteps, with the decision to run Yorick Top being a primary source of head-scratching in Fnatic’s loss.
Gambit BenQ vs Team Mineski
An all-around sound match from Gambit allowed them to take the win with next to no trouble, proving yet again why they’re one of the top squads in the scene. Ahri and Corki led the charge for the Russians, which was par for the course for both champions during Sunday’s games. Gambit, who were heavily favored heading in, hardly faltered in their 24-minute nexus run on MSK.
Samsung Ozone vs Vulcun TechBargains
Not an unforgivable loss for Vulcun, who were simply caught out of position too many times which led to a fed Singed who became too tanky to take down. Ozone’s combo of Cait and Thresh locked down Bot, and Mata’s hooks were a thorn in Vulcun’s side from start to finish. Zuna played well with Ezreal at Mid, but ultimately lost the lane and sealed his team’s fate along with it.
Team Mineski vs Fnatic
The second-to-last match on the day nearly ended at the 17-minute mark, so it goes without saying that Fnatic controlled Mineski from the get-go. But even with such a strong start Fnatic started to fumble, allowing MSK to collect themselves and fight all the way to 27 minutes after losing their inhibitor in the first 16. The game never quite tipped in Mineski’s favor though, and xPeke’s play with Diana earned FNC redemption after their early loss to Vulcun.
Gambit BenQ vs Samsung Ozone
What many thought would have been one of the more back-and-forth matches on the day ended up being a lesson in ADCs taught by Genja’s Kog’Maw. Gambit managed to shut down Mata and Imp, who are widely believed to be one of the best lane combos playing today, effectively neutralizing SGO and allowing a steady push to the end game. The win gave Gambit the top finish in Group B in what turned out to be an impressive showing for The Moscow Five.
End of Day 1 Group B Standings:
Gambit BenQ 2-0
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