League of Legends 2017 World Championship Quarterfinals: In Ignar We Trust

The League of Legends 2017 World Championship Quarterfinals was a week to remember. With some huge upsets, it’s a wonder to everyone how the next stages will play out. In terms of picks and bans this week we obviously saw much of the same- Sejuani, Jarvan IV, Jayce, Tristana, and the Ardent Censer supports made regular appearances for good reason. However, some teams did venture outside of the established meta and took bold chances that astonished the spectators and opponents alike. I am very proud of those teams who managed to show up with some imagination and even deliver on it in the form of resounding victories. Not only is it more interesting to watch but it can reap rewards.



Longzhu v Samsung Galaxy: Longzhu Gaming were the favorites coming into this series. They went 6-0 in the Group Stage and after perfored well throughout Worlds and the year on the whole. They are a very strong team with a cohesive strategic sensibility, and they had been on a seemingly unstoppable rampage coming into the Quarterfinals. Of course, not many people realized how much of an obstacle the immovable object of Samsung Galaxy would prove. They were enough of an obstacle to deny Longzhu a single victory in the Quarterfinals best-of-five series! That’s right, Longzhu Gaming have failed to reach the Semi-finals, after predictions saw them beating Samsung outright.

Longzhu honestly seemed off form coming into this series. A sequence of silly mistakes cost them the games early on, and although they had some moments where there seemed to be a glimmer of their former selves, in the end they failed to pull out even a single victory.

This is a promising time for Samsung Gaming, however, the underdogs in this match-up, who were given a much-needed boost of confidence heading into the semi-finals. Now they have the mammoth task of squaring up to the best teams in the world. Let’s hope they are up for it.

League of Legends 2017 World Championship

“You… shall not… pass!” -Samsung Galaxy

Fnatic v Royal Never Give Up: This series was basically the antithesis of the previous series. The team who everyone expected to win (RNG) smashed Fnatic into little pieces. Even though Fnatic put up a better fight than Longzhu in that they secured a victory for themselves, they were outmatched, outclassed and outgunned.

Fnatic has been on a long, difficult road in League of Legends. Having won the Season 1 World Championships, some would claim it has been downhill for them since then. This is an incomplete (if not entirely inaccurate) summation, considering their varying levels of success in the European LCS and placements at Worlds.

Royal Never Give Up, however, has exploded onto the scene with an unmatched intensity, and they gave the former World Champions no room for error in this series. Fnatic did their best, and sOAZ gave us his classic circus performance of leading members of RNG on a merry chase around the Rift, but in the end it wasn’t enough. RNG is heading to the Semi-finals.

League of Legends 2017 World Championship

Mata showing us supports can carry.

Team WE v Cloud9: This series wasn’t nearly as clean-cut as the others, and both teams put up a valiant fight. Cloud9 drew the best placement they could have done and put up a good fight with that advantage. Unfortunately, they just couldn’t quite manage to knock down these Chinese titans on their own stage.

Despite coming up short overall in this series, Cloud made it to Game 5. They pulled out some unexpected picks (such as Aurelion Sol and Singed), which I approve of. They even managed to hand it to WE in terms of map pressure and macro-play (things that Chinese and Korean teams are renowned for exploiting masterfully). Despite their best efforts they are out of the League of Legends 2017 World Championship and with them go the hopes of a North American victory.

Team World Elite now has a serious challenge ahead of them. They have thus far had a relatively easy time of it coming up through the groups but that ends here. Can they tango with the Big Boys? We’ll find out next week.

League of Legends 2017 World Championship

“My goal is to win the entire tournament.” Big words from the WE jungler Condi.

Misfits v SKT: Without being biased, this series was honestly what this week was all about for me. This was the most exciting, nail-biting, roller-coaster ride of a best-of-five I have ever witnessed. It was an absolute privilege to witness a true support genius in the form of Ignar bring out such aggressive picks as Blitzcrank and Leona with (wait for it) Fervor of Battle as his keystone on the World Stage. Also to see such an experienced, intelligent team as SKT be kicked around by the European underdogs gave me no small amount of pleasure I must say.

However, as painful as it is for me to say admit it, Misfits bit the bullet in the end and lost to SKT in an extremely close fifth game. That said SKT may still be reeling after those games.

The first game was a white-wash. SKT steamrolled Misfits with ease. I don’t know whether this was simply nerves or an attempt to play to the Worlds meta, but either way Misfits didn’t show up. Game 2 and 3, however, were a different story. Misfits obviously heard my prayers and refused to play SKT’s game. SKT historically like to play the game as a war of attrition- lengthening out the game until they can utilize their excellent team fight coordination. Misfits, on the other hand, like to take early kills and objectives and continuously snowball, never letting up the pressure. These two games exhibited that. Despite Huni constantly split-pushing for SKT, they managed to deal with the split threat and exhibited near-perfect execution.

Game 4 saw Misfits misplay their team fights, and Game 5 was a similarly unfortunate tale. SKT was the favorite afterall, but after the other teams have seen them bleed, I am predicting a difficult path to the finals for the three-time World Champions.

League of Legends 2017 World Championship

SKT T1 looking they are (almost) breaking a sweat versus Misfits.


Samsung Galaxy (Korea)

Royal Never Give Up (China)

World Elite (China)

SKT (Korea)



So, it could be two Korean teams in the League of Legends 2017 World Championship finals. Not only that but a repeat of last year’s final. However, that is looking unlikely based on SKT’s weak performance this year and the Chinese teams’ comparative strength. With the “home-field advantage,” we may potentially see two Chinese teams vying for glory.

Picks and bans may remain largely the same (this year has sadly been defined by the poor balancing of Ardent Censer), but as we saw in the Quarterfinals a lot can hang on whether or not a team is brave enough to bring out something unexpected. The most likely team to attempt something like this in my mind is World Elite. The other teams’ playstyles have proven too effective up until now. My quiet hope is that the teams will take that brave step, pick that unorthodox champion, and give us all the exciting games we long to watch. I mean shields are fun and all… but shields really suck and should be removed from the game.

My prediction for the Semi-finals is that SKT and Royal Never Give Up will prevail. SKT is the three time World Champions for a reason, however, and may surprise everyone after a weak season. Team WE is a strong contender but I don’t see them making it to the final based on what we’ve seen thus far. The other three teams are just too powerful.

This arrangement of teams does present the interesting quandary of how playstyles and tactics may evolve in the next stage. These teams historically have similar enough styles- a focus on objectives, calculated map movements and strong team fighting. If allowed into the later stages of games, SKT may prove unstoppable with their astounding level of coordination and skill in team fights. However, if allowed to gain any early momentum Royal Never Give Up may prove victorious. Samsung Galaxy is similar to SKT in that they focus more on pushing out the game and starving their opponents than making highly aggressive plays. In terms of individual player skill, SKT would come out on top. Team WE is the underdog in my eyes, and even if afforded time in the sun in the earlier stages, underdogs get eaten up once they reach the Semi-finals.

With that said, if Misfits can pull it out of the bag versus the best team in the world, who’s to say that WE can’t? The competition has boiled down to this: Korea versus China. Old rivalries abound and I am sure the Chinese teams will have a certain extra intensity as we draw ever closer to the final. They are on home soil. They have lost out to SKT each and every time they have reached the finals; they will be determined not to let that happen again.

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League of Legends Play-in Stage Results

The first week of the 2017 League of Legends World Championships has completed! This week was the first of a new stage in the competition – the “Play-in” stage. This gave teams from regions with a smaller competitive presence a chance to prove themselves and contest for a spot in the groups. We saw some fantastic performances, however, following this stage only one team from a non-major region has progressed to the next stage.

To clarify the “major” regions in League of Legends are North America, China, Korea and Europe. Other regions such as Taiwan and Hong Kong also have a strong competitive standing.

It was no surprise that China’s Team WE made it to the group stage. They performed with near-perfection all the way through the Play-in Stage and finally secured a perfect 3-0 score against Young Generation. Going into the Play-in Stage, this team were the favorites and fans will be ecstatic to see these expectations fulfilled. Going forward, my prediction for this team is that they may have difficulty finding their feet against some of the stronger contenders in this year’s line-up.

Team Fnatic from Europe has had a chequered past. The only European team to ever have won the World Championship, they have since seen a decline in success owing in part to drastic management and roster changes. They had high hopes in the EU LCS but failed to win out over the likes of G2 eSports and Misfits Gaming. That said, they fought hard in the Play-in Stage this year and succeeded in securing their place in the Group Stage. They did not achieve the same landslide victories as Team WE, but with the combination of their competition experience and their slightly easier group, I think they have a chance at least to make their mark on this year’s Championship.

Cloud9, North America’s #3 Seed made it to the Group Stage with relative ease. This team has had some extremely good competitive success in the past and, like Team WE, seemed in a class of their own amongst the other teams in the Play-in Stage. They too performed at a level worthy of the next stage and have secured their spot in doing so. However, with one of the hardest groups facing them in the next stage, they’ll have their work cut out for them in progressing further.

My prediction for Cloud9 is that if they stick to their play-style (which I would describe as a “stop-and-start” approach; meaning that they vary the pace of their play in order to surprise their opponents with sudden moves around the map), they may do well. However, if they let their opponents bully them into diverting from their plan they may run into trouble, as they are not the best at adapting on the fly.

Finally, 1907 Fenerbahce eSports from Turkey were the only small-region team to make it to groups. Against all odds, they won out against teams from Taiwan and Hong Kong, who may have been favorites to win. Their victories were by no means smooth and no doubt they will have some things to change about their approach heading into Groups, but they should be immensely proud of their achievements thus far.

My prediction is that with their lack of experience they may find it hard to adjust to the no-nonsense play style of some of the big teams. However, with a wildcard team like this, anything can happen. Often in League of Legends, a lack of experience can simply lead to unexpected team compositions and strategies that catch opponents unawares. I would say that this team may be one to watch, especially in future competitions.

So, these teams will all find the next stage challenging, as a step up from the Play-in. As I mentioned, however, a lot will depend on the groups especially early on. So without further ado here are the Groups for the next stage of the LoL World Championship 2017:

Group A:
Edward Gaming (China)
SK Telecom T1 (Korea)
AHQ E-sports Club (Taiwan)
Cloud9 (North America)

Group B:
Longzhou Gaming (China)
Immortals (North America)
Gigabyte Marines (Vietnam)
Fnatic (Europe)

Group C:
G2 Esports (Europe)
Royal Never Give Up (China)
Samsung Galaxy (Korea)
1907 Fenerbahce Espor (Turkey)

Group D:
Flash Wolves (Taiwan)
Misfits Gaming (Europe)
TSM (North America)
Team WE (China)

Groups A and D are undoubtedly where the strongest teams lie. Team Solo Mid being paired with the likes of Flash Wolves and the rising stars of Europe, Misfits Gaming, may spell doom for Team WE.

Likewise, the sheer amount of experience and skill coming from Group A is astounding. Let’s just say I would be surprised if Cloud9 come out of that dogfight with much left to give. Fnatic, on the other hand, have it relatively easy at this stage. North America’s Immortals have been hit-and-miss, to say the least in their competitive history, and the Gigabyte Marines and Longzhou Gaming shouldn’t be too much for them to handle provided they play at their best. I would say they have a good chance of performing well in the next stage.

Finally, 1907 Fenerbahce eSports undeniably will have a difficult Group Stage. As I said, an underdog like this can always surprise you. However, no matter how much love we as spectators and fans can send to them through the airwaves, the teams they have to face will not ease up on them. I personally would love to see this team flourish going forward this year, but my prediction stands that next year could really be their year to shine.

So this is the line-up for the first half of the Group Stage, and despite my personal predictions it is all still to play for. Please, everyone, join me in my new mantra “1907 Fenerbahce for Worlds!”

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