2nd: Edward Gaming [China #1 Seed] (4-3)*
3rd: ahq e-sports Club [South East Asia #2 Seed] (4-3)*
4th: Dark Passage [International Wild Card from Gamescom] (0-6)
* After tiebreaker match
Story of the Group
When originally drawn, this group was widely regarded as a formality. EDG and White would cruise through, outclassing ahq and Dark Passage by a wide margin, and the only games of note would be if EDG could potentially go toe to toe with what right now is considered the strongest team in the world. However, the reality was completely unexpected and almost resulted in one of the greatest upsets in League of Legends history. Taiwanese team ahq e-Sports Club, and in particular local hero Westdoor, produced the performance of their lives by taking down EDG in their second game, which resulted in a tie breaker to decide who would be the number 2 seed from Group A.
Sadly, the hometown heroes would be denied a quarterfinal place by a determined EDG team, who looked ahead to improve upon their poor showing during the group stage. Despite looking shaky in the majority of their matches, the Chinese number 1 seed produced a thought provoking Game 1 against White, winning a 3 for 1 team fight at baron despite being 11k gold behind.
Elsewhere the group otherwise produced no further upsets, with White going a perfect 6-0 and ruthlessly crushing all opposition, and Dark Passage putting up a spirited but ultimately unsuccessful attempt at taking a game.
Group A’s Best and Worst
Imp – White’s star ADC produced a series of incredible performances, leading the way in KDA and scoring a pentakill on Vayne against Dark Passage
Mata – Showed why he is recognised as the best support in the world, displayed exceptional vision control, and made a number of crucial plays to get Imp rolling
Westdoor – ahq’s midlaner truly carried his team, showing particular prowess with Zed during game 2 against EDG and almost securing his team a quarterfinal spot
Namei – A number of underwhelming performances for someone of his stature, his almost legendary positioning was nowhere to be seen as he was found out of position time and time again
Clearlove – EDG’s jungler was mysteriously ineffective in his ganks, tending to farm hard for most of his games and letting his team fend for themselves
2nd: Team Solomid [North America #1 Seed] (4-2)
3rd: SK Gaming [Europe #3 Seed] (2-4)
4th: Taipei Assassins [South East Asia #1 Seed] (1-5)
Story of the Group
If it wasn’t for Group C, Group B would have been the group of death. All 4 teams looked capable of taking games off each other, with no clear favourite and no clear weakest team. As it turned out, one front runner emerged in the form of Season 3 World Finalists, Star Horn Royal Club. They went an impressive 5-1, and star ADC Uzi showed himself to be one of the world’s greatest players, with a sequence of aggressive yet controlled performances.
However, coming into the group, the biggest story was of the 3 game suspension of SK Gaming’s jungler, Svenskeren, for creating an offensive summoner name whilst practising on the SEA server. Substitute jungler Gilius had to be used, and although he had some good moments, SK went 0-3 without their normal roster.
This opened the doorway for North America’s Team Solomid to take control of the group. Easily dispatching SK in their first game, TSM learnt from their Game 1 defeat to Royal, beating them in Game 2 and potentially setting up a tiebreaker for first place. However, TSM managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against a resurgent SK, complete with Svenskeren, which meant Royal was a clear 1st and TSM would progress in 2nd place.
Season 2 World Champions Taipei Assassins showed they were not to be underestimated, pushing Royal Club close, and winning their first match against SK. However, once the other 3 teams turned up the heat, TPA crumbled and ended with a disappointing 1-5 record.
Group B’s Best and Worstp
Uzi – The only remaining member of last year’s team, Uzi dominated every lane he played, punishing opponents for every cs, and displaying world class mechanics to carry his team to victory
Fredy122 – The shining light in SK’s unfortunate worlds' run, Fredy drew consistent bans from other teams, and still managed to be able to win his lane even when camped, proving his skill and ability to consistently show up when his team needs him the most
Bjergsen – TSM’s midlaner and young prodigy, Bjergsen produced some of the hardest carry performances witnessed in the group, his Yasuo against SK being most memorable for destroying Jesiz’ Ahri in lane
Wildturtle – Produced a consistently weak laning phase, and relied heavily on his team to carry him, needed to be able to get back on his season 3 form if TSM were to progress further
Morning – Only managing a 1.7 KDA for a midlaner, Morning didn’t live up to expectations, resulting in calls for Chawy to replace him in the starting lineup, he demonstrated little more than a good Syndra
2nd: OMG [China #3 Seed] (3-3)
3rd: LMQ [North America #3 Seed] (2-4)
3rd: Fnatic [Europe #2 Seed] (2-4)
Story of the Group
‘The Group of Death’ certainly lived up to its name. A hugely entertaining group with many possible outcomes, for many people the only certainty was Samsung Blue progressing. Which indeed they did, but not before Fnatic managed to take a game off them, causing a huge upset and making them the first Korean team to drop a game at this tournament. However, Blue bounced back, demolishing LMQ in merely 29 minutes and winning their remaining games to take the top spot.
How different things would have been if beating Blue had sent Fnatic through, as they were beaten both times by OMG, the second game possibly being the most exciting League of Legends match in history. With OMG’s nexus being 1 hit from death, they managed to claw it back and produce the win, and in turn, essentially ended Fnatic’s hopes of a consecutive quarter final place.
Many people's underdogs, LMQ, came out fighting by winning their first 2 games against OMG and Fnatic, before sliding downwards and losing the next 4. However, they showed they could compete on the world’s stage, and beat one of their former Chinese rivals, OMG.
All 4 teams gave their all in this group, producing incredible performances and resulting in immense heartbreak for 2 of them. Heading into day 3, all 4 teams could have still qualified, with Fnatic needing to beat Blue, and hoping LMQ beat OMG to set up the tiebreaker. OMG merely needed to win against LMQ, which they did, booking their second quarterfinal in a row.
Group C’s Best and Worst
xPeke – Shaking off any doubts he may be past his prime, xPeke produced yet another outstanding worlds' performance, solo killing Blue’s mid laner dade, and showing all round excellent play. Even if Fnatic failed to progress, xPeke can look back on worlds with a sense of personal satisfaction
Rekkles – Rekkles showed he is truly a world class ADC, getting a pentakill against LMQ, and continuing his superb performance from the EU LCS. While not always the flashiest player, Rekkles made sure he did his job to an extremely high standard and was not culpable for Fnatic’s failings
Spirit – His team’s top performer in groups, Spirit displayed excellent jungle control, always managing to be ahead in gold and experience of his opposite jungler, and coordinating effective ganks for his lanes. Spirit picked up the slack when dade or Deft fell off, and made sure Blue topped their group and still have a shot of winning the tournament
DaDa777 – Almost cost OMG their quarterfinals spot through consistently sloppy play, DaDa was purely outclassed by all 3 other supports. Showing poor vision control and regularly being caught out of position, OMG looked to bring in substitute support, Cloud, for the quarterfinals
Cool – While not playing ‘badly’, Cool certainly didn’t live up to many people’s expectations. Unimpressive in lane and not displaying any brilliance in team fights, Cool will certainly need to up his game and hard carry if OMG are to progress deep into the tournament
dade – Similarly to Cool, dade’s performance still resulted in solid play, but we didn’t see much of the dade that carried his team to the OGN Spring title. While he still played well by normal standards, to beat teams such as Samsung White, dade will need to be at the very top of his game
2nd: Cloud 9 [North America #2 Seed] (4-3*)
3rd: Alliance [Europe #1 Seed] (3-3)
4th: KaBuM e-Sports [International Wild Card form PAX] (1-5)
* After tiebreaker match
Story of the Group
The last day of Group proved to be the biggest drama of the entire Group stage with Alliance and Cloud 9 sitting at 3-2, and Alliance merely needing to beat KaBuM to guarantee at least a tiebreaker for a top 2 spot. Cloud 9, on the other hand, had to beat NaJin White Shield, group leaders and with a 4-1 record, to even stand a chance of progressing.
To begin with then, Alliance and White Shield looked set to progress, but Brazilian underdogs KaBuM e-Sports had other ideas. With possibly the largest upset in League of Legends history and following a powerful draft, they managed to overcome Alliance, shattering their moral and sending them into at best a tiebreaker match vs Cloud 9. But North America’s #2 seed gave White Shield their second defeat of the group stage, and automatically qualified for the quarterfinals, with the potential to take the #1 seed with a repeat win against the Koreans in a tiebreaker match.
Although Cloud 9 would lose the subsequent game, their win over Shield sent Alliance home, and meant that no European team would progress to the quarterfinals. Alliance only had themselves to blame as, with respect to KaBuM, they were a mechanically inferior team, and a team with world champions aspirations like Alliance should be able to deal with this caliber of team.
Cloud 9, however, showed excellent strategic skill, and the ability to go toe to toe with their Korean equivalents, Shield. Crowd favourites KaBuM delighted all but Alliance fans by picking up the only Wildcard win of the tournament, and competed well throughout. Although White Shield topped the group, they didn’t show the dominance of the Samsung teams, dropping games to Alliance and Cloud 9, they looked to be the weakest Korean team heading into the quarterfinals.
Group D’s Best and Worst
Balls – rose up from a fairly disappointing domestic split to dominating his group and going even with one of the world’s best top laners in Save. Showed why his Rumble is one of the world’s best, with fantastically positioning equalizers and strong laning
Ggoong – Before this tournament not considered one of the strongest mid laners, but really showed up with great performances on Zed and Lulu, went even with powerhouse mid Froggen and bullied Hai in lane
Gorilla – The player who popularised Janna and showed godlike mechanics on Thresh carried his team to the #1 seed and showed himself to be one of the greatest playmaking supports in the world
Hai – While being the heart and soul of Cloud 9, he was slightly shown up in mid lane quality, only being solid on Zed and Syndra, and being underwhelming on Talon, Hai needed to step up his individual game in order for Cloud 9 to triumph in the quarters
LEP – While not entirely at fault, LEP only managed a KDA of 0.9 and was consistently shown up by the other top laners. While he was playing against Save, Balls and Wickd, arguably 3 of the strongest in the world, LEP struggled more than his teammates
Samsung White vs Team Solomid: 3-1
Game 1 – Samsung White
This matchup would be an uphill struggle for TSM, facing off against the best team in the world in a best of 5 series. In predictable fashion the early game went in Samsung White’s favour. Despite choosing a late game composition, White capitalised on TSM's mistakes and gained an early advantage. From there it was plain sailing as Mata’s impeccable vision control lead to a huge snowball by White. TSM attempted a double split push with Wildturtle and Bjregsen, but White simply welcomed the opportunity to storm up the botlane and wrap up the game in 27 minutes.
Game 2 – Samsung White
White began by selecting Singed, a champion rarely seen in competitive play.
Looper demonstrated just how to play him at a world class level, terrorising TSM and synergising nicely with a rampant Fizz and Corki. White looked to have some fun in this game, going for style points by getting as many kills as possible. By the end of the game, White had over a 15,000 gold advantage, and TSM looked lost as White gave them a master class in how to snowball an early lead, closing the game out in 28 minutes and leaving TSM little hope for Game 3.
Game 3 – Team Solomid
With everyone expecting a clean 3-0 by White, the Koreans surprisingly went for an even stranger team composition than in Game 2, picking Kassadin into Yasuo and possibly not taking TSM seriously. This lack of judgement would prove fatal, as TSM rallied after a 2-0 drubbing, securing a 5-1 kill lead and outskirmishing White with their better early game comp. White had no answer as TSM, enthused by their early game success, proceeded to win all the mid game team fights to take an extremely unexpected win over Korea’s best.
Game 4 – Samsung White
Evidently not pleased by their Game 3 loss, White came back with a vengeance, getting a much stronger pick and ban phase, and returning to their old ways. TSM put up much more of a fight in this game, perhaps inspired by their earlier victory. But in the end it was for naught, as White turned up the heat and avenged their earlier defeat by claiming the win and an almost 20,000 gold lead. Though TSM dragged the game out to 40 minutes, they could not weather the storm, with White pushing through to take the series and continue their quest for redemption.
Samsung Blue vs Cloud 9: 3-1
Game 1 – Cloud 9
Things could hardly have started better for Cloud 9 with Hai’s Syndra securing first blood at lvl 1 and Heart consistently being caught out of position, giving up 4 deaths in the first 10 minutes. Sneaky in particular performed excellently, managing to constantly harass Deft via Lucian’s Piercing Light.
With the early disadvantage, Blue’s poke composition struggled to cope with Cloud 9’s pressure. With a successful five man dive bot, Cloud 9 essentially wrapped up the game, stunning Blue and claiming a decisive Game 1.
Game 2 – Samsung Blue
The second game began much more evenly, both teams coming out strong and trading blow for blow. However, after a disastrous one for four trade bot lane, Cloud 9 attempted to rush the dragon and Blue punished their rash decision. The star of this game was undoubtedly dade’s Twisted Fate. Picking it into Hai’s Zed seemed foolish, but dade displayed why he is considered the best Twisted Fate in the world, shutting down Cloud 9’s split pushing and showing incredible map awareness.
Cloud 9 attempted to claw themselves back into the game with a clever backdoor attempt by Hai. Unfortunately, in the end he was spotted by a minion and Blue descended to mop up a free kill. After that Cloud 9’s resistance crumbled, with Blue sweeping through to even up the series.
Game 3 – Samsung Blue
This game showed just how well Blue is able to adapt mid series. Cloud 9
continued to do what they had done in the previous 2 games, putting pressure on Spirit and trying to shut down his synergy with dade. However, this time Blue turned it around, resulting in Spirit getting a huge early lead. This lead to complete jungle control by Blue, allowing them to outrotate and poke down Cloud 9 from distance. Cloud 9’s team fight comp was unable to close in on Blue, the Koreans outrotating them and running them ragged around the map. A 24 minute ace by Blue gave them the final piece they needed, meaning they slowly but surely ended the game in convincing fashion.
Game 4 – Samsung Blue
The final game of the series proved the most exciting, Cloud 9 almost securing their second win, only to be undone by some great defence by Spirit and Heart.
Again the early game went in Blue’s favour, dade’s Yasuo being simply incredible. However, this time Cloud 9 rallied, winning team fight after team fight and getting themselves back into contention. They nearly blew it with a strange facecheck into Yasuo, but managed to cling on until 31 minutes. A superb Lee Sin ultimate by Meteos onto dade resulted in 3 kills for Cloud 9. With this they pushed right up to the nexus, Spirit and Heart doing everything they could to stop them, before chunking it down to half health. Unfortunately the rest of Blue respawned just in time to clean up a low health Cloud 9 and save the game and with it, wrap up the series 3-1.
Star Horn Royal Club vs Edward Gaming: 3-2
Game 1 – Star Horn Royal Club
The battle of China’s top two seeds promised to be bloodthirsty, with many wanting to see the matchup between star AD carries Uzi and Namei. Unusually it was EDG who began the stronger, getting an early lead through first blood and a three buff start. But Royal showed their team fighting prowess at dragon, acing EDG and swinging the game in their favour. From there Royal snowballed into a healthy lead, but EDG brought themselves back via a risky baron decision by Royal, acing them and if not for Uzi managing to claim the baron with Lucian damage, EDG might well have won there and then. Royal did not repeat such mistakes, and after a fantastic initiation at 33 minutes, they were able to clean up EDG and take Game 1.
Game 2 – Star Horn Royal Club
The second game began the same as the first, EDG taking an early lead following a tower dive at Royal’s inhibitor turret. However, again Royal came back as EDG over extended while chasing down bot lane, allowing Uzi’s Twitch to pick up a quadrakill. From there the game was nearly a repeat of the first, as Royal tried yet another risky baron, picking it up but losing 3 members in the process. Ultimately it would not matter as Royal again outteamfought EDG, Uzi in particular being a real stand out performer, as Royal swept through and claimed a 2-0 score in the series.
Game 3 – Edward Gaming
For the third time in a row EDG won the early game, getting Koro’s Ryze extremely strong and Clearlove making nice plays all across the map. This time, EDG would not throw their lead, acing Royal at Dragon and winning the all-important mid game team fights. Although Royal held on by some great inSec kicks onto Namei, EDG would not be denied and closed out the game via their gold lead in 38 minutes.
Game 4 – Edward Gaming
Game 4 was perhaps the most decisive. With renewed hope after their Game 3 win, EDG again controlled the early game, camping Koro and getting him fed and picking up towers all over the map. Uzi’s signature Vayne pick did little to combat EDG’s superior rotations, and the Chinese #1 seeds looked to have learnt from their previous mistakes as they ran Royal ragged around the map. A 22 minute baron helped EDG snowball even further and they ended the game decisively 5 minutes later.
Game 5 – Star Horn Royal Club
The final game of the series proved to be the closest one. Both teams remained even throughout the early game, neither willing to take the risks that might swing the game. But 23 minutes in, Royal triumphed in a vital team fight that meant Uzi’s Tristana came alive in the match. However, a great catch by EDG onto Uzi looked to have gifted EDG a baron, but Cola on Ryze managed to delete Namei, ending EDG’s chances of picking the buff. The game remained incredibly close until a great catch onto Koro’s Rumble allowed Royal to secure the baron and 5 minutes later the game and the series.
OMG vs NaJin White Shield: 3-0
Game 1 – OMG
The Chinese #3 seed took on Korea’s #3 seed in what was to be a pretty one sided affair. Game 1 started with OMG claiming first blood after an early invade. Shield kept the game close for quite a while but OMG’s superior positioning in the mid game and a great baron call exposed weaknesses in Shields vision control. With the baron buff on them, OMG had no problem rolling through Shields base for a 44 minute win
Game 2 – OMG
OMG further improved upon their strong Game 1 performance by crushing Shield in the second. Gogoing and Loveling in particular really showed up, causing Shield all manner of problems in the early game. Despite a cheeky baron steal by Watch, Shield were always on the back foot and a great 46 minute team fight finished off Shield's defence for Game 2.
Game 3 – OMG
Shield improved a little for Game 3, going fairly even in the early game. However, once the mid game team fights began, OMG’s superior team composition shone through, with Gogoing in particular being unstoppable. A lot has to be said for Cloud’s impact on the series as well, giving OMG the vision control they needed to safely coordinate their teamfighting skill. The series was decided by OMG’s exceptional play, not by Shield being weak. Gogoing was a monster and Cloud rounded off the star line-up with Cool also improving his performance since the group stage.
The action continues tomorrow in all Korean and all Chinese Semi-Finals. Samsung White and Blue battle for supremacy, while OMG looks to avenge last years defeat against Star Horn Royal Club.
Pictures courtesy of lolesports.com
League of Legends Editor at SK Gaming from 10/2014 -
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