Day 1 of the League of Legends World Championship 2017 Group Stage kicked off today in Wuhan, China. The 16 teams begin their journey to the coveted Summoner’s Cup and earned their spot among the legends. Day 1 saw action-packed games as high-damage AD Carries and Ardent Censer supports start to shape the Worlds meta. Groups A, B, and C took to the stage to make up Day 1’s matches.
Hometown heroes RNG picked up the first win of the day against the Play Ins-dominant Fenerbahçe. Fenerbahçe had a strong early game, capitalizing on small mistakes by RNG and picking up First Blood on mlxg. They weren’t able to hold up that lead, however, and their late-game bot lane Tristana and Lulu didn’t scale up well enough against Uzi’s Kogmaw.
G2 forewent the Censer support, instead opting into the Alistar backline dive, with the Shen to back him up. To compensate, they picked up the Ivern, who can utilize the Censer himself. Although their concept seemed good, their execution was a bit lackluster, especially as Samsung had superior neutral objective control, thanks to the strong Taric + Censer combo. Crown also popped off on Taliyah, finishing 5/0/2.
All eyes were on Longzhu as the LCK’s first seed headed into their first match at Worlds. Particularly, Khan was in everyone’s sights, who made waves across Korea as an aggressive, no-nonsense top lane carry. All the lanes seemed to tide over to Longzhu’s favor, as Bdd finished 3/0/7 on Taliyah, and Pray’s Tristana dealt a whopping 37.7% of his team’s damage. Although the mid game saw a steady Immortals lead, a decisive Baron call at the 24-minute mark slingshot Longzhu to victory.
In what was definitely the most entertaining match of the day, Vietnamese squad Marines said “no” to the Korean-produced meta and played their own strategy, which paid off dividends. With jungler extraordinaire Levi picking up the Nocturne, and support Sya with the Heal-Ignite Lulu, this was far from being another boring meta game. It was fast-paced right from the get-go, with both teams having 9 kills a piece at the 15-minute mark, including a huge play by Levi where he hit level 6 at the 5-minute mark and got 3 kills in the bot lane. With their aggressive playstyle, coupled with a lane swap tactic that Fnatic weren’t able to counter properly, GAM managed to snowball early leads which led to Noway popping off on Tristana, who finished 11/0/4, including a Quadra Kill to close out the game.
Another hyped matchup for Day 1 was SKT vs C9, where fans were hyped for The Clappening 2. Although Jensen managed to get a kill onto Faker this time around, SKT managed to do what they do best: win. With C9’s dynamic duo of Jensen and Contractz focusing midlane, Faker absorbs all that pressure and makes sure his team gets other objectives done across the map. Even drawing Impact into the midlane, Huni and Peanut are free to roam the map to secure neutral objectives. Meanwhile, the botlane duo of Bang and Wolf outclass Sneaky and Smoothie, finishing 4/0/4 and 1/0/8.
The last, and longest match of the day saw another local team, EDG, face off against sister team ahq. In a 53-minute slugfest, the game went back-and-forth multiple times, with neither team getting a huge advantage. At 38 minutes, ahq were up 2 thousand gold, the largest lead at that point, when a teamfight at the Baron pit erupted resulting in iBoy picking up 3 kills and securing the Baron with his team. After that, EDG snowballed to an 8 thousand gold lead, but ahq weren’t going down without a fight. With both teams at full builds, the gold meant nothing and it was all down to positioning, and ahq were able to get a pick onto Scout, which lead to EDG members falling one by one. In the end, it was AN’s Twitch who got the last laugh, picking up a Quadra Kill to end the game.
Feature image from League of Legends website.