In what was probably the most dramatic day of the League of Legends 2017 World Championship, the Play-In groups have drawn to a close. Winning streaks tarnished, Barons stolen, upsets, and backdoor wins made for an obnoxiously exciting day to lead into the Knockout Stage. The standings are as follows:

Team Wins Losses
Hong Kong Attitude 3 2
Fnatic 3 1
Rampage 0 4
Young Generation 2 2
Kaos Latin Gamers 1 3
1907 Fenerbahçe Espor 4 1

Hong Kong Attitude v. Rampage

Hong Kong Attitude: Galio, Jarvan IV, Syndra, Varus, Janna
Rampage: Rumble, Rek’Sai, Lucian, Tristana, Braum

Unpredictably, the first match of the day had a rather slow start while both HKA and Rampage busied themselves with farming. Godkwai ran into Tussle in his jungle and, when some other teammates swarmed in to help get the kill, it thought that first blood might be drawn at around five minutes, but the brief engagement was quickly broken off as both teams decided to focus their efforts on setting themselves up for the mid game. It was actually drawn about two minutes later, when a poorly-executed skirmish from Rampage resulted in Tussle’s Rek’Sai being slain by Riris on Galio.

Five minutes later, and things started to heat up when Hong Kong Attitude secured a second kill on Evi, and moved to push for Rampage’s tier one turret while they were closing in for an easy Infernal Drake.

A 5 v 5 at 15 minutes was enough to deal a heavy blow to Rampage, when they lost YutoriMoyasi, Evi, and Ramune and opened up that tier two turret for HKA to destroy. With a 6k gold deficit at 17 minutes, no turrets kills, and zero player kills against Hong Kong Attitude’s four kills and three turrets, things were starting to look bad for the LJL team. Things only continued to get worse when HKA took the second Infernal Drake uncontested, just in time for the Baron to drop into the Rift.

Rampage’s chance to turn things around came at 20 minutes when a team fight in the mid lane was threatening their middle tier two turret, but YutoriMoyasi dropping and both Dara and Evi running low on health were enough to convince them to retreat to the safety of their base.

Hong Kong Attitude bagged the Baron kill, even when Rampage tried to steal it from outside the pit, at the loss of Godkwai when Ramune took advantage of a stun to take him out. It was Rampage’s first kill of the game, but came absolutely too late. At 25 minutes, HKA took it down mid to destroy the Inhibitor, and smashed Rampage’s Nexus without even looking at their top and bottom Inhibitors.

Kaos Latin Gamers v. Young Generation

Kaos Latin Gamers: Galio, Jarvan IV, Karma, Kog’Maw, Alistar
Young Generation: Cho’Gath, Lee Sin, Corki, Xayah, Rakan

Young Generation was coming into the final day of Play-Ins after a grueling first day of disappointing losses, and you could see their hesitation in the early game. YG wasn’t prepared to instigate any unnecessary fights, but there were a couple of brief clashes in the bottom lane and the jungle before they were finally able to get first blood on Tierwulf’s Jarvan IV. They followed it up with an uncontested Infernal Drake kill and, by 11 minutes, they had a 2k gold lead. All in all, it was a comfortable start for the home team.

Meanwhile, Kaos Latin Gamers were starting to see their window of opportunity closing as they steadily fell further behind. A second Infernal Drake went to Young Generation, and Naul’s Corki was beginning to look more and more dangerous.

A bottom lane team fight was prompted when Kaos Latin Gamers was looking to take a tier one turret, but Young Generation teleported in to take Matarraya out and push the rest of his team back. They did lose NhocTy, but they were able to save their turret while Venus snuck around in the top lane for KLG’s top tier one.  Unfortunately for YG, KLG did get that kill on Naul and NhocTy later, at 20 minutes, and were soon able to bag a turret, though it was difficult to call it much of a loss when they were able to clear out the top lane turrets, in the process.

Meanwhile, Kaos Latin Gamers were rapidly losing ground. A devastating team fight at 23 minutes sent four of their players back to their base, and it opened the Baron up for the kill, despite Mantarraya attempting to do something to put a stop to it as the lone survivor. Young Generation was quick to follow that Baron kill up with a Mountain Drake kill, and they started to make their push towards KLG’s base by 26 minutes.

Kaos Latin Gamers was able to push them back on their first two attempts, but two blitz-like plays (YG basically dove into the Inhibitors to put themselves two men down) were enough to clear out two Inhibitors before YG cut their losses and pulled back.

In the end, Kaos Latin Gamers’ defense was not even remotely close to being enough to hold YG off. Their draft started out very concentrated and not entirely well-rounded, to begin with, and their inability to coordinate as a team in the fights only made things worse. This is especially true at the end of the game, when they were backed into a corner and submitting to the pressure being put on them as a team. At 30 minutes, Young Generation took the win with a 20k gold advantage.


1907 Fenerbahçe Espor v. Rampage

1907 Fenerbahçe Espor: Jarvan IV, Gragas, Cassiopeia, Tristana, Karma
Rampage: Shen, Lee Sin, Syndra, Kog’Maw, Lulu

As  the casters said, this was more or less a pride match for 1907 Fenerbahçe Espor, who was looking to continue their win streak from yesterday. And that pride match started with some harassment from Frozen in the mid lane, who was more than happy to shoot off a few attacks in Ramune’s direction to bait him into a fight. There was also a bit of bullying going on in the top lane, coming from Evi as he taunted Thaldrin in a group of minions in a failed attempt at an early solo kill. First blood was eventually pulled by Rampage at nine minutes when Ramnue got a kill on Frozen in a 1 v 2, soon followed by Tussle when he came out of the jungle in time to get Crash on the retreat.

This was right around the time that turrets started to fall, with Rampage taking the first turret just seconds after the fight when they started making progress down the bottom lane. The first four turrets destroyed were actually even trades, with Padden and Japone taking out turrets in the top lane while their team was losing turrets on bottom. At 11 minutes, it was Rampage that broke the game equilibrium when they took the first Ocean Drake and started nudging their way into a slight gold lead.

At 14 minutes, 1907 Fenerbahçe Espor continued an impressive streak of stealing objectives when they stole the Rift Herald at the very last second, but forgot to grab the Eye when they were chasing Rampage out. It was an odd mistake to make, especially during such a prestigious event. But, for FB, it was better than the alternative of Rampage getting the Eye, and they were able to stabilize and find their footing in time for an easy Infernal Drake kill.

22 minutes in, 1907 Fenerbahçe Espor practically speed-ran a second Infernal Drake kill just in time to run over to the pit to stop Rampage from bagging the first Baron of the game. Rampage was pushed back, but 1907 Fenerbahçe Espor wasn’t yet ready to commit to the objective kill so they followed suit, weaving their way through the jungle to regroup. When they returned at 26 minutes, Rampage had the opportunity to take advantage of catching Fenerbahçe off guard, with Padden waiting for his respawn counter to run out, but weren’t confident enough to commit to a full engagement. After a quick clashing in front of Baron Nashor, both teams left the river to come back, later.

At 29 minutes, FB took another Infernal Drake. Rampage tried to bluff, to make it seem like they were going for the Baron like last time, but 1907 Fenerbahçe Espor called the bluff and moved down mid to draw them away. A few more skirmishes, and Rampage finally committed to the Baron – and it was a disaster. Fenerbahçe came in on their six, cornering them into the back of the pit, and Baron’s spikes tore them to shreds while FB let them flee. With Rampage out of the picture, Fenerbahçe finished off the Baron and took the opening to start pulling their base apart. With an ace in the pocket at 35 minutes, 1907 Fenerbahçe Espor closed out the game for a third win.


Kaos Latin Gamers v. Fnatic

Kaos Latin Gamers: Shen, Gragas, Galio, Xayah, Lulu
Fnatic: Maokai, Rek’Sai, Orianna, Tristana, Janna

Alright, I want to point out how utterly ridiculous Kaos Latin Gamers’ draft was. They were putting all of their eggs into one basket: Focusing their efforts to attack Fnatic’s strengths. It was a risky play, and it was clear that they were hoping that throwing off the strongest player would throw off the rest of the team – despite having virtually no damage output. The entire draft was a bad decision, especially when Fnatic was going into this with a lineup that they knew they could work with, and we all knew that it would come around to bite them in the rear.

Moving on.

For as eager as Fnatic was to taunt KLG into a fight, harassing them almost constantly in the lanes, it took a surprisingly long time for first blood to be drawn – 13 minutes, to be exact, by Plugo’s Galio. And, for as careful as Kaos Latin Gamers was to avoid getting caught in Fnatic’s sights, they weren’t doing a spectacular job in terms of farming; up until the first turret and player kills, they were behind in gold and weren’t faring any better in builds.

By 16 minutes, Fnatic had the Cloud Drake and attempted to stop KLG from obtaining the Eye of the Herald, but they arrived too late to properly coordinate a Herald steal and were forced to cut their losses. Soon after, Kaos Latin Gamers started pushing through the top lane to take out the tier two turret. Fnatic was forced to hand over objectives, and had yet to get their first kill by 22 minutes even after Kaos Latin Gamers took the Mountain Drake.

It wasn’t until a 5 v 5 at 22 minutes that Fnatic finally got their first two kils of the game off of Tierwuld and Slow, and it gave them the opening to get the Baron.

It was that pivotal moment that turned the tides of the game in Fnatic’s favor, who finally brought their usual aggression to the table as they started closing out the game with the Baron buff active. 26 minutes in, without faltering, Fnatic tore through the bottom lane, smashed the Inhibitor, took out three of KLG’s members, and destroyed the Nexus for a third victory.


1907 Fenerbahçe Espor v. Hong Kong Attitude

1907 Fenerbahçe Espor: Maokai, Sejuani, Orianna, Sivir, Lulu
Hong Kong Attitude: Galio, Gragas, Syndra, Tristana, Alistar

1907 Fenerbahçe Espor was quick to put themselves on the board, taking that first kill of the game within the first few minutes of timer having started. The aggression was understandable – if FB lost this, they would have to play a tiebreaker rematch against Hong Kong Attitude for first place in their group, and no one really wanted that. But they failed to take the initiative to get the Infernal Drake when it spawned, and lost it to HKA before the 10 minute mark. Granted, they used that time to get the farm and keep their gold lead and focus on builds, but we’d seen too many teams rack up Infernal Drake kills for it to be a safe bet.

Hong Kong Attitude followed up the Dragon kill by taking out two of 1907 Fenerbahçe Espor’s turrets, then the Rift Herald, and looked like the game might be slipping out of control by the time FB found themselves running away from a fight in the jungle that they couldn’t win at 17 minutes. Concerns from earlier came to light when HKA took a second Cloud Drake at 25 minutes, for a total of three Dragon kills, when both teams started to eye a recently-spawned Baron. Meanwhile, FB was getting picked off one by one – not

At 26 minutes, HKA commited to the Baron, but FB was hot on their heels to put a stop to it. Fenerbahçe traded Crash and Frozen for M1ssion and Kalwing, and the remaining players were able to hold out long enough for their teammates to respawn and run back to the pit. Both ADCs fell, and FB bowed out when Japone was killed. Shaken, Hong Kong Attitude also pulled back to get their bearings about them.

At 32 minutes, Hong Kong Attitude took their fourth Dragon in the form of a third Cloud Drake. They started to close in on Baron, again, at 34 minutes, but 1907 Fenerbahçe Espor chased them out just as soon as they had started to make their attack. A tragic team fight for FB at 37 minutes sent Japone and Crash back to the summoner’s platform, and Hong Kong Attitude didn’t hesitate before taking the Baron for their own. Almost immediately after, the Elder Dragon spawned and HKA was able to take it for free.

With stacked buffs, they were ready to make their push. They destroyed the remaining tier two turrets, but they couldn’t quite crack the base open, right away. The first Inhibitor wasn’t destroyed until 43 minutes, and Fenerbahçe was herded into their base without being able to do much more than push them back long enough for the Baron buff to run out.

At 45 minutes, the teams closed in on the Baron Pit, and 1907 Fenerbahçe Espor was looking to take the kill. They didn’t realize that Unified wasn’t fighting with them – they were too focused on trying to ensure that HKA didn’t have the opportunity to get a second buff. While Hong Kong Attitude stole the Baron at the last second, and pushed for an ensuing team fight, Unified was already in Fenerbahçe’s base and working down their Nexus turrets. Padden, who had fallen in the fight, respawned in time to try and put a stop to it, but was knocked back and killed by the enemy ADC. At 46 minutes, Unified and HKA’s minions dealt the final blow to the Nexus and forced a tie-breaking rematch.


Fnatic v. Young Generation

Fnatic: Cho’Gath, Elise, Syndra, Tristana, Braum
Young Generation: Galio, Gragas, Kassadin, Varus, Lulu

It took a few monutes for things to get started but, once they did, a little bit of Hell broke loose. In the top lane, sOAZ drew first blood on NhocTy and was killed by a turret as he tried to run away from Venus. At the same time, in the bottom lane, BigKoro was killing Rekkles in a 2 v 2.Rekkles fell again at 11 minutes, when he got caught by BigKoro and Palette in the jungle. In a way, Young Generation was doing what Kaos Latin Gamers tried to do earlier: they were tearing Fnatic apart by targeting their strongest player. Young Generation was attacking Rekkles, taking over the bottom lane, and refusing to let him get his footing.

And it was working.

A team fight at 16 minutes was when Young Generation started to get a bit over confident, ready to engage in a 3 v 3 for a mid lane turret. Naul dropped like a sack of potatoes, and the turret barely survived the encounter by the time YG started backing away. Once safely out of reach, they went after the Ocean Drake. In terms of numbers, they didn’t have a terribly large advantage, but Young Generation was seeing progress while Fnatic was starting to fall apart.

At 23 minutes, a full team fight in the river had Fnatic scattering in the jungle, Jesiz and Broxah being picked off and leaving the Baron open for the taking. Fnatic tried to steal it, but failed, and they had to run for their lives to avoid being flattened in a fight they couldn’t win.

With the buff active, YG started working to open up Fnatic’s base. At 26 minutes, the bottom lane tier three turret collapsed before Young Generation had to withdraw. Fnatic may have been getting out-played up until that point – out-macro’d, specifically – but they still had a strong enough defense to hold YG at bay.

31 minutes in, and a second Baron spawned into the Rift. Fnatic went in on it, but Young Generation was focusing on the Nexus. Venus and NhocTy distracted enough of Fnatic to give BigKoro, Palette, and Naul enough time to deal more damage to the Nexus than Fnatic could come back from. Even as Fnatic returned to the summoner’s platform to stop them, all Young Generation had to do was fight them off while Naul and their minions did the work. At 32 minutes, Young Generation ruined Fnatic’s win streak and knocked them from their first place spot in the group.


Hong Kong Attitude v. 1907 Fenerbahçe Espor

Hong Kong Attitude: Galio, Gragas, Syndra, Varus, Blitzcrank
1907 Fenerbahçe Espor: Maokai, Nidalee, Ekko, Tristana, Lulu

So the tiebreaker match started out with a pretty different draft from what we’d been seeing up until now, with Blitzcrank making a surprise appearance for Kaiwing. Up until now, he had been banned rather quickly, so letting HKA have him was sure to make this game interesting.

First blood came at 8 minutes when a clash in the bottom lane saw Padden drop to Unified, and HKA tried to use the momentum left over to steal the Mountain Drake from FB in a 3 v 3. HKA didn’t quite have their heads in the right place, it seemed, because they failed to get the Dragon, and 1907 Fenerbahçe Espor got away unscathed. Though, even with the objective kill, Hong Kong Attitude was still pulling ahead with a 3k gold advantage and three kill lead at 12 minutes.

A drawn-out team fight where Fenerbahçe chased HKA through the jungle started to get them caught up in kills, trading two of their own to take out three of HKA’s players – but it didn’t force HKA to slow down. By 20 minutes, Hong Kong Attitude was ahead in turret kills, gold, and builds, and caught up in dragons when they slayed the Ocean Drake. This isn’t to say that Hong Kong Attitude was starting to get cocky, by any means; both teams were showing an enormous amount of respect towards each other, never letting themselves overreach.

Now was time for their attention to turn to the Baron, and both teams started to set up vision in the river while Hong Kong Attitude took their fourth turret of the game.

The second Mountain Drake went to Hong Kong Attitude, uncontested, but they were starting to plateau. Godkwai’s Gragas continued to fall behind, steadily staying two levels behind Crash’s Nidalee, while Japone’s Lulu had caught up to Kaiwing. Padden also finally took their first turret of the game, a tier one tower in the mid lane, while the rest of his team made a clunky attempt to engage in a pre-Baron team fight at 28 minutes.

The Baron-deciding fight came at 31 minutes when 1907 Fenerbahçe Espor, again, picked a fight they couldn’t win. Thaldrin was down, and they started to make their retreat, but ended up arcing around in the jungle to catch Hong Kong Attitude in the top lane and catch them by surprise. Somehow, they were able to pull it off, and Hong Kong Attitude was running for the hills, dropping one by one until 1907 Fenerbahçe Espor was walking away as the victor. At 34 minutes, they committed to the Baron fight. They goaded HKA into a team fight, ripped them to shreds, and swung in for a free Baron.

With the gold advantage now in their favor, 65k to 62k, 1907 Fenerbahçe Espor was moving in with the buff. They ran down bottom to start working through turrets, kept Hong Kong Attitude busy in the mid lane while they took out the top lane turrets, then their welcome had expired.

This was when 1907 Fenerbahçe Espor overextended, when they refused to pull back when HKA was getting aggressive, and everything spiraled out of control. Hong Kong Attitude was chasing Padden and Japone back to their base, tearing through the mid lane Inhibitor as they fled for the safety of their turrets, and caught another kill as players started to respawn. They pulled back, raced FB for the Elder Dragon, but backed off when things took a turn for the worse. Fenerbahçe took the Elder Dragon at 41 minutes, but failed to make much of the buff before it could run out.

There was a bit of a lull until 45 minutes, when Hong Kong Attitude engaged the Baron Nashor. Fenerbahçe stole it, to no one’s surprise, but what mattered was the fight that broke out as a result. Padden got the triple kill when FB wiped out four of five of HKA’s players, and they ran it down mid to call GG at 46 minutes and take the first seed of their group.

About The Author

Sr. Esports Writer

Connor is a self-proclaimed Star Wars historian, Fatal Frame enthusiast and crazy cat lady that's fascinated by the Kpop mashups on YouTube. Professional gaming is something that's fascinated him ever since he was a wee lad, especially when it came to fighting games, so now he rambles on about it in the form of articles that use way too many commas.