Day one of the 2017 League of Legends World Championships is here, and Group A and B’s six teams are competing in the Play-In Stage to be one of two teams to advance to Round Two to claw their way to the Group Stages.

Team Wins Losses
Cloud9  2  0
Team WE  2  0
Gambit Gaming  0  2
Team oNe Esports  0  2
Lyon Gaming  1  1
Dire Wolves  1  1

Team WE v. Lyon Gaming

Team WE: Cho’Gath, Gragas, Corki, Xayah, Janna
Lyon Gaming:
Maokai, Lee Sin, Syndra, Kog’Maw, Braum

Lyon Gaming secured first blood at 10 minutes from Team WE’s Condi, and soon gained the lead in terms of kills, but it was Team WE who claimed the first Inferal Drake and a steady gold advantage. It was clear where both teams’ priorities laid: Lyon Gaming was more interested in applying pressure in the team fights, to prove their worth as the underdogs of Worlds, while Team WE was all about securing objectives. 24 minutes in, Team WE had two Dragons, a 1k gold advantage, three Turrets, and two kills against Lyon Gaming’s lone Turret kills and seven player kills.

Put simply, it was a game of objective control and patience, versus aggression.

When it was time for the mid-game, it looked like aggression would win out when Team WE took the first Baron Nasher, but at the price of three players kills when Lyon Gaming rushed in to push them out of the pit. Even with Baron active on two of their remaining players, when Team WE ran for the second Infernal drake of the game, Lyon Gaming’s impressive team fight composition won out and crushed their competition to claim the Dragon for their own.

Then, 38 minutes, Team WE stole the Baron from Lyon Gaming when Lyon whiffed the team fight to defend the pit, then moved in for the Cloud Drake before making their first push into Lyon Gaming’s base at 39 minutes to destroy the first tier three Turret and its Inhibitor. Should they seize the advantage it presented, it was the moment that could turn the game for Team WE’s favor. With a second tier three Turret and a second Inhibitor reduced to rubble at 45 minutes, Lyon had to rely on the chance that Team WE would over extend and risk a team wipe that would give them enough time to catch up on objectives.

At 46 minutes, it turned out to be Lyon Gaming that would over extend when they attempted to engage Team WE as they were looking for a third Baron. With a team shutdown, WE rushed into Lyon’s base and claimed the victory at 47 minutes.

 

Cloud9 v. Team oNe Esports

Cloud9: Galio, Rek’Sai, Leblanc, Xayah, Rakan
Team oNe Esports: Gnar, Nidalee, Lucian, Kog’Mar, Morgana

Both teams were flexing and throwing their weight around in brief early-game skirmishes. Cloud9, in particular, was looking to lay on early-game aggression, especially with Jensen’s Leblanc and Sneaky’s Xayah trying to sneak (hah) in some failed attempts at solo kills. Even so, the Mountain Drake was claimed by Cloud9 before even first blood was spilled in the Rift by Jensen when he slayed Brucer’s Lucian at 11 minutes. Jensen fell only seconds later when 4LaN got him on the retreat, before Contractz drew his first kill from VVvert, just barely saving Impact from him and 4LaN. Cloud9 quickly took two Turrets from Team oNe Esports’ bottom lame, and fans watched the map control rapidly shift into Cloud9’s favor.

By 20 minutes, Cloud9 had the Ocean Drake, four Turret kills, a 4.4k gold lead, boasted a collectively superior item build, and were ahead by three player kills. Baron had spawned, waiting to be claimed, and Cloud9 was more than content with playing things safe and waited until 22 minutes to make their push into the pit. Team oNe Esports made an attempt to engage Cloud9, presumably to steal the Baron kill, but it cost them three of their players and their mid lane tier two Turret when Cloud9 clapped back and chased them back to their base. At 27 minutes, Cloud9 had a second Mountain Drake and the first Baron of the game and were more than ready to make their push into Team oNe’s base.

With no Turrets to protect Team oNe Esports in the lanes, and their middle Inhibitor destroyed, the game was spoken for. Cloud9 destroyed the top Inhibitor while Team oNe scrambled for something, anything, to give them enough momentum to push them out. At 30 minutes, Cloud9 closed out the game without Sneaky, Smoothie, or Impact ever having suffered a single death.

 

Gambit Gaming v. Lyon Gaming

Gambit Gaming: Camille, Gragas, Ryze, Xayah, Rakan
Lyon Gaming: Jax, Maokai, Jayce, Tristana, Braum

A quick start to the third game of the day, Oddie spilled first blood at six minutes when he slayed Blasting’s Xayah on Maokai in the bottom lane. The following few minutes were spent with both teams looking to clash, but falling just shy of claiming any kills until Jirall cornered PvPStejos at 12 minutes, right as his teammates claimed the Infernal Drake. Lyon Gaming was steadily establishing control over the map, though it was still a touch too early to definitively say that victory was on their horizon.

23 minutes in, Lyon had two Infernal Drakes, three Turret kills, and five player kills while Gambit still had yet to even claim their first kill and second Turret of the game. Lyon Gaming over extended at 23 minutes that practically handed a kill from Oddie to Gambit, but they were quick to realize their error and retreated before Gambit had a chance to truly gain any footing. With the Cloud Drake and Baron at 29 minutes, Lyon made their push into Gambit Gaming’s base to take the middle Inhibitor and start the process to closing out the game. From then, it was a matter of waiting for Lyon to roll in, take the ace, and destroy Gambit Gaming’s Nexus at 32 minutes.

 

Dire Wolves v. Cloud9

Dire Wolves: Cho’Gath, Sejuani, Corki, Caitlyn, Karma
Cloud9:  Jarvan IV, Nidalee, Galio, Xayah, Janna

Dire Wolves’ first matchup of the day started out to be a little more fast-paced than what we saw in past games, with three kills and two turrets having been spoken for by eight minutes.  Cloud9 had the marginal lead with the Cloud Drake kill and 2k gold advantage by the 10 minute mark, and they were more than content with gradually laying on more and more pressure.

To put it simply, once Cloud9 got rolling, there was no stopping them. They took the dragons, they took the Baron, they took the Turrets, and it was all Dire Wolves could manage to delay what was an inevitable loss at 28 minutes. Cloud9 played a clean game of League of Legends, and they continued to show their dominance in Group B in their second game of the day.

 

Gambit Gaming v. Team WE

Gambit Gaming: Cho’Gath, Kayn, Anivia, Varus, Malzahar
Team WE: Shen, Gragas, Jayce, Kog’Maw, Janna

With three kills before the five minute mark, thanks to Gambit Gaming dropping into the Rift with guns blazing, we knew we were in for a wild ride. Gambit claimed the Infernal Drake with no contest at 9:40, but a poorly thought-out team fight just seconds later left PvPStejos limping away on Cho’Gath as the sole survivor, while Team WE only suffered a single kill from Ben’s Janna.

What started out as an even back and forth was quickly turning into Team WE knocking Gambit back onto their rears in team fights, even as Gambit was claiming the second Infernal Drake of the game for themselves. Meanwhile, while Gambit was recovering from the team fights, Team WE was steadily working their way through the lanes.

Gambit did make a (sort of) surprising play to slay Baron Nasher almost as soon as it spawned, but it did little to discourage Team WE. Even while knowing Gambit still had the Baron buff, at 22 minutes, Team WE was pushing the bottom lane to take the tier three Turret and the first Inhibitor of the game. Within that same minute, they were snatching a Cloud Drake out from under Gambit’s nose. The gold advantage was massive, the kill lead was over 10, they had two Turret kills over Gambit, and all Team WE had to do was keep the pressure on Gambit so they weren’t given a chance for a reverse sweep.

At 26 minutes, it looked like Gambit Gaming might have that chance when Team WE lost three to a dismal team fight, but there were too many Creeps running rampant through Gambit’s Gaming. They had to rush back and get things back under control before rushing over to Baron Nasher as he spawned again, but Team WE stole the Baron kill and took their momentum down top and mid to push in for a second Inhibitor. At 29 minutes Gambit Gaming had three players down for the count and the Nexus was open for Team WE to close out the game at just shy of 30 minutes.

 

Dire Wolves v. Team oNeEsports

Dire Wolves: Rumble, Jarvan IV, Corki, Ashe, Morgana
Team oNe Esports: Fiora, Jax, Orianna, Xayah, Braum

 

Without sugar-coating it, Team oNe Esports failed to meet the standards of Worlds-level gameplay while Dire Wolves was prepared to punish every one of their mistakes. By 20 minutes, Dire Wolves had claimed nine kills off of Team oNe, destroyed four Turrets, were ahead in Champion levels, and had a 7k gold lead over Team oNe. Dire Wolves’ gameplay was almost clinical, it was so clean, and it felt like their game from start to finish. When they destroyed Team oNe’s Nexus at 25 minutes, it was not with a bang, but a whimper.

About The Author

Connor
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.