The final team for the 2016 World Championships semifinals has been set as Europe's H2k. In the last quarterfinal at the historic Chicago Theatre before heading to New York's Madison Square Garden next week for the final four, H2k took a quick 3-0 win over CIS champion and wildcard region representative Albus Nox Luna.
ANX got through the group stages with well-coordinated team play and eccentric champion pools that gave it an advantage over its international opponents. Sunday, though, in a best-of-five setting and after H2k had time to review ANX's seven group stage games, the European League Championship Series club was ready for everything its opponent could throw its way.
During the series, each game started pretty much the same way: the two sides trading well in the laning phase, and ANX even keeping up with the in-lane powerhouse of H2k for a little while. But, right when it felt like ANX had a chance, the rubber band stretching back and forth would break, and H2k would accumulate a gigantic advantage from mistakes by the wildcard team.
Game one, it was Andrei "Odoamne" Pascu's Jayce getting the early lead by picking up a succession of kills to begin a power spike that Albus Nox had no answer for. In the second, it was ANX attempting to pull off an odd-man advantage gank in the bottom lane, but a lack of cohesion between everyone involved led to H2k picking up another four kills to only one for ANX and the beginning of the end for the underdogs. For the final game of the series, it was the mid lane this time that put the nail in the coffin for ANX, with H2k's Ryu "Ryu" Sang-wook grabbing a pair of solo kills against Michael "Kira" Garmash on Syndra vs Zilean to effectively put the series out of reach once and for all.
ANX did its best to turtle and fight back with nifty counter-attacks when permitted, but it wasn't enough. Each game it fell down early and was never able to get its footing before it was too late, and H2k was already taking all the secondary tier turrets and taking vision over Baron. There were moments where H2k could have played the map cleaner, like when it allowed ANX to take an inhibitor when it was up 10k gold in the mid game, yet the EU LCS squad was still too big to fail by then.
H2k will now go on to play South Korea's Samsung Galaxy in the second semifinal next Saturday night in New York City. The winner of that series will play the winner of the first semifinal between SK Telecom T1 and ROX Tigers a week later on October 29th at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
H2k will also attempt to be the first European team since Fnatic and Against All Authority in the inaugural World Championships to make the final. South Korea will be sending a representative to the final for the fifth year in a row, and if Samsung Galaxy beats H2k, a second year in a row where the last contest for the Summoner's Cup is an all-Korean affair.