Day 1 of the Intel Extreme Masters Katowice kicked off Wednesday with many of the top League of Legends teams from Europe and Asia battling it out in the group stages of the tournament. By the end of the day, ROX Tigers secured its spot in the semifinals, while Group B set the stage for a surprising winners' match on Thursday.
ROX comes out on top in Group A
Wednesday's action started off with M19 taking on ROX Tigers in the first match of Group A. M19, formerly known as Albux NoX Luna, came out of the gate extremely flat. Despite getting Camille for its top laner, Dmitri "Smurf" Ivanov, M19 had a tough time in its series from the jump. ROX looked extremely dominant, controlling the tempo through the one-sided, 28-minute victory.
H2K Gaming and Hong Kong Esports rounded out the initial group play in Group A. Despite being the vastly superior team, H2K had a tough time closing out the win. H2K had a 3,000-gold lead at 15 minutes, but saw HKE hang around thanks to early objective control. H2K finally stabilized in the late game and used a third Baron to close out the 46-minute win.
This set up a meeting between ROX and H2K in the Group A winners match. Despite an early onslaught of kills from H2K in Game 1, ROX simply bided its time, controlling the game. Playing a dominantly objective-focused game, ROX took the 35-minute win to earn a 1-0 lead. Game 2 was a much better showing from the European squad, with H2K snowballing an early lead into decisive 38-minute win. Game 3 was taken by ROX, and it and wasn't even close. An ill-advised dragon attempt from H2K at the 10-minute mark netted ROX three kills and an Infernal Drake that set off a snowball of epic proportions, giving ROX a 23-minute win to propel it to the semifinals.
Big upset changes landscape of Group B
Group B started with Kongdoo Monster facing off against Unicorns of Love. Despite UoL being one of the best teams in Europe and Kongdoo being one of the worst in Korea, UoL had to play from behind for most of the game. Kongdoo controlled the objectives early, leaving UoL desperately searching for a way into the game. It took a decisive Baron play at 35 minutes to finally break ahead of Kondgoo and eventually secured the 55-minute win.
The last match of the day in Group B was between the European juggernaut G2 Esports and Flash Wolves in what ended up being the biggest upset of the tournament thus far. G2 didn't just lose this game, the back-to-back defending EU LCS champions were thoroughly dominated by FW. G2 gave up first blood early on and it was all downhill from there. G2 couldn't muster any sort of offense, losing in 38 minutes while finding themselves down 14-to-3 in kills, 11-to-3 in towers, 3-to-0 in dragons and 2-to-0 in Barons.
Day 2 play picks back up Thursday at 6 a.m. ET with Unicorns of Love facing off against Flash Wolves in the winners match of Group B.