The playoff teams for the Intel Extreme Masters Season XI World Championship in Katowice, Poland, are set after strong performances from two European teams Saturday. G2 Esports and H2k Gaming will join ROX Tigers and Flash Wolves in Sunday's semifinals.
H2k Gaming pushes past Hong Kong Esports
Saturday's action started with H2k against Hong Kong Esports in the Group A decider match. HKE picked up first blood in Game 1 when H2k jungler Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski dove too hard on a tower with his Lee Sin and was taken down by mid laner Lam "Gear" Kwok Wa's Corki. The European team managed to recover, however, relying on solid tower plays to build a 4,000-gold lead by 20 minutes. H2k lost control of the game, though, and a strong early game gave way to a massive tug-of-war that went on for another 36 minutes. It took two Barons and an Elder Dragon in the late game, but HKE were finally able to lock up the win after 56 minutes.
The next two games weren't nearly as eventful. In both games, H2k secured sizable leads and, in contrast to Game 1, managed to hold on to those leads for the entire game by dominating team fights and controlling objectives. In Game 2, H2k was up 16-3 in kills, 11-0 in towers and 2-0 in dragons by game's end. Game 3 was equally one-sided, with H2k leading 16-3 in kills, 9-1 in towers and 4-0 in dragons. H2k didn't need a Baron in either game to secure the win and punch its ticket to Sunday's semifinals.
G2 Esports wins European showdown against Unicorns of Love
G2 and Unicorns of Love finished the day with a battle in the Group B decider match. G2 got off to a quick start in this series with a double kill in a quick skirmish in the jungle just over a minute into the game. Unicorns of Love were not content to let G2 have this one easily, though, and got back into the game with a Baron near the 27-minute mark after a 4-for-0 team fight. UoL's glimmer of hope was snuffed out quickly by G2 with a 4-for-0 team fight win of its own at 30 minutes, and four minutes later, G2 secured the win.
UoL gave up another early kill just a minute into Game 2, as G2 mid laner Luka "PerkZ" Perković's Zed picked up first blood. Despite the early miscue, the Unicorns managed to hang on, thanks to coordinated team fighting and never let G2 push out to a sizable lead until the very end. It took a second Baron from G2 at the 33-minute mark to give the top European team the edge needed to lock up its spot in the semifinals.
The playoffs begin at 6:30 a.m. Sunday, with ROX Tigers taking on G2 Esports in the first semifinal, followed by H2k Gaming against Flash Wolves.