Turkish team 1907 Fenerbahçe took down Team oNe Esports 3-1 on Thursday to become the first emerging region to qualify for the 2017 League of Legends World Championship group stage.
Of all the best-of-fives thus far at Worlds, this may have been the one where the discrepancy in individual talent was the most apparent. Team oNe often played the map better, but the Brazilian squad was constantly held back by its own inability to secure sufficient gold on each of its players. Never was this more apparent than in Game 3, when Team oNe managed to secure an enormous lead in both kills and structures, but not in gold, as each of its lanes had fallen far enough behind in creep score so as to offset the global gold it had secured.
The skill discrepancy ended up being the downfall of Team oNe, as Fenerbahçe's star mid laner, Kim "Frozen" Tae-li, simply took over Game 4 with his stellar Aurelion Sol play and shut his opponents out of the series.
The future isn't all bright for Fenerbahce, though, as Team oNe wasn't the only team to show some serious weaknesses over the course of the series. The only consistent performers on Fenerbahce were Frozen and top laner Berke "Thaldrin" Demir, while the other three members oscillated between brilliance and utter uselessness. AD carry Ege "Padden" Acar Koparal was the sole member of his team to be consistently outlaned by his opponent, and that's been a troubling trend throughout the play-in stage. It was this very weakness on the bottom side of the map that Team oNe targeted in order to take Game 2, and it's a weakness that the major region teams are sure to ruthlessly exploit when the group stage kicks off next week. If Padden wasn't able to go toe-to-toe with Luis "Absolut" Felipe Carvalho, it's difficult to imagine how he'll manage against the likes of G2 Esports' Jesper "Zven" Svenningson, Samsung Galaxy's Park "Ruler" Jae-hyuk or Royal Never Give Up's Jian "Uzi" Zi Hao during the upcoming group stage.
There certainly was a shining star for the team, however, and Frozen distinguished himself as the player of the series. His pressure in mid lane was without compare, and he proved equally capable of creating pressure with his Taliyah or Aurelion Sol or absorbing it on his Syndra. There was a single common factor across all four games, and that factor was that Frozen put his opposing mid laner into the dumpster when it came to laning stats. His dominance gave Fenerbahçe a rock to lean on when its bottom lane was underperforming. Whether Frozen will manage the same level performance against the premier mid laners of the event remains to be seen, but Frozen certainly proved over this series that he's anything but a washed-up League Champions Korea-level player.