ahq 1-0 EDward Gaming
In a battle of the AD carries, ahq e-Sports Club outlasted EDward Gaming on Thursday at the League of Legends World Championship in Wuhan, China. While many wrote off ahq in what appears to be a stacked Group A, the victory has already thrown a wrench into predictions and put EDG on its back foot just hours into the World Championship.
Neither group seemed intent on pushing an advantage through the first 19 minutes of the game, but ahq finally jumped ahead with a 4-for-3 teamfight win near the 20-minute mark. It built upon that lead with a Baron kill 15 minutes later.
EDG rallied back behind the play of AD Carry Hu "iBoy" Xianzhao and his Kog'Maw, thanks in large part to a pivotal 4-for-1 teamfight win that snuffed out much of the buff-induced power play. In true tug-of-war fashion, ahq yanked back one last time, taking what ended up being the final fight near the 52-minute mark on the back of its own AD carry, Chou "An" Chun-An, and his Twitch, to claim victory.
Following its upset win, ahq will take on Cloud9 at 7 a.m. ET on Friday. EDG is now in danger of an 0-2 start, as it will next face SK Telecom T1 an hour after that matchup starts.
-- Wyatt Lyles
SK Telecom T1 1-0 Cloud9
SK Telecom T1 gave viewers The Clappening Part 2 with yet another trouncing of Cloud9 during Day 1 of Group A play at the League of Legends World Championship in Wuhan, China. After taking down the North American hopefuls twice in the group stages a year ago, SKT is already halfway there this time around.
SKT and mid laner Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok's Cassiopeia opened up the game with a huge outplay on Cloud9's overextension in the mid lane. Instead of C9 finding an early kill, Faker picked up a kill of his own despite a one-on-two disadvantage, and Han "Peanut" Wang-ho swept in for another with his Jarvan IV. That one sequence ended up being a microcosm of the entire game; C9 never managed to get into any sort of groove against the vaunted Korean squad.
Of particular note, C9 jungler Juan "Contractz" Garcia, playing on Rek'Sai, looked overwhelmed by the moment and overextended all too often for easy SKT kills. When playing against such a strong team, these mistakes are a death sentence, as C9 perfectly demonstrated in this game. Still, there is time to get back on track, and an upset of EDward Gaming by ahq e-Sports Club shows the No. 2 spot in this group is up for grabs.
Cloud9 will hope to bounce back against ahq at 7 a.m. ET on Friday, and SKT will look to keep the ball rolling during its bid for a third straight title when it faces off against EDward Gaming at 8 a.m. ET that day.
-- Wyatt Lyles
Gigabyte Marines 1-0 Fnatic
The Gigabyte Marines came into this game looking to prove it could hang with the big boys of this stacked Group B.
To achieve this goal, it brought out a rarely-seen Nocturne pick for Đỗ "Levi" Duy Khánh in the jungle, and continued with an early lane swap to open the game. While Fnatic punished the swap with an early first blood from a five-man dive in the bottom lane, Levi fought right back soon after, snatching a double kill from the jaws of what certainly should have been a death in the 1v3 scenario. With this bounce back in hand and the raucous crowd behind the team, Gigabyte was off to the races in a game that ended with 33 kills in 24 minutes.
As the teams traded back and forth, Levi let AD carry Nguyễn "Noway" Vũ Long take over the mid game with his Tristana to tilt the game into Gigabyte's favor. Ending with a stellar 11/0/4 KDA (kills/deaths/assists), Noway lived up to the name of his position and carried his team to victory. After a 3-for-0 win broke the back of Fnatic about 20 minutes in, Noway truly shut the door with a quadrakill that would have been a penta save for Tran "Optimus" Văn Cường's Kassadin stealing the final kill.
Fnatic will try and turn things around against Immortals on Friday at 5 a.m. ET, while Gigabyte Marines look to keep rolling in a matchup against Longzhu Gaming in the next game at 6 a.m. ET.
-- Wyatt Lyles
Immortals 0-1 Longzhu
In a battle between two well-known names within their respective regions, Longzhu Gaming came out on top in its Group B match against Immortals during Day 1.
The game started off close, with Longzhu (1-0) finding only minimal gold leads, simply due to better jungle farming. However, the story quickly developed into the mass amounts of resources Immortals (0-1) put into the bottom lane, with jungler Jake "Xmithie" Puchero's Ezreal, alone, dumping in two teleports and a smattering of gank attempts within the first 15 minutes. It paid off for Immortals, leading to first tower and three kills in the respective lane.
The transition to the mid game brought about about a frenetic pace, with both teams fully committed to teamfights. Longzhu was able to grasp full control of the contest thanks to a rush down of the Baron while its opposition was focused on the Infernal Drake. Despite losing a handful of members, the buff gave Longzhu enough of an advantage to crack into Immortals' base, with an elongated ace coming after a perhaps overaggressive play from mid laner Eugene "Pobelter" Park.
It didn't take long after that for Longzhu to walk away with the win, as it quickly rotated to bottom lane and wiped away a respawning Immortals to claim victory.
In what was expected to be a strong showing by Longzhu, Immortals challenged one of the top favorites to win Worlds. While the game didn't result in a victory for Immortals, it did show that Longzhu can be beat.
Immortals will play Fnatic on Friday, at 6:00 a.m EST while Longzhu Gaming will take on Gigabyte Marines in the following game at 7:00 a.m EST.
-- Dylan Sen
Samsung Galaxy 1-0 G2 Esports
Samsung Galaxy dismantled G2 Esports in a blink-and-you-missed-it victory.
While the game wasn't entirely one-sided, Samsung clearly looked like the better team after the 10-minute mark. As Europe's main hope to succeed at Worlds, G2 didn't look as competitive against Samsung as expected.
G2, departing from its normal European League of Legends Championships Series strategy of bottom and mid lane focus, kicked off Game 1 with an early gank in the top lane from jungler Kim "Trick" Gang-Yun's Ivern. Despite G2's kill lead throughout the early game, Samsung managed to stay ahead in gold thanks to stronger farm numbers and better objective control.
Not much fighting took place during the game, but nearly every fight resulted in kills. Having wrestled control away from G2 through superior mid lane priority and jungle control, a Baron play near the 25-minute mark blew the door open for Samsung, allowing it to build upon its gold lead. Shortly afterward, a triple kill by Samsung mid laner Lee "Crown" Min-ho's Taliyah created a Grand Canyon-sized advantage for the South Korean squad, and G2 wasn't able to put up much of a fight as the 2016 World Championship runners-up waltzed down for the win.
G2 Esports faces 1907 Fenerbahçe on Friday in its next game of the group stage. Samsung will play the following game against Royal Never Give Up to decide the first seed in Group C.
-- Dylan Sen
Royal Never Give Up 1-0 Fenerbache
RNG overcame a slow start to win the opening matchup of the 2017 League of Legends World Championship. 1907 Fenerbahçe Esports tried its best to upset Royal Never Give Up, but it just wasn't meant to be.
In what was expected to be a stomp, RNG (1-0) had a harder time taking down its Group C brethren than expected. Thanks to a nifty Level 1 invade, Fenerbahce (0-1) was able to stave off the inevitable for some time, with RNG never really gaining a grasp on the contest until the 20-minute mark. In the end, strong macro play would win out, as RNG was slowly, but surely, able to out-muscle and outclass its European counterparts.
With the contest basically clinched after a Baron take near the 33-minute mark, a relentless wave of minions and a near-restless slow burn from RNG would be all the Chinese team would need to finally claim victory after a drawn out 38 minutes.
-- Dylan Sen