The final day of the 2018 League of Legends World Championship play-ins ended with a bang on Thursday, as the favorites of Groups A and B emerged victorious with the first seeds in Seoul, South Korea.
Fans of the League of Legends Pro League and the European League of Legends Championship Series can rest easy, as both Edward Gaming and G2 Esports managed to escape their respective groups with the No. 1 seed. EDG started the day with a scare as it got upset by the LLN's Infinity eSports CR after putting LPL regular season starting jungler Chen "Haro" Wen-Lin on the Rift in his World Championship debut. EDG, perhaps blinded by hubris or possibly lost without the veteran leadership of jungler Ming "Clearlove7" Kai, tried to brute force teamfights in the mid-late game with a top lane Fiora, which backfired spectacularly. Sure, EDG had already accrued a massive early game lead, but that's just what the world has come to expect of this dynamic squad. The second EDG slipped up, Infinity mid laner Sergio "Cotopaco" Silva's Irelia and top laner Jose "Relic" Pombo's Sion were there to make EDG pay, taking back-to-back 5-for-0 aces starting at 25 minutes to take the upset win and keep things interesting in Group A.
Edward Gaming would not be denied, though, bouncing back with aplomb against Dire Wolves in a clinical stomp. The tragedy that is Dire Wolves and the Oceanic Pro League as a whole at the World Championships added another disheartening chapter after a promising 1-1 start to the team's play-Ins runs when it got stomped by Infinity, eliminating the Dire Wolves from yet another World Championships in the very onset of the tournament. Credit is due to Infinity, though, which looked calm and poised in the win, occasionally losing control but never hesitating to make an aggressive play call to get right back in the driver's seat. The first pentakill of the 2018 World Championships marked the sad end of Dire Wolves' run as Infinity AD carry Renato "Renyu" Gallegos took down all five of the Wolves as Kai'Sa, propelling Infinity into an unlikely second seed finish.
Meanwhile, Supermassive came into Thursday's action with a 2-0 record in Group B, including a win over European powerhouse, G2 Esports. G2 would settle the score, though, taking down Supermassive in group play to open the day and the first-seed tiebreaker match to close things out. Supermassive looked competitive in the teams' first matchup, with G2 eeking out a win thanks to clean macro play and a strong showing from jungler Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski. In the tiebreaker, though, G2 flexed on Supermassive, juking the Turkish champions in the draft by sending Akali to the top lane in the hands of Martin "Wunder" Hansen while giving mid-laner Luka "Perkz" Perkovic the bruiser-carry Urgot. Wunder was the star of the tiebreaker game, dominating Supermassive top laner Asim "fabFabulous" Cihat Karakaya's Aatrox and showing that, despite Supermassive's hype, there are plenty of weaknesses for other teams to exploit as fabFabulous' discomfort on playing carry champions was painfully apparent.
At the end of the day, though, Group B ended up how most predicted heading into the tournament: G2 on top, Supermassive putting up a good performance to earn second place, and poor Ascension Gaming getting knocked out of Worlds empty handed with nary a win to its name. Looking ahead to the best-of-five series to determine which teams make it to the Worlds' Group Stage, G2 next faces Infinity eSports CR, Edward Gaming takes on Japan's Cinderella story, DetonatioN FocusMe, Supermassive gets a chance to prove itself against upstart G-Rex, and North America's Cloud9 battles CIS legends Gambit Gaming. The qualifiers kick off with Cloud9 taking on Gambit at 12 a.m. ET on Saturday, followed by Edward Gaming vs DetonatioN FocusMe later that day at 4 a.m. ET.