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League of Legends: Quarterfinals – Worlds 2017

League of Legends Worlds 2017

Now, it gets serious. The groups stage is a little more than an international exhibition, but come the knockout portion the truly best teams from around the world get to put their year long hard work on display in a best of 5 series. And there’s no better way to start the week than with arguably two of the best in attendance.

Longzhu vs. Samsung Galaxy (WIN)
Starting out, both teams seemed a bit nervous. The odd mistakes, passive play, and slightly altered team composition made for a rather lukewarm game 1.
Going into the next match, both teams still looked a little disorganized. Then, SSG, in a moment of astonishing brilliance, flipped the series on it’s head with an impeccable game winning teamfight.

Following that, Samsung played with the confidence they knew they had in them all along. Longzhu however, resigned to defeat. Once again showcasing his veteran status, Ambition aggressively made plays around the map which allowed his team to control vision and wait for their opportunity to strike. Which as it turned out, was simply waiting for LZ to outplay themselves. Springing the trap on themselves, Khan tried to engage on the opposing Taric only for SSG to collapse on them and massacre the split-call team for a juicy Baron, the game, and the entire 3-0 series.

SK Telecom (WIN) vs. Misfits

Hey it’s return to form SKT! After a rather lackluster group stage, our boys in red played MSF like a lonely kid plays visual novels. I guess it helps to have the best player in eSports history go 4-0-7 on Galio. Incoming clean sweep.

Wouldn’t you know it, going into game 2 MSF tried to pull off that early game towerdive they see good teams pull off all too often, only for themselves to fail the execution spectacularly. Still though, I admire the attempt and even the tenacity to keep going afterword. In fact, with a bit more aggression later on, MSF actually won the bot lane and took control of the dragon side of the map. Snowballing this lead is Ignar on the godhand making picks and making plays. Who said Blitzcrank cheese only works in bronze?

Faker may be angry, but the Misfits are even hungrier. To add to the spectacle, MSF pulled out a jungle Ivern and Bang confidently, disrespectfully even, chose Vayne. In a shocking-but-not-really turn of events, MSF’s bot lane outplayed SKT’s for first and second blood.

AND THEN THEY DO IT AGAIN THE MADMEN! What’s incredible is that MSF isn’t content with resting on their laurels. Just like last game, the MSF ADC Hans Sama on the Tristana tore through the SKT members and their base. Further on, with a sneaky Baron, a stolen Baron, and two major team fight wins, MSF went one up in the series.

Match point for Misfits, if they do it here then they will send 3 time world champions home. While it started out very slowly, the 4th match quickly heated up after a pick on Faker and a subsequent Baron for MSF. As the European team pushed, the pressure continued to rise. Bit by bit, SK Telecom’s hopes, dreams, and memes continued to crumble. But it’s not over, SKT clawed their way back with a key teamfight win after MSF pushed a bit too far under the inhibitor turret.

And then it’s all over in a flash. Remember how SKT is a great team? Yeah, they remembered just in time as well.

Despite the epicness of a 5 game series in the quarterfinals and the silver scrapes that accompanied it, I knew it was over the moment Misfits picked Varus. More seriously, they put up a tremendous fight. But, what can you do when the Demon King god of League of Legends himself, Faker, shows up to carry his team to victory?

Fnatic vs. Royal Never Give Up (WIN)

Here we go again! The underdog ADC Rekkles, just like Hans Sama before him, got an early lead both in kills and a turret-oh wait he was just eaten by Cho’gath. Let’s try to forget this match.

Fnatic showed some life in game 2 with a couple picks and a Baron, but it would be for naught against a team that Never Gives Up.

I actually busted out laughing at the draft phase in game 3, FNC gave up some monumental picks in exchange for only a couple of good ones. Despite that, RNG couldn’t find the fights they needed to win the game. Fnatic picked up on this and controlled the map which rewarded them with Barons, drakes, and inhibitors. But just like in the previous game, this is a team that never surrenders.

MXLG AGAIN WITH BARON STEAL WHEN IT MATTERS OH MY GOD (didn’t actually matter though). Almost a repeat of that infamous game from Worlds ago, but FNC managed to finish off the nexus once and and for all.

Phew, after a 40 minute rather action less game, RNG finally take it with one last explosive teamfight.

Though I was extremely critical of Fnatic during the group stage, I have to say they really redeemed themselves here in the quarterfinals and made it abundantly clear they deserved to get at least as far as they did.

World Elite (WIN) vs. Cloud 9

C9 ain’t your average team from North America. And when it comes to international competition, no one else from the region can compare. At their best, they force their opponents to play their gam, even if it doesn’t always work out in their favor. For example, Jensen picked up an Aurelion Sol for game 1. Using the nigh-global pressure, C9 were able to quickly take control. However, it quickly fell to the disgusting mid-game power spike from WE’s skirmish composition.

In case you don’t know or remember, C9’s current top laner is the OG SKT world champion top laner. Throwing back to those days, he picked up the mad scientist Singed in game 2. Looking to throw WE off their preferred strategy, C9 forced the Chinese team to play at their breakneck pace where at only 20 minutes the North American team took Baron. A few minutes later, WE broke the number 1 rule of League of Legends and uselessly changed a Singed while C9 took a free Baron for the win.

Sneaky in Lane LOL… or not?? Who does this guy think he his getting a double kill on his opposing laners? Off the back of that massive early game lead, Sneaky on the Tristana scaled out of control and as a result, ended the game at 25 minutes. Phenomenal performance from Cloud 9 thus far, but can they keep it up to move on to the semifinals as a North American pioneer?

Er, maybe not. At least, not yet. C9 got absolutely annihilated in game 4. Play that Silver Scrapes once again, let’s head to the final match.

Oh. I guess there’s no hope here either. Contrary to the matches before hand, Cloud 9 seemingly bit the bullet with their draft. Both in giving great picks away like Galeo/Kog/Janna, and taking poor ones instead like Cait/Lulu/Shen. Disappointing for sure, but their performance as a team and as the NA representative this year was fantastic. Maybe next time.

On to the Semifinals

What an exhausting, yet incredible week. Silver Scrapes twice over, fantastic performances from incredible teams, and even astonishingly good displays from underdog teams. Sure, we got the result most of us expected, but this quarterfinals stage has been one of the best in recent memory.

Next week, we’ll find out what the finals will look like. Maybe it will be another Korean vs. Korean final? Or perhaps for the first time in years China will have a go at taking down the gods of League of Legends. I for one, I am looking forward to Anime Protagonist Uzi finally winning the Worlds he’s long overdue for – and it’s taking place on home turf no less. Can you imagine the deafening level of cheers they would get if they were able to pull it off? I’m getting chills just thinking about it. Go Royal Never Give Up! Fighting!

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League of Legends Worlds 2017