The Demacia Cup, Demacia Championship, whatever you want to call it, is indeed the pinnacle of the Chinese League of Legends offseason. Following a tumultuous Day 1 - best-of-1 is always an anything-goes type of format - we find ourselves with some clear-cut favorites to stake a claim for the title here. Here’s just how Day 1 went for all of the teams we find progressing without falling to the loser’s bracket.
World Champions Invictus Gaming opened up the day (and tournament)’s events, with a dominating victory over Suning. Invictus Gaming's victory was spearheaded by World Finals MVP Ning and silent hero Baolan. The frequently underappreciated support of Invictus Gaming demonstrated why he is almost unquestionably the best support in China - or, at least, for this roster. Finding engages left and right with a Rakan pick that some people had perhaps neglected in this emerging preseason meta. Baolan demonstrated that even the purported counterpick of Morgana from Swordart was not enough to deny him this time around. Baolan proved that any teams they face in the remainder of this tournament are going to have to respect the champion pool of even the quietest member of Invictus Gaming - with most teams dedicating picks and bans over to the solo lanes.
Rogue Warriors came into this tournament, and season, as the biggest question mark of all the established LPL teams. A strong - perhaps even promising - performance in Summer has almost been nullified by the release of nearly every player in the roster. Support Killua is now the only real established name currently under the brand. It was in part due to Killua’s diligence and supporting capabilities (even on an unconventional pick like Gragas) that young marksman ZWuJi was facilitated through the early game onwards; set up for success. He earned the game MVP and secured no less than ten kills for himself on a newly returned to the meta Caitlyn. This isn’t to say that rookie team SinoDragon Gaming looked particularly weak; the future LPL franchise has some promise, primarily through the middle lane.
JD Gaming and TOP Sports seemed to be one of the closer games on paper heading into it. We were dealing with two decidedly middle-of-the-pack LPL teams that almost made a name for themselves in the Summer. Botlane talent Bvoy on the side of JDG looked uncomfortable, to say the very least, and his faltering nullified any grasp over a lead that the decently strong topside of Zoom, Flawless, and Yagao could have attained. TOP have reliable carries in Knight and Loken, who had decent (if very promising) performances through this past LPL season. Knight in particular (on a spectacular Irelia) looks to stake a claim for the title of best domestic midlaner in the region with a little more discipline under his belt.
Royal Never Give Up
EDward Gaming versus Royal Never Give Up was the highlight of the game for most. The LPL’s first and third seeds from the World Championship look to find some domestic redemption after an overall disappointing international performance. It was Mlxg renowned for his inconsistencies that showed up today in force, putting out a consistent and dominating performance on Kha’Zix after securing some crucial early game kills. This isn’t to sleep on the king of the LPL himself, however - Uzi looks more than comfortable even in a meta that doesn’t particularly favor attack damage carries.
This year’s Demacia Cup looks to be even more explosive and entertaining than seasons past, especially when the early game aggressive meta is concerned. Stay tuned to see which of these teams proceed further!