League of Legends: Worlds 2019 | Play-In Knockouts Day One Recap

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League of Legends: Worlds 2019 | Play-In Knockouts Day One Recap

The 2019 World Championships are well underway and after four days of intense competition, eight Play-In teams are set to battle for their future tournament hopes. One best of five series is all that stands in their way of the Main Event. The first day of the Knockout Stage featured Damwon Gaming vs Lowkey Esports and Clutch Gaming vs Royal Youth. Here's how it all went down.

Damwon Gaming vs Lowkey Esports

Game One

LoL Worlds 2019 Play In Knockout LK DWG Game 1

Damwon Gaming (“DWG”) came into this series as the heavy favorites, but Lowkey Esports (“LK”) started it off with a crazy win. LK used a level one lane swap strategy to confuse DWG. I worked wonderfully, as they were able to kill Nuguri's Vladimir twice in the opening minutes and get a whole ton of tower plates onto Celebrity's Tristana. With these kills and plates, Celebrity was a monster. He took the First Tower bottom, then one top, then one mid.

But then DWG struck back. They grouped up and out-team fought LK even from a huge deficit. But it wasn't so clear cut, as LK were able to leverage their ADC advantage and still take team fight victories of their own. But during the mid-game DWG were able to take three Infernal Dragons, giving them a distinct scaling threat. As the game progressed, this became more clear as DWG won more fights. But LK certainly wasn't out of it yet, as they stole away DWG's Baron and fought tooth and nail in their base to stop DWG's Nexus push. After repelling this push, LK saw their chance. Celebrity immediately Teleported to the top lane and pushed. He pushed right through to DWG's Nexus, and with the help of his team, blasted the Nexus as DWG frantically tried to stop them.


  • Time: 41:36
  • Kills: 16-25
  • Turrets: 10-7
  • Gold: 75.6k-78.4k
  • Dragons: 2-4
  • Barons: 2-0

Game Two

LoL Worlds 2019 Play In Knockout LK DWG Game 2

The second game of the series was much different than the first. It was much more of what was expected from DWG; total domination of LK. Though it started with First Blood going over to LK's DNK, LK didn't have a chance. Canyon got Showmaker a kill at seven minutes before going bottom to help Nuclear get one too. On top of this, they secured an Infernal Dragon. But DWG truly broke open the game at 11 minutes, when they contested LK's Herald take. Here, they slaughtered three from LK, took the Herald for themselves and used it to destroy multiple tower plates top.

At this point, LK looked helpless against DWG. None of their plays worked and Hani's Pyke couldn't find ultimate resets. As a result, DWG furthered their advantage with objective takes. That was until 23 minutes, when DWG picked off DNK. With the jungler down, DWG easily took the Baron then two more kills afterward. This allowed them to take two towers and the middle Inhibitor too. Because of all this pressure, there was no way LK could fend off DWG. This was apparent at 25 minutes, as DWG killed three from LK and swiftly demolished their Nexus soon after.


  • Time: 26:09
  • Kills: 11-3
  • Turrets: 8-0
  • Gold: 49.4k-39.8k
  • Dragons: 3-1
  • Barons: 1-0

Game Three

LoL Worlds 2019 Play In Knockout LK DWG Game 3

And with a second win, DWG brought LK to match point. Again, this was a fairly convincing victory for DWG but it wasn't without mistakes. First Blood went over to LK's Celebrity when the team caught out a DWG member near the bottom lane. Fortunately, Nuguri destroyed the First Tower in the top lane at only 10 minutes to get a large early lead. Though LK did find some picks in the mid-game, DWG stuck together most of the time to secure objectives as a team to safely push their lead.

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Their strength was demonstrated in an 18-minute team fight. Here, DWG cut down three LK members and took a Mountain Dragon. This helped DWG rush the Baron after picking off DNK at 23 minutes. They got the buff, but a beautiful Gnar ultimate in the Baron pit set LK up to obliterate all five DWG champions. It set DWG on the back foot for a bit, but at 29 minutes, DWG caught out DNK again and grabbed the second Baron. The weight of this buffed up siege proved too much for LK, and though they went two-for-two in a team fight in their base, they couldn't stop DWG from smashing their Nexus to pieces.


  • Time: 33:02
  • Kills: 14-14
  • Turrets: 11-2
  • Gold: 66.9k-56.6k
  • Dragons: 3-1
  • Barons: 2-0

Game Four

LoL Worlds 2019 Play In Knockout LK DWG Game 4

The series continued to spiral downwards for LK and was ended by DWG in Game Four. If the last game was dominant, this one was a complete wash. DWG played nearly perfectly and started their match with a great bot lane play. Nuclear and Beryl outplayed four LK members under their tower to get First Blood and a two-for-one trade overall. Then, Nuclear cut through Venus and killed him in the isolated 2v2. The rest of DWG exerted great pressure as well, which helped them to take the Herald, First Tower bonus and win a skirmish two-for-zero.

DWG gave LK no way in from here. They picked members off in their own jungle and under their towers, choking them out from any safe space outside of their base. Because of this, DWG easily secured any objective they wanted, from dragons to towers. The fact that DWG had an incredible 10k gold lead at only 16 minutes shows just how fantastically they were playing. When the Baron spawned DWG immediatly killed it to claim its buff. A minute later, they were pushing through the top lane and taking the Inhibitor. When LK desperately tried to repel them, DWG brushed them aside, killed four of their champions and smashed their third Nexus in a row to ensure their spot in the Main Event.


  • Time: 22:38
  • Kills: 2-13
  • Turrets: 0-10
  • Gold: 32.3k-49.5k
  • Dragons: 0-3
  • Barons: 0-1

Clutch Gaming vs Royal Youth

Game One

LoL Worlds 2019 Play In Knockout CG RYL Game 1

This series had a lot of question marks around it, considering Clutch Gaming's (“CG”) group stage form, but CG cleanly won the first game versus Royal Youth (“RYL”). CG got Huni's Rumble, Lira's Elise and a good counterpick for Damonte and it paid dividends. At three minutes, these three fought their opponents' counterparts to get First Blood and a two-for-one overall. Though RYL found a kill in the bottom lane and two Infernal Dragons, CG used the Rift Herald to take a bunch of plates.

In addition to these advantages, CG also found a pick onto Cyeol and a winning mid lane skirmish two-for-zero. They ended up taking the First Tower bonus and all three outer towers by 20 minutes too. Their play was much more controlled than what was expected and it looked great for them. Their mid-game was arguably slower than it should've been, but eventually, they did bait the Baron to turn and get two kills. Then, they took the buff for real. This buff proved detrimental for RYL, as it empowered CG to dive into their base and obliterate four of their champions. The single surviving RLY member could only look on as CG blasted their first Nexus of the series.

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  • Time: 29:55
  • Kills: 13-6
  • Turrets: 8-1
  • Gold: 57.2k-46.4k
  • Dragons: 2-2
  • Barons: 1-0

Game Two

LoL Worlds 2019 Play In Knockout CG RYL Game 2

CG silenced the critics again in Game Two with another decisive victory. Like in the game before, there was a top-side 3v3 early on in the game. Again, CG came out on top with a three-for-one. But simultaneously there was a scuffle in the bot lane where Cody Sun killed Tolerant in the 2v2. From here, RYL decided to try to punish Huni's positioning, and though they killed him a couple of times, CG moved as a unit to take objectives. With the First Tower bonus and three Cloud Dragons in their pocket, CG was in a comfortable position.

It was still within RYL's reach at that point. But it soon slipped away due to multiple picks from CG. At 24 minutes they killed both Tolerant and Closer, then turned for Baron. They claimed its buff amidst a hectic fight where Cody Sun eviscerated four RYL members to get himself a Quadra Kill. This lead was sufficient enough that even when CG lost their top laner to RYL, they won a bottom lane team fight two-for-zero. But they wouldn't stop there and instead pushed forward, swatting down RYL members that approached them. It wasn't long before many from RYL lie dead and their Nexus was in pieces.


  • Time: 27:34
  • Kills: 21-9
  • Turrets: 8-2
  • Gold: 57.4k-44.6k
  • Dragons: 3-0
  • Barons: 1-0

Game Three

LoL Worlds 2019 Play In Knockout CG RYL Game 3

Three clean wins, quick and easy. That was the story of this best-of-five that CG absolutely dominated. Their macro play was similar to the previous games, but the pressure for these plays came from the bottom lane this time. Cody Sun's Lucian was a massive threat that RYL could never deal with. Vulcan killed Tolerant for First Blood, but Cody Sun got his kill on him a few minutes later. But the rest of CG didn't relax, as they won a skirmish mid one-for-zero.

From here, it was simple to move around the map as a unit to take towers and dragons. That's what CG did while finding a few picks here and there onto RYL members. They continued to amass dragons, and took RYL's middle Inhibitor even without the Baron buff. At 28 minutes, CG did take their first Baron buff, and though they had to lose a couple of members for it, it allowed them to take the bottom Inhibitor too. RYL did put up an admirable defense near the end, but CG took a second Baron and sixth dragon before taking all three Inhibitors. It was easy for CG to cleanly Ace RYL with the army of Super Minions behind them and destroy the final Nexus.


  • Time: 36:55
  • Kills: 19-7
  • Turrets: 11-3
  • Gold: 75.0k-60.0k
  • Dragons: 6-0
  • Barons: 2-0

Watch the 2019 World Championships here at ESTNN TV. For more information on the tournament, teams, standings, and players, visit www.lolesports.com. Stay tuned here at ESTNN and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more League of Legends news, articles, opinions and more.

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Brandon Sturak
Brandon is a writer and editor for ESTNN with a passion for esports. He writes about League of Legends and esports generally, providing analysis and commentary on both. He is a founding member of Niagara University Esports, while being the previous mid laner and Head Coach for the NU Esports LoL team as well. Twitter @GhandiLoL