Brandon Sturak

Brandon Sturak

Brandon is a Niagara University graduate with a passion for esports. He writes about League of Legends and esports, with analysis and commentary on both. He is a founding member Niagara University Esports, the previous mid laner and current Head Coach for the NU Esports LoL team. Twitter @GhandiLoL

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

LoL Worlds 2019 Play-In Knockout
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One day remains in the League of Legends 2019 World Championship Play-Ins. Four teams are left standing and are hoping to follow Damwon Gaming and Clutch Gaming into the Main Event. These four teams are Hong Kong Attitude, Isurus Gaming, Splyce and Unicorns of Love. Only two from this group will be able to move on, and with so much on the line, the teams played their hearts out. Here's the breakdown of all the day's games!

Hong Kong Attitude vs Isurus Gaming

Game One

LoL Worlds 2019 Play-In Knockouts HKA ISG Game 1

The first series of the day between Hong Kong Attitude ("HKA") and Isurus Gaming ("ISG") was anticipated to be very close. But the opening game wasn't close at all. HKA dominated ISG, playing an exceptionally clean game to kick off the match. This was despite Oddie ganking ISG's two solo lanes to get the team two early kills, as HKA was able to use their bottom lane's pressure to rotate around the map. At nine minutes, all five HKA members went top, killed two from ISG, claimed the Rift Herald and destroyed the First Tower bonus top.

This was a massive power play and gave HKA immense pressure. They were easily able to switch between lanes to knock down tower after tower and take all the neutral camps and dragons. At an early 21 minutes, HKA rushed the Baron and secured it. To make matters worse for ISG, HKA also got three kills from this play. From here, all HKA had to do was play it slow and let their empowered minions demolish towers and two Inhibitors. A final, desperate play was made from ISG to try and kill Unified when three from HKA sieged the top lane, but this proved to be their demise as 3z and M1ssion simply pushed the base and destroyed ISG's Nexus.

QUICK STATS:

  • Time: 27:51
  • Kills: 11-4
  • Turrets: 11-1
  • Gold: 59.1k-42.7k
  • Dragons: 4-0
  • Barons: 1-0

Game Two

LoL Worlds 2019 Play-In Knockouts HKA ISG Game 2

The first game was rough for ISG but the second was much better as they found their footing. It was a fairly clean win for them this time, and though it wasn't quite as quick, they choked their opponents out. Seiya was the focus, as he solo killed M1ssion for First Blood and popped off in all of the skirmishes and team fights. HKA did turn around one of ISG's top lane dive, but ISG pulled off a four-for-zero team fight in the bottom river that led to them getting two towers and a Mountain Dragon.

There were a few skirmishes in the mid-game that ISG used to push their advantage slightly further. But at 26 minutes, ISG rushed the Baron and secured it with no problem. They couldn't quite manage to destroy any Inhibitors but did clean up some towers outside of HKA's base and a single Inhibitor tower. It's important to note that throughout the game ISG had accumulated five dragons, with the mouthwatering three Infernals too. All of this setup built up to a 32-minute team fight in HKA's jungle, where ISG cut down four HKA members. Now was their chance to barrel straight down mid and push through to HKA's Nexus.

QUICK STATS:

  • Time: 32:56
  • Kills: 14-5
  • Turrets: 10-1
  • Gold: 65.2k-54.9k
  • Dragons: 5-0
  • Barons: 1-0

Game Three

LoL Worlds 2019 Play-In Knockouts HKA ISG Game 3

The pendulum swung back into HKA's favor in Game Three. But this one was far from easy for them, primarily because of Buggax's Irelia. This single champion was massive the entire game, as Buggax solo killed 3z's Gnar for First Blood and would later put on immense side lane pressure and carry team fights. Though ISG was able to leverage a skirmish win at 10 minutes, HKA focused on towers, using the Rift Herald to take the First Tower bonus. They also built themselves up a nice stockpile of dragons and outer towers.

These smaller leads enabled HKA to win a team fight one-for-zero at 22 minutes and slay Baron Nashor. They went to push, and it looked like they could do serious damage after picking off Slow, but a great flank engage from Buggax set ISG up to kill three from HKA. It bought them time, but when the second Baron spawned they were unable to stop HKA from taking it again and lost three members trying. With this opening, HKA destroyed the middle Inhibitor and a Nexus Tower. Next, HKA went to the Elder Dragon and comfortably took that. Next, HKA pushed through bottom and killed both Slow and the bottom Inhibitor. After that, they kept pushing and decisively won the last fight with an Ace. As a result, HKA destroyed a second ISG Nexus and brought them to match point.

QUICK STATS:

  • Time: 40:15
  • Kills: 13-12
  • Turrets: 10-5
  • Gold: 76.9k-69.7k
  • Dragons: 5-2
  • Barons: 2-0

Game Four

LoL Worlds 2019 Play-In Knockouts HKA ISG Game 4

HKA finally broke the red side curse for this series with an exciting win in Game Four. This was another game that teetered on the edge for both teams, as both sides empowered themselves in different ways. HKA gained a significant advantage at seven minutes, where they won a skirmish in their bottom side jungle three-for-zero. A few minutes later, ISG decided to dive and kill 3z but HKA traded their top laner's life for the First Tower bonus. The mid-game featured a number of picks on side laners for both of the teams. As a result, the game didn't rapidly progress but stalled for a little while.

This game state broke at 30 minutes when HKA saw an opportunity to take the Baron. They rushed it and brought it down before ISG could attempt to steal. There was a fight afterward but it went one-for-one. Next, HKA pushed through mid to take the middle Inhibitor. ISG repelled HKA by killing two members in a top lane team fight, but what happened next was chaos. ISG went to the Elder Dragon, and though they secured it, the HKA squad split into two groups. Some members went to the dragon pit to stop ISG from going back to base, while the rest pushed through top. The latter group demolished the Inhibitor and, due to the former group's efforts, pushed all the way to the Nexus. With this, HKA procured their spot in the Main Event.

QUICK STATS:

  • Time: 36:38
  • Kills: 7-6
  • Turrets: 3-10
  • Gold: 63.0k-68.1k
  • Dragons: 3-3
  • Barons: 0-1

Splyce vs Unicorns of Love

Game One

LoL Worlds 2019 Play-In Knockouts UOL SPY Game 1

The second series of the day is one with many storylines underneath it. And though Splyce ("SPY") was predicted to defeat the Unicorns of Love ("UOL") 3-0, UOL took Game One. There were two distinct stages of this game, the first being SPY early game dominance. They totally controlled almost every aspect of it, as they bullied and killed Boss multiple times and accumulated kills for all of their carries. They were massively ahead, and after taking the Baron at 20 minutes, they should've been able to do serious damage or end the game.

But a critical mistake came out from Norskeren as he got caught out and forced SPY to stop their Baron siege. Because of this, the game advanced to the second stage of UOL's late-game dominance. Their carries had scaled up far past their SPY counterparts and were huge menaces. Because of this, SPY struggled to hold a candle to UOL in team fights. It took them two Barons and a lot of effort, but UOL cracked all three of SPY's by 40 minutes. SPY did squeak out a team fight win at 42 minutes, but due to a flood of minions, lost their Nexus towers. SPY also stole UOL's Baron at 44 minutes but it didn't matter to UOL as they obliterated three from SPY and used their numbers advantage to push in and finish SPY's Nexus.

QUICK STATS:

  • Time: 45:27
  • Kills: 22-26
  • Turrets: 11-6
  • Gold: 87.6k-86.0k
  • Dragons: 3-4
  • Barons: 2-2

Game Two

LoL Worlds 2019 Play-In Knockouts UOL SPY Game 2

After a rough Game One, SPY bounced back to win Game Two. It was a fairly volatile early game, as AHaHacik got First Blood for Innaxe bottom but Xerxe ganked and killed Nomanz mid. There were also a few skirmishes and though both teams came out ahead in some, SPY did so more often. Their early/mid-game team fighting was better though and was suffocating for UOL to play against. UOL was still in it, but SPY was carving out more and more of a lead with every passing minute.

The tipping point for this game was at 21 minutes. Here, UOL tried to pick off Vizicsacsi, but SPY collapsed on them and killed two. Next, they moved to Baron, where they finished off the other three members to Ace UOL and secure the Baron. This buff didn't end up doing much damage so SPY had to wait for the second Baron. But it was actually UOL who started it up first, but this proved to be a huge mistake as SPY collapsed and slaughtered four. After this, SPY destroyed two Inhibitors. A minute later SPY struck again, killing Edward before fighting yet another team fight. This one was another wash for SPY, as they killed three from UOL, the Baron and ultimately, their Nexus.

QUICK STATS:

  • Time: 31:30
  • Kills: 25-10
  • Turrets: 10-2
  • Gold: 64.6k-50.9k
  • Dragons: 2-2
  • Barons: 2-0

Game Three

LoL Worlds 2019 Play-In Knockouts UOL SPY Game 3

SPY unquestionably found their groove at this point. This game was much cleaner than the previous ones and they snowballed their lead much more effectively. At as early as three minutes, SPY made two crucial plays. In the bottom lane, they dove and killed two UOL members, while Vizicsacsi fought a 1v2 under his top tower to get a kill. A little later, SPY repaid the dive with one of their own but was successful. They pushed their lead by taking the Rift Herald, the First Tower bonus and a couple of dragons.

UOL attempted to bully Vizicsacsi in the top lane, but despite killing him a couple of times and taking his tower, SPY was pulling further ahead. After winning a 16-minute team fight three-for-zero SPY had full control over UOL's jungle. After winning another fight at 21 minutes, SPY quickly took the Baron. But UOL managed to get a couple of kills on Humanoid and Kobbe to stall out the push. However, SPY did eventually take the bottom Inhibitor. Disaster struck at 29 minutes though, as SPY started up the Baron. UOL arrived at the pit to contest it, but SPY immediately turned and engaged a fight. They Ace'd UOL and didn't even need to bother with the Baron to knock down their Nexus.

QUICK STATS:

  • Time: 30:25
  • Kills: 18-11
  • Turrets: 10-2
  • Gold: 61.6k-49.1k
  • Dragons: 4-0
  • Barons: 1-0

Game Four

LoL Worlds 2019 Play-In Knockouts UOL SPY Game 4

It looked like SPY had found their form, but UOL brought out a creative team composition to claw the series back. It ended up being a banger of a game and the action started very early. Edward was actually the recipient of First Blood when he ganked mid, and from here both teams saw successful ganks all over the map. Nomanz was the focus of this game as he picked up kill after kill and showed extreme displays of "balance" as he brutally massacred enemies in 1v3 scenarios.

The mid-game was tense as UOL constantly tried to rush the Baron. The initial two times they did though Xerxe flew in and stole the buffs away! Unfortunately, SPY lost the fights afterward so SPY couldn't utilize the stolen buff to the fullest. But UOL was still in the driver's seat and pushed their lead by slowing chipping away at SPY's base. At 36 minutes, UOL finally was able to secure a Baron buff. SPY stalled out their siege by forcing a three-for-three team fight top though.

Towards the end of that buff's duration, UOL decided to take the Elder Dragon. With it, they easily blasted all three of SPY's Inhibitors. The final nail in SPY's Game Four came at 41 minutes when UOL collapsed on top lane and got two quick picks. This gave them the opportunity to rush the base with an army of minions and smash the Nexus.

QUICK STATS:

  • Time: 42:05
  • Kills: 25-12
  • Turrets: 11-3
  • Gold: 81.1k-72.4k
  • Dragons: 4-1
  • Barons: 1-2

Game Five

LoL Worlds 2019 Play-In Knockouts UOL SPY Game 5

After Silver Scrapes finished, SPY and UOL returned to the stage to fight for their tournament lives. It was a fantastic, nail-biting game too, but in the end, SPY emerged victoriously. AHaHacik kicked this final game off with a gank towards the top side, where he secured First Blood. But Xerxe ganked mid to get a kill for Humanoid, who ended up accumulating a number of kills. Both teams managed to find advantages in different places and as a result, it was neck and neck moving into the mid-game.

SPY seemed to be slightly ahead though, as they exerted more pressure on the map. Their skirmishing and team fighting was a bit better as well, so UOL was struggling to not give ground. But that didn't phase them and they made a play on the Baron at 24 minutes. Though they did secure the buff, UOL lost two members and was unable to use it to take any towers. Because of this, SPY had the opportunity to claim the second Baron when it spawned and they did. Funnily enough, due to some scrappy fights, SPY couldn't do much damage to UOL's base either.

But the pot boiled over at 36 minutes at the Elder Dragon. Here, SPY rushed the Elder and obtained its true damage buff. Fortunately for SPY, UOL tried to contest it and was still in the area, so they were able to instantly force a team fight. SPY wiped UOL five-for-one and fully capitalized on this opening, pushing through the bot lane to take the final Nexus of the series.

QUICK STATS:

  • Time: 37:46
  • Kills: 20-9
  • Turrets: 9-3
  • Gold: 72.2k64.7k
  • Dragons: 4-2
  • Barons: 1-1

Main Stage Final Group Draw

Group A:

  1. G2 Esports (LEC)
  2. Griffin (LCK)
  3. Cloud9 (LCS)
  4. Hong Kong Attitude (LMS)

Group B:

  1. FunPlus Pheonix (LPL)
  2. J Team (LMS)
  3. GAM Esports (VCS)
  4. Splyce (LEC)

Group C:

  1. SK Telecom T1 (LCK)
  2. Fnatic (LEC)
  3. Royal Never Give Up (LPL)
  4. Clutch Gaming (LCS)

Group D:

  1. Team Liquid (LCS)
  2. ahq e-Sports Club (LMS)
  3. Invictus Gaming (LPL)
  4. Damwon Gaming (LCK)

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.

Images via LoL Esports.

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