Our first full group day action comes from Group A, as the four sides try to escape, some more desperate than others.
Group A is when we’ll see our first EU and NA teams leave us. Worst case, though highly likely, we’ll see them both leave. Before the start of play, DAMWON KIA sat firmly in first place with a 3-0 record. Victory in their first game of the day against FPX would all but guarantee them first place. FPX would need to beat Rogue and Cloud9 at least to guarantee a place, though beating DAMWON in Game One would certainly shake things up. As for Rogue and Cloud9, the latter would need a perfect day, and even then it might not be enough by the time they play their first game. For Rogue, it was the same story, though beating Cloud9 in their first game would be crucial to their survival at Worlds.
FunPlus Phoenix vs DAMWON KIA
In this crucial game, it’s DK who picked up the First Blood on the top side of the map for Khan, while FPX claimed the drake. After that, FPX tried to make a play on Khan but it ended up in a one-for-one on the top side as Khan solo killed Nuguri before dying to Doinb. While FPX were the ones to make the play, they came out behind, expending a huge amount of Summoner Spells to do so. In the early game, DK continued to find advantages, and while the lead was just 1.5k by 17-minutes, the snowball seemed well and truly on.
At around 21 minutes, FPX got caught out in the mid-lane. Before they’re able to react, they lost Nuguri and wasted a Teleport. DK pulled back, though they were unable to turn the kill into a tower. Our first 5v5 fight of the game started around the drake at 23 minutes and it’s DK that came out way ahead. FPX looked to be winning at the start but they only managed to take down one member of DK, who claimed a Baron for their victory afterward. DK moved to 5k ahead off of that play as they looked towards the end game. With Baron, DK were able to push in the bot lane Inhibitor, though DK decided against looking to end at the 27-minute mark.
After DK's first siege, another team fight broke out in the mid lane. Once again, FPX failed to get what they needed from it. As FPX retreated to defend their base, they’re stopped as two members of DK Teleported into their base. With FPX not able to make it back, their base fell and the game was over. With that win, DK guaranteed their place in the Knockout Stage.
- Teams: FPX - DK
- Time: 29:50
- Kills: 4-14
- Turrets: 5-9
- Gold: 51.5k - 57.6k
- Dragons: 2-2
- Barons: 0-1
Cloud9 vs Rogue
At level one, RGE tried to invade the C9 jungle and it went as badly as possible for the EU side. C9 fought back, picked up the red buff and two kills to go alongside it. While not a kill for RGE, Blaber attempted to dive the RGE top-side, but he ended up being executed to the tower, allowing Inspired to get slightly back into the game. A skirmish kicked off in the mid lane next, which resulted in a one-for-one kill trade after Perkz was caught out. Next up was RGE picking up two massive kills in the bot side of the map, with Larssen Teleporting in to pick up a Double Kill.
At just seven minutes, we’re in for another two kills on the bot side. Firstly, RGE loses one in the jungle before a 4v1 in the bot lane secures a second kill. RGE did manage to turn that into a 3v1 kill for themselves on the top side, though C9 remained 1k ahead. Shortly after that, C9 picked up two more kills on the map, yet again on the bot side, plus a kill top side. C9 chased on the top side, catching out multiple members of RGE and claiming two more kills. They dove the tower, and C9 picked up two more kills as C9 moved 4k ahead by 12:30. Things quieted down slightly as we got closer to Baron spawning. C9 had moved to 6k ahead, snowballing off their level one lead as they prepared for Baron and the late game.
The first real 5v5 of the game, and while RGE found a massive entry kill, C9 were able to flip the fight. They took down three members of RGE before securing the Baron. With Baron, C9 was able to sweep aside the RGE base, knocking down their Inhibitors and taking down the Nexus. It was a massive win for C9 as they looked to keep their Worlds adventure alive. For RGE, it’s the nightmare start, as they now need to beat both FPX and DK to stay in Worlds.
- Teams: C9 - RGE
- Time: 25:16
- Kills: 17-8
- Turrets: 9-1
- Gold: 54.1k - 41.9k
- Dragons: 2-0
- Barons: 1-0
FunPlus Phoenix vs Cloud9
Riding high off the NA hopium, C9 found a dream start. They picked up First Blood onto FPX on the bot side as the dream is well and truly alive. C9 turned that momentum into a top side kill shortly after. There’s another fight in the top river, and another three kills for C9 as they moved to 2.5k ahead at just six minutes. C9 continued their dominance, moving to nearly 5k ahead by the 11-minute mark in this most crucial of matches.
Keeping up the pressure, C9 started to make a play into the mid lane, and though they got some gold from a tower, they lost Blaber in the tail end of the fight. By 17-minutes, C9 were 5k gold ahead. At the 22-minute mark, FPX looked for an engagement in the mid lane. Unfortunately for them, they lost one and C9 pushed up to the FPX mid lane Inhibitor tower. C9 were able to get the drake next before knocking down all five members of FPX before picking up the Baron. C9 moved into a controlling 9k lead as FPX looked completely out of the game.
With Baron, C9 pushed into the FPX base, who had no way of defending it. The bot lane Inhibitor fell instantly, while Cannon Minions did all the work on the Nexus towers. FPX were forced to engage and Tian was taken down instantly. C9 easily took down the rest of FPX and destroyed the Nexus. That win puts C9 on equal footing with FPX, forcing at the very least a tie-breaker if they both lost their remaining games.
- Teams: FPX - C9
- Time: 28:08
- Kills: 4-18
- Turrets: 2-9
- Gold: 44.6k - 57k
- Dragons: 0-3
- Barons: 0-1
DAMWON KIA vs Rogue
Looking to cause an upset and stay alive, the start of this game was bad for RGE at first. A 1v2 victory for Khan saw DK pick up the First Blood. However, Inspired collapsed on him to trade it back while holding the wave, keeping RGE alive in the early game. DK came right back to the top side moments later, picking up another kill in the lane. Although, RGE did manage to claim a drake for their trouble. Then, there was a big moment for RGE in the mid-lane. A 2v2, which later turned out to be a 3v2, saw RGE pick up a kill to keep the gold lead close.
There was a feeling of calm before the storm as the game moved into the 16th-minute. RGE had somehow moved to a minor 200g lead. But top lane was the stage for the next fight. At the start, it was an initial one-for-one kill trade, though a shutdown onto Larssen caused DK move to 2k ahead in the gold. The drake fight is the next 5v5, and it’s the worst case for RGE as DK took the drake and claimed three members of RGE in the subsequent fight. RGE managed to get one in return, but DK had moved onto the Baron. RGE tried to stop it, and while some fancy footwork from Hans Sama secured a kill onto BeryL, they died alongside the Baron.
DAMWON all the way
DK pushed top side with Baron, but RGE were able to take down one member of DK, which stopped the base's Inhibitor line from falling. DK sat 5k ahead at 29 minutes. As a fight started at another drake, there was another positioning error on the part of RGE, which cost them the drake and a member. Shortly after that, there was another fight that RGE certainly didn't need. This time it was around the Baron, and as DK lost just the one member, Khan ripped through RGE and picked up a Pentakill.
With all the pressure they'd ever need, DK were able to claim an uncontested Infernal Soul, while RGE desperately tried to stay in the game. DK ripped open the bot and mid lane Inhibitors as they looked to reset once more. When DK was retreating, RGE tried to flank but Larssen instantly used his Stopwatch out of his teleport in an action that might sum up his showing at Worlds. After RGE botched the fight, DK easily knocked down the RGE base and secured their spot at the top of the group
- Teams: DK - RGE
- Time: 37:21
- Kills: 19-11
- Turrets: 10-3
- Gold: 74.1k - 60.9k
- Dragons: 4-2
- Barons: 2-0
Rogue vs FunPlus Phoenix
FPX got out the blocks early, picking up a First Blood, though it's only onto their support. But soon disaster struck on the bottom side of the map for RGE. They tried to do a three-man dive on Lwx and Crisp but it went completely wrong, as two RGE members dropped with just one kill in return. RGE finally did manage to get a kill without being punished, however, with Larssen losing out in the mid lane, his tower was assaulted by the Rift Herald to move FPX back into a slight lead.
With FPX claiming the first drake at the 12:30 mark, RGE forced a play onto the bot side, picking up two more kills as the gold lead remained even. By the time Baron had spawned on the map, RGE had moved to a 2.5k lead, with Baron and drakes now set to be the cause of the next engagement. It wasn't long until RGE picked up another kill top side, however, RGE were caught out and had to retreat. It's important to note that RGE were able to remove Nuguri’s Flash, hindering his aggression for the next fight. And that next fight happened on the Baron, and despite FPX being the ones to start the engagement, RGE came away ahead four-for-two in kills as they moved to a 3k gold lead.
Still anyone's game
With Baron still unclaimed, Rogue pushed in the FPX base, as they made use of their now 6k gold lead. Next, there was a massive play in the mid lane where it looked like RGE got the engagement they needed. But it’s a two-for-three for RGE as both teams moved away to remove Baron vision. After that, a one-for-one at the Baron, as RGE threatened the FPX mid-lane. FPX were able to claim the Baron, killing a member of RGE on the back end of the play. As they chased them away, another member of RGE dropped after they overcommitted.
At the 37-minute mark, the game was up in the air, though FPX looked like the team that held the game’s fate in their hands. However, it was RGE who tried to rush the Baron, but FPX called their bluff and rushed the base instead. With RGE quickly returning to their base, the final fight went exactly how they needed it to. A flank from Inspired saw RGE Ace FPX, which allowed them to march into the FPX base. RGE just had enough time to win the game as three teams in Group A now sit on 2-4, with just one game left. FPX has now lost every game on the day, as Cloud9 looks to upset DK to qualify.
- Teams: RGE - FPX
- Time: 40:52
- Kills: 21-14
- Turrets: 10-5
- Gold: 75.5k - 69k
- Dragons: 3-2
- Barons: 0-1
Cloud9 vs DAMWON KIA
Wanting to keep themselves undefeated, DK started off this game on the right foot. First Blood went over to DK after some aggression in the mid lane. C9 were able to get one back on the top side after they also dove the DK turret. Another two kills were picked up by DK in the top side as they continued to squeeze C9 out of the early game. That said, they only had a 1k gold lead, and C9 continued to look for opportunities. However, in another skirmish, two more kills came out for DK, though this time C9 did manage to pick up a kill in the mid lane while also claiming multiple plates there too.
By 17:30, we got a fight around the second Rift Herald. It was secured by C9, while DK moved to the mid lane tower instead. Things started to calm down when Baron spawned on the Rift. At this point, DK had a small 1k gold lead still, and both teams respected the other team's fighting power. In the next 5v5, C9 pulled the trigger on the fight and it was perfect. Two members of DK fell instantly, and two more dropped shortly after, with C9 only losing two. The gold lead moved over to C9 as we entered the late game. C9 started the Baron, but failed the 50/50 and Canyon stole it away. Because of this, C9 desperately tried to take down members of DK as they fled. Three members of DK fell, and C9 lost no one. While DK got the Baron, C9 won out in the end.
Could C9 pull it off?
At the next drake, C9 managed to claim the drake this time, but weren’t strong enough to win the team fight. Unfortunately for them, they got Ace’d while only killing one from DK. But shortly after that, the bot lane saw a 1v3 fight in favor of C9, where ShowMaker was winning the 1v3 until Zven turned up to turn the fight. C9 still lost two members for ShowMaker, as his late-game Kassadin was fully online. At 37-minutes, DK were 7k gold ahead as they looked to close this out and go unbeaten. C9 desperately tried to defend their base, but DK had far too much damage and C9 just could not defend. It’s 6-0 for DK as they advance to the Knockout Stage. C9 will now face a three-way tiebreaker.
- Teams: C9 - DK
- Time: 38:52
- Kills: 15-21
- Turrets: 3-11
- Gold: 64.9k - 76.1k
- Dragons: 4-2
- Barons: 0-2
Tiebreaker: FunPlus Phoenix vs Rogue
Everything was on the line for these two teams here. RGE picked up First Blood in the top side, however, FPX were able to get two back to recover the play, moving into a gold lead in the process. Top side saw a 3v4 in favor of RGE but nothing happened despite Hans Sama coming under pressure in the bottom lane. RGE managed to get a double kill on the bot side as they maintained the even gold share.
Not too much later, RGE claimed two more kills, one in the top and one in the bot side of the map. With this, they moved into a gold lead against the former World Champions. By 16-minutes, we found ourselves in a position where the game was even on gold still, with tensions clearly high. In the bottom lane, FPX dove under the RGE tower to look for kills, but RGE were able to react faster and win the fight. RGE traded up four-for-one in kills and took a massive lead with Baron spawning. Knowing that, RGE found a pick in the mid lane and used that to push for the Baron. It was a 50/50 but RGE were able to claim it in the end. RGE used the Baron to clear out the FPX outer towers and secure a 5k gold lead with the third drake spawning.
Tournament expectations shattered
At around this point, a massive mid-lane fight broke out and it once again went the way of RGE. They took down three members of FPX for just one in return. With Baron dropping off, they only claimed the Inhibitor towers before they postured for drake. Here, RGE won another fight on the bot side after claiming the drake, and with the second Baron about to spawn, RGE moved towards it. They forced a battle on the FPX bot side, claiming an Inhibitor in its wake. During the Baron buff, RGE slowly gained advantages on the map and were ready for the Soul drake that spawned on the map at 32:40.
Inevitably, a fight erupted at the Soul drake and it was RGE once again that claimed it. A clean Ace on FPX led to a swift RGE victory. With the LPL representatives and pre-tournament favorites falling, RGE set themselves up for a game against C9 for a spot in the Knockout Stage.
- Teams: C9 - DK
- Time: 33:53
- Kills: 8-22
- Turrets: 6-11
- Gold: 58.6k - 68.5k
- Dragons: 0-3
- Barons: 0-2
Tiebreaker: Rogue vs Cloud9
It was a tense early game, and by eight minutes we’d had multiple chances of fights breaking out. But in such a do-or-die match, both sides were keen to not make a mistake, so it remained even. RGE were finally able to pick up the First Blood onto Perkz, who was caught out in the RGE jungle. Two big kills were picked up by C9 just after, as the gloves came off after the first kill. Next, C9 forced a play in the mid-lane. Though it had a bad start as they lost two members, one was picked up in return as the gold remained close.
At the 18-minute mark, we’re still dead even between the two. A minor gold lead went over to C9 as they took more towers across the map. RGE were able to claim a second drake, with C9 using the time to ward ahead of the Baron. C9 tried to make a play bot side but RGE were able to knock down two members as Baron was available. RGE was set up for the Baron, but C9 were able to stop it as the gold remained even. With time bought, C9 claimed the next drake, and with it the winning fight they needed. It ended two-for-one in kills in favor of C9 as they removed the Soul drake possibility for at least 10 minutes.
At 30-minutes, the first Baron was still unclaimed as tensions once again became a factor. But suddenly, there was another massive mistake by Perkz as he was caught out and killed in the mid lane. C9 took the drake, but dropped another member as RGE moved to 2k ahead. The Baron was the next focused objective, and with five members on both teams alive, it was make-or-break. C9 claimed it uncontested, and the fight was all C9. It looked like they had done it. RGE had no one left alive, but unfortunately for them, C9 had no minion waves and RGE somehow survived.
Tournament lives on a knife's edge
With Baron, C9 were still able to claim one out tower as the game hung in the balance. When the next Baron spawned, C9 were right on it and forced a fight, but it was disasterous. Vulcan and Fudge dropped almost instantly as they handed over momentum to RGE. Finally, RGE was able to claim a Baron with C9 unable to contest. Now, with drake spawning, it’s an Infernal Soul if C9 could claim it, but they had to give it up. Shortly after that though, C9 once again looked to force a fight. But somehow no one fell on either side, despite Perkz nearly 100-to-0'ing Hans Sama. Infernal Soul spawned, and Perkz was able to take down Odoamne before the fight, so C9 secured the Infernal Soul with Baron having just spawned on the map.
As the game approached the 50-minute mark, it’s C9 pushing into the RGE base, with the RGE bot lane and mid lane Inhibitors having fallen already. RGE managed to catch Zven after an all-in engagement as RGE stayed alive, but with their base in ruins, C9 had full control with Elder spawning in just two minutes. Knowing they couldn't deal with a C9 Elder, RGE sent hail mary play, who threw everything at C9 on the drake. Sadly, they lacked the damage and were completely routed. Here, C9 finally killed multiple members and pushed straight to the RGE Nexus to finish this crazy game and advance to the Knockout Stage.
- Teams: C9 - RGE
- Time: 53:55
- Kills: 17-15
- Turrets: 11-5
- Gold: 97.8k - 91.4k
- Dragons: 4-4
- Barons: 2-1