- Hong Kong Attitude and Splyce secured the final two spots in the Group Stage of the League of Legends World Championship 2019
Isurus Gaming bowed to Hong Kong Attitude after four games
Hong Kong Attitude certainly showed a lot of improvement since its shaky Play-Ins Group Stage games. Top laner Chen “3z” Han was a solid rock in the side lanes. Bot lane duo Wong “Unified” Chun Kit and Ling “Kaiwing” Kai Wing stepped up their game and allowed jungler Lee “Crash” Dong-woo to play the entire map without worrying about his bot lane. Despite the clamor to demote the LMS to wildcard status, this series was proof that Taiwanese teams are still a cut above the rest.
Great adjustments in the draft for both teams, both have early game without sacrificing their late game. Hong Kong Attitude has 3 good lanes plus a Twisted Fate who will inevitably make an impact in the side lanes. However, Isurus Gaming has arguably better late game thanks to the Vladimir-Yuumi bot lane.
In the early game, Hong Kong Attitude tried to push the tempo and make plays on bot lane but the double untargetable made it impossible. A few minutes into the game, ISG jungler Sebastián “Oddie” Niño drew first blood on his Skarner. However, a great setup and proactive rotation from HKA gave them a huge lead after taking Herald.
With the gold lead and the early spikes for their composition, they brute forced the outer turrets. They then established vision control in the enemy jungle and allow them to take Baron easily. With their enormous 11k gold lead, Hong Kong Attitude slowly choked off any chance for Isurus Gaming to come back in the game. A failed last-minute hail mary from the Latinos gave way to HKA’s first win of the series.
HKA liked the way their globals affected Isurus Gaming’s play. They upped it a notch by replacing their top lane pick with a Gangplank. Isurus Gaming then answered with an early game jungler to challenge the top-jungle duo of HKA. Meanwhile, ISG’s strong bottom lane (Xayah-Thresh) can draw pressure bot side early on versus the Ezreal-Rakan.
Hong Kong Attitude tried to make the first plays but Isurus Gaming repeatedly denied their attempts. Seiya gets a solo kill in mid lane for first blood and that sequence got the ball rolling for him. Isurus Gaming blew summoners all across the map in the early game. This gave them space to operate and make plays at their own pace.
However, 3z outplays a 2v1 turret dive top and HKA get two quick kills. Despite that mishap, Isurus Gaming continued to push their tempo. A great engage by support Eduardo “Slow” Garcés in the bot side river net ISG 4 kills c/o Seiya who masterfully carried the fight. From there, his Akali simply took over the game. Despite getting even trades, Hong Kong Attitude coulld not prevent Isurus Gaming from taking a baron. Another fight in the top side red buff allowed ISG to ace HKA and marched their way to an even series.
Hong Kong Attitude draft a poke comp with Corki and Ezreal; Corki to lane against Seiya’s Akali who dumpstered them in Game 2. On the other hand, Isurus Gaming took a page out of Hong Kong Attitude’s playbook and drafted a global (Nocturne) to counter 3z’s split push.
Isurus Gaming flipped the script of the start of the previous two games. Top laner Mateo “Buggax” Aroztegui finally got to flex his muscles in the top lane, solo killing 3z for first blood. At the 10:54 mark, HKA collapse on ISG while they were taking Herald. Kaiwing lands a huge R+W on 3 members of ISG but they were unable to take anything.
Both teams then trade objectives and kills, having a dead equal game at 20 minutes. Despite getting no kills, Great teamfighting and kiting allowed HKA to get 4 drakes and a Baron. HKA then overstay after getting a pick on Slow’s Thresh, getting 3 kills. After another Baron, the LMS representatives kited Isurus Gaming’s backline dive perfectly. They win the teamfight that gave them mid inhibitor and one nexus turret. Shortly after, HKA get a free Elder drake through their well-earned lead and the 2-1 lead in the series.
With the series and the season on the line, Isurus Gaming somehow managed to get Xayah-Rakan plus Gangplank. Meanwhile, HKA had other plans, brilliantly drafting Veigar bot lane to zone out both engagers from ISG: Rakan and Skarner. This draft was quite interesting. If you’ve been following League of Legends for a while, you might remember Cloud9’s Worlds 2015 Week 1 strat that got them 3 wins against Fnatic, AHQ and Invictus Gaming.
For ISG to survive and force Game 5, Oddie has to make sure Buggax makes it to late game. Then, they have to use Xayah-Rakan lane priority in the bot lane to initiate a lane swap for Herald and get a lead. It is highly unlikely for them to get a 2v2 kill against a Veigar. On the other hand, for HKA to close it out, they’ll have to use the Tristana to take turret plates all over the map.
Similar to C9’s 2015 strat, they used their Tristana-Veigar combo to get turret plates, beefing up their lead even more. However, despite the gold deficit, ISG played the side lanes well, allowing Buggax to recover from an early game beating from 3z.
In the mid-game, HKA allowed ISG to turtle under turrets until they brute-forced mid to setup Baron. HKA get a 30-minute baron thanks to great vision control. After a while, Crash and Kaiwing overstepped and died. This gave ISG an opening to take Elder Drake. Meanwhile, all 3 carries of HKA tried to end the game from top lane. Respawning just in time, Crash and Kaiwing survived long enough to delay the recalls of the rest of ISG while the HKA carries ended the game and the series.
Welcome to Group Stage, Hong Kong Attitude
Player of the Series: Lee “Crash” Dong-woo
Splyce takes down the Unicorns of Love in a close five game series
The former LEC team failed to make it to the Group Stage in a bittersweet victory for former Unicorns Tamás “Vizicsacsi” Kiss and Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir. After a clean first round, Splyce dropped a game to a desperate Detonation FocusMe but still looked unbeatable. Fans were dismayed when their “4th seed” got matched with their 3rd seed, hoping to see UoL in the Group Stage after years of failing to do so in the then-EU LCS. Sadly, one had to go and it was Splyce who made it past the Play-Ins.
In a surprising move, Splyce unnecessarily drafted a Cho’Gath, the first of the tournament. This will eventually complicate the series’ drafts in the next games. They also picked Nocturne to shut down any 1-3-1 for UoL’s Gangplank and Kayle. Meanwhile, Unicorns of Love jungler Kirill “AHaHaCiK” Skvortsov also had a new pick in Kha’zix, but failed to make an impact in the early game after his invades were aptly collapsed on by Splyce.
Splyce outplayed UoL both mechanically and strategically, repelling dives and outrotating the Russian team. The first major teamfight went to Splyce shortly before 20 minutes, grabbing several kills plus an infernal drake. On top of that, UoL’s gold deficit prevented them from kiting the Nocturne ult dives.\
However, UoL survived long enough for Gangplank and Kayle to get to their power spikes. This allowed UoL to fight back despite a massive gold deficit. UoL then manage to get Baron after a wonderful teamfight. Splyce fought back after that, though. They get three kills after catching the Kayle but BOSS teleports to Splyce’s base and prevents them from getting anything from the pick.
Ultimately, Splyce’s composition just didn’t have enough damage to win late game. They lost a desperate teamfight despite Vizicsacsi stealing Baron because Kayle was too unstoppable at that point.
Splyce drafted Cassiopeia against Corki and a 5v5 teamfight composition around it plus Kennen. Meanwhile, UoL went back to the Skarner to help snowball his lanes in the early game.
The early game was quite back and forth as both junglers were making plays all over the map but Splyce took the first major teamfight after they turned on a collapsing UoL with double teleport. At 22 minutes, a pick on AHaHaCiK and mid laner Lev “Nomanz” Yakshin near top side blue buff gave way for Splyce to start Baron. UoL then foolishly tried to contest and Splyce’s mid Marek “Humanoid” Brázda nails a magnificent Cass ult on Nihat “Innaxe” Aliev and they turn on the rest of Unicorns of Love. After that, the massive 10k gold lead allowed Splyce to do whatever they wanted and tied the series at one game apiece.
To establish much-needed bot lane presence, Splyce first picked Xayah and UoL answered quickly with Caitlyn-Morgana. UoL then rounded out their draft with a 1-3-1 comp featuring Camille and Ryze.
The fighting started early this game. At the 3rd minute, Splyce went for a dive against the UoL bot lane with Xerxe, getting a 2 for 1. AHaHaCiK tried to make a cross map play by diving Vizicsacsi in return but they botch the dive and lose BOSS instead. After that, more dives and clever rotations give Splyce a 3.5k gold lead at 10 minutes. In addition to kills, Splyce took a total of 14 turret plates versus just 2 for Unicorns of Love.
The massive early game lead allowed Splyce to camp the enemy jungle, leading to an even larger lead and a gold-starved AHaHaCiK. Splyce were up by 11k gold at 21 minutes. However, despite the gold deficit, UoL managed to stall the game for a short while. Wanting to close the game out, Splyce started Baron and forced UoL to respond without vision. That lead to them getting wiped and Splyce earned their 2nd win of the series to get to match point.
In an attempt to exploit Vizicsacsi’s unwillingness to pick meta carries, Unicorns of Love banned 3 top lane champions. Splyce then got Xayah-Rakan and Nocturne. They then put Vizicsacsi again on a tank: Shen.
Splyce putting all their eggs on the Kobbe basket this game didn’t seem like a series close-out move and the Unicorns of Love pounced on the opportunity. UoL immediately camp top lane, as it is Splyce’s weakest point. One way to deny a global is to play on the side of the global and UoL did exactly that. Also, the Qiyana-Karthus duo for UoL worked wonders in the early game, preventing picks from happening by being in the right place and the right time almost the entire game. Nomanz did a wonderful job shutting down Humanoid in the mid lane, allowing them to roam first and prevent the Nocturne-Shen combo from helping ADC Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup.
A 6k gold lead at the 22 minute mark allowed Unicorns of Love to play the Baron game. Xerxe managed to steal the Baron but lose 3 in the process. Xerxe then gets another Baron steal at the 30 minute mark but again lose 3 members, allowing the Unicorns of Love to push into their base. They finally get a Baron at the 3rd spawn and the Elder Drake allowed them to force a deciding game 5.
Splyce weirdly stuck to their losing drafts, drafting Cho’Gath again for Vizicsacsi but this time taking the Qiyana for themselves. AHaHaCiK stuck with his successful Karthus after making a huge impact with it on game 4.
Mirroring their early game success in the previous games, they continuously pounded on a helpless Viziscacsi in the top lane. However, he stood strong and held on to his position. Splyce more than made up for it by making plays on the rest of the map. The story of the game was teamfight execution and Splyce made sure they were that story’s protagonists.
At the 24 minute mark, UoL managed to rush a Baron but they lost 2 members in the ensuing collapse, preventing them from getting a gold lead with the buff. Additionally, Splyce retained control over almost the entire map. They were able to set up Baron and took it without contest at the 31st minute of the game. With the buff, they tried to siege UoL’s bot lane inhibitor turret but were repelled.
At the Elder drake spawn, both teams poised to take the final fight of the series. Thanks to the Cho’Gath, Splyce denied UoL any approach to the objective. The Russians tried to cling onto the game but the burn from the Elder buff proved too much to overcome as they get eliminated by Splyce.
Vizicsacsi and Xerxe will carry their fallen banner into the Group Stage.
Player of the Series: Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup
Shortly after the final Knockout Stage series, the four winning teams will be drawn into the four groups in the Main Stage. Stay tuned for our complete preview and predictions for the Main Group Stage of Worlds 2019.