After a couple of upsets yesterday, fans are eager for more action in Day 2. After all, explosive teams like G2 and Griffin debut in Worlds 2019 today. Without further ado, let’s go back to the events of Day 2 of Worlds 2019
SKT narrowly defeats RNG in a tense, back and forth game
SKT handily won against Fnatic’s Garen-Yuumi composition the day prior. This time, they are up against a familiar foe, RNG. Battling at Worlds since 2013, both teams underwent enormous changes throughout the years. The only constants that remained are their franchise cornerstones, Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok and Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao. The long-time rivals are drawn into the infamous “Group of Death” along and with Fnatic and it is almost unfair that one of these three teams will have to drop out of the Group Stage. Nevertheless, these games will sure make an exciting round robin phase for old and new fans alike.
In true SKT fashion, they drafted an Ezreal for bot laner Park “Teddy” Jin-seong. Personally, I think Teddy is good enough to go toe-to-toe with Uzi in lane. However, the team might have considered stalling bot lane and instead focused on RNG’s new top laner Xie “Langx” Zhen-Ying. With Faker on Twisted Fate, they set themselves up for a 1-4 split push comp. SKT have always drafted for their aggressive top laners and this game is no different. Meanwhile, RNG’s patented bot-centered style has long been their bread and butter. Setting up Uzi for a dominant bot lane, RNG will look to out-teamfight SKT this game.
The fireworks started early this game. Before the 8 minute mark, an early 5v5 erupted in the bot lane, resulting in an even 3 for 3 trade. RNG got two infernal drakes early on though, despite going equal in gold with SKT. The two teams then fought for the third infernal and SKT’s jungler Kim “Clid” Tae-min successfully secured it. The fight ended favorably for RNG, with only Faker surviving.
For the next few minutes, RNG tried to brute force their way through the map against a stiff siege defense from SKT. With mid outer turret under a 5-man RNG attack, Clid hits a magnificent Gragas ultimate that sends both RNG carries to their deaths, allowing them to clean up and secure Baron afterwards. However, a single pick on SKT’s Lee “Effort” Sang-ho snowballed into an ace for RNG, preventing a Baron power play. Another disastrous team fight for SKT allowed RNG back into driver seat, netting them an inhibitor after taking Baron.
Despite RNG’s best attempts to break into SKT’s base, the Korean team’s immaculate map plays prevented RNG from making a game-ending push. Knowing they have an advantage in the split push, they decided to send Faker instead of top laner Kim “Khan” Dong-ha’s Renekton to the top lane. While RNG were pushing bot lane, SKT made the bold call to send all players with teleport to top lane, overwhelming Langx’s Mordekaiser and finally ending the game.
Player of the Game: Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok
Fnatic sticks to their Garen-Yuumi game plan, outlasts Clutch Gaming
Fnatic lost in a rather one-sided game against SKT in their first game of the tournament. Despite the loss, they remained optimistic of their chances of getting out of the group, citing their traditionally slow starts in previous Worlds. Similarly, Clutch Gaming look to shake off their loss to RNG.
After SKT brilliantly countered their Garen-Yuumi bot lane in the previous game, Fnatic made their Garen even more unkillable with a Shen top for Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau. Meanwhile, Clutch Gaming draft a super-strong early game to answer Fnatic’s unkillable comp, hoping the game never reaches that point in the first place. With two marksmen, Elise and Bard, they’re expecting to make enough picks and turrets to snowball the game fast. If they don’t, they will find Fnatic’s composition impossible to challenge.
Despite Clutch’s support Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme’s early mishaps in the laning phase, Clutch Gaming was able to secure a decent gold lead by taking plenty of turrets. However, it was apparent that Fnatic’s better synergy allowed them to prevent Clutch Gaming from taking too many objectives on the map. I don’t think there’s much to say here except BAN YUUMI, GUYS. At around the 20-minute mark, Clutch was slowly getting outscaled and were unable to make any more picks using Bard ultimate. After Clutch’s desperate attempt to secure Elder drake, Fnatic ran away with the game for the last minutes of the game.
Seriously though, how do you justify the existence of a support champ doing as much damage as the rest of his team combined? Moreover, Yuumi doesn’t even need to expose itself to opponents and can even cast its ultimate despite its host being under stasis. Expect teams to make Yuumi bans a priority against Fnatic for the rest of the tournament.
Player of the Game: Zdravets “Hylissang” Galabov
Invictus Gaming avenge their MSI loss to Team Liquid, secure 2nd win
The last time these two teams met, Team Liquid eliminated Invictus Gaming from the semi-finals of MSI. Despite IG’s dominant group stage run, Team Liquid managed to beat the defending world champions 3-1. After MSI, Invictus Gaming went through a tumultuous phase. Star mid laner Song “Rookie” Eui-jin returned to Korea due to a family emergency. Jungler Gao “Ning” Zhen-Ning was rumored to cause tensions among his teammates and was benched in favor of newbie Lu “Leyan” Jue. Meanwhile, Team Liquid coasted through the entire LCS summer split without much competition. They ended the split with a record four consecutive domestic titles.
Coming into this game, both teams are looking to play their own style and force the other to keep up to whichever team sets the pace early. TL draft Xayah-Rakan for their bot lane and put surging top laner Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong on Gangplank. IG answered by debuting Fiddlesticks support. Both drafts are capable of going 1-3-1 without sacrificing 5v5 strength. Whichever team executes better in the side lanes will win the game.
Team Liquid surprisingly played the early game quite well. Despite most analysts doubting their chances of qualifying for the Knockout stage, they seem to relish the quiet, pressure-less situation and make the most out of it. Star carry Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng survived multiple early game dives to the bot lane. In the mid lane, Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen kept up with Rookie’s pressure and even managed to get mid lane priority, allowing the entire NA squad to make the necessary rotations to protect their bot lane duo.
Despite Team Liquid’s gold lead early on, it never felt like it mattered to Invictus Gaming. IG did a wonderful job funneling gold and experience to their solo laners and allowed them to keep up with TL. Also, IG made plays whenever TL overstepped or challenged them to duels, evidenced by IG top laner Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok’s solo kill on Impact.
With the game just about even, IG decided to force the issue by starting Baron. When Team Liquid decided to contest, Invictus Gaming turned on them and secured a team fight win via Rookie’s huge shockwave. That gave them enough momentum to finish the game off of a final fight in Team Liquid’s base and claim their second win of the tournament.
Player of the Game: Song “Rookie” Eui-jin
Damwon Gaming sends AHQ to the bottom of Group D, grab first win of the Group Stage
After their loss to Team Liquid in their previous game, Damwon Gaming are looking for their first win of the Group Stage. Similarly, AHQ’s hopes will depend on their ability to score multiple upsets against the rest of the group.
Knowing they’d lose to Damwon Gaming if they play a 1-3-1, AHQ drafted a heavy 5v5-oriented composition. On the other hand, Damwon Gaming’s game plan revolves around their prodigious solo laners and this game is no different. If Damwon’s bot lane can hold their own, Damwon should get an easy win with a great draft.
Everyone knows Damwon Gaming’s weakest link is their bottom lane duo. Apparently, Sin “Nuclear” Jeong-hyeon and Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee are tired of that narrative. An explosive team fight gave Damwon a 4-2 kill lead plus a decent gold lead. That allowed Damwon Gaming to secure every objective on the map. Despite the kill score at an even 5-5, Damwon were up by almost 8k gold. Nuclear decided it was enough playing around and tried to solo kill Tsou “Wako” Wei-Yang. He ended up failing but he chunked AHQ’s main carry enough to send him back to base. In the ensuing 4v4, Damwon Gaming outmuscled the rest of AHQ and marched their way towards their first victory.
Player of the Game: Sin “Nuclear” Jeong-hyeon
G2 Esports schools Griffin with a masterful win in Group A
G2 Esports are coming into the tournament as the home crowd’s shining hope for Europe’s first title since Season 1. After winning this year’s MSI, they want to prove to the world that their MSI title was not a fluke. Meanwhile, Griffin want to prove themselves worthy of their 2nd seed despite not winning any meaningful Bo5 in the LCK.
Griffin is known for their explosive team fighting and flexible drafting. This game, they drafted a well-balanced composition designed to allow mid laner Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon to prosper. On the other hand, G2 is similarly known for their incredible flex picks and unorthodox play style and tempo, spearheaded by MVP jungler Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski. G2’s draft is built to play the 5v5 with Jankos’ Elise to bridge the early game to the mid game.
Griffin’s top laner Choi “Sword” Sung-won didn’t play much in the summer split and the rust clearly showed this game. The top lane was pretty much lost for Griffin after back-to-back ganks by Jankos netted two early kills for G2. Jankos accounted for G2’s first 3 kills and their first dragon. However, Griffin struck back, equalizing the kill score at the 11th minute. A skirmish in the bot lane tri-brush became a full blown fight, giving G2 four kills and bot inner turret. With that win, G2 easily take Baron and another fight in the same brush. G2 played slowly after the second Baron, taking inhibitors one by one. After Griffin’s final inhibitor fell, G2 went in for the final swoop to win their first game of Worlds 2019.
Player of the Game: Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski
Cloud9 nets first win of Worlds 2019 against Hong Kong Attitude
After an arduous journey in the Play-In Stage, Hong Kong Attitude landed in Group A and are immediately written off. Granted, they probably never expected to make it out of any group anyway. Expect this team to let it all loose and try to score an upset or two against the juggernauts of this group. On the flip side, Cloud9 have made it to every single World Championship since their establishment in 2013. Every year, they’ve made it past any other NA team at Worlds, highlighted by last year’s semi-final run. This year, they’re looking to replicate their success despite being grouped with G2 and Griffin.
Cloud9 plays well through their solo laners, Eric “Licorice” Ritchie and Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer. Through constant top and mid lane pressure, C9’s MVP jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen constantly invades the enemy jungle. With that said, they aptly drafted Renekton, Elise and Irelia. On the other hand, HKA rebutted with their own attempt to play the Garen-Yuumi bot lane. Like Fnatic, HKA will hope to weather the early game storm from Cloud9 and try to outlast them to win the game.
As predicted, Nisqy and Svenskeren powered the early game charge for Cloud9. Nisqy solo killed HKA’s mid laner Chen “M1ssion” Hsiao-Hsien for first blood. Then, Svenskeren camps him to counter gank Lee “Crash” Dong-woo. However, despite those early kills, Hong Kong Attitude managed to trade a few kills here and there to stay in the game.
At the 37 minute mark, HKA had equalized the gold lead and C9 are dangerously being outscaled. To stop HKA from rolling over them, they challenged HKA to a Baron fight. M1ssion, for some bizarre reason, chose to chase Nisqy around the Baron pit. This left the rest of HKA severely outdamaged, especially by Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi’s Heimerdinger turrets and Licorice’s Renekton. That allowed C9 to take Hong Kong Attitude’s mid inhibitor. HKA fought back to repel C9’s push, but lost the following team fight in mid and lost the next Baron. After that, C9 easily took Elder drake and overcame the HKA’s last ditch effort to defend their base.
Player of the Game: Eric “Licorice” Ritchie