- Day 3 was the last chance for teams in Group A and Group B to survive Play-ins. Who advanced to the Knockout Stage at the Worlds 2019?
Worlds 2019 – Play-ins Day 3 Recap [LoL]
Yesterday, we watched highly entertaining games from Groups C and D. Today, the final games and tiebreakers, if need be, of Groups A and B will take place. Group A was locked in a three way tie in Day 1 after each team won and lost one game apiece. Meanwhile, Group B was completely dominated by Splyce. The European 3rd seed made sure their opponents didn’t have any chance of winning against them. For the rest of the wildcard teams, they hope to upset the major region teams to get first seed in knockouts and match with fellow minor regions for a better chance of qualifying for the Main Stage.
Game 1: Unicorns of Love (LCL/Russia) vs Clutch Gaming (NA #3)
Unicorns of Love is really scared of Huni’s Rumble and Gangplank, and for good reason. Huni isn’t a run-of-the-mill top laner. He made it to Worlds in 3 different regions: FNC 2015, SKT 2017 and CG 2019. This guy made semis in his first and a runner-up finish in his second. He surely wouldn’t let his team drop out in the Play-in Stage.
Because red side has to permaban Pantheon and Syndra almost every game, Clutch gave away a Qiyana first pick. They then opted to draft Xayah-Rakan again. With Morgana banned, UoL took Fiddlesticks instead with the Heimerdinger for Innaxe. Clutch ended up with a Tristana for Huni and a TF – Kayle matchup mid for Damonte and Nomanz respectively.
With the fate of all three teams hanging in the balance, Clutch Gaming decided to go balls-to-the-wall with their draft. Putting Huni on Tristana meant CG is going to rely on their top-jungle to carry the early game against double melee Aatrox-Qiyana. Lira will have to make the plays happen in order to get a lead. Post-6, they’ll look to find picks with TF and Rakan. In teamfights, their range advantage and easy to hit CC will allow them to engage relatively easier.
The Unicorns of Love, on the other hand, drafted an obnoxious bot lane. This combination allows early priority in bot lane, allowing Edward to roam with AHaHaCiK and make plays for their team. In teamfights, their only viable engage is on a flank from either Aatrox or Qiyana. They’ll happily be engaged on because their counter engage potential this game is insane: Kayle, Fiddlesticks and Heimerdinger’s ultimates make deadly combos a waste.
UoL held a huge kill lead early in the game after a great fight at Herald but the gold was pretty even for a while despite that. However, at around the 26 minute mark, the Unicorns caught Clutch Gaming trying to siege the mid lane outer turret. A dazzling ultimate from AHaHaCiK’s Qiyana stunned multiple Clutch Gaming members and they got 3 kills plus the baron. That play put them in the lead for good, giving them first place in Group A.
Winner: Unicorns of Love
Player of the Game: Kirill “AHaHaCiK” Skvortsov (Jungle)
Alright, we all know by now how busted Qiyana is but, despite a terrible start to the game, AHaHaCiK made the most out of Clutch Gaming’s disrespectful positioning. His ultimate in the Herald pit netted them their first teamfight and the one in the river practically sealed the game for the Unicorns of Love.
Game 2: Splyce (EU #3) vs Detonation FocusMe (LJL/Japan)
Is Heimerdinger sleeper OP? He’s actually shown up quite a lot in pick/bans here in the Play-in Stage a lot. Splyce went to their bread and butter draft: put Xerxe and Humanoid on carries and Kobbe on a late game insurance policy. I do think red side is quite handicapped because of the necessary permabans on Pantheon and Qiyana unless they trade one powerpick for two of their own. Also, DFM is showing quite an affinity for Nocturne but opt for a utility mid for Ceros this time around. Lastly, the Japs picked Ashe this game. Ashe is OP in solo queue but seldom picked here at Worlds. We’ll see if this becomes a factor this game. Highly unlikely though for Kobbe to lose in lane against any of the ADCs here in Play-ins, however.
For Splyce, it’s just a matter of discipline and they have plenty of that. With their slew of veterans who aren’t new to high-pressure situations like Kobbe, they’re unlikely to descend into fiesta mode. Group B teams have shown thus far that they cannot punish Splyce enough to push them out of their comfort zone. Humanoid is straight-up flexing on Ceros and Seiya, while Xerxe is doing the same to Steal and Oddie.
For Detonation FocusMe, they can’t win in playing vanilla League of Legends. They’re simply outmatched individually across the board. For them to score an upset and keep their Worlds dreams alive, they’ll need to find a chink in the armor of Splyce. The most likely target would be Vizicsacsi in the top lane. Splyce likes leaving him to his own devices and if they’re bot lane can hold their ground, advantages gained by Evi in the top lane might just the tip the scales in their favor. Thankfully, they drafted a comp built just for that. Two globals meant to dive a target repeatedly and arguably their best player on a playmaker in teamfights means they’re not going down without a fight.
Wow. This game was won out of sheer will and a f*ck-it attitude. Backs against the wall, Detonation FocusMe narrowly made it through every early-game fight. Slowly but surely, they built up confidence to pull the trigger every time they see a Splyce member out of position.
The first major win for DFM happened right before minute 22. Splyce started to take the infernal drake but while the bot lane duo and the jungler are at the drake itself, the solo laners are on the left flank. This allowed Detonation FocusMe to exploit that gap and engage on Kobbe. They won that teamfight and gave them a slight lead in gold but a huge boost in morale. Then, at the 28-minute mark, DFM had built up enough courage to start baron and bait Splyce in. Ceros lands a taunt on Kobbe and all of DFM descend on him. He survives, at the cost of Xerxe and Norskeren’s life. Humanoid, who tried to kill Yutapon’s Ashe in the backline, tried to retreat but was caught by a Nocturne ult by steal. This allowed them to take baron and steamroll the rest of the game.
Winner: Detonation FocusMe
Player of the Game: Shunsuke “Evi” Murase (Top)
I could have easily given this to any member of Detonation FocusMe. They all played together wonderfully this game. However, Evi’s Gnar made the biggest plays in the major teamfights that allowed his team to get a lead and win the final teamfight near top lane inhibitor turret, where he Gnar ults Kennen away and preventing a turnaround from Splyce.
Game 3: Unicorns of Love (LCL/Russia) vs MAMMOTH (OPL/Oceania)
I love this Worlds meta. Everyone just wants to fight whenever possible. Look at this: UoL drafted three early-game oriented lanes with Renekton top, Leblanc mid and Syndra-Leona bot lane plus a highly aggressive jungler in Rek’sai on top of that. On the other hand, Mammoth banked on their team’s cohesion and drafted a wombo-combo comp with Kennen top, J4 jungle, Orianna mid and a Xayah-Rakan bot lane. Just by looking at the picks, you’ll instantly know this will be an explosive and entertaining game. If any team ints in the early stages of the game, this will instead be a one-sided stomp full of missed highlight reel opportunities.
A win here basically seals the first seed for UoL, having 2-0’d Clutch Gaming earlier today. In order to do that, their game plan has to revolve around lane dominance. If any of them slip up and give up early advantages, they will have a difficult time getting back into the game. They will need smart rotations, solid vision control and quick decision making because their engage options are quite limited compared to Mammoth’s.
For Mammoth, it’s a matter of not falling too far behind to make 5v5 teamfights one-sided. If they get ahead early on, they should look to repeatedly dive members of UoL with all the engage tools they have at their disposal. Also, the presence of both Kennen and Orianna in Mammoth’s draft meant no bunching up, giving Jarvan a gap to exploit and make picks with.
Okay, if you haven’t watched the game yet, I suggest you do. This game had some of the best teamfights in the tournament so far.
Let’s start with the one that brought Mammoth back from the brink of defeat: A few seconds before the 31st minute of the game, Mammoth tried to make a pic on Edward who’s clearing vision in the northern red buff area. He went into stasis and afterward, landed a stun on both Rakan and Jarvan. Innaxe then follows up with an even bigger stun, adding Fudge’s Kennen to the CC chain. Edward then caught k1ng’s Xayah with Zenith Blade but k1ng instantly pressed R and kited backwards. Amidst all the chaos, k1ng managed to get a triple kill plus the baron.
After a successful turnaround from a potential base race, Mammoth are forced to contest Elder Drake because of UoL’s 4 elementals. Nomanz successfully one-shots Fudge, but UoL decided not to engage just yet. After 30 seconds, UoL sent Innaxe to wave clear mid lane because of their broken inhibitor. Meanwhile, Edward tried to flank Mammoth from the northern blue side jungle but Mammoth spotted him and instantly piled on him to make it a 4v5 in their favor. Now that the man advantage swung to Mammoth, they took Elder for free.
Moments later, the Unicorns of Love tried to force the issue and started Baron. They turned on Mammoth, pouring all their engage on Fudge and deleting him yet again. However, k1ng pumped out so much damage and took basically none. Thanks to Elder buff, k1ng put the team on his back and managed to complete the comeback.
Player of the Game: Calvin “k1ng” Truong (ADC)
What more can I say? When the pressure was at its peak, winners put the game in their hands and never let go. He dodged practically every major skillshot in the big teamfights and made the most of the space Babip and Destiny created for him.
Game 4: Isurus Gaming (LATAM/Latin America) vs Detonation FocusMe (LJL/Japan)
Another Heimerdinger ban, oh boy. If I recall correctly, this is the first game for Ziggs this tournament. Ceros clearly prepared a bag of pocket picks again to Worlds this year. Despite poke comps falling out of favor, it seems DFM wants to try their luck with it. Evi was again put on Gnar and will definitely be a difference maker again this game. Also, thank goodness they stopped picking Ekko.
Last game, Isurus won with great teamfighting and crisp positioning. This game should be no different. Facing a poke comp, making smart engages should allow their superior 5v5 skills to get advantages and objectives. That’s basically it for Isurus Gaming.
For Detonation FocusMe, their goal should be to not fall too far behind. A poke comp behind in gold is very difficult to execute. However, if they get ahead, they should be able to take turrets easily and camp the enemy jungle for picks using Skarner ultimate. Lastly, look for them to set up Evi to be the main playmaker this game, either in team fights or in the side lane against Buggax’s Gangplank.
I can’t possibly pick just one moment from that game, can I? The longest game of the tournament so far at 63 minutes, both teams desperately clung to the game by the skin of their teeth. In the end, it was Warangelus who found the flank to hammer in the final nail in Detonation FocusMe’s coffin.
Winner: Isurus Gaming (Guarantees both Splyce and Isurus Gaming a spot in the Knockout Stage)
Player of the Game: Fabián “Warangelus” Llanos (ADC)
Second game in a row that a Xayah wins the game for his team via massive team fight damage. Warangelus got picked off and almost lost the game but apart from that misstep, he definitely carried his team to the win.
Game 5: Clutch Gaming (NA #3) vs MAMMOTH (OPL/Oceania)
I don’t know why Clutch kept picking Rakan for Vulcan, as he has not been successful with it the past 3 games. Damonte, who’s been in a slump himself, was relegated to Lissandra duty. Clutch Gaming drafted a scaling comp in a must-win game to stay alive.
Meanwhile, Mammoth wasn’t afraid to put the game’s fate in their hands and drafted an aggressive comp with Jarvan and Alistar while picking Gangplank for late-game insurance.
Huni has been trying to carry his team the past few games but he hasn’t been successful with that. This time, they’re going to try and put more resources into Cody Sun and let him carry instead.
Mammoth did not have a successful early game against UoL earlier but came back through sheer will and k1ng’s insane teamfighting. They’ll look for the same kind of magic this game with plenty of triggers for engaging.
Clutch Gaming live up to their name and deliver in a clutch must-win game. In minute 20, Vulcan was picked off near baron pit but Clutch Gaming turned the fight around and got Baron for themselves. Using that baron power play, any Mammoth member found astray were simply blasted into oblivion.
Winner: Clutch Gaming (UoL and Mammoth will play in a tiebreaker and winner will play against Clutch for first seed)
Player of the Game: Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon (Top)
Huni finally had his pop-off game. Cody Sun and Damonte definitely delivered this game as well and they honestly deserve the credit too.
Game 6: Isurus Gaming (LATAM/Latin America) vs Splyce (EU #3)
With both Xayah and Kai’sa banned, Isurus opted into a potent Lucian-Braum bot lane. Lucian has been quite successful in solo queue this patch and this marks his first appearance in Worlds 2019. Splyce drafted a standard comp while Isurus drafted a 4-1 comp with Buggax’s Quinn on the side lane.
Isurus made the game super simple: get a lead early or get blown up in teamfights. If Quinn and/or Lucian fall behind, they will lack both range and damage to even touch Splyce’s Gangplank, Corki and Jhin. They have to make the laning phase count or the game will be a ticking timebomb of their own doing.
Splyce can just stall the game until they outscale Isurus Gaming, but they can also pile onto top lane and effectively erase Quinn from the game. Teamfighting will also be easy for this comp to execute with all the engage tools they have at their disposal.
Isurus fell behind too much too early and lost the game from that alone. If not for Buggax’s heroics on Quinn, the game would’ve ended much earlier.
Winner: Splyce (Splyce lock first seed for Group B; Isurus Gaming get second seed)
Player of the Game: Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup (ADC)
Humanoid built Splyce their early lead by completely outclassing Seiya. In the late game however, it was Kobbe who was the insurance policy and he definitely made them profit for their investment.
Tiebreaker 1: MAMMOTH(OPL/Oceania) vs Unicorns of Love (LCL/Russia)
Story of the Game
Since this piece is too long already, I’ll shorten the recap for the tiebreakers.
An early fight right before the 10 minute mark broke out in the bot lane and Unicorns of Love took down 4 members of Mammoth in the process, with Fudge opting not to teleport in and Triple arriving too late. That gave the Unicorns a huge lead for the rest of the game. This time, they did not let Mammoth pick good teamfights and starved them of objectives before cleaning up the game.
Winner: Unicorns of Love(Mammoth is now out of contention)
Player of the Game: Lev “Nomanz” Yakshin (Mid)
His Vladimir was diving the backline of Mammoth so well, it denied them any chance of ever coming back into the game.
Tiebreaker 2: Clutch Gaming (NA #3) vs Unicorns of Love (LCL/Russia)
Story of the Game
Remember, Clutch Gaming is 0-2 versus UoL. This game they decided to ban Rakan, thankfully. They also put Huni on Irelia, as well as an excellent early game snowballer in Elise for Lira.
Huni’s outplays in the early game, as well as his mechanically intense exploits in the mid game, allowed Clutch Gaming to clinch the first seed of this group and finally beat Unicorns of Love. Also, credit to Lira for the exceptional early game pressure. Every single lane from Clutch Gaming were ahead of their counterparts.
Winner: Clutch Gaming (Clutch Gaming clinched first seed; Unicorns of Love get second seed)
Player of the Game: Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon (Top)
Despite multiple attempts from Unicorns of Love to shut down Huni, he stood like a rock in the top lane until his cavalry arrived. He played magnificently and this game will definitely boost his team’s morale coming into the Knockout round.
Day 3 Standings
- Clutch Gaming #1
- Unicorns of Love #2
- Mammoth **Eliminated**
- Splyce #1
- Detonation FocusMe **Eliminated**
- Isurus Gaming #2
Tomorrow, Group A and Group B will play their final group stage games in the League of Legends World Championship 2019