Worlds 2019 – Play-ins Day 4 Recap [LoL]

Worlds 2019 - Play-ins Day 4 Recap [LoL]
  • The final four Knockout stage slots are clinched today after four days of Groups. Which of these teams will advance to the Main Stage?

Worlds 2019 – Play-ins Day 4 Recap [LoL]

This was the final set of games for the Group Stage of the Play-in Tournament of the League of Legends World Championship 2019. Yesterday, we saw Clutch Gaming and Unicorns of Love advance to the Knockout Stage after a three-way tie added two games to the schedule. Then, Splyce and Isurus Gaming clinched their spots for Group B after Detonation FocusMe failed to tie their record with the LatAm representatives. The games today, and tiebreakers, will decide who joins these four teams. Read on to find out.

Game 1: Damwon Gaming (LCK #3) vs Royal Youth (TCL/Turkey)


One thing I love about Worlds is that it gives teams a chance to adapt to what the other teams are using. In previous years, teams make the annual, sometimes twice a year, pilgrimage to Korea for bootcamp. This year, however, most teams opted to fly to Europe early and bootcamp in the EU West server instead. This meant that there will be different perspectives to what is meta. With that said, Play-in teams are mostly disregarding numbers and opt to pick champions their players are most comfortable with, especially against stronger teams.

Royal Youth took a page out of Detonation FocusMe’s playbook and drafted an all-in comp that resembles the Nocturne-Galio composition that won DFM their lone win of the tournament. Instead of the Nocturne, Galio will be riding on Rakan or Kled’s pseudo-global engage. They’re probably hoping they can outfight Damwon Gaming and keep their hopes alive.

Meanwhile, Damwon Gaming chose comfort picks for pretty much everyone in their team. Nuguri on Vlad and Beryl on an engage support.

Win Conditions

Like DFM, the best hope for Royal Youth to score an upset is to pull the trigger first every time they get a slight advantage. Teams like Damwon are highly unlikely to allow gaps in their game to be exploited, but they aren’t perfect. They’re in the Play-ins for a reason too.

For Damwon Gaming, there isn’t really much to do except play the style that got them here in the first place. Their bot lane is clearly their weakest point but it’s still not enough of a weakness to be worried about.

Game-Breaking Moment

Despite blowing summoners early, Damwon Gaming still won the early game through sheer skill difference across the board. It also didn’t help that Royal Youth kept pouring abilities into Beryl’s Nautilus while Aftershock was still active. Anyway, I don’t think Damwon Gaming ever let Royal Youth even remotely close to having a chance. They shackled their opponents and willingly fought them every time since they’ve always had the gold lead anyway. With triple mountain drakes on Damwon, Royal Youth tried to contest and Damwon instantly pounced on them to seal the deal for the rest of the game.

Winner: Damwon Gaming (Clinched a spot in the Knockout Stage)

Player of the Game: Heo “Showmaker” Su (Mid)

He didn’t take it easy on his matchup and it showed this game. The Galio ults were mitigated by the amount of skill and brilliance he showed on Akali.

Game 2: Hong Kong Attitude (LMS #3) vs MEGA eSports (SEA)


I guess by now, everyone got the memo: Just keep fighting. Teams are just drafting all-in, 5v5 teamfight comps. Galio has been seeing a lot of play here in Play-in Stage as a sort of replacement for nerfed Lissandra. To be honest, he’s probably the best “safe” mid laner right now with his buffed abilities even after the removal of flash-taunt. He still has plenty of damage and plenty of teamfight potential with a semi-global ultimate.

Win Conditions

Since their comps have pretty much similar goals across the board, this game will boil down to execution. That favors Hong Kong Attitude, as MEGA has shown very questionable decision-making (or lack thereof) this tournament. If they want to score an upset, they’ll have to make calls quickly and decisively.

Game-Breaking Moment

Is MEGA the new Dignitas? They just seem to love dilly-dallying around the Baron and dying for it. At the 31 minute mark, MEGA starts Baron with a 4k gold lead. This time, they tried to turn on Hong Kong Attitude and I was honestly shocked by how disjointed their entire team was. Skillshots missing left, right and center. HKA wiped them off the map and proceeded to win every teamfight thereafter. MEGA tried to get one last fight but a botched engage, and a gold deficit by this time, lead to MEGA’s doom and to HKA’s victory.

Winner: Hong Kong Attitude

Player of the Game: Ling “Kaiwing” Kai Wing  (Support)

This game was more of a throw from MEGA than a win for HKA but credit to Kaiwing for doing his best to make the most of MEGA’s lack of synergy in teamfights.

Game 3: Flamengo eSports (CBLoL/Brazil) vs DAMWON Gaming (LCK #3)


Nothing different here for both teams. Damwon is drafting identical team compositions for all their games and for good reason: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. They’re 3-0 and they have no reason to suddenly change things up. One of their carries are popping off every game anyway and a balanced draft with early, mid and late game potential is crucial for their continued success in this tournament. Also, it’s good that they’re not overconfident of themselves because they banned away brTT’s Draven.

The same applies for Flamengo. Brazil is hungry for international success after consecutive disappointing performances from their representatives. Their win in Day 2 against Royal Youth came courtesy of bot lane difference and they will look to replicate each game. With the Draven banned, they picked Kai’sa for brTT, a relatively safe pick with excellent scaling and teamfighting. On top of that, the Pyke pick should allow them to funnel gold onto their main carry more effectively.

Win Conditions

Damwon is a scary team because they can play practically any style as good as anyone. Their skill ceiling, as analysts and experts have always said, are off the charts. However, their youth and relative inexperience cause them to drop the ball from time to time. For them to seal the group stage sweep, Damwon should play towards bot side and let Nuguri absorb pressure in the top lane. If they neutralize brTT, Flamengo will have a hard time returning punches in the mid game teamfights.

Two words: camp bot. Flamengo eSports should just pretend it’s ardent meta again and just pile on bot lane. Damwon’s greatest weakness is their greatest strength and it will give them the best chance of getting this upset.

Game-Breaking Moment

It’s just unfair for a Korean team to be here in the Play-ins. Despite a stellar early game from Flamengo, Damwon stood strong and outplayed multiple dives until they equalized the gold lead. Once Flamengo ran out of gas, Damwon Gaming stepped on their gas pedal further and blew Flamengo out of the game with constant picks and massive outplays.

Winner: Damwon Gaming

Player of the Game: Heo “Showmaker” Su (Mid)

Again, the skill difference between Showmaker and the opposing mid laner made up for the early game lead Flamengo had. His level of play strangles opposing teams by forcing them to allocate resources to mid lane, similar to Faker in the previous iterations of SKT.

Game 4: Lowkey Esports (VCS #2) vs MEGA eSports (SEA)


If this trend of drafting continues into the Main Event, we’re in for the most entertaining World Championships yet. Teams are no longer picking stall-for-late compositions nor siege+disengage ones that need a slower pace to be highly effective. Tanks are nearly non-existent and assassins rule the solo lanes. Of course, all-in supports are also a key ingredient to a teamfight comp. Every team is just looking to engage or blow up an enemy caught out of position.

Win Conditions

I’m not gonna be a broken record. These two teams are bloodthirsty, fiesta-loving teams and they will fight whenever they can. Whoever makes the first good call and executes properly wins.

Game-Breaking Moment

This game felt like a throwback to the old GPL days: throws, missed skillshots, ill-advised engages fighting without prepped waves, etc. Honestly, Lowkey played just slightly better than MEGA this game and that’s all they needed to knock them out of the tournament.

Winner: Lowkey Esports (Clinched Knockout Stage seed; MEGA eSports now eliminated)

Player of the Game: Đỗ Ngọc “DNK” Khải  (Jungle)

Despite Lloyd’s best intentions, DNK just played a lot better than him today. His counterganks gave Lowkey the launch pad they needed to send themselves off to the Knockout Stage of the Play-ins.

Game 5: Flamengo eSports (CBLoL/Brazil) vs Royal Youth (TCL/Turkey)


Royal Youth won’t be repeating the same mistake twice, banning Draven away from brTT and forcing him into Sivir. Also, Blitzcrank makes an appearance today as Royal Youth’s answer to Thresh. Blitzcrank has one of the highest win rates right now in solo queue worldwide. We’ll see if that translates to the professional scene.

Win Conditions

While I don’t understand the dynamics of an Ezreal-Blitzcrank bot lane, Royal Youth is sending Flamengo a message here: you’re not going to have a fed ADC this game. They put their eggs in the Armut basket and they’ll look to play the split push game against Robo’s Camille. Whoever wins that matchup (which I think is Fiora favored but I’m not a top laner so don’t quote me on that) will win the game for their team.

For Flamengo, they will look to rotate into a 1-3-1 or 1-4 formation after laning phase. They’ll also try to make picks with Rek’sai and Syndra in the early game until brTT gets his items and becomes an AoE monster in teamfights. Again, execution is key.

Game-Breaking Moment

Turns out I was right(maybe just this time), Fiora did win against Camille. Luci and Goku made great picks and allowed a few windows for Flamengo to take the game but Armut’s pressure in the side lane was too much. When he solo killed Robo under his own turret, that gave Royal Youth space to fight. Multiple times Flamengo collapsed on Armut but traded valuable time and objectives to do so.

Winner: Royal Youth (Forces tiebreaker for 2nd seed with Flamengo)

Player of the Game: İrfan Berk “Armut” Tükek (Top)

His pressure in the sidelane gave Royal Youth the breathing room they needed to take objectives on the map and snuff the fire out of Flamengo

Game 6: Lowkey Esports (VCS #2) vs Hong Kong Attitude (LMS #3)


I stand corrected. Lowkey Esports did not get the memo. Their draft was not what I was hoping for. In a must-win game to get first seed for Group C, they opted into Lux support (with ignite) against a Xayah-Rakan bot lane. Good luck with that.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong Attitude aptly answered Camille with a Gangplank. With the Galio banned away, M1ssion defaulted into the Lissandra for utility and let 3z and Crash do the heavy lifting.

Win Conditions

I don’t know what Lowkey is looking for with this composition. If they fall even slightly behind in the early game, they will have little to no hopes for coming back. They can try to pile on bot lane and let the Lux stack up a Mejai’s but apart from that, I don’t see their comp succeeding this game. Hong Kong Attitude’s composition is just better all across the board with both early game pressure and late game insurance.

Game-Breaking Moment

Yeah. I saw that coming. Hong Kong Attitude almost perfect-games Lowkey Esports in what was supposed to be a battle for first seed for both teams. Instead, Hong Kong attitude stamps their dominance in the group from start to finish.

Winner: Hong Kong Attitude (Clinched first seed; Lowkey gets second seed)

Player of the Game: Lee “Crash” Dong-woo  (Jungle)

He made the plays this game and he was just in the right place at right time all the time. He choked the life out of DNK from start to finish, who was coming from a great game against MEGA.

Tiebreaker 1: Royal Youth (TCL/Turkey) vs Flamengo eSports (CBLoL/Brazil)

Story of the Game

Royal Youth drafted double globals with Gangplank and Twisted Fate, not allowing the bot lane of Flamengo to ever snowball a meaningful lead. On the other hand, Flamengo drafted Nocturne with Leblanc, looking to punish anyone caught out of position.

Both teams were trading kills in the early game but it was Royal Youth gaining slight advantages as the game went on. Armut was massive in the top lane, requiring Shrimp to use Nocturne ult just to trade 1 for 1, allowing Closer to take objectives elsewhere. Later on, they were able to use those advantages in teamfights. When Flamengo started to show cracks, everyone from Royal Youth smelled blood in the water and made pick after pick, snowballing a lead to 9.5k BEFORE even getting the Baron. How do you fight from a 10k gold deficit? The answer is you can’t because Flamengo are instantly blown up after every Twisted Fate gold card.

Winner: Royal Youth (Secures last spot in the Knockout Stage)

Player of the Game: İrfan Berk “Armut” Tükek (Top)

He completely outclassed Robo in the top lane from start to finish. Flamengo needed at least two members to kill him or force him to back and even then, they spend too much time and lost objectives elsewhere.

Day 4 Standings

Group C

  • Hong Kong Attitude #1
  • Lowkey Esports #2
  • MEGA eSports **Eliminated**

Group D

  • Damwon Gaming #1
  • Royal Youth #2
  • Flamengo eSports **Eliminated**

After the tiebreaker game today, all 8 teams who qualified for the Knockout Stage will be randomly drawn to their playoff match-ups. The Knockout Stage of the Play-ins will start on October 7th.

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