LoL Worlds 2017 Play-In Stage
The showdown between wildcard region champions and #2 and #3 seeds in the LoL Worlds 2017 Play-in Stage has yielded rather expected results. As much as Bo1 format of the Play-in groups gave the wildcard teams slightly better chances at winning and advancing into the knockouts, it also prevented the weakest ones from experiencing the top-level competition in its full force.
The schedule was hectic, with all the teams rotating between 2 group opponents per day in a double round robin fashion. In such a competitive environment, the mindset and the mental composure of the players played a huge role in the teams’ overall performance.
Also, with the rising popularity of LoL’s worldwide Esports scene, some of the historically more successful wildcard regions are slowly catching up and surpassing the teams from the top-level leagues. This fact was most evident in Group D, where Turkish 1907 Fenerbahçe Esports went toe to toe with LMS #3 seed Hong Kong Attitude. They won the eventual tiebreaker game and advanced to the knockouts as #1 seed.
Here’s Esportsranks take on the action that took place.
Group A – Team WE Dominates
Of all the groups, group A had arguably the strongest favourite. Team WE is no joke. It’s a top-half team from China that is capable of parrying much tougher competition. They have a rich regional and international history. It’s no surprise Lyon Gaming and Gambit Esports didn’t manage to do much against the Asian bullies.
However, between the two underdogs, Lyon Gaming seemed to be a more professionally tuned team. Russian competitive LoL scene will need to seriously step up their game if they want to become relevant on the international scene. Going out without a single win and 4 losses speaks volumes.
Group B – Cloud9 Too Strong
Despite some of us seriously doubting Cloud9’s capabilities, the players have clearly come high on the clouds and ready to smash through the play-ins for another shot at the “big boys league”. Their mediocre summer split is definitely in the past, they looked really solid in all of their Play-In games.
The Brazilian and OCE champions went toe to toe. The tiebreaker for #2 seed went to Team oNe Esports, who prolonged Brazil’s hopes of having a representative in the Group Stage.
Group C – Fnatic (Not?) Too Fanatic
The first day of the competition in Group C, Fnatic put their old ailments on display yet again. The first game against Kaos Latin Gamers was quick, but the second game was a travesty. The Vietnamese Young Generation managed to survive for full 50 minutes. With such gaping holes in their game, Fnatic will get shredded in the Group Stage.
Kaos Latin Gamers surprised everyone by defeating Young Generation in the first game of the day. The nerves probably played the role here, as Young Generation returned the favour the following day. The Vietnamese really showed up in full force, defeating Fnatic as well, qualifying for #2 knockouts seed.
Group D – Fenerbahçe Overpowers Hong Kong Attitude
The only group without a clear-cut favourite, Group D really delivered the necessary dose of excitement. Japanese Rampage were quickly dismissed by both teams, so the only thing left was to determine the seeds.
All 3 HKA and Fenerbahçe games couldn’t have been closer than they were. Both teams had their ups and downs, but ultimately, Fenerbahçe got the upper hand in the critical final game. They proceeded to knockouts as #1 seed and thus secured an easier opponent.
LoL Worlds 2017 Play-In Knockouts
The knockout phase spanned over two days. 4 randomly drawn pairs fought in Bo5s to determine the remaining four Group Stage seeds.
Cloud9 vs. Lyon Gaming was the first matchup. Cloud9 obliterated Lyon Gaming, completely overpowering Latin America North champs.
Fnatic followed by a sweeping 3-0 of their own against arguably the strongest #2 seed, Hong Kong Attitude.
Fenerbahçe vs Team oNe Esports was the only series of 4 games. The battle of the wildcards was probably the closest matchup of the knockouts, yet Brazilians were clearly outclassed by the Turkish champions.
Team WE, naturally, swept Young Generation in a quick and merciless fashion, clearly demonstrating their favoured status.
LoL Worlds 2017 Final Verdict
In the end, the knockouts really emphasized the stark contrast between top-level leagues and the wildcard regions. As much as Fenerbahçe managed to parry HKA in Group D, the rest of the wildcards had no semblance of control, the know-how, and clearly couldn’t establish any type of favourable tempo.
Team WE and Cloud9 made the strongest statements of all the favourites. Fnatic looked somewhat shaky in that one game against Young Generation. On the other hand, Fnatic’s crushing elimination of Hong Kong Attitude served as a reminder that LMS lags behind LPL, LCK and LMS in terms of quality and depth of competition.
Turkish, Brazilian and, to a lesser extent, Latin America leagues looked like the prime candidates to spice up the international lineup of competitors. Hopefully, this new LoL Worlds 2017 format will mark the beginning of a new era for LoL as an Esport worldwide, with new regions, teams and faces in the spotlight.
LoL Worlds 2017 Facts, Stats, Trivia
On a lighter note, here are a few interesting LoL Worlds 2017 Play-In facts and stats:
- Cloud9 participated in both the longest (against Lyon Gaming) and the shortest (against Team oNe Esports) game during the Play-In Stage
- The game with the highest number of kills was one between Team WE and Gambit. It was a classic Chinese meat grinding slaughterhouse with a total of 47 kills
- A total of 118 dragons were killed
- Tristana was the highest picked champion (24), followed by Gragas (23) and Xayah (20)
- Kalista was by far the most banned champion, getting denied in 34 out of 39 total games. In games it didn’t get banned, it got picked every time, and scored the second highest win rate
- Of all the champions that got picked in more than 3 games, Janna scored a staggering 85.7% win rate. Kalista is close with 80%, Ezreal and Taliyah share the 3rd spot with 75%, Galio won 72.2% games and Rakan scored 69.2%
- Highest KDA: WE Zero 23, C9 Smoothie 18.5, FNC Broxah 12.6
- Most kills: FB Padden 63 (WOAH!), WE Xiye 38, WE Mystic 35
- Most deaths: ONE 4lan 33, ONE Redbert 24, FB Thaldrin 23
- Highest WP/M: FNC Jesiz 1.32, C9 Smoothie 1.27, YG Palette 1.26
- Highest kill participation: RPG Ramune 93.3%, DW Destiny 85.7%, HKA Unified 83.8%
- Most assists: FB Japone 95, FB Thaldrin 80, FB Crash 73
- LoL Worlds 2017 Play-In Stage marks the first time in the history of LoL worlds that the NA team wins a Bo5. The honour goes to C9, well done boys!
- HKA was the only Play-In Pool 1 seed to get eliminated in the LoL Worlds 2017 Play-In Stage.
NA LCS Format Change
Following the hype and excitement of LoL Worlds 2017 Play-In Stage, Riot decided to get back to a double Bo1 format during regular NA LCS season in 2018. The new format will start with the official beginning of 2018 Spring Split on January 20.
The Bo3 format over the last three splits spread out the games over three days and two simultaneous streams, overloading the fans with Esports content, thus driving the viewership numbers down. Scheduling was also a nightmare at times. Fans often had to pick who and when to watch, simply because the Bo3 series took a long time to finish.
Due to all that, Riot decided to revert back to their old Bo1 format. Less on-stage exposure for professional teams and players also means less burnout, and the fans will always be able to tune in for their favourite teams.
This change coincides with Riot’s plan for franchising next year and it definitely makes sense from the business perspective. We’ll see how this will affect the competitive state of the league, as well as whether it will increase the overall appeal of it.
The Tyler1 Drama
While not exactly LoL Worlds 2017 or Esports related, the most recent drama surrounding Aaron Rutledge aka Riot Sanjuro’s comments on Discord about prominent streamer Tyler1 deserves a mention.
Tyler1 has always been the controversial, polarizing figure in the LoL community. His trademark toxicity and weird sense of humour has earned him many fans, as well as many haters.
Aaron Rutledge was, up until recently, the lead experience designer of League of Legends. Here are some of his most recent comments about Tyler1:
“He looks like a damn homunculus. Honestly… it’s fine he’ll die from a coke overdose or testicular cancer from all the steroids… then we’ll be gucci.”
“You know how much bullshit he’s caused me? Personally, I’ve spent many many hours of my work day dealing with his bullshit?”
“He’s had over 20 accounts permabanned. All content gone… all rank gone. … What kind of sociopath does that?”
Tyler1 took it on the chin, tweeting:
With that being said I have no hard feelings towards the guy. Shit happens.
— loltyler1 (@lol_tyler1) 1 October 2017
Nevertheless, Riot officially didn’t take kindly to Riot Sanjuro’s comments. Ryan “The_Cactopus” Rigney, Riot’s senior writer, stated:
“To be very clear here: what was said is NOT okay, and we take it extremely seriously. I’d like to apologize on behalf of Riot to both Tyler1 and the community for this. We will be taking action internally to address this,”
Soon after that, Rutledge and Riot parted ways. No official statement has been made by either party, but it’s beyond obvious how and why this all happened.
Hopefully, no more bad blood comes out of this, so we can keep on memeing in piece.