League of Legends World Championship Season 6: Summaries from the Group Stage-- Group A
Greetings, Summoners, from the Fields of Valoran! Fans around the world have been glued to their monitors as the top 16 teams from every League of Legends region faced off for the ultimate title: World Champion 2016. Group Stages began Thursday, September 29th. The 16 teams were split into groups of four and then began two rounds of Red Robin, where they faced each team from their group in Best of One matches. While the first Red Robin was split with two matches from three groups, this week will see each day dedicated to a single group to finish out the phase. The top two teams from each Group will move on.
This Group Stage has been full of unexpected results and underdog victories. Below are summaries and highlights from all of the matches in Group A, which includes Counter Logic Gaming from the NA LCS, ROX Tigers from the LCK, G2 Esports from the EU LCS, and Albus Nox Luna from the Wildcard picks, a CIS team.
Red Robin Round 1
The first match of Worlds set the stage for an exciting week as Counter Logic Gaming took on G2 Esports. The NA and EU LCS have long harbored a rivalry with each other, so the hype was strong for this game. With this year’s Worlds being broadcasted from the USA, the home team was rooting for CLG despite all of the analysts predicting a win for G2 based on both team’s stats.
While the match was a complete stomp, it wasn’t in the predicted way: CLG dominated the map, and Xmithie’s Olaf steamrolled for a final player stat of 6/0/5. It came as no surprise when he was named MVP for the game. Stixxay also had a strong showing as Caitlyn, snagging a Tripple Kill as CLG secured an Ace and won the game.
The second match of the day saw LCK’s top team and tournament favorites ROX Tigers take on the Russian Wildcards Albus Nox Luna. ANX had a strong start and managed to carry the game from the beginning, but ROX fell into their more aggressive playstyle-- including a Quadra Kill from Pray-- and turned the stats around in their favor for the win.
Group A’s teams had the day off for Day 2, but they were back to work on Day 3 with Counter Logic Gaming facing off against Albus Nox Luna. This time, the hopes were high for CLG against underdogs ANX, but once again League of Legends became the League of Upsets when ANX took total control of the game and snowballed against CLG for the win.
ANX’s support Likrit proved to be a beast on the field, dealing massive blows as Tom Kanch. He acquired several new Twitter fans after his post-game on-stage interview, where he proved to be quite entertaining.
The second Group A match pitted ROX Tigers against G2 Esports. G2 came out of the gate strong and dominated the field for 23 minutes, controlling the map and steamrolling ROX. However, at the 23:20 mark, ROX made a move that turned the game around: Peanut stole Baron. At 33:30, Smeb's Kennen claimed an Ace, and ROX began their assault.
Things snowballed from there, leading to the ROX victory. At this point, the Tigers remained undefeated.
Group A started off Day 4 with Albus Nox Luna challenging G2 Esports. The Cinderella Wildcard team started off well, claiming first blood against G2 just before the five-minute mark and securing a gold lead. They snowballed from there, keeping in the lead with Gold and downing the first tower at 15:08. They kept ahead of G2 with all objectives, claiming the most Drakes and the only Baron Nashor of the game. By the end of the match, ANX secured another win while G2 continued their losing streak.
The next match brought Counter Logic Gaming head to head with ROX Tigers. while ROX came into the match highly favored, CLG decided to throw down the gauntlet by claiming First Blood before the three-minute mark. In a true Cinderella story, CLG steamrolled through the rest of the match, maintaining a Gold and Objective lead and slaughtering ROX in team fights. To everyone's ecstatic surprise, CLG delivered ROX their first loss at Worlds.
Everyone was talking about Huhi's dominance as Aurelion Sol. ASol was disabled for the first three days due to a bug, so the Hype was real when he was listed during Day 4's matches. CLG grabbed him for Huhi during the Picks and Bans, and that proved to be an amazing decision. Huhi not only claimed First Blood for his team but also dominated throughout the match.
Red Robin Round 2
The first match of Round Robin 2 gave us G2 Esports vs. ROX Tigers. A win here would be G2’s only chance for possibly advancing to the Quarter Finals, the EU team currently 0-3. Unfortunately, their last-ditch match was against tournament favorites ROX, who were looking to regain their favored status after running fairly even with other teams in the Group. G2 came out of the gate quick, claiming First Blood for an initial lead. ROX started to take charge with a Gold lead, but G2 shoved them back down. The EU team maintained their lead right up until the 15-minute mark, when ROX GorillA's Alistar went for a tower dive, landing a double knock up that allowed his team to dominate the fight.
ROX proceeded to take control of the match, snowballing through objectives and fights until they ultimately claimed G2's nexus and officially knocked them out of the running for Quarter Finals.
Match two gave Support Mains what they wanted to see—new fan-favorite Likrit against stats-favored Aphromoo when Albus Nox Luna took on Counter Logic Gaming. The excitement began at the eight-minute mark when Likrit scored First Blood for ANX by taking down his in-game rival.
ANX continued to dominate the match, taking both the first Mountain and Cloud Drakes for their respective boosts and destroying three towers by the 24-minute mark. The third tower saw them take down CLG in a team fight and go for the first Baron Nashor of the evening. ANX took their first move against CLG’s base at 27, but CLG managed to chase them off despite pathetic damage stats. By 28 minutes, ANX had a 13K gold lead as they set their eyes back on the base and took down some turrets and two inhibitors. They backed off to claim an Infernal Drake before doing what no Wildcard game had done before by claiming the record for the most wins from a Wildcard team ever when they claimed CLG’s Nexus to end the game. ANX officially tied ROX Tigers at 3 Wins to 1 Loss.
After ANX's impressive feat, fans settled in to watch Counter Logic Gaming move to the next match against G2. While G2 cannot advance to Quarter Finals, they had the chance to prevent CLG's advancement as well. CLG claimed First Blood in the top lane just after the four-minute mark. They kept their lead in Gold and Kills through the 17-minute mark. G2 attempted to come back with a Syndra ult, but Aphromoo's Braum saved the day and allowed his team to escape and maintain their lead.
Just past the 32-minute mark, G2 tried to make a move when CLG went for Baron, but CLG dominated the fight, just missing the Ace before finishing off the Baron run. CLG claimed the win, maintaining their chance at the Quarter Finals.
The Hype was strong when Albus Nox Luna challenged ROX Tigers. The match started off with a five-point Ward strategy on both teams and typical laning phases. The five-minute mark saw ANX claim First Blood thanks to a Jungle gank in the mid lane from PvPStejos's Nidalee. Just shy of a minute and a half later, Nidalee returned to the mid lane for an Assist as Kira's Vladimir took down Kuro's Syndra. ROX Peanut had a misplay, but he made up for it by shutting down PvPStejos in the Jungle right before punishing Likrit in the bot lane after a bold push by ANX. By the 19-minute mark, ROX started finding their groove, dominating in team fights to level out in Gold before overcoming ANX in Kills. ANX would not go down without a fight, however, securing a second Drake and making some impressive plays. By the 25-minute mark, ANX had yet to give up a turret. The 26-minute mark saw an impressive save from PVPStejos that resulted in a Double Kill and a Baron for ANX.
ANX claimed an inhibitor at 35 before staking out the Baron pit. ROX started to group up in the Jungle, however, so both teams played it safe and backed away for a short while before ANX went in. ROX was waiting, though, with Kuro snatching it from beneath ANX's noses.
The Casters began to worry that ANX was starting to let nerves take over, but ANX managed to out-rotate ROX just before the 42-minute mark to get some hits in on the base turret and ping the inhibitor. They backed off before ROX could go for the full team fight, respecting ROX's domination in that type of setting. Just past the 45-minute mark, ANX surprised ROX by going for an Elder Drake. ANX pushed the base again, taking down top and mid inhibitors before going for a Baron to bait out ROX, but ROX cleaned house with the team fight and took Baron for themselves. ANX started pushing back, taking inhibitors again and keeping ROX from objectives, including a Baron, but ROX came back to grab an Elder Dragon before stealing yet another Baron from ANX. ANX managed to defend their base, forcing ROX to retreat and defend their own base again and managing to score another downed inhibitor. ANX made an amazing push into the base, taking down inhibitors, a full nexus turret, and all but a pinch of the second. They had to pull back, but they also played ROX's wards to trick them into defending base while two members went for Baron. Finally, with ANX at 119.4K to ROX's 119.6K Gold, ANX finished this roller coaster of a match by smashing through the Nexus!
It was a close final fight, with all of ANX's hopes resting on Smurf and Likrit's shoulders. Poppy and Taric were the last ANX members standing at the Nexus, but Taric's ult allowed them to survive and land those last few hits. With this victory, ANX seals their position in the Quarter Finals-- the first Wildcard team to ever make it past Groups.
Right after their epic record-blasting run versus ROX, ANX found themselves going up against G2. Running off of momentum, ANX performed a five-man invade to snatch First Blood just past the minute mark. The teams went back and forth for a while, exchanging objectives and kills while keeping their Gold fairly even. Slowly but surely, G2 started to pull ahead. While the Drake count was even, G2 managed to get a 3 Kill lead and Baron. After the initial push, they started to snowball, eventually taking the base for their first win and finishing 1W-5L.
While G2 managed to come away with the win, Counter Logic Gaming and ROX Tigers were preparing to face off for their future. With ANX clinching the first slot, only one of these teams would be able to advance to the Quarter Finals. ROX started strong, with Peanut claiming First Blood at the three-minute mark.
CLG refused to go down without a fight, however, evening out the kill count and Objectives by the 11-minute mark. ROX's only true lead was in their Gold, and even that gap was closing. The 17-minute mark showed ROX starting to turn on their aggression, shooting up for a four Kill lead and steamrolling CLG in team fights.
CLG started to make another comeback just before the 24-minute mark, having a fight go in their favor before claiming an Infernal Drake. To that point, they had been tied with ROX in having a single Cloud Drake. ROX forced a fight at Baron, but CLG almost managed to wipe them in the fight. A last minute hit to Baron saved ROX in the battle. CLG put up a great fight, but ROX held onto their lead and secured their position in the Quarter Finals. Their win tied them up with Albus Nox Luna, ensuring a tie-breaker to decide who would be the First Seed from Group A.
ROX against ANX in the tie-breaker was the last match for Group A. They had a few spats in the jungle, but Peanut's Elise started to outpace PvPStejos's Graves. ROX made an aggressive dive in the bottom lane to achieve First Blood and secure ROX's lead for the early phase.
ROX decided that it had been too close of a call securing their advancement, so they weren't going to lose taking First Seed. They snowballed through the game, taking the lead in the Jungle and finishing strong.
What's to Come
With Group A's two teams confirmed as ROX Tigers and Albus Nox Luna, Worlds turns to Group C to discover who will join Group A's two Seeds in the Quarter Finals.
I'll see you in the Rift!