For the first round of the World Playoffs, eight teams faced off in two groups for a chance to move on to the quarter finals against the seeded teams Team SoloMid, Moscow Five, Team WE, and Taipei Assassins. With only half of the teams advancing today, every match was a battle for tournament survival, and the best-of-one format meant there were no second chances.
In the first Group, Azubu Frost, Invictus Gaming, Counter Logic Gaming NA, and SK Gaming were all thrust into the arena. The first game was an explosive back and forth between Azubu Frost and Invictus Gaming. Invictus scored an early lead over Frost and managed to hold onto it for the entire first half of the game. However, a disastrous Baron fight for them resulted in Frost pulling off a steal to take the lead with minimal losses. By picking hard-scaling champions like Jax, Frost was able to last until their late-game power kicked in and turned the match around.
The second highlight match of the group featured SK Gaming and CLG NA, who were each down one game after losses to Frost and iG respectively. Both teams went for global map presence, with SK picking up Shen while CLG NA ran three Teleport spells. After a sneaky Baron kill, SK Gaming attempted to kick in the door on CLGs mid. This opened a window of opportunity for Doublelift to split-push with a promoted minion while his team held the line. Suddenly, the base race was on! Despite SK having the Baron buff in their favor, it became quickly apparent that CLG was in the lead as SK attempted to Recall and defend. A few quick teleports from CLG NA brought the game to a white-knuckle finish.
Despite their impressive second game, neither CLG NA nor SK Gaming were able to advance past the group stage. Azubu Frost would draw TSM in the next round, while Invictus drew Moscow Five.
NaJin Sword, Counter Logic Gaming Europe, Saigon Jokers, and Dignitas made up the second group of the day, and the evening games were just as fierce as the morning. Saigon Jokers put on an impressive performance in their first match against NaJin Sword, but like the Frost vs. iG match, Sword managed to draw the game out until their superior late-game comp won them the match. The rest of the group seemed like a warm up for Sword as they rolled through Dignitas and CLG EU in quick games. Maknoon clearly earned the award for MVP of the day for his unbeatable performance in top lane.
Counter Logic Gaming Europe also advanced to the quarterfinals after routing the Saigon Jokers. While the Jokers performed well in their match against NaJin Sword and had scored an upset victory over Dignitas, CLG EU was able to seize an advantage early on in their match. From there, they were able to snowball to victory, choosing to engage their opponents only when they had a huge advantage. NaJin Sword moves on to face Taipei Assassins tomorrow, while CLG EU will do battle with Team WE.
The action starts up again at 12 PM PST with Moscow Five vs. iG in the quarter finals. Check out our official website to watch all the matches streamed live.
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