We are midway through the group stage of the LOL: World Championships 2019 and it has been an exciting endeavour for some and a tumultuous time for others. Battling it out in best of one match ups, but there has been definite upset for last year’s front runners, Fnatic and Cloud9, who are both currently third in their collective groups with both only winning one of their three games.
In their most recent bouts, Fnatic were soundly lambasted by Royal Never Give Up, who creatively out manoeuvred their foes with power play after power play. Eroding away Fnatic’s defences and forcing them to concede their ground and sacrifice objectives which inevitably led to their defeat being slaughtered in the Baron’s pit by RNG’S Uzi and Xiaohu. Cloud9 smashed up against GRIFFIN in a long, drawn out, battle of attrition and Cloud9 had to contend with an eclectic choice of warriors and a slow, deliberate, pace of battle. With GRF’s Tarzan getting first blood, taking down C9’s Blabber who attempted a risky execution early game. GRIFFIN swiftly laid waste to C9’s base, taking ground inch by inch, controlling the river and demolishing turrets and inhibitors. Dealing incredible damage with cannon barrages and ultimately leading C9’s base to ruination.
Reigning champions China’s Invictus Gaming faired little better, scraping by with just two victories, drawing with DAMWON Gaming and Team Liquid who matched their stratagems blow for blow. Invictus Gaming struggled and strained against DAMWON, fending off defeats with some clutch plays, especially by IG’s TheShy who reposted many heavy pushes with an impressive display of skills in the team fight. Yet, it wasn’t enough, despite the variety of mistakes DAMWON made they were able to buff themselves to an immense strength and shred through IG’s remaining defences. The game ending with a duel between TheShy and DWG’s Nuclear, with Nuclear just eking out a victory.
All of these courageous competitors are being surpassed by SK Telecom and G2 Esports who have definitely dominated their current contenders so far, demolishing each of their opponents to secure complete supremacy. SK Telecom demonstrated the key core dynamics of higher level league play, controlling the environment, correctly predicting enemy tactics and punishing any mistakes.
They tactfully obliterated Clutch Gaming, running an early game flawlessly, with SKT’s Faker taking the MVP. In direct contrast, G2 Esports fought a hard game against Hong Kong Attitude, bathing in the cannon barrage’s, setting up sidelines, and trading quadrants in an all-out bitter brawl. They teased and taunted, pushed lanes, and angered HKA into making mistakes and those faults were exploited to G2’s benefit. Despite the seemingly chaotic methods of their initial tactics, G2 unleashed devastating amounts of damage, they were able to fight through their own mistakes. However, the question remains, will they be able to maintain this strategy as they march onwards and will they be able to present a challenge to the cold and calculated schemes of SK Telecom?
The group stage will be all done and dusted by Sunday, so we will soon see who will ascend beyond their groups and begin to battle it out in the knockout stage which is set to commence on the 26/10/2019.
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