As expected, the big story of the week is the ongoing League of Legends World Championships. But we also have the PGL Season 1 Finals, another update for CS:GO, and much more in this week’s world championship version of eSports Weekly.
LoL Worlds: Recap of First Two Days of Group Stage
For the entire month of October, the World Championships of League of Legends will dominate the realm of eSports while the event rages across Europe, beginning in Paris, France for the first few days of group stage play. Will Counter Logic Gaming take advantage of the weaker Group A and make it to playoffs, thus rewarding the faithful? Will Team SoloMid survive LGD Gaming and KT Rolster in Group D for Death? Will Faker lead SK Telecom T1 back up to the championship summit he led them to in season three? Will a wildcard team do what KaBum did last year and shock one of the favorites late in the group stage? As hundreds of thousands are tuning into Riot’s Twitch channel, whether they’re watching on phones, computer screens, TVs, or in movie theaters, we shall find out.
To kick off group stages, the Fnatic team that ran wild through Europe with an 18-0 regular season record went head-to-head with Invictus Gaming, the #3 seed out of China. Fnatic showed the world that they’re record-setting streak was no fluke, dominating Invictus in every aspect of the game: kills, towers, dragons, barons, gold earned, etc. Following that up, Cloud 9, the team that shocked everyone by even making it to Worlds after their disastrous start to the summer split, met a very capable team out of Taiwan in AHQ. The match was very close up until just after the 20 minute mark, when C9 traded Balls for three AHQ players, and then picked up the baron to steamroll into the AHQ base and destroy the nexus in just under 24 minutes. The western momentum train would come to a halt when H2k faced the infamous SK Telecom T1 roster. The match was surprisingly close, but Marin proved to be SK’s savior when he led an improbable team fight that wiped H2k after Faker was picked off. SK would carry that momentum into a victory over H2k. Lastly, CLG faced the Flash Wolves out of Taiwan. At the 35 minute mark, CLG were down in kills 6-1, but remained in the game thanks to superior CS across the board. It was a critical kill on the Wolves’ AD Carry Kkramer that gave CLG momentum, who would win multiple late-game teamfights to secure an improbable comeback victory. After day one, Western teams were 3-1 against other regions.
Day two began with two Group D(eath) matches: TSM vs KT Rolster & Origen vs LGD. TSM vs KT went as expected, with KT Rolster rolling over a TSM roster that looked lost. But Origen pulled off an incredible upset over LGD Gaming, with soaz backdoor-ing the Nexus while LGD tried to make a play at Baron to win the game. On top of that, soaz did so in front of a crowd of his native countrymen and women who were going wild. This close finish was followed by two massacres, as SK Telecom dominated Bangkok Titans, and Edward Gaming dismantled H2k. The next match-up between Flash Wolves and the KOO Tigers would lead to the second major upset of the day, with Steak leading the Wolves to a victory over the Tigers. This win gave CLG a chance to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the group stage, and in the last game of the day, played a complete game start to finish against paiN Gaming. You can view the current standings, as well as the schedule for the rest of Worlds, here on eSportspedia.
CS:GO: Additional Update Prior to PGL Season 1 Finals
Tucked away in Bucharest while the LoL World Championships takes the rest of Europe by storm, the PGL Season 1 Finals are taking place this weekend, as three premier teams in Fnatic, TSM, and Virtus.Pro compete along with NA’s Team Liquid for the biggest portion of $75K and the PGL Season 1 trophy. I don’t mean to take anything away from Liquid, their roster has the potential to be the best in North America, and to contend against some of the world’s best teams. But it’s so early into their history with this version of the roster, as it’s only been a month since Hiko officially joined, and the caliber of teams they’re facing is so high that they really don’t stand a reasonable chance at winning. Fnatic, VP, and Liquid all earned spots in the finals by winning their respective group stages, and TSM won that Last Chance qualifier to pick up the fourth spot.
In the first semifinal, Liquid were matched up with Polish powerhouse Virtus.Pro. Liquid played exceptionally well on both maps, even pushing map one on Overpass to 30 rounds, but would fall to VP in two games, and were sent down to the loser’s bracket. Snax and TaZ led the way for their team in both maps. In similar fashion, the TSM vs Fnatic series also featured the first map going to 30 rounds, with TSM coming out on top on Inferno. Map two on dust2 was back and forth between two of the world’s best teams, before TSM pulled away at the end, with device picking up 29 kills, and karrigaN pulling off a 1v3 clutch and defuse in the last round to secure a 16-10 win for TSM, and a 2-0 series victory. TSM will face VP tomorrow for a spot in the grand finals. The loser will face the winner of Liquid vs Fnatic for the second spot in the finals.
This weekend’s worth of action comes after another update to CS:GO that came out yesterday. The update was marked by two major removals. The first was the removal of Operation Bloodhound, which included a collection of maps that are now removed from the competitive queue. Zoo, Season, Rails, Agency, Resort, and Logs are now gone. Additionally, Valve removed the ability to voice communicate between teams during warm-ups and half-time of competitive match-ups. This can be viewed as a blessing or a curse depending on what kind of player you are, and whether you used the ability to talk trash or blast music through your mic towards the other team. The only gameplay change that came with the update is the nerfing of the Zeus stungun. The price has been increased to $200, there’s now no kill reward, and movement speed while holding a Zeus has been reduced.
- LoL: Xpecial announced on the Team Liquid YouTube channel that he will be leaving the team, citing that Piglet and the Liquid organization wanted to reach out and find a new support. This came after the Daily Dot initially reported that Piglet was leaving, but Liquid announced on Twitter that his contract runs through November of 2016.
- Smash: More Liquid departures were announced this week, as Smash legend KDJ announced that he was retiring from competitive play, citing struggles with injuries.
- Hearthstone: Orange won the inaugural Abios Hearthstone Invitational, his third competitive title this year.