I’ve been saying in all of these write-ups for the League of Legends World Championship that anything can and will happen and that once again proved to be true today.
In what is perhaps the most unexpected and crazy day that Worlds has ever seen, both of the favorites to win the entire tournament have been eliminated on day one of the quarterfinal round. Royal Never Give Up (RNG) and kt Rolster were expected by most to be the final boss waiting at the end of the tournament, but G2 Esports and Invictus Gaming had other plans.
In the first series of the day between the Korean squad kt Rolster and China’s Invictus Gaming, IG got out to a quick start and went up 2-0 in the best of five series. After an insane finish to Game 3 which came down to one of the most exciting and intense base races ever seen, kt Rolster came out on top and forced a Game 4 which they also went on to win. With the series tied 2-2, Invictus rallied back and through a brilliant game from the team’s ADC JackeyLove, closed out the series and eliminated the tournament favorite. It was one of the biggest upsets in the history of Worlds — at least for a few hours.
With kt Rolster now eliminated, RNG immediately became the new favorite in many’s view and almost no one anticipated that they would lose to Europe’s G2 Esports. After a commanding game one from RNG, G2 came back to take game two. Once again, the team’s traded wins in Games 3 and 4 which once again led to another Game 5 to decide everything. This time though, RNG didn’t bounce back with a win of their own and G2 laid waste to the LPL champion. G2’s Perkz specifically had one of the best performances seen by a Mid-Laner in this tournament so far in Game 5 and demolished RNG with his LeBlanc. G2 had arguably pulled off the single biggest upset in the 8-year history of Worlds.
In a matter of just a few hours, Worlds has been turned on its head, along with the hopes that many had to see a matchup between kt Rolster and RNG. G2 and IG have advanced to the semifinals where they will square off against one another next week with a trip to the Finals on the line.
As for the other quarterfinals matchup, those kick-off early tomorrow morning at 12:00 AM EST as North America’s Cloud9 will do battle with Afreeca Freecs — the final Korean team against the final NA team. Following this series, Fnatic will square off against Edward Gaming which has an approximated start time of 4:00 AM EST.
More so than ever before in the modern era, this seems like the year in which a western team might actually stand a chance of beating the teams from the east and winning Worlds 2018. If there’s one thing that this tournament has taught us, it’s that regardless of what region you’re from, you stand a great chance of winning as long as you play to your own strengths.