After going 1-1 in Day 1 of the 2017 World Championship Play-In Stage, Oceania’s Wolfpack needed to only take down either Cloud9 or team oNe eSports on Day 2 after NA’s representatives took down the men from Brazil in the first match of the second day of play.
First up was the undefeated (3-0) Cloud9 who are in impeccable form and had already locked in their advancement to the next stage of the Play-In.
Picks and Bans opened up with the North Americans dropping the red X over Tristana, Jayce and Jax, while the Wolves opted to take out the ultimate flex-pick in Galio, as well as Xayah and Summoners’ Rift’s resident tree-man, Maokai. Prioritising the lethal Kalista and Rakan combo, C9 quickly locked them in for Sneaky and Smoothie, while on the red side DW took Jarvan and Ashe for Chippys and k1ng.
Cho’Gath and Sejuani followed for C9 and DW respectively, and the Wolves targeted Jensen’s champ pool with round 2 of bans, as LeBlanc and Orianna were banned. Cloud9 responded with targeting the support player for DW, Destiny and dropped Braum and Morgana out of his options. A quick Alistar lock-in for Destiny set up a quick Syndra pickup for Jensen while Contractz pulled out the Chinese favourite of Jungle Ezreal. A comfort champion for Phantiks in Vladimir rounded out the champion select and we were onto the Rift.
A gank at 3 minutes on the dot from Shernfire in the bot lane led to a double Summoner burn and First Blood being given away by Sneaky to chip the Wolfpack into a gold lead. The Sejuani came back at 4:15 and a brutal fight with teleports coming in from both top laners and both junglers resulted in a 4 for 1 trade in favour of the Wolves. 3 of the kills went the bloodthirsty Alistar to send him into a soloqueue-esque scoreline, going 3/0/2 by 5 minutes. Although behind in CS against Contractz, Shernfire sped up top closing in on 7 minutes to put an end to the mystery of Impact and his knowledge of Chippys to secure the Crown Prince’s second kill.
The Moo Cow could smell blood and the bot lane charged in with the assistance of Shernfire to pick up two kills in exchange for Destiny’s life to put them 5 kills and 1k gold up. At this stage, Sneaky was obviously tilting as a 4 man gank dropped him to 0/4/2 and the Wolfpack went on to take first turret and full control of this game. A quick Rift Herald take completely backfired as Cloud9 picked up 3 kills, 2 on Sneaky, as Dire Wolves collapsed and only managed 1 kill and the mid lane Outer Turret. As the timer threatened to tick over 20 minutes, a fight erupted in the mid lane as Shernfire landed a pixel-perfect ultimate but Cloud9 came out on top, taking 2 kills while only handing over 1, and k1ng’s Ashe was caught out of position a minute later, equalising the gold totals but leaving DW two kills ahead.
Contractz took the opportunity to slay the second Ocean Drake of the game, and the game went suddenly very passive as it balanced on a knife’s edge and the vision game began. A failed initiation led to 3 kills for free for Cloud9 and a Baron, with Shernfire dying on the back end to send the Oceanic men down 3k gold, a turret and 2 kills behind. You could see the desperation flaring up on the Wolfpack’s faces as C9 bashed down their top lane turrets and went in for a make or break fight. They picked up a few kills but C9 took down 4 members and with their Baron buff, stormed into the base to knock down the Nexus Turrets, and after a last chance hurrah from the OPL representatives, blew up the Nexus with an 11k gold lead and 9 kills up. With the win, Cloud9’s record went up to 4-0 and will remain undefeated in this Worlds campaign as the Wolves were left with a 1-2 record and relying on their ability to bounce back and take out the winless Team oNe eSports to be able to make it into the next portion of the competition
Coming off a heartwrenching defeat against top seed Cloud9 after dominating the early game, the Dire Wolves had one last chance to head on to the Round of 16 Qualifiers as they took on Team oNe eSports. If the Wolfpack picked up the W, they were in. If they lost, oNe would equalise the record and would have to go into a tiebreaker. With a Worlds spot on the line, tensions were running high as the teams entered Champ Select.
Both teams hurtled through the opening stages of Champion Select, with Syndra, Jayce and Jax being locked away by oNe and Xayah, Kalista and Olaf being banned by the Wolves, obviously targeting Absolut’s champion pool. Tristana was instantly locked in on the side of the Brazilians, which was speedily countered by Varus for k1ng and Jarvan IV reared his head once again, this time for the jungle. Sejuani and Braum for 4LaN and RedBert rounded out Phase 1, as the OPL champions took away Shen and Maokai as the South American representatives sent back a falcon to say that Gnar and Orianna wouldn’t be available either.
Phantiks took his signature Corki as soon as he could, letting Marf counterpick a Cassiopeia into it, as well a Galio into Chippys’ Fiora, which he picked up with the last pick of the draft. The bot lane for the Wolves looks hot with Destiny on his powerful Morgana and k1ng backing him with the Arrow of Retribution. With champions locked in, loading screens went up as the final game of the group got underway.
A minute in, VOD review for the Wolves obviously paid off as they caught out VVvert as a 5 man group in the river brush and gave over a first blood to Shernfire. A hasty recall enabled Shern to get both jungle items and put him ahead significantly so early in the game, a 1k gold lead for the Wolfpack. Utilising his advantage, Shernfire went for an early gank top lane and collected the kill, but VVvert’s taunt secured himself oNe’s first kill on the back end, with the turret coming in with the clutch assist. Some early aggression from oNe’s bot lane proved fruitless as k1ng and Destiny weathered the storm as they built up a gold lead with Destiny with the Ancient Coin and k1ng’s Varus on a CS lead.
A 4 man attack on Phantiks in the midlane narrowly failed, as VVvert blew Flash and Teleport getting away from turret aggro and returning to lane. Chippys, sensing an opportunity, leapt onto the Galio, throwing down the Grand Challenge. Some good macro play led VVvert to hug the wall and stop the solo kill, instead flipping it around to let the turret finish off Chippys and causing the Wolfpack’s top laner to bury his head in his hands. oNe then took the opportunity to rotate to the Dragon pit and quickly took down the Infernal Drake, stabilising the gold lead to ensure they only remained 2k behind.
The action died down only briefly, as k1ng pulled off a clutch Varus ultimate to take down RedBert and followed up with a takedown on Absolut’s Tristana to take a 2 for none fight. Attempting to capitalise on that, Phantiks and shernfire ran up to mid lane, targeting Marf’s Cassiopeia. Almost paying off, the Corki pressed his advantage but the rest of the Brazilians turned up to blow up his engine and put a 1 in his deaths column. Many a brawl erupted as the game progresses, leading to oNe wresting the kill lead back from the men of down under to be 6-5 up, as well as two Infernal Drakes in hand. However, the Wolfpack had maintained their gold lead, and were still 3k gold up at the 19 minute mark and turrets had been equalised at 2 apiece.
22 minutes in heralded a brawl around Dragon Pit over the third Infernal, as 4LaN suicided in an attempt to secure oNe’s third dragon of the game. The Wolves sprinted to Baron and started it up, however a timely intervention from the CBLoL representatives halted them in their tracks and a chase up top lane resulted in a few kills for them. oNe tried to respond with their own baron, but some well-placed teleports from the Wolfpack made it just as successful as their own attempt.
Trepidation quickly followed as the game was finely balanced, but a clean Chippys pickoff at 26 minutes resulted in Nashor finally being secured and the resulting team fight put the Brazilians to a 12-9 kill lead and almost equalise the gold lead. Both teams began to roam the map, oNe searching for opportunities to turn the structures into crumbling rock, while the Dire Wolves hunted for pickoffs and they got one. An amazing Dark Binding from Destiny locked down Absolut and he was quickly pounced upon by shernfire to send him back to the fountain for 40 seconds and hand over a Cloud Drake to the Wolves.
A few minutes later, as our scoreboard showed 32 minutes, Phantiks was caught out in the top lane and was quickly wiped off the Rift and adding an extra number to his deaths count. A foolish pursuit of Marf down mid lane allowed the base to be broken in top lane and a clean rout from the side of the Brazilians, leaving only Chippys and Phantiks alive. Baron was quickly shredded as the desperate canines tried to keep the super minions from shattering their base. Baron to oNe did restore the gold lead, approximately 1k up and they had the Dire Wolves running away with their tails between their legs.
Pressuring bot lane, a minor skirmish proved fruitless as oNe took the bottom inhibitor and turned around to take down Elder Dragon. Desperation took effect as the Dire Wolves attempted to stop the attack, but Absolut’s Tristana proved far too much to handle as the Wolves were cleanly aced and sentenced to a tiebreaker against their current opponents after the day’s play concluded. The disappointment was clearly visible on the faces of our OPL champions after two early leads were reversed as they failed to make an impact on day two, now having to pull some magic out of their bag of tricks in order to secure advancement
However, they were unable to do so in the tiebreaker match against Team oNe eSports, falling once again and this time out of the World Championship. Oceania’s run at Worlds was concluded and now all eyes are on MSI next year to see if Oceania can again try to stamp a claim as a contending region.