The halfway point of the first part of the round-robin in Group Stage was full of action, and upsets, crushing defeats, anything you could wish except for an EU victory. 0-5 over the first two days of play, the Europeans were looking for their first victories and had 2 chances to do so in Misfits when they went up against the Flash Wolves and G2 eSports, arguably the best chance of a win, when they played 1907 Fenerbahce in Game 3 of the day.

However, the first game of the day was the clash of the two leaders in Group D, with NA’s TSM going up against China’s Team WE. The previous days’ battles had produced both teams as contenders to take out Group D, and their first game would prove a benchmark for what could follow later in the group. Europe’s hopes rested on the next two games as Misfits and G2 squared up against FW and FB respectively. The next 3 games were Asian-dominated, with SSG v RNG followed by SKT v AHQ and rounded out by Cloud9 vs EDG.

Game 1

 Team SoloMid vs Team WE was always going to be a barnburner, with the Wuhan crowd relentlessly cheering for a WE victory. Champion select kicked off with TSM making sure Condi couldn’t get his hands on Ezreal, as well as knocking away Galio and Janna, while WE took out Kalista, Jarvan and Lulu, spreading their bans around. Rakan was instantly snagged by Biofrost, while WE took his counterpart in his lover, Xayah. Sejuani followed as a comfort pick for Condi, and as we jumped back to TSM’s side they picked the Gragas which was unsuccessful for Svenskeren on Day 2, and Tristana came not long after before WE took Taric as the first round of bans finished.

Gnar and Ryze were taken away by WE while their opponents on the blue side banned Cassiopeia and LeBlance, obviously targeting xiye. Xiye wasn’t fazed however, immediately locking in the Syndra in the hopes of taking the fight to Bjergsen, and Cho’Gath was locked in for Hauntzer in the top lane as well as the Corki for NA’s Faker. The surprising Shen pickup for 957 closed out champion select, and there was no clear winner in this pick and ban phase

TSM had close to a 1k gold lead at 15 minutes when Svenskeren overextended in the midlane and a perfectly calculated Unleashed Power from xiye burst him down to hand First Blood over to the Chinese. 5 minutes later, a poorly executed initiation from Svenskeren and Biofrost near the Baron pit allowed Mystic and xiye to team up to take them both down. Returning to lane, Bjergsen managed a solokill onto xiye, sending him back to the fountain seconds before WE’s reinforcements came in, in the form of Condi and Ben.

The bloody few minutes continued, this time in between the sites of the previous kills when Biofrost initiated onto 3 members of WE and forced the Cosmic Radiance out from Ben. Condi managed to miss both his ultimate and including xiye in his Bastion ultimate aura, leading to a quick second death for xiye, Bjergsen again claiming the kill. Ben fell moments later to give Bjergsen his third kill of the game. The game did stagnate until the 33rd minute, although TSM had taken the lull as an opportunity to pick up 3 Drakes (Two Mountains and an Ocean), however two hastily burnt ultimates from WE’s bottom lane allowed TSM to leap onto them and get an almost perfect ace, only losing Hauntzer in the entire fight. With the teamfight victory, it was no great struggle for TSM to enter WE’s base and take their second win of the tournament.

Game 2

 The second game in Group D was as close as we’ll get to a losers bracket in this Group of Life, with both the Flash Wolves and Misfits Gaming possessing a 0-1 scoreline after their first day of play. With Europe still hunting for their first win of the tournament, the entire continent was behind Misfits as they did search for that elusive W. The first bans happened super quickly, with Blitzcrank again being banned against IgNar as well as Jarvan and Gnar, while Misfits made sure Betty couldn’t get his hands on Kalista and Tristana, and caution was thrown to the wind when Rakan was also taken away.

Lulu was a interesting first pick for the Flash Wolves, obviously planning around teamfights, while MSF secured Kog’Maw and Sejuani for Hans Sama and Maxlore. Jinx was picked for the first time in Worlds 2017, but the novelty was quickly shattered when mainstay Gragas was taken for Karsa. The always powerful Janna got picked up for IgNar and we were back to the second round of bans. Jayce and Galio went from the side of the LMS, while Misfits desperately wanted to ensure that Maple didn’t get an aggressive pick by banning away LeBlanc and Cassiopeia. Orianna was PowerOfEvil’s choice, while Cho’Gath and Corki were picked up by the Flash Wolves for 957 and Maple. A surprisingly niche pick in Trundle rounded out champion select in the top lane for Alphari, and Europe’s next test had begun.

Both teams had kept the gold differential at 0, until Maple was caught by a wombo-combo from Maxlore’s Sejuani and PowerOfEvil’s Orianna to hand First Blood to the Misfits. A whole 18 minutes passed before we got our next bit of action (apart from a few clean Dragon and Turret deaths), and 26 minutes was when the scriptwriters at Riot decided that Misfits would get another kill, this time onto MMD in the midlane. The game came alive then, with Karsa being taken out by Maxlore and Hans Sama allowing MSF to turn onto the Baron. With Flash Wolves pressuring, the Misfits peeled off Baron and focused onto MMD to turn the 1 in the deaths column to a 2. 54:35

Betty was shockwaved into oblivion after a well-timed ult from PowerofEvil to bring the kill lead to 5-0 in favour of the Europeans. 36 minutes was when we next got the action we craved, and with MSF 7k gold ahead, every League fan in Europe was starting to get hopeful that the drought would soon be ending. It was only a kill onto Karsa, but with every kill the gold lead grew and made it more and more unlikely that Europe would take another loss. A skirmish at the toplane inhibitor at 45 minutes expanded into a full-blown brawl, and after a brief retreat after Karsa was killed, the Misfits piled into the Flash Wolves’ base to end the game and get Europe on the board.

 Game 3

 Following up with Europe’s first victory, G2 eSports were looking to make it 2 for 2 from the day with their matchup against underdogs 1907 Fenerbahce eSpor. 1907 had had a convincing run through the Play-In stage, but had looked outclassed in their first match against RNG and were looking to bounce back against the European champions. G2 started off with a bang by banning away Ezreal, Rakan and and Jarvan, while 1907 Fenerbahce opted to target arguably one of the best bottom lanes in the West by taking away Xayah, Kalista and Rakan.

For the second game in a row, Lulu was the first pick for blue side, as well as Sejuani and Kog’Maw being taken by the red side. The perfect repeat of Game 2 was stifled as Tristana was picked instead of Jinx after Trick snagged himself Gragas. We were back on track with the repeat as Janna was taken with the last pick of round one. Frozen was targeted when Galio and Syndra were banned away while Expect’s champion pool was attacked as 1907 Fenerbahce banned out Shen and Gnar. Cho’Gath was taken by 1907, and Ryze and again the Trundle was picked up by G2 to fill up their team, while Frozen got his Cassiopeia with the last pick of champion select

A minor gold lead for G2 was the only thing to speak of in the first 9 minutes of the game, before Perkz on Ryze roamed top and gave Expect a helping hand to pick up First Blood onto Thaldrin’s Cho’Gath. In the intermittent minutes, G2 took 4 turrets and 2 Dragons to amass an 8k gold lead, before a 28 minute teamfight at 1907 Fenerbahce’s midlane Tier 2 turret gifited G2 a kill onto FB’s emergency subsitute in Crash. A few minutes later, a Pillar of Ice chokepoint from Expect handed Zven a kill onto Thaldrin and enabled G2 to move for the Baron.

Crash attempted to maneouvre into position to steal the Baron, but some heads-up play by Perkz managed to stop him in his tracks with some assistance from Zven and Expect. With Baron secured, G2 began a long march down the midlane to knock on the door of FB’s base.The last stand from 1907 Fenerbahce wasn’t enough as the European champions knocked down everything as well as picking up 4 kills to close out the game with a 16k gold lead, 8 turrets and kills to none, the perfect game only being stopped by 1907 Fenerbahce managing to get themselves an Infernal Drake.

Game 4

 First up was the predicted battle for the top of Group C, with Samsung Galaxy taking on Royal Never Give Up. Both teams had won their first games and were looking to stamp their authority on the leadership of the group. The champion select started with a Kog’Maw, Rek’Sai and Lulu ban from SSG, while RNG did counter with Xayah, Kalista and Gragas bans. Rakan was taken by SSG for CoreJJ, while RNG made sure that Mlxg and Uzi were sorted by taking Jarvan and Tristana.

Sejuani and Twitch were next for Ambition and Ruler on the side of the Koreans, and again the Janna pick rounded out phase 1. Kassadin and Cho’Gath were banned by SSG, while CuVee was targeted by RNG when Gnar and Trundle were taken out. Galio for Letme in the toplane was secured, whereas Crown wanted to get his pick tied down and took the initiation machine in Ryze. Maokai was next for CuVee and Xiaohu grabbed Syndra to face off against Crown with the last pick of champion select.

RNG were 500 gold up when they spotted an opportunity to gank CuVee’s Maokai in the toplane, and dithered around the turret while CuVee stayed alive for 15 seconds while being attacked by 4 members of Royal Never Give Up. However, First Blood did go over to the Chinese and with it a nice gold bonus of around 800, and an extra 1k went over soon after as first turret also went to the men from the LPL. 3 towers and an Ocean Drake later, RNG has built up a lead, one that was even more asserted when Xiaohu effortlessly dispose of CoreJJ with a precise Syndra combo.

5 minutes later, the game cresting 22 minutes, CuVee was killed again, this time outside the Dragon Pit by another 4 members. The momentum was truly in RNG’s favour when Uzi took his third kill of the game to thundering applause from the Wuhan crowd. Not content there, Uzi’s Tristana bounced from enemy to enemy, kills aplenty, picking up a Triple Kill before Letme finished off the teamfight with a kill onto Ruler. Now with Baron, RNG was ready for the repeat a few minutes later when a wombo-combo from Mlxg and Letme allowed the rest of the team to wipe SSG from the Rift, and with 11 kills to none, a 10k gold lead and a 5 turret lead, Royal Never Give Up took down Samsung Galaxy and with it an upset victory. 39;14

 Game 5

 Next was the titans vs the perpetual second place when SK Telecom T1 took on the ahq e-sports club. SKT and ahq had both taken down EDG, while SKT had taken down C9 as opposed to ahq falling to them. Champ select began with SKT banning away Galio, Rakan and the Renekton away from Ziv, while ahq decided to take away Kalista, Jarvan and LeBlanc. Sejuani was taken first, always a safe pick on the side of SKT, while ahq went for Gragas and Janna. SKT sorted out their botlane next up, when they picked Lulu and Twitch for Bang and Wolf.

Xayah rounded out phase one before SKT banned Gnar and Trundle, again focusing Ziv, before ahq aimed for Faker with Kassadin and Cassiopeia bans. Syndra was locked in for Chawy, meanwhile Cho’Gath was snagged for Huni and Faker actually took Fizz, a traditional Syndra counter, into Chawy. Ziv, with his options depleted, decided to take Maokai with ahq’s last pick and both teams were ready to head onto the Rift.

The game had started pretty passively, but Chawy wanted to change that when he roamed bot to Unleash Power onto Wolf for First Blood at 8 minutes through the game. That opened the floodgates for ahq when they 4 man ganked an overextended Peanut and Wolf, narrowly missing out on a double kill for the LMS when Peanut managed to slink away with a sliver of health. SKT did retaliate with a gank of their own onto Ziv to give Huni and the defending world champions their first kill of the game.

Faker followed with a gank kill of his own a minute later onto Mountain to equalise the kill and gold scores. Both Peanut and Huni assisted with the kill, and Peanut valiantly drawing tower aggro brought his health low enough that Chawy could walk up and kill him with a single Scatter the Weak even as the Sejuani tried to finish his recall.The game was only at 16 minutes, but the fights were already raging after Chawy landed two stuns next to the Baron pit to allow Mountain to kill Peanut and pressure SKT off of Rift Herald. A retreating Huni was also taken out to give ahq a 5-2 kill advantage.

After being so far behind, SKT spent the next 20 minutes taking towers and dragons, picking up 4 turrets as well as 2 Cloud Drakes and an Infernal to equalise the gold and get well and truly back into the game. A fight at SKT’s botlane inhibitor went disastrously wrong for ahq as Huni feasted on AN to delete their main damage dealer. Ziv, trying to escape, was also taken out by Faker to edge SKT in front. Elder Dragon proved the last hurdle for SKT, with Peanut stealing it away from ahq, the defending world champions turned onto ahq and aced them to end the game and go 3-0 atop Group A.

Game 6

 The last game of the day was the surprising last place in Group A in EDward Gaming going up against North America’s third seed Cloud9. EDG had already fallen to SKT and ahq, while C9 was 1-1 having managed to take down ahq. C9 were on the ball and quickly banned away LeBlanc, Sejuani and the Kog’Maw and while EDG went for removing Kalista, Galio and Janna, Xayah was instantly taken for Sneaky, but Rakan was taken by EDG and was followed by a Jarvan for Reignover. With the Lulu left open, Cloud9 wasted no time in picking her up before adding a Syndra for Jensen to the composiition.

The LPL champions took Lucian for Scout, although unfavoured, Scout was looking to dominate Jensen in the early game. Rumble and Elise started off phase two of bans from the side of the North Americans while Ezreal and Rek’Sai were taken away by EDG. Cho’Gath was an instant lock-in for Mouse in the top lane, while Impact took Shen into it, an early game matchup definitely favouring the Shen. The surprise Graves was the last pick for Contractz and C9 before Varus was taken for iBoy as champion select game to a close

The last First Blood of the day went over to Jensen’s Syndra after a Scout overextension made easy pickings for Impact and Contractz to come in and help out. 10 minutes heralded Scout’s next death, when he was ganked to put C9 two kills up. Clearlove7 got revenge on the other side of the map, however, when he ganked botlane to kill Smoothie. 5 minutes later, Clearlove7 attempted to go in again onto Jensen, but Impact’s Stand United kept him alive long enough to allow Sneaky to walk and bombard EDG’s jungler full of feathers for C9’s third kill of the game

Cloud9 got trapped in EDG’s jungle, almost within reach of the just-spawned Baron, and EDG had no problems with pressing their advantage in taking out Sneaky. Mouse and Scout, however, were quickly killed in retaliation. Kills went back and forth, with Contractz being sent to a grey screen as well. A fantastic wombo-combo from C9 at 28 minutes led to a Triple Kill for Jensen as well as the Baron. Now armed with a 12k gold lead, as well as two Air and one Ocean Drake, NA’s third seed began breaking down the base of EDG. Multiple times EDward Gaming held off forays from C9, usually taking a kill or two to force the North Americans back. However, it wasn’t enough as 38 minutes exactly was the beginning of the end for the LPL champions, as Cloud9 took 3 quick kills as super minions were beating down nexus turrets and they walked into the base and cleanly ended the game to drop a group favourite to 0-3 after the first round of play