Group B: FeaR shows their strength and fan favorite flops
After a methodical win against Tower Dive TV, Team FeaR moved into the winners match against Good Game University (former Team Dynamic) who came out strong, dominating Epik Gamer. The game was a nail biter with the gold lead switching between the teams until FeaR started to pull away. As ZionSpartan tried to split push bot, GGU got caught out trying to defend mid turret, giving two kills followed by Baron to FeaR. Taking full control of the game, FeaR showed their patience, taking all three inhibitors before taking the nexus, and moving onto day two.
For all the talk and excitement that Epik Gamer brought, their play failed to match it. After getting dismantled by GGU, they were knocked down to the win-or-go-home match against Tower Dive TV, who had an impressive showing against FeaR. TDT jungler Xzevz on Jarvan was everywhere, scoring an early 5-kill lead for his team. As the game dragged on, and TDT pulled steadily ahead (up 10 kills and 6k gold at 23 min), Epik Gamer showed why they deserved to be at this tournament. Epik began to slowly grind back into the game, taking teamfights off of TDT, Baron, as well as all their inhibitor turrets. But poor decisions by Epik in the final two team fights gave the game back to TDT, giving them the final Baron and the ace, the upset victory to Tower Dive TV, and sending Epik Gamer home earlier than anyone wanted.
With the final game of the group, TDT looked to carry their upset momentum to take down GGU; however, their luck fell short. An overall dominating performance by GGU, led once again by ZionSpartan in the 2v1 lane, proved to be too much for TDT. GGU easily moved on to day two, joining FeaR from group A.
Group C: Azingy Falls short and Dirtnap dominates
Despite his solo queue jungle terrors on Nunu, Azingy was unable to bring his team back in this game. After giving first blood to Sona bot and Zed 1v1′ing Rumble top, the game started the slow snowball for 1 Trick Ponies. Falafel Gaming was unable to get back into the game despite the best efforts of an Azingy Nunu which lead to FG being the third team to be sent home.
After trading blue buffs at the beginning, and some lane swaps, Dirtnap Gaming showed just how good they are. A Nocturne gank top against the duo lane gave first blood to Olaf, followed by good turnaround against a Lee Sin gank bottom, giving two kills to the DNG bottom lane. Grabbing a quick lead, DNG never loosened their grip. They showed their superior ability to dictate the pace of the game, being able to initiate, disengage, counter-engage and chase at will. After seeing the opponent’s Graves bottom, MP attempted to force a Baron, but were unable to convert and ended up losing what was essentially a 4v5 to give both Baron and the game to DNG.
The final game of the group proved to be the most entertaining, with lilkevin going with his signature LeBlanc pick. The first 20 minutes showed just how dangerous the assassin comp of LeBlanc and Evelyn is by dictating the pace of the game. Meat Playground would have none of it. A perfect Malphite engagement caught the entire 1TP team and led to a fast ace, showing the strength of the MP comp. They quickly picked up Baron, a second ace and the nexus to propel them to day two against FeaR.
Group A: C is for Curse, B is for Brunch
Not wanting their hopes dashed for a second time, Curse slowly took apart compLexity and manhandled The Brunch Club to give them the wins needed to advance to the second day. Carried by the strong play of Voyboy’s Elise and the presence of Nyjacky’s Twisted Fate, Brunch was left fighting for scraps. The game was heavily in favor of Curse until a team fight at the 20 minute mark gave a 3 for 4 advantage to Brunch, but Voyboy’s early advantage was too much to overcome as Curse pushed through for the victory.
The losers match pitched Pulse against Complexity. The elimination game saw Pulse take the early first blood but giving up two kills for it. The game remained relatively even until Pulse started pushing turrets hard, which led to them taking a 17 min inhibitor. Pulse used this advantage to push their way into compLexity’s base and ultimately take it over.
Brunch could not have asked for a better start in the elimination game. Immediately after Brunch Ü picked up first blood on Pulse”s Ezreal, Brunch showed perfect control by additionally taking down a teleported Karthus while keeping their bottom lane alive. This led to a 4 minute BF Sword (you read that correctly). The snowball continued hard, and despite Pulse’s best efforts, The Brunch Club moved on.
Group D: D is for death
Group D had the most exciting matches of the group stages, which included the first two pentakills of the tournament. The first came when AzG Demunlul made his epic return to the LoL scene when his Ezreal pentakilled The Salad Bar just before taking the nexus. The second came when C9 WildTurtle pentakilled The Salad Bar (poor TSB) on Twitch before picking up the victory. The surprise team of the day was also the team that created some of the most exciting games. Team MRN won an early 20 minute base race, and then moved on to face Azure Gaming where MRN came back from a huge deficit to claim victory and became the first team from the ranked 5s qualifier to move on to the next stage.
Azure finally put a game away. Taking a quick 7-0 kill lead, it appeared as though Azure would easily move one. However, the split push by C9 proved problematic for Azure, as they were unsure with how to deal with it. Finally getting the pressure they need, Azure picked up the 2 for 5 ace and Baron at 29 minutes, and pushed through to the nexus, sending C9 home way earlier than anyone expected.
What to watch for on Saturday
The sibling showdown between Nickwu’s The Brunch Club and ClakeyD’s Team MRN will be the game to watch. Additionally, every team that wins their match Saturday will be offered a contract for the League of Legends Champion Series. The losers will have one last shot in an all or nothing tournament on Sunday.