Photo via Riot Esports/Flickr (Licensed)
Teams from Europe, the region that produced the first ever League of Legends World Champions, looked helplessly lost Thursday, collectively going 0-3 on the opening day of this year’s Worlds.
EU’s woes began in the tournament’s very first match, in which NA second seed Counter Logic Gaming handily defeated the two-time defending EU champions G2 Esports. With a 6/0/5 performance on Olaf, CLG’s consistently underrated jungler Jake “Xmithie” Puchero thoroughly outplayed his counterpart Kang Yun "Trick" Kim, EU’s MVP of the past two splits.
The other two European teams at Worlds were similarly listless. H2K failed to convert an early lead in the middle and late game in a 47-minute loss to ahq e-Sports Club of the LMS. Meanwhile, it only took Korea’s Samsung Galaxy 33 minutes to amass 24 kills as they dismantled EU third seed Splyce.
Essentially the only time an EU team gave fans a reason to cheer Thursday was when Splyce drafted the exciting new champion Kled for the top lane.
“I’m ashamed for Europe right now,” Riot’s EU shoutcaster Mitch "Krepo" Voorspoels said while criticizing H2K’s macro play during the broadcast.
While EU was down, South America was flying high on day one, as Brazil’s INTZ e-Sports, a wildcard qualifier, shocked China’s top-seeded EDward Gaming, a team coming off an undefeated championship split in the LPL.
INTZ jungler Gabriel “Revolta” Henud lived up to his “Legends Rising” hype with incredibly smooth Lee Sin play, as he helped his teammates build advantages in every lane.
In the least surprising result of day one, Korea’s top-seeded ROX Tigers took less than 28 minutes to beat Russian wildcard qualifier Albus NoX Luna with a 20k gold lead. To the credit of Albus NoX, they came out swinging, picking up two early kills during a awkwardly extended early-game skirmish in their jungle, followed by another in the midlane minutes later.
ROX turned the game around just after the 10-minute mark, punishing Albus NoX’s sloppy execution on a failed tower dive. Within minutes, ROX turned a slight gold deficit into a 4k gold lead, and they never looked back.
RNG did all they could to avoid early conflict, ceding numerous buffs and objectives to TSM. The passive play allowed RNG’s late-game team fighting composition to mature. If it’s possible for a support to carry a game, that’s what RNG’s Sehyeong "Mata" Cho did. He went 1/2/15 on Alistar with a 91 percent kill participation.
Riot was forced to remake the initial match between TSM and RNG after TSM spotted a visual bug with Aurelion Sol’s stars. The instance was oddly similar to TSM’s series against CLG in the NA LCS semifinals.
After a delay lasting several minutes, Riot announced that Aurelion Sol would be “temporarily disabled” and there would be an update on the champion’s status before the day two matches begin.
Here’s where the teams stand after one day of action.