Game 1: KT Rolster 1, Team Liquid 0
KT Rolster improved to 4-0 with a 27-minute smashing of Team Liquid on Tuesday in Busan, South Korea, guaranteeing the League Champions Korea squad a spot in the semifinals at the 2018 LoL World Championships.
Team Liquid managed to avoid some of the early-game mistakes it made in their first game against KT Rolster, but even the overcorrection wasn't enough to stop arguably the best-looking team at worlds thus far. KT opted to utilize jungler Go "Score" Dong-bin's Nocturne early on in the contest, ganking both the bottom and middle lane to gain control of the map while also padding an already established gold advantage.
Even so, it wasn't a completely clean win as Team Liquid picked up a few teamfight victories scattered throughout the mid game. Any time the North American squad seemed to build any sort of momentum, Kim "Deft" Hyuk-kyu, on Kai'Sa, was right there to shut them down, finishing the contest with six kills, the first time since 2016 the ADC tallied a half-dozen kills in the group stage at worlds. After a 2-for-0 victory at Baron, KT Rolster reset before tearing through Team Liquid and their base. There was little that Team Liquid could do in their final stand as KT Rolster traded 5-for-1 in the teamfight before knocking down the Nexus.
While the loss wasn't tournament-ending for Team Liquid, it adds more pressure to the contests later in the day against MAD Team and Edward Gaming. On the other hand, KT Rolster's chances at taking the No. 1 seed from Group A is pretty much a lock.
-- Ben Wong
Edward Gaming 1, MAD Team 0
Edward Gaming took its time dismantling League Master Series' MAD Team to improve their record to 3-1 in the 2018 Worlds Group C on Tuesday in South Korea.
The contest was a one-sided affair after Edward Gaming got an early lead for top laner Jeon "Ray" Ji-won's Shen. Despite a first blood for MAD Team, Ray was allowed to run rampant, pressuring the top side of the map with an immense amount of split pressure all throughout the second half. EDG capitalized on the almost excessive amounts of real estate, slowly building upon objectives en route to a 10,000 gold lead. MAD Team attempted to stop the bleeding any way they could, but the efforts proved futile, particularly in the face of an aggressive attack from Ray. If MAD team tried to stop the four members of EDG while group, Ray was able to cross the map with Stand United or teleport to even out the fight. If MAD tried collapsing on Ray in one of the side lanes, EDG mid laner Lee "Scout" Ye-Chan's Galio would use Hero's Entrance to come and bail him out. The end result would see Ray finish with a career-high eight kills at worlds, and the most combined kills/assists (22) by a top lane player in worlds since 2015.
The massive gold lead allowed EDG to make some mistakes in the late game without any real reprisal from MAD. In an obvious flaunting of skill, EDG decided to stretch the limits of its soon-to-be victory, blitzing through almost the entire enemy backline and Nexus before pivoting to Baron at the last minute. The indecision would give MAD Team two minutes of additional time on the Rift, but a subsequent team wipe would mercifully put an end to the contest, with Edward Gaming's ADC, Xianzhao "iBoy" Hu, benefitting particularly from the multiple engagements recording the fifth 10-plus kill performance from the ADC role in the 2018 Group Stages (11/2/11 KDA).
The win for EDG puts the pressure on Team Liquid to perform in its final two games of the day. While MAD Team is essentially eliminated from advancing, it has the potential to play the spoiler and deny Team Liquid the chance to win its way out of the group stage.
-- Ben Wong
Team Liquid 1, MAD Team 0
Team Liquid kept its worlds semifinal hopes alive as it took down MAD Team on Tuesday in South Korea.
MAD Team decided to draft a split pushing composition but Team Liquid shut it down in the early game thanks to the side lane ganks from jungler Jake "xmithie" Puchero's Olaf. The ganks helped Team Liquid top laner Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong's Ornn control lane in the unfavorable lane match up, allowing Xmithie to shift focus to the bottom half of the map to help AD carry Yiliang "Doubelift" Peng's Kai'Sa build a lead. Once Team Liquid had those two pieces in place, the slow and methodical grind to close out the game began.
Team Liquid's superior teamfighting composition and lead meant that MAD had little chance of turning things around in the late game. Whenever MAD tried to make a stand, TL was ready and waiting to turn around the engage. MAD picked up a few kills late but couldn't lock down the important target of Doublelift's Kai'Sa and the inability to do so absolutely destroyed it in teamfights.Th A second Baron Power play out of Team Liquid easily rolled over MAD's base to a 33-minute victory.
While Team Liquid's hopes to make it out of Group C is alive, it will need KT Rolster to win against Edward Gaming in the next game. The KT Rolster victory will give Team Liquid the opportunity to tie EDG's record with a win later in the day.
-- Ben Wong
Edward Gaming 1, KT Rolster
Edward Gaming pulled off the critical victory against KT Rolster on Tuesday, tying the two teams atop of Group C with 4-1 records.
The Legends Pro League's Edward Gaming put up a good fight in what turned out to be a slugfest with KT Rolster. The early game plays, as expected, went in favor of KT Rolster. However the early game lead evaporated shortly after as the fight for objectives began to heat up. Despite the early game gold deficit, EDG was able to hold its own and then some in teamfights. For EDG it was top laner Jeon "Ray" Ji-won's Urgot that showed up in those mid game teamfights, dishing out the damage and landing some clutch Fear Beyond Death to secure kills.
As the game entered the full build territory for both teams, it came down to one final teamfight around the 34-minute mark. It was EDG's vision control that allowed it to camp in a river bush, waiting for just the right moment to jump out and kick off the fight. The patience paid off as EDG found the moment to rush KT Rolster, knocking them down one-by-one until it was a clean ace. The ace gave EDG all the time it needed to push down the Nexus.
The victory for Edward Gaming took away Team Liquid's shot at making it out of the group stage. However, Team Liquid can still play spoiler in its final game of the tournament by denying EDG a shot at the No. 1 seed for Group C.
-- Ben Wong
Team Liquid 1, Edward Gaming 0
Team Liquid's 2018 League of Legends World Championship run came to a close with a victory against Edward Gaming on Tuesday in South Korea.
Team Liquid entered the second-to-last game on Tuesday's slate in a position to play spoiler, as a loss earlier to KT Rolster essentially eliminated it from competition, particularly after Edward Gaming scored an upset win of sorts over the aforementioned LCK team in the match prior to this one. Edward Gaming, on the other hand, had plenty to fight for, as a win would have all but guaranteed a tiebreaker rematch against KT Rolster to decide the No. 1 seed from Group C.
Both teams drafted strong teamfighting compositions but it was Team Liquid who got the early lead and managed to hold on for the majority of the match. Thanks to well timed ganks from jungler Jake "Xmithie" Puchero's Nocturne, Team Liquid's damage dealers were able to get ahead, but that advantage would dissipate in the mid game as Team Liquid would routinely, and frustratingly, get picked off on countless occasions. Mid laner Eugene "Pobelter" Park's Syndra and support Kim "Olleh" Soo-sung's Rakan were the main targets of said mental errors, as the duo combined for four relatively unexplainable deaths prior to the first Baron attempt.
Given the easy windows that Team Liquid left open, it's a bit of a wonder the North American squad managed to stave off a motivated Edward Gaming. It shouldn't come as a surprise that the game-sealing fight occurred when everyone from Team Liquid was bunched together, as a dance around the Baron pit would see three members of EDG fall, yielding the pivotal buff and a nearly 8,000-gold power play to TL as a result. It was only a matter of time until Liquid would raze the remaining structures of EDG's Nexus, completing a moral victory in what was an otherwise disappointing tournament for Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng, who completed his 25 worlds match since 2013, and the rest of Team Liquid.
-- Ben Wong
KT Rolster 1, MAD Team 0
KT Rolster returned to its winning form in the final game Tuesday, destroying MAD Team in 25 minutes to claim the No. 1 Seed in Group C of the League of Legends World Championships in South Korea.
The final game of the day was pretty much on par with all of KT Rolster's wins in the group stage. It started off with KT jungler Go "Score" Dong-bin's Xin Zhao being in the right place at the right time, turning an enemy gank into a double kill for mid laner Son "Ucal" Woo-hyeon's Sion. KT Rolster continued to make all the right choices throughout the mid game as it rotated around the map taking objectives and building its gold lead.
By the time a fight around Baron started, KT had a healthy lead and was able to easily force a winning 2-for-0 teamfight before securing the objective. The ensuing powerplay allowed the team to break into MAD's base but KT ran out before it could finish the Nexus. The final dagger came in the form of a teamfight where AD carry Kim "Deft" Hyuk-kyu's Kai'Sa picked up a quadra-kill as KT Rolster aced MAD Team and pushed its way the the No. 1 Seed. That left Deft with a 8/0/2 KDA (kills/deaths/assists), which is the most kills he's had in a game with no deaths in his World's career.
MAD Team's last shot at picking up a win at worlds fell short, resulting in the fourth team since 2014 to leave the worlds group stage with a 0-6 record. Now with Group C action complete, KT Rolster and Edward Game will advance to the knockout stage, while the top seeds from Group D will be decided tomorrow starting at 2 a.m. ET with Fnatic facing off against 100 Thieves.