Day 1 of the group stages is officially in the books! The month long road to the grand finals has begun, and I’ll be recapping the journey the whole way. Let’s take a look at the matches from day 1, which saw Group A and B of the play-in stages in action.
Clutch Gaming vs. Unicorns of Love
Well, this certainly wasn’t the beginning that Clutch Gaming was hoping for at their Worlds debut. Most professionals picked Clutch to win Group A handily, but an awkward Renekton mid pick didn’t pan out. Huni had a difficult game, falling behind early and Clutch never really seemed to get into rhythm. Unicorns of Love handle their business and take the match.
Detonation FocusMe vs. Splyce
Splyce is known for slow, methodical game play and that’s certainly what we got. Detonation FocusMe are the kings of Japan’s LJL, but there’s still a noticeable skill gap between Japan and the European region. People will crap on the Nocturne mid pick, but it was not the problem with that game. Splyce were better at pretty much every phase of the game and take the win.
Mammoth vs. Unicorns of Love
I’m having a difficult time reading this game. Unicorns of Love looked pretty solid against Clutch, and not that good against Mammoth. I have a hard time believing that Mammoth are some titans of League of Legends that I didn’t know about. Mammoth take the win, and have me thinking that maybe Clutch just had a real bad game and some opening round jitters.
Isurus vs. Detonation FocusMe
If you were tired from waking up early, no doubt this one put you back to sleep. I looked back at the stat lines and was stunned at how many kills actually happened in that match. Two teams with tons of shields, heals, resurrections, and disengage for days lead to some incredibly long team fights where nothing happens. Isurus comes through in the end and take the win, putting FocusMe into an 0-2 hole.
Clutch Gaming vs. Mammoth
A must-win game on day 1 for Clutch. Falling to 0-2 is pretty much a death sentence in the play-in stages and Clutch rise to the occasion. Out is the Renekton mid pick and here comes Huni on the Orianna. This looked like an entirely different Clutch Gaming. They suffocated Mammoth, slowly pushing their vision lines up and taking objectives without risking a bad teamfight. They take the win and make it all even in Group A. That said, Clutch also win the award for most comical baron loss so far this year.
Splyce vs. Isurus
The final match of the first day saw the LAT region’s Isurus taking on Europe’s Splyce. Both teams were 1-0 on the day so something had to give and it was definitely Isurus. Splyce looked great, picking a pretty standard comp and rolling over Isurus Gaming. Much like Clutch in the game before, they played a suffocating style that really didn’t give Isurus a chance to get going. There was a scary moment around the 25 minute mark at the baron pit, but overall a comfortable win for Splyce.
Group A Results
Day 1 has proven pretty ineffectual for Group A. All three teams are now tied and will have to settle things on Friday. Looking forward, I would expect what I expected at the beginning of today, Clutch will beat both Mammoth and Unicorns to go 3-1 and advance.
Clutch Gaming (1-1)
Unicorns of Love (1-1)
Good to see Cloud9 having some fun at Dignitas’ (Clutch’s) expense.
Group B Results
Group B was more decisive today. Detonation FocusMe had a difficult day that saw them fall to 0-2. They’ll have a tough road ahead if they want to qualify for groups. Splyce lived up to the hype of the LEC region, methodically taking down both FocusMe and Isurus. I don’t think they’ll have much trouble on Friday and should qualify for the group stage.
Detonation FocusMe (0-2)
Our coverage of the play-in stages will continue tomorrow as Groups C and D get a chance to show what they’ve got.