LoL Worlds Review: LCK, LPL Dominate First Half of Groups

LCK and LPL teams were the clear leaders in the first round robin of the Worlds Main Event Groups. DAMWON KIA , Royal Never Give Up and EDward Gaming remain undefeated while all European and North American teams are left at 0-3 or 1-2.
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The EU vs NA rivalry looks to be pretty even.... but for third place (© Riot Games)

The Worlds main event started on Monday with a showdown between two champions - DAMWON KIA and FunPlus Phoenix. The first half of the group stage took place over three days that saw a total of 24 games played. We got to see all teams in the top 16 face off against everyone in their group. The result was… less than stellar, if you are hoping for a Western team to make a deep run into the playoff. Here is our rundown:

Group A: Damwon Will Fight for the Cup Again

This group was seen as probably the least likely to show any surprises, as it featured two strong Eastern teams - reigning champions DWG KIA and LPL second seed (and 2019 champions) FunPlus Phoenix, in addition to the third LEC and LCS seeds Rogue and Cloud9. DAMWON is deservedly in first place with three win. Only their game against Rogue was in any way close, and that only because Damwon failed to capitalize on a very strong start and gave the LEC team a chance to get back into the game. FunPlus, meanwhile, looked lost against DAMWON and quite shaky against Cloud9, but managed to salvage the second game with some good mid-game decisions. Rogue showed us glimpses of brilliance, but despite some heroic performances by Steven "Hans sama" Liv did not look equal to their Eastern rivals, only winning a contested game against Cloud9. If anyone should really be unhappy, however, it is the LCS team that had a good start both against Rogue and FPX. However, bad mid-game decisions left Cloud9 winless in the first round.

Group B: Don't Sleep on the LPL's Finest

EDward Gaming is the king of the hill in this group during the first round robin, ending at 3-0. The LPL champions had very clean games against T1 and 100 Thieves. Despite a very poor start against Detonation FocusMe,they recovered well - and proved they belong at the top. T1, meanwhile, end the first half at 2-1, but looked impressive in their wins and quite competitive in their one loss, being extremely likely to contest for first thing regardless. Behind them are the LCS champions 100 Thieves, who looked great in their game against DFM, but decidedly outclassed against the LCK and LPL teams. Finally, the LJL champions were very strong in the play-in, but look to be significantly worse than anyone in the group. We saw flashes of brilliance against 100 Thieves and EDward Gaming, but for now, they are in last place in the group - and likely to stay there.

Group C: Can RNG Claim Another Title?

Once more, we see a LPL team rise to the top of the group. Royal Never Give Up come out with great aggressive moves. They showed some cracks against PSG Talon, but managed to recover and Li "Xiaohu" Yuan-Hao carried the team in the contested early game against Hanwha Life Esports . PSG, meanwhile, can kick themselves for the game vs RNG, but the wins against Hanwha and the eventual - slow- victory against Fnatic can pay off. After their dominant win against Beyond Gaming, Hanwha, left us unsure just how good they are. We have yet to see peak Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon, but Kim "Deft" Hyuk-kyu has been on point this world - and if he keeps it next week, we may see the veteran make playoffs with yet another team. Finally, Fnatic have been… weird. Whether because of the loss of Elias "Upset" Lipp or for other problems, In their first two games, we saw the team that almost didn’t make LEC playoffs - and yet they still managed to have a strong early game. Against PSG, they had their moments but they couldn’t close it out. Fnatic are now an underdog - but a very dangerous one. If they can get their game on, they could be a problem for any team in the group.

Group D: The Group of Death?

If there's one group where anyone can beat anyone, this is it. Still, despite a 2-1 record Gen.G looks like the strongest team in this group so far. They looked very impressive against LNG Esports and Team Liquid (except for one horrible dive where they threw a huge lead away) and while they lost to MAD Lions, the game was quite competitive. LNG, meanwhile,continue their strong showing from the play-in, dominating TL and out-executing the LEC champions. Team Liquid and MAD Lions will be fighting for a playoff spot, but their 1-2 score will make it difficult. The LEC team will kick themselves for their poor draft against TL which may well cost them in a group they were expected to easily be top 2 in. Liquid, however, looked very solid against the Lions but simply outmatched against the Eastern teams. They seem to be the weakest link, but more than capable of upsetting any team that underestimates them.

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