Worlds 2022: Play-In Recap

After drama, upsets and close calls, four teams made it out of the Worlds Play-In - DRX, Fnatic, Royal Never Give Up and Evil Geniuses.

DFM did not make it to groups again, but they went down fighting © Riot Games

After six days of games, the top four teams from Play-In have joined their peers at the Worlds Main Event. Fourth LCK seed DRX remained undefeated to secure the top spot from Group B, while despite a stinging loss to LOUD Fnatic came out on top of Group A. Second seeds Royal Never Give Up and Evil Geniuses had to fend off challenges from the lower-ranked teams from their opposite group but succeeded in booking their ticket to the group stage.

Group A: Fnatic´s Bumpy Ride to the Top

Despite having to play their first two games with a just barely arrived ADC and a substitute support, Fnatic were on fire in the opening day, defeating NA rivals Evil Geniuses and Oceania representatives Chiefs. Things were a bit shakier for Fnatic in the next few days but after a loss to Brazil´s champions LOUD they managed to secure the win in their remaining games and a 4-1 record. The LCS representatives EG looked quite solid in most of their matches against the minor regions, but an upset by Japan´s champions Detonation FocusMe (who once more proved to be a tough nut to crack) prevented EG from tying Fnatic for the top spot and resulted in a three-way tie between EG, DFM and LOUD, all three ending the group with a 3-2 record. In the tiebreakers, the NA representatives defeated first DFM and then the CBLOL champions to get the second place in the group, avoiding a confrontation with LPL powerhouse Royal Never Give Up. PCS finalists Beyond Gaming were left fifth despite a 2-3 record, while Oceania´s Chiefs could not find any wins in the Mexican capital.

Group B: DRX´ Domination

Many of us expected the LCK and LPL representatives to fight for the top in this group and that is what we got. On the first day, the two clashed in a close-fought game and despite some amazing plays by RNG it was DRX who took the victory. The two Asian juggernauts fended off the challenge of their rivals and while MAD Lions came close to an upset on the last day, it was not close enough. RNG´s 4-1 record gave them the second spot, while MAD Lions and Saigon Buffalo ended up in third and fourth place and would fight among themselves for a chance to go at Evil Geniuses one of the two last spots. Latin America´s Isurus and Turkey´s Istanbul Wildcats brought up the rear, with Isurus having a leg up on their rivals by winning up the head to head.

Slugfest in the Knockouts

With the two first seeds directly qualifying for the groups, it was time for the knockout round to determine who will join them in the top 16. Day one saw the third and fourth seeds of both groups clash. MAD Lions and Saigon Buffalo traded victories at first, with both teams winning fairly decisively, before the Lions took the third game to get to game point. In the fourth game, the LEC team once more had a good start, but this time the Vietnamese squad put up a hard fight. In the end, however, it was not enough to stop the Lions, who would face off against EG in an EU vs NA showdown. Over in group A, LOUD took first blood against DFM after a close first game as the Japanese champions were left unable to stop the Olaf from going berserk in their backline. However, DFM adapted well and over the next three games showed what made them the terror of the LJL. Aggressive moves by their carries and a stable play by their veteran top laner saw them take a win after a win until they had taken down LOUD to ensure a showdown with RNG.

The first game of the MAD vs Evil Geniuses series showed start slowly, unwilling to risk a major mistake. The game was neck and neck until a clutch Baron steal by EG jungler Kacper "Inspired" Słoma, followed by the routing of the Lions squad and a victory for the LCS team. Inspired and top laner Jeong "Impact" Eon-young remained in top form for the rest of the series as MAD looked increasingly out of shape, leading to an impressive 3-0 sweep for EG.

While DFM came out as huge underdogs against Royal Never Give Up, the LJL champions got an amazing start to the series with a very clean, well-played game where they embarrassed their storied rivals. They looked good in the first half of game 2 as well before a single kill allowed RNG to take control over the game and they did not allow a second upset. The LPL team looked on a different level in the following two games, dominating the map and helping to dispel doubts with two very solid wins. DFM went down fighting, but it was not enough to upset the LPL favorites.

Read More About Worlds 2022:

The Worlds Main Event group stage starts on Friday, October 7th from 11 PM CEST with a fight between Cloud 9 and Fnatic. Don't miss it!

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