The second major stage of the 2017 League of Legends World Championship has come to a close and with it, so did the dreams of half the remaining teams to become this year’s champs. The Group Stage was a grueling process for all the teams involved, as they each played six games in four days to determine which teams would advance to the final knockout portion of the competition.
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This year the hopes of Western fans rode on the backs of TSM and G2 Esports entering the event as the respective North American and European champions. Team Solo Mid had fans especially excited after the groups were initially announced and they were placed in the only group without a Korean team.
After earning victories on their first two match days TSM looked poised to advance to the top 8 for the first time at the World Championship since 2014, but things quickly went downhill. They suffered a defeat to Europe’s second seeded Misfits on the third day of action and began the fourth day with yet another loss, this time to China’s World Elite, despite already having beaten them once.
Although TSM was able to emerge victorious in their second encounter with Misfits they fell to the Flash Wolves in their final match, forcing a tiebreaker scenario between the two Western teams for the final spot. In this third and deciding match between the two teams TSM fell short, and thus North American fans saw their most talented roster be eliminated from contention.
There was a bright spot for North America exiting the group stage however, and that was the performance of Cloud9. Despite being in a group with both a Korean team and the top team from China EDward Gaming, Cloud9 was able to earn a 3-3 record in the group, which proved to be enough for them to advance into the final eight. This success has been in spite of the fact they had to qualify for the group stage through the play in portion of the tournament and few people guessed they would make it this far.
In the battle for Western supremacy that is always revived in international competitions it appears Europe may be this year’s winner. Both Misfits and Fnatic advanced through to the final eight of the tournament while only Cloud9 did so for North America. Unless Cloud9 can make it further in this final knockout stage of the event than either European team it appears Europe will win this round in the Western international battle.
The tournament resumes with Quarter Finals Action all weekend long. You can catch all of the watch all of the action live on the official Riot Games broadcast.