The first stage of the 2017 League of Legends World Championship is officially complete with the play-in portion of the event concluding last week. This portion of the event included only included the bottom 12 of 24 total seeds, with eight being eliminated from the competition in this preliminary component.
With only four teams able to move on all of the matches were incredibly emotional. Ultimately the only Wildcard region that was able to move on was Turkey, being represented by 1907 Fenerbache. The other smaller regions were not able to compete with Cloud9, Fnatic or World Elite, the third seeds from North America, Europe and China respectively. This was clearly demonstrated in their final elimination series to advance, as each of these three teams won via a 3-0 sweep.
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The conclusion of the play in stage locked the group stage of the event and immediately some things spring out from the way teams were sorted. Despite Cloud9’s success in the play-in stage their future looks bleak. With both SK Telecom, Korea’s second seed, and China’s Champion Edward Gaming in their group nobody expects them to advance allowing them to play without any pressure on them.
Things are a no easier for Europe’s third seed Fnactic with Korean kings Longzhu Gaming being the main threat in their group along with the LMS champions GIGABYTE Marines. North America’s second seeded Immortals are the only other team in the group not entering as a regional champion, making this an uphill battle for either of the Western squads.
North American fan favourite Team SoloMid was drawn into the only group without a Korean team present, drastically improving their odds of emerging with one of the top two spots. Without a Korean team in their group TSM must only contend with the third seed from China, World Elite, Europe’s second seeded Misfits and the LMS Champion FlashWolves to advance. The organization has had problems in past World Championship’s and often have failed to meet the expectations set for them by their fans, but this year’s group provides them with a solid opportunity to advance to the tournament’s quarter finals.
Europe’s favourite G2 Esports were not as fortunate in their selection, drawing the third seeded Korean team Samsung Galaxy as well as China’s second seed Royal Never Give Up. Both of these teams will likely prove to be difficult adversaries, meaning Europe’s best team will need to bring their best game to move forward.
There is no apparent ‘Group of Death’ this year that is overly saturated with top level teams in comparison to the other groups, ensuring that all of the best teams in the tournament will actually qualify for the quarter finals. This is due to the new formatting Riot has used this year, which has proved to be very successful thus far in creating entertaining and meaningful matchups throughout the entire event.
Group Stage action commences live on Twitch on October 5th at 3:30 a.m. EST / 12:30 a.m. PST. For more information on the event including the complete schedule and ways to participate in the action yourself you can go to Riot’s official page.