“Welp.” – North America 2016
With the quarterfinals closing last night with H2K’s dominating victory over Albus NoX Luna, we have plenty to write about today as we prepare to head into the final round before the final championship games of the tournament. Madison Square Garden in New York City is where our 4 remaining teams are headed, so let’s talk about how they’ve made it this far.
The Quarterfinals led off on Thursday with Cloud 9’s bout against South Korea’s Samsung Galaxy and to sum it all up into a nutshell- it did not go well for Cloud 9. Samsung Galaxy seemed to improve with each game they played, while Cloud 9 remained at a constant mediocre. They seemed to rely heavily on theories and strategies crafted from scrimmages and practice, like their top Jayce that they chose every single game, even though those strategies failed them each and every game. Why didn’t they fall back to another plan? Who knows, maybe they didn’t think they’d need a Plan B, but one thing is for sure, Cloud 9 is out and NA’s hopes and dreams went with them. That’s a bit dramatic, actually. We’re all very proud of Cloud 9 here in the States for making it as far as they did, especially after such a rough couple of splits trying to refortify the team’s former unity. It seems like Cloud 9 looks much better than they did just a few months ago. Likewise, we’re very excited to see what they can do come time for the next NA LCS Spring split.
Korea, Korea, Korea. Along with Samsung Galaxy, Korea’s other two teams remaining, ROX Tigers and SKT Telecom T1, head proudly into the Semifinals. Both teams are looking phenomenally improved on how they played in the first week of Groups. Both teams dominated their opponents in the Quarterfinals knockout stage and both teams have been pitted against each other for their round of the Semifinals. Rox Tigers were the general favorite to win the entire competition going into the start of Groups a few weeks ago, but Faker and the rest of SKT have seemingly been resurging to a skill level that we haven’t seen from them since before their last rocky split of the regular season. Their round of the Semifinals should prove to be an exceptionally exciting set of games.
In a sea of Korean super humans, one team stands alone: Europe’s H2K. The rest of EU’s teams played seemingly like a joke throughout the Groups stages of the tournament, but H2K has been on a level of skill that the rest of their region can only hope to attain. In the games before the semifinals, they were on a 4-game winning streak, crushing worthy opponents like Edward Gaming, ahq, and the less-than-stellar INTZ. This win-streak extended through the Quarterfinals after their annihilation of Albus NoX Luna, the Baltic “Cinderella-Story” of Worlds. Now on a 7-game streak, H2K is displaying prowess that could easily contend with the competition’s best teams. I would wager so far as to bet that they can beat Samsung Galaxy, albeit more difficult than Albus NoX Luna, and advance to the finals and possibly even win it all. H2K is looking extremely competent. If they can keep that up, they might have a shot at dislodging the weathered Korean throne of the League of Legends World Championship. If they hope to make it that far, however, they will have to keep steadily improving like they have been so far, as I don’t believe their current state would be able to defeat ROX or SKT, but they would at least be a contender.
That’s it for our coverage on the 2016 Worlds Quarterfinals! We now move onto New York City at Madison Square Garden, where we will see the following matchups:
Friday, October 21, 2016 @ 6:00pm EST: SKT Telecom T1 vs. ROX Tigers
Saturday, October 22, 2016 @ 6:00pm EST: Samsung Galaxy vs. H2K
We wish all teams luck in their best-of-5 series coming up next weekend at the Semifinals for the 2016 World Championship!