Today was the last day of the “regular” Play-in Stage. The last day with the Bo1 series, the day when Group A was to be decided.
As happened yesterday, only the first qualified of this group would automatically qualify for the Main Event, while the last qualified team would go back home.
This is what happened!
Papara SuperMassive vs Team Liquid
The first game of the day matched the Turkish and the North American representatives. The first minutes were quite calm, and despite Papara got the first blood and turret, Team Liquid’s kills and drakes put the gold score even during all these minutes.
The North American team first went ahead on that score after taking their third drake of the game, together with a couple of kills. From that moment, Team Liquid took complete control of the map, and their power in team fights couldn’t be matched by the Turkish.
That is how TL initiated a fight on the mid lane, and after killing a couple of enemies, rotated to the Baron Nashor and took the buff. Right after that, they rotated to do the drake, but SuperMassive had prepared an ambush.
The ambush did not go well… Team Liquid counter-attacked and killed most of the enemies, and despite the drake ended in Turkish hands, the scores difference grew a bit more.
Slowly and steady, TL opened the enemy base, and after killing all the enemies again in the dragon pit and getting an Ace, the North American team got another victory in this split (3-0).
MAD Lions vs Legacy Esports
This game was probably the most important game for the lions, whose score was 1-2 before starting, while the Oceanian team was 1-1.
The first minutes were a bit aggressive, especially from MAD Lions, but no kills happened until the sixth minute when there was a gank and a counter gank in the bot lane and both teams got two kills each.
After that play, Legacy managed to get a couple of kills more and every neutral objective too, so the gold difference started to increase in their favor.
Slowly, the lions managed to reduce that difference, but some mistakes were done, and after stealing a dragon from them, Legacy went ahead once again.
Legacy had just taken their third dragon when the European team initiated a new team fight against them, and they proved that they were still able to compete for the victory. The Australian team used well every mistake from MAD Lions, and put more pressure in the lines, which gave them the opportunity to start the Baron Nashor.
They couldn’t finish the objective, and MAD Lions finally got their first drake, after some minutes of a quieter game. They used this situation to start the Nashor, but it was a bait, and quickly turned around and fought the Australian team… this did not go well for the lions, who received an Ace and gave a free Baron to their enemies.
With that power, Legacy opened MAD Lions’ base, and after a while, won the match and put the European fourth seed against the wall.
INTZ vs Team Liquid
This game was also decisive. INTZ could not afford a new defeat, or they would be back home, while Team Liquid had the chance to automatically qualify for the Main Event, and avoid tiebreakers.
The first minutes of the game were very active, with a late invade were INTZ got the first blood and with more assassinations in different parts of the map.
Both teams shared those kills and also the neutral objectives, but it was Team Liquid who took the first turret and got the lead in the gold score. This was a constant during the early and mid-game: every score was even, but the gold score.
TL took the lead in dragons, turrets, and gold, but INTZ managed to be the first to open the enemy base. There was no favorite team to win this game.
Actually, INTZ turned things around and got the lead back in kills and turrets, put the dragon score 2-2, and managed to get the Baron Nashor. At minute 30, the gold score was exactly the same for both teams, but the Brazilian team seemed to be the oppressive team.
After some trades, INTZ destroyed every inhibitor turret and took two inhibitors, so they did not have any problems to get a second Nashor. With its power, INTZ won the game and secured one more opportunity to stay in Shanghai.
This meant that MAD Lions and INTZ would have a tiebreaker match where one of them would be eliminated from worlds.
Legacy Esports vs Papara SuperMassive
The fourth game of the day was the fight between the Australian and the Turkish team for a chance to get the first position in the Group against Team Liquid.
SuperMassive took the lead in the early game after taking the first blood and a dragon. Legacy put the gold score even thanks to a fight for the first Herald, where the Australian team took four kills and the objective.
The next minutes, heading to the mid-game were quieter, and Legacy slowly increased the gold difference. Then, both teams fought for the third drake of the game, and SuperMassive got it (that was the third one for them), but Legacy won the fight and kept a gold difference close to 2k.
The Oceanian team started the Baron Nashor but turned around when Papara tried to fight for it and destroyed them all, securing the buff and increasing the difference.
When the fourth drake appeared, SuperMassive tried to get the soul, but Legacy could not allow it. The team fight that took place at that point ended with an Ace for Legacy, who took the dragon and opened the enemy base.
Legacy started the second Nashor, but couldn’t do it without fighting. In this new team fight, four members of the Turkish team died, so the Oceanian team just needed to push the opened mid lane and win the series.
Legacy Esports would face Team Liquid for the first position in the group.
Tiebreaker – INTZ vs MAD Lions
This game was a “do or die” for both of the teams involved, and we could see it in the first minutes, where both teams respected each other so much that we had to wait until minute 11 to have the first kill.
This first kill was for INTZ, who also used the Herald and got ahead in the gold score.
Both teams kept trading objectives and kills, but INTZ managed to always have at least 1k gold more than the enemy team. In a team fight in the mid lane at minute 24, MAD Lions looked like they were going to be able to turn things around, but INTZ resisted the first attack and finally killed all the lions.
Two minutes later, the Brazilian team got the Baron Nashor, but MAD Lions did not give up. They were able to fight back and resist the lane pressure of the enemies, and actually got a couple of kills that put them even again. After that, the European team got their third drake, which gave them more hopes for the late game.
A new team fight in the mid lane started at minute 34, and INTZ had to run away, but MAD Lions could not take the Nashor. The next drake was awake, and the lions managed to get it, which gave them the Ocean Soul.
With the new buff, the European team initiated a new fight and killed four enemies, quickly pressed the mid lane, and won the game that kept them alive in this Play-in Stage.
INTZ got the last position in the group, and thus, they are now eliminated from Worlds.
Tiebreaker – Team Liquid vs Legacy Esports
The match for the first position and the direct qualification for the Main Event started with a quick first blood for Team Liquid, who had more than 1k gold advantage at minute 5.
This advantage kept growing. The North American team got some more kills and the first drake and dominated the early game. TL’s jungler, Broxah, was 4/0/0 at minute 8.
Five minutes later, at 14, the gold difference was 8k. Team Liquid took every neutral objective, and the only win condition for Legacy was to try a successful fight, which they did… with terrible results.
After that fight in the mid lane, TL went into the enemy base, and destroyed every structure, killed every enemy, and won the series.
Team Liquid automatically qualified for the Main Event.