The tour around China for this year’s LoL Worlds 2017 was the time to shine for the LPL to prove that they can match Korea and even usurp them from the top spot. At the head of all of it was the team that won the finals in a close series over Royal Never Give Up. The team that was able to rise up to the top after the LPL had been able to best both the LMS and LCK at Rift Rivals and be seen as the best region for a bit. Edward Gaming had all the world watching and ready for them to take the group stage by storm, but it seems they were a bit too hungry for glory as they are choking on their hubris.
2 Games, 2 Throws
If you lose one game in a close call, people might forgive you. Best of 1 format tends to favor the team that can pull off a surprise win and don’t lean towards those that would thrive from learning from a simple mistake. This is what many were saying after their first loss to AHQ and their first loss at the 2017 World Championships.
Especially if you have a game that was as back and forth as it was against the 2nd seed LMS team. The game was EDG’s to lose when it came down to the last few minutes of the 53rd minute battle and a poor fight in the river that got both Scout and Meiko caught boiled down to a disastrous start for EDG. Prior, they had had baron, took down two inhibitor turrets and one inhibitor, but AHQ got the one fight they needed to to win.
This could be excusable that it was just EDG having some jitters similar to last year when they lost to INTZ in their first match of the tournament. But how do you explain a game less close and when you are up 10k gold and 2 mountain drakes, yet still lose? It’s even worse when you consider that this was a game against the 3 time World Champions, SKT Telecom, that you were so close to taking down yet fell short. This game could have made them competitive to take the first seed away from SKT despite having lost already to AHQ.
This game isn’t as simple as describing AHQ’s loss. EDG were on the edge of victory at 24 minutes but suddenly SKT proved why they have won so many times in the past. The coordination between Wolf and Faker led to them having not one kill and suddenly getting 4 kills, 2 towers, and a baron in just a minute. However, this wasn’t the only thing that lost the game for EDG. In fact, they won a team fight at 34 minutes that could have won the game had they fought around baron better and pressured SKT for objectives more instead of attempting to chase onto Huni or Wolf consistently.
Is EDG Already Out of the LoL Worlds 2017?
Already being down 2 games when you only get to play 6 means that a single loss from EDG could be their ticket to view the rest of Worlds from the bleachers. At least, if C9 and AHQ both step up and one of them can manage to go 4-2. It is hard to imagine a world now where SKT suddenly flop and don’t win a single game and realistically they can only be expected to lose one game if EDG are to pull off a miracle.
The one thing that EDG has over the other teams in their group that could allow for them to make this miracle run is their early game. When you can go 9-0 into SKT in the first 20 minutes, you know that you can play that amazingly well. The mechanics on the EDG players is hard to argue against. If they can keep that sort of pressure on teams, it is not difficult to fathom a scenario where they win 4 in a row.
However, this is coupled with what happened to them twice already. This meta favors teams that can recuperate from a poor early game and scale into the late. With the catchup experience, even though it is minute, it allows for teams to be able to win one team fight and suddenly be on an even footing with their opponents that had stomped them for the first 20 minutes.
This puts a lot of pressure on EDG as this means if EDG don’t play amazing in the early game and close out perfectly, their chances of winning drop significantly. This is even why many teams have opted out of the early game style in favor of one that scales. It means that there's a lot less pressure to play perfectly early, just so long as they can stop the snowball and delay the game. Sadly for EDG, this is not how they like to play. They are a hard and fast sort of team. Success at the LoL Worlds 2017 has just gotten that much worse for them now. Even one mistake could be the end of their Worlds.