In this year’s League of Legends Championship, Group C, arguably the most cutthroat group, is the group to watch.
Groups A and B are relatively easy to analyze in terms of outcome and probability. Group C, on the other hand, present all teams with an equal chance to make it out of the group stages. Each team in Group C is talented enough to warrant respect from the other Group C teams. With such a volatile composition of teams, everyone will be anxious to see how these games turn out.
The group consists of G2, who have shown incredible potential and talent in the 2016 MSI, Samsung Galaxy, the runner up for last season’s Championships, and Royal Never Give Up, known for their extremely aggressive style of play. Each team has their own ‘weapon’ of choice that distinguishes them from the rest of the teams. There is a considerably high chance that all hell might break loose when the play-in stage team is drafted into Group C.
In light of all this, each team in Group C has a surprising amount of common traits that they share. I wonder what kind of confrontations will take place within this group.
¤ G2 copying Samsung Galaxy’s style? We will just have to see.
Although their last performance at Worlds came to a bitter end, G2 has always been a consistent and well performing team throughout 2016 and 2017 in the EU LCS. Going 2 wins and 8 losses in MSI and 1 win 5 losses at Worlds, fans viewed G2 as a team only good in domestic competition. Similar to how TSM is viewed as the best team in NA, but not so much in the context of a global scale.
G2, however, demonstrated a change in performance at MSI. From the mediocre expectations people had for G2 at MSI, G2 placed 3rd in the group stage but kept progressing. Beating the well-respected Chinese team WE 3:1 in the semi finals. Although G2 lost against SKT 1:3 in the finals, G2 still showed their fans that Europe is not region that should be easily overlooked.
Due to their sluggish performance in the summer split and in Rift Rivals, many began to claim that “G2 just got lucky in MSI”. They did, however, beat Misfits 3 games in a row for the 4th consecutive season. One can surely say that G2 is a worthy representative of the EU region.
If you observe G2’s games, they do not get any significant early leads. Instead of gaining a predominant lead in laning phase, G2 chooses to get leads through the mid-late game with their mid/adc prowess. This style is similar to Samsung Galaxy.
Samsung Galaxy is a team that adapts around their jungler. If Ambition is in the game, they focus more on the late game than on early game pressure. If Haru, the sub jungler, is in the game, they focus on early game leads and try to snowball to victory. Haru does have a downside of not performing as well in the late game. The problem is, it feels like G2 plays like a lesser copy of SSG, with both Ambition's weak early game presence and Haru’s problems in the late game
Although Samsung Galaxy can be seen as a superior adversary, we do not know the true outcome as these teams have never met face to face in a stage until now. Both teams revolve around their ADC’s potential to carry. We can only wait anxiously as this all unfolds.
¤ Deja-vu. Fate brings Samsung Galaxy and RNG together once again.
Fate seems to intertwine Samsung and RNG. Both team’s predecessor, Samsung White and Star Horn Royal Club, have met each other in the 2014 Championship. They both met in the finals where Samsung beat Star Horn Royal Club 3:1.
The interesting part is that both teams, after their performances in the 2014 Championship, went downhill. All the members in Samsung White seperated and after the departure of the star of Royal, Uzi, Star Horn Royal Club rapidly weakened in strength. Because of this, Samsung ended up in last place in the 2015 summer split, and Royal club did not show much promise either.
Both team’s rosters were not the source of their weak performances. It was the lack of a player holding the team together. Samsung obtained Ambition to be the stable core of the team and RNG recruited Mata from his loss in the 2014 Championships. From these roster changes, both teams made it into the 2016 World Championships.
Their encounters did not stop there. Samsung and RNG faced each other again in Worlds 2016. Both making out of the group stages, Samsung triumphed again against RNG. Samsung and RNG, however, both lost against SKT. Samsung in the finals and RNG in the quarter finals.
Acting similar to the previous seasons, Samsung and RNG have shown incredible prowess during the season but lack the extra push at the end coming into Worlds. Nevertheless, both teams qualified for Worlds (again) and as the exact same from last year, get to face against each other again in the same group.
It is interesting to see that Samsung’s performance this year is an exact replica of last year’s performance. It almost seems like a recipe Samsung has created to ensure they get into Worlds every year. It’s pretty crazy to see such abnormal consistency from Samsung.
How much further will their fates intertwine? We will just have to see. With bated breath, we wait to see how the threads of fate unravel in the coming group stages.
¤ G2: "Forget last year" vs RNG: "Remember last year".
The last time these two teams clashed against each other was in MSI. G2 showed amazing results in MSI compared to RNG, who showed only moderate results. RNG was pushed back by WE and could not conclude their games as well in MSI.
I would say the advantage is in favor of RNG against G2. RNG has impeccable early game pressure and focus while G2’s early game is rather weak in comparison. RNG’s unique and surprising picks/bans will prove useful against G2. The LPL teams demonstrated in the last Rift Rivals that they are able to maneuver cunningly in picks and bans.
Having an advantage playing on the home stage, RNG is a force to be reckoned with. Let’s hope RNG prepares well so they do not have a performance as lackluster as last year’s.
¤ Previous Stage Results from teams in Group C
◇G2 vs Samsung - no results
◇Samsung vs RNG - 5:1 in Samsung’s favor
- 2014 World Championship Finals: Samsung won (3:1)
- 2016 World Championship Group Stage: Samsung won both games
※ 2014 World Championship was the year for Samsung White and Star Horn Royal Club
◇RNG vs G2 - 2:0 RNG favored
- 2016 MSI Group Stage - 2:0 RNG favored