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ESPN: The best (and worst) of Week One at Worlds

espn&wanplus Time:10/12/2017 7:00:00 AM +00:00

The second week of the League of Legends World Championship is hours away as Longzhu Gaming and the rest of Group B gear up to take to Summoner's Rift. Before we find out which eight teams will be advancing to the quarterfinal stage in Guangzhou, China, let's take a look at the players, games and moments that stood out from the first week of group play in Wuhan. 

Best Game: SK Telecom T1 vs. EDward Gaming

It was the best-played game of the first four days of the tournament, and it culminated in one of the largest comebacks in Worlds history. The back-to-back world champion SKT took on EDG in a must-win game for the Chinese domestic champion, and the start of the game couldn't have gone better for the hometown team. EDG got off to a hot start and had the crowd in a frenzy, urging its representative to knock off the South Korean powerhouse.

It wasn't meant to be, though. SKT held on long enough to open the door for a game-changing play from support Lee "Wolf" Jae-wan to set up a hammering blow from superstar Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok. After the tide-turning combo, EDG and the crowd flattened, the momentum and air sucked from the arena. Not too long after, SKT marched to another win, and the Wuhan fans left feeling bittersweet, having watched one of the better matches in Worlds history but not getting the result they were hoping for.

Best Team: Longzhu Gaming

Outside of getting knocked down by Immortals in the laning phase of the first game of the tournament, South Korea's reigning champion has not been tested this tournament. Longzhu turned around its game with Immortals by making a decisive Baron call that flipped the game on its head, and the rest since then has been gravy. The game against the Gigabyte Marines was one of the most one-sided in Worlds history, and that was followed up by an even more one-sided win, when a Nasus-led composition took down Fnatic's Nexus almost before the 20-minute mark.

Longzhu's brute force and overall raw skill in all three lanes are too much for a majority of the teams in the field, and that was put on full display in Week One. Immortals, one of the better early-game teams at the event, drew first blood against the South Korean champion, but even then, Longzhu shrugged it off before taking the game in under 30 minutes. Unless the North American squad and the rest of Group B up their games in Week Two, there should be little question who will be taking the top seed.

Biggest Disappointment: Flash Wolves (Honorable Mention: Samsung Galaxy)

In what was seen as the weakest of the four groups, the No. 1 seed of it, Taiwan's Flash Wolves, has been the whipping boy. Once a constant threat to make the top eight of Worlds, the team showed no teeth in Week One, and its reactionary play led to Flash Wolves being rolled over by the other clubs in the group. In the one game it could have won, the opener with North America's Team SoloMid, the weak late-game shot calling that killed the team last year reared its ugly head once more and allowed the NA LCS squad to take a win it's lucky to have in its pocket. Going into Week Two with a 0-3 record and the rest of the group with 2-1 records, no team is a worse position to advance out of groups than Taiwan's four-peating champion.

As an honorable mention, South Korea's Samsung Gaming has also been flimsy in the first week. It started out strong with a win over G2 Esports with its defense-minded style, but Samsung got exposed in its second game with its antithesis, Royal Never Give Up, before needing a comeback win over Turkey's 1907 Fenerbahce Esports to save itself from global embarrassment. Samsung should bounce back this week -- unlike Flash Wolves -- though there are worrying trends that could send last year's runner-up home earlier than expected if not rectified.

Worlds All-Star Team (thus far)

Top: Kim "Khan" Dong-ha, Longzhu Gaming

Khan entered Worlds as the player with the most eyes on him, and he's done nothing but impress in the first week. Following wins over Immortals and Gigabyte Marines on Jarvan IV, he saved his best for last, using Nasus in Longzhu's stomp of Fnatic in what took his already budding superstardom to the next level. What other tricks could he have up his sleeve going into Week Two?

Jungle: Nubar "Maxlore" Sarafian, Misfits

Misfits laid an egg in its Worlds opener against Team WE, and it couldn't have gotten off to a worse start in Group D. Maxlore, the team's tempo setter, didn't let one poor game end the European team's tournament, however, as the British jungler and his club roared back with consecutive wins to put itself in a three-way tie for first going into the final stretch of group stage games. Maxlore is making a name for himself on the international stage with a 7.3 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) in his first Worlds.

Mid: Gwak "Bdd" Bo-seong, Longzhu Gaming

No one's perfect, but Bdd might be close. Through the first week of games, the League Champions Korea MVP still hasn't seen a greyed out screen, going 6/0/17 overall in his first three games. When it comes to knowing his limits, no one is better in the tournament than Longzhu's centerpiece, and his control over the mid lane has allowed Longzhu to sprint off to a quick 3-0 lead in its group.

AD carry: Jian "Uzi" Zi-Hao, Royal Never Give Up

Twice Uzi has made the finals of the World Championship, and twice he's been sent home with a silver medal. This year, in front of a home crowd with millions of Chinese fans hoping for the country's biggest superstar to win his first major title, Uzi doesn't want to the story to end the same way. While only three games in, Uzi has been on a warpath in what coming in was considered the "Group of Death," defeating both Samsung Galaxy and G2 Esports to put RNG in prime position to exit as the No. 1 seed.

Support: Lee "Wolf" Jae-wan, SK Telecom T1

People will always remember the Faker Shockwave that pulled SKT back from the brink against EDG, but none of that would have ever happened if it wasn't for Wolf's dash in that set up the chain of events. The two-time world champion support has put more work than ever this year on his individual play, and it shows. Wolf saving SKT vs. EDG put his squad one step closer to a possible three-peat of Summoner's Cups.

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