Europe has something to be proud of. H2K rallied in a monstrous run in week 2, winning every game including the tiebreaker to take first place in the group over EDward Gaming. Everyone’s eyes are on Konstantinos-Napoleon “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou’s teamfighting on Caitlyn or Yoo “Ryu” Sang-ook’s Ryze ultimates, but I think H2K’s unsung hero is Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu. Odoamne has been phenomenal on about anything he’s played, with his Rumble deserving extra props. Of course, his group lacks top lane talent, outside of ahq, but he needed to stand out as well as he did given his lack of competition.
H2K’s limitation is its sole reliance on snowballing the early game. With how it stalls out in the mid game, it’s crucial for it to have that gold lead in order to not let the enemy take control. The best way to accomplish that is to shut Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski down, which INTZ almost did in week 2. Had it not screwed up, INTZ could have forced H2K to settle for second. I don’t see H2K winning a best of 5 against teams with excellent mid games, like ROX Tigers, but depending on the quarterfinals, I see H2K at least making semifinals.
EDward gaming is not going to take this tournament, for several reasons. For one, Chen “Mouse” Yu-Hao’s laning issues and lack of impact on anything besides the easily useful Poppy is going to become harder to advance through. Two, Heo “PawN” Won-seok and Lee “Scout” Ye-chan are too inconsistent from mid, particularly Pawn, to give EDG crucial mid control. And three, Ming “ClearLove” Kai is once again not showing up at the level displayed regionally. I do think it’s possible that EDG aren’t going all out in groups, and are trying to hold onto strategies, but we’ll see. My hope is that ClearLove steps up, and Tian “Meiko” Ye stops picking Nami so he can become EDG’s main engager, which is one reason EDG was so good in LPL.
ahq e-Sports club… all of my sympathies go to Chen “Ziv” Yi and Wong “Chawy” Xing-Lei. Ziv is my kind of top laner: a carry force with confidence. Watching someone so could fail to go farther because of the deficiencies with his surrounding pieces is heartbreaking. Chawy, meanwhile, is someone forced to watch a mediocre relic of the past flounder on the stage that he should claim. My hope is that now that Liu “Westdoor” Shu-Wei failed to accomplish much even on his signature Twisted Fate, ahq realizes that to step forward as a competitor, it has to let him go. I think having a serviceable mid laner will boost the ceiling of ahq’s future international performances.
As for INTZ, they showed up like a typical wild card team. When it had a strong early game and plan, it could cleanly close, but once things deviated from plan, it fell apart. It looked somewhat composed at times in the mid game, but the instant one person was caught out, a cascade of deaths poured through as the team lost its senses. It was great to see INTZ start off so strong, but based off of the players’ interviews, this is a team that can’t handle the weight of expectations. Until that issue is addressed, INTZ will lose its chances to bring international glory to Brazil.