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Road to Worlds: China’s Grand Finale
With the 2014 LPL Summer split decided, the top five teams in China headed to the Regional Finals. All the other regional representation had been finalized, and China’s tournament would take center stage the weekend before the Worlds groups were drawn. Edward Gaming had won both the Spring and Summer splits, and awaited the winner of a double elimination tournament to decide which team would be first and second seed. The first seed would avoid the other top seeded teams Alliance, Samsung Galaxy Blue, and Team SoloMid, while the second seed would be guaranteed to face one of them in the Group Stages of the World Championship.

Fighting for the right to face Edward Gaming would be LGD Gaming, Invictus Gaming, OMG, and SH Royal Club. The latter two teams were looking to return to worlds for the second consecutive year. The tournament would have no Grand Final, as the team who made it through the Winners Bracket would face Edward Gaming, and the team to win the Losers Bracket would take China’s third seed into Worlds.

Night 1: Four Teams Become Three

Night one saw both OMG and Royal sweep through their opponents 2-0, despite looking unconvincing at times throughout their series. Those results would pit iG and LGD against each other in the first elimination match of the weekend, ending one team’s chance at a Worlds berth.

Game 1 saw multiple non-standard picks, the most important being LGD midlaner We1less taking Riven against Orianna. iG managed to blow the game open at the ten minute mark, when Riven’s attempt to pick off iG Jungler illuSioN backfired horribly, and led to a full teamfight in the jungle. iG defended their turf well, keeping LGD spread apart and picking up an Ace-for-2. They moved to take a free dragon, and never looked back. The early advantage let their team snowball into a twenty-nine minute victory with twenty-five kills and no towers lost, putting LGD one loss away from elimination.

The four teams fighting to challenge EDG

LGD rose to the occasion in game two, with LGD support Pyl coming up big on Thresh. His hooks on over-aggressive iG members allowed Lucian and Ahri to burst down individual members, getting the numbers advantage before skirmishes turned into full-team fights. LGD consistently rotated faster and cleaner than iG, and turned kills into objectives nearly every fight. We1less redeemed himself after his Game 1 mistakes, racking up sixteen of LGD’s twenty-five kills in a near mirror of the first game, forcing a third and deciding game in the losers bracket.

If Game 3 had to be summed up in one word, it would have to be “Nerves”. Sloppy team fights and tower juggling defined the early game, but LGD’s AD Carry XQ shined on Graves. A lane swap by iG put Graves against Gragas in a solo lane, and XQ bullied the Gragas constantly, taking down the first two bottom towers by himself before the twelve minute mark. For the second straight game LGD’s rotations were superior to iG, picking up the first four towers of the match.

iG were struggling to find answers to the split pressure of LGD, and it only got worse when Ahri started powering up. A charm on iG’s Thresh in midlane started a team fight, and the dive was on. Ultimates from Kayle and Zilean kept LGD from losing a man, picking up a 4-for-0 and opening up a gold lead. iG couldn’t utilize their poke comp of Lucian, Jayce and Gragas well enough before Kha’zix or Ahri were on top of them, and LGD took two straight 4-for-1’s at Dragon, the second resulting in a free Baron Nashor.

Things looked bleak for iG, and as LGD began to siege in mid, their fears were confirmed. A mistimed ultimate from Gragas let Ahri and Graves dash in and vaporize three members of iG. After a fourth kill, the turrets began dropping like flies, and there was nothing iG’s Jayce could do about it. LGD won their second straight game, knocking Invictus out of Worlds contention to end the first night of competition. They would face the loser of OMG and Royal Club the next night for the third seed.

Night Two: Losing Your Cool

SH Royal Club went into the Winners’ Final against OMG with a clear strategy. They aimed to neutralize OMG midlaner Cool in champ select, and rely on their widely perceived superior botlane duo of Uzi and Zero to do the same to OMG in-game. OMG’s duo of San and Dada7 had looked hot and cold during their first round series, and would need to be at their best to match Royal’s strength.

The strategy worked like a charm. Royal started on red side, and had taken Zilean as a flex pick, waiting to see Cool’s selection. When OMG took Zed, Royal midlaner corn chose Fizz, and the trap was set. Zilean could ult for whoever Zed tried to assassinate, giving them an extra life after Cool had blown all his damage. Meanwhile Rengar and Irelia could provide CC and counter-engage, letting Fizz and Lucian go to town on OMG.

As the game began Cool picked up a commanding cs lead in lane, as much as fifty minions at one point, but corn stayed patient. When OMG overcommitted to a fight in bottom lane, corn’s Fizz quickly roamed to help, picking up a kill for himself as Royal went 3-for-1. The decisive win gave Royal a free Dragon to help close the gap between the midlaners. Two more skirmishes allowed Fizz to pick up three additional kills, and he grew to 4/1/1 against Zed’s 1/1/1 and 40 cs lead. OMG found it difficult to siege successfully throughout the game. Even after the first Baron of the game went to OMG on the back of a triple kill from toplaner GoGoing’s Ryze, they couldn’t secure any inner towers. Royal stalled beautifully and denied OMG the chance to snowball with Baron buff.

With both teams relying on winning fights to open up objectives, the next Baron would be vital. Royal brought LoveLing’s Kha’zix very low, forcing his recall, and rushed Baron. OMG contested but grouped poorly, and Royal picked up an Ace-for-2, destroying everything up to the base towers. When OMG tried to push out, Royal jumped all over them again, ripping through the team and taking the Nexus in a tense forty-two minute game.

Royal’s focus was on Cool again in Game 2, first-picking Orianna and daring OMG to pick a counter and reveal their midlaner. OMG held their choice till last, but their picks gave it away. A first rotation Lee Sin and Lucian suggested a dive-heavy team, most likely a Yasuo comp, and Royal countered with CC and disengage in Janna and Irellia. When Cool got his Yasuo, Royal were poised to keep him chained to the midlane again, adding Jarvan IV and Caitlyn for range and more disruption.

Chinese4Bracket2.png

After such a long Game 1 with so many fights, the game naturally started slowly, with one exception. Uzi and Zero were not happy with their play in the first game, and set out to teach OMG’s botlane a lesson. Their Caitlyn and Janna managed to drop San and Dada7’s tower early, then swapped with Irelia to do the same thing in toplane. Royal’s early rotations gave OMG fits, and while Irelia outdueled Jax, a fight in midlane saw Royal take their third outer tower, giving Royal complete map control. A free Dragon was followed by a mistimed initiation from OMG’s LoveLing, and Royal melted him, looking for more. Royal jungler InSec’s Jarvan dove under tower, and corn’s damage on Orianna let Royal go 3-for-1 and take the inner midlane tower.

Royal continued to control the vision in OMG’s jungle and used it to keep their rotations one step ahead. Tower after tower fell on OMG’s side, and soon OMG had their backs to the wall as they tried to defend toplane’s inner tower. A maximum range Shockwave onto Lucian gave Royal their sixth tower, but Royal weren’t finished. OMG were forced to fight inside their base, but lost another three members and their Inhibitor when a dive onto Royal backfired. Royal backed off to set up Baron, now up 7 towers to 1 with the game nearly out of reach, and Cool struggling to make an impact.

Before OMG could even group to contest Baron, Irelia came flying over the pit wall, and killed Lee Sin with Orianna’s assistance. With Baron secured, Irelia went on a rampage, chasing down multiple members of OMG with her team in tow, and just like that the game was over. In just twenty-four minutes, OMG’s base was in ruins, and Star Horn Royal club had clinched their Worlds berth, sending OMG to the Loser’s Bracket.

Losers Bracket Final: OMG’s Last Chance

File OMG were clearly on tilt after the beating Royal gave them, especially Cool. In Game 1 he picked Talon into Ahri’s much stronger early game, and was punished almost immediately. Ahri turned a gank from Kha’zix around, picking up Cool with Ignite in a 1-vs-2. Again OMG were out-rotated and fell behind early, but LGD almost let them off the hook.

A sloppy fight in the river let OMG pick up two kills and the Baron, letting OMG back into the game. GoGoing and LoveLing began pushing down toplane for OMG, while 4 members of LGD took Dragon and headed to OMG’s botlane. It looked like an even race until LGD picked off San and Cool in the jungle, giving them a huge pushing advantage. OMG refused to recall at first but and eventually had to back off while Ahri and XQ’s Lucian advanced to the inhibitor tower. Only Dada7’s Thresh was there to stall until backup came, and when GoGoing tried to teleport back to help Pyl interrupted it at the last second. LGD had turned OMG’s base rase against them, and took a crazy Game 1, while for OMG it looked as if the wheels had come off.

After their third straight loss and on the brink of missing Worlds, OMG changed their team’s focus. Cool was given midlane Zilean, meaning it would be up to LoveLing’s Evelynn to force the early game. Loveling rose to the occasion, picking up the first two kills of the game, and giving assists to three of his teammates in the process. OMG turned the early aggression into a Dragon, combined with GoGoing building an early lead in top on his comfort pick Ryze. and OMG made it through the laning phase with a slight lead

Cool played Zilean expertly, baiting dives from LGD then ulting to deny the kill. Just when the match was about to stall out, OMG blew it wide open. LGD thought they had a pick on Evelynn but OMG positioned well, letting San’s Kog’Maw attack freely during an extended team fight. By the end San picked up a Quadra kill as OMG aced LGD while only losing three members. The teams respawned and battled again immediately near Baron, and OMG again won the fight three to two. From there OMG snowballed out of control, taking what was a 10-6 game in kills all the way out to 26-11. They constantly won fights against LGD, and used them to pick off towers. San was a monster on Kog'Maw, picking up nineteen kills by himself as OMG eventually brute forced the win in Game 2, forcing a third and final game.

With Cool seemingly refreshed, he locked in Ahri against Orianna in Game 3, looking to complete his revival. The game started passively, and LGD slowly opened up a lead in towers behind their strong early game composition. With kills and gold still nearly even, OMG were forced to ride out LGD’s power spike. Even three towers behind, the gold lead was kept under two thousand by OMG, thanks in part to a miracle smiteless Dragon steal for LoveLing. OMG withstood the assault, and turned a pick on Orianna into a Dragon and their first gold lead of the match.

It was OMG’s turn to start dictating the pace, and they looked to fight. Skirmishes broke out across the map and the game went back and forth. LGD took Baron, but were promptly aced by OMG, only getting three kills in the exchange. Lane pressure was exchanged back and forth as both teams threatened the other’s base. Through all the fights, OMG stacked a 10k gold lead, and Cool was carrying the team, going 15/1/9. It took OMG forty-four minutes to secure the first Inhibitor of the match, but as they backed off to take Baron, the end was already in sight.

While laying siege toplane, Thresh and Ahri both landed CC onto Pyl, and the team started shredding his HP. Quan tried to Cataclysm for the save, but couldn’t lock down Cool as Pyl and Quan both died. OMG chased past the inhibitor turret, and picked up an Ace-for-1, spelling the end for LGD. With 70-second death timers on all 5 members, LGD could only watch OMG destroy their Nexus, clawing their way back into Worlds in an epic finish.

Champion vs Champion: The battle for the #1 seed

Two remaining teams still had seeding to settle, and the Royal and EDG series meant a matchup between two of the top 5 AD Carries worldwide. For Royal Club, Uzi had been the driving force in Royal’s decisive sweeps over LGD and OMG. He entered the final series with a KDA of 6.4 during the Regional, including a zero-death game as Caitlyn against OMG. His lane opponent would be Edward Gaming’s NaMei, who in nine games during the LPL Summer Playoffs averaged a KDA of 6.9 including two zero-death games and three single-death games. It set up to be a stellar series, and neither team disappointed.

The first two games saw each AD Carry on the same champion twice. Namei went with Twitch, while Uzi stuck with Lucian. In Game 1 Royal came out looking like the team that was match-ready, but a lane swap delayed the star matchup. Uzi picked up three quick kills in lane to Namei’s one, but a team fight in midlane quickly evened the score at three kills apiece. EDG Jungler ClearLove was on fire in the early game, going 3/0/3 by the end of that fight, and kept EDG in touching distance of Royal.

The ADC Battle: NaMei (top) vs Uzi

At the twenty-six minute mark, NaMei sprang to life. A stealth gank onto Nami in midlane dropped the fish before Tidal Wave slowed them, and EDG shoved. the outer midlane turret went down, and a pinpoint Solar Flare from EDG’s Fzzf locked up Uzi’s Lucian for NaMei. Lee Sin completed NaMei’s triple and EDG never looked back. Namei finished 9/3/11 and EDG took Game 1 despite falling behind early.

Game 2 started with another lane swap, but this time things were anything but even. Royal managed to take the bottom tower and Dragon for free, opening up a decent gold lead. The duo lanes met in top, and it seemed EDG were behind again. EDG did their best to limit Royal’s snowball, only giving up one kill in the first fifteen minutes, but losing all 3 outer towers. Royal did an excellent job of controlling the action, with Lucian building a 50 cs lead, and only allowing three team fights in the first twenty-five minutes, going even or winning all of them. Without a single Baron taken, Royal opened up a 10k gold lead, killing six towers without loss. Despite an on-point Shockwave from EDG midlaner U, Royal fought EDG under tower and picked up an Ace-for-2, taking toplane inhibitor and Baron. The next fight saw Royal take a clean ace and flatten EDG’s base, evening the series at 1 apiece.

For Game 3 it would be NaMei on Lucian, with EDG picking a hyper-aggressive team. Kha’zix and Jayce joined a first pick Ryze, while Uzi chose Vayne in a scaling team comp for Royal. Orianna and Zilean would provide the protection, with Irelia and Lee Sin able to counter-engage. Royal lane-swapped again, Irelia and ZIlean heading botlane to keep NaMei’s Lucian down, and in the early game it appeared to be working. Uzi built a 20 cs lead, but NaMei would eventually adjust. He settled into a more supportive role, picking up four early assists as U’s Jayce roamed and got going early.

The game dragged out past the twenty minute mark without another fight, and then everything changed. Uzi’s Vayne was caught trying to ward by Ryze and Jayce, burst down before she could do any significant damage. Royal’s fight communication fell apart, and Orianna was caught out on the flank. All 5 members of EDG jumped Orianna and killed the Lady of Clockwork, turning to Baron. Royal only compounded their mistake, trying to teleport and contest for Baron, but all three members were split apart and annihilated by EDG.

A clean ace plus a Baron launched EDG into the lead, and left Royal scrambling to recover. Royal attempted a trap in toplane to catch EDG out, while sending Irelia bottom to split push. It was a solid idea, but EDG had headed top as a full team, giving them the advantage without knowing it. EDG dodged most of the initiation, and U again picked up a double kill, getting to 7/1/2. Not only did the top outer tower go down, but EDG toplaner Koro1 teleported botlane and stalled Irelia. With no one back to defend, EDG marched all the way to the Inhibitor, knocking over the entire toplane in one push.

Royal had one final chance to try and save the match, meeting EDG in the bottom lane to defend the inner tower. Again communication errors were Royal’s downfall, as Irelia teleported in far too deeply for Royal to follow in, and EDG took four clean kills. Royal resigned to surrender, and the match was over! Edward Gaming clinched the top seed in China, and would be one of the four protected seeds in the World Championship!

Looking Ahead to the World Championship

The Worlds participants are now locked in, and the Group Stage draw will have been revealed by the publishing of this article. Alliance, Edward Gaming, Samsung Galaxy Blue, and Team SoloMid are guaranteed to avoid each other in the Group Stages. All that’s left now is the wait until September 18, and the beginning of the 2014 Season World Championship. Keep following @LoLeSportspedia for all your Worlds Coverage, including live coverage on Twitter @eSPediaLive, as the Road to Worlds reaches its destination.


Published on 09. Sep 2014
Written by David “ReleaseTheAnts” Stull @GKstull
Edited by David "The Dynasty" Spitler @TheDynastyLoL
Thanks to Duncan “Thooorin” Shields for his advice.