What EDG’s Loss Means for Group C
So, unless you were living under a rock during day one of Worlds, you probably heard that Brazil’s INTZ pulled off potentially the biggest upset in World’s history by knocking off China’s number one seed, EDward Gaming.
And this wasn’t just a fluke win on a miracle Baron steal. This was INTZ dismantling a team that didn’t drop a series for the entirety of the Summer Split in China. The Brazilian wildcard won through the same strategy they employed throughout most of the year, through jungler Revolta providing pressure for top laner Yang, ensuring that he had a sizable advantage coming out of the lane phase.
Yang played like an absolute monster with the lead Revolta set up for him; he finished the game 3.9 thousand gold ahead of EDG’s top laner, Mouse. He used that lead to deal the most damage to champions of any player in the game, finishing with 29.5 thousand damage dealt in a 6/2/7 performance on Gnar.
EDG threatened to make comebacks throughout, winning multiple fights due to mid-laner PawN’s sneaky flanks on Vladimir while the INTZ team was spread out. However, following a key three-for-one fight around the 33-minute mark, resulting from a pick onto EDG’s Clearlove, the Brazilian team ended up getting their second baron of the game; this allowed them to take an inhibitor, which led to an Elder Dragon, which finally ended up being the nail in the coffin for EDG.
With this being just the first day of Worlds, there are still plenty of games left for teams to overcome a first game mishap. But EDG was seen as a team that would run through their group without a problem, maybe dropping a game to H2k or AHQ if they had a bad showing. However, a loss to INTZ was something that nobody in the league scene expected, even the analysts (and thus the EDG sandbagging memes have been reborn).
So here’s what EDG’s loss and INTZ’s victory means for Group C…
What it means for EDG Themselves…
It shows that they can’t afford to sleep on any team, and can’t expect the same strategies that got them to Worlds to work on the international stage. EDG’s bottom lane, Deft and Meiko, are considered by many as the best bottom lane in the world, and they showed that throughout the regular season. Honestly, Deft, Meiko, and PawN were the only ones holding together that game against INTZ. Jungler Clearlove, who analysts also consider one of the best in the world, spent much of his time in the bottom lane to give Deft and Meiko all of the resources they’d need to carry the game. This often leaves Mouse to fend for himself in the top lane. INTZ showed that this can be exploited by a talented and aggressive top-jungle combo.
It’ll be interesting to see if the other teams in Group C, H2k and AHQ, will try to implement a similar strategy against the Chinese powerhouse, or if EDG will take steps to counter this strategy in future games. The junglers for both AHQ and H2k, Mountain and Jankos, are also known for their early aggression on the map, with Jankos participating in over 81% of his team’s kills during the Summer Split, and Mountain’s performance being the primary reason for AHQ’s success at the LMS regional qualifiers. With that said, H2k looked very lost in its macro play against AHQ, slowly hemorrhaging an early-game lead through a series of picks in the mid-game.
What it means for INTZ…
Teams will no longer be sleeping on them as a wildcard team. With the success of past wildcard seeds, especially from Brazil, INTZ should not have been slept on. But I think most people were considering this mainly from the perspective of H2k and AHQ, who were seen as the teams competing for second place in the group (with EDG being the number one). INTZ looked stronger than H2k did against better competition with the gold lead they acquired early. INTZ did a better job of getting deep vision within EDG’s jungle and using it to determine whether Revolta and Yang could generate another pick onto Mouse, and turn that into an objective.
What it means for H2k…
In contrast to INTZ, H2k didn’t get any wards into AHQ’s jungle with their early tower lead. This allowed AHQ to generate some key picks on Forgiven and Ryu, allowing them to break down H2k’s outer ring of turrets and begin their comeback. In their game against INTZ tomorrow, they will have to ensure that Jankos and Odoamne can compete against Yang and Revolta in the laning phase. As we saw back in H2k’s playoff series against Splyce, Odoamne can be incredibly dominant when given the chance to succeed, but can also be pushed around when being consistently camped by the enemy jungler. On paper, H2k should still have the advantage here, and they should do well to remember that and keep their confidence up. It comes down primarily to their macro-level execution during the mid game, which proved to be their downfall against AHQ.
What it means for AHQ…
They need to continue to look to improve on their early game play. EDG, and even INTZ (if their first game was any indication), will not make the same macro mistakes in the mid-game that allowed AHQ to claw their way back into game one vs. H2k. Mountain should look to employ the same strategy that INTZ executed against EDG, get top lane ahead, and have that success flow into the bottom lane to disrupt Deft and Meiko. An and Albis were at a sizeable deficit in the laning phase against Forgiven and Vander, whereas Deft and Meiko straight up killed micaO and Jockster in a 2v2. Deft would certainly have run away with the game if Revolta didn’t initiate a 3v2 dive in the bottom lane a little after six minutes. Mountain has been the key to this team’s success since the regional matches, and he’ll have to continue to step up big if he wants to lead his team out of the now very interesting Group C. It should give Mountain confidence, however, that Clearlove appeared to be off his game against INTZ, not ever being in a position to help out his top lane or snowball his bottom lane in the early game.
I still think EDG will recover and win the group, but it now leaves a lot of questions open concerning the second place spot in the group. But it now begs the question of how strong they are in the spectrum of Worlds in its entirety? While ROX also exhibited some early game miscues, they quickly recovered and steamrolled their wildcard seed, Albus Nox Luna. Many people see EDG as one of the favorites to play the tournament favorite ROX Tigers in the Finals. We’ll see if this game causes analysts to change their tunes after week one of groups concludes.