The 2020 Season World Championship play-ins finally kicked off on Friday, leading into a day of highs, lows and throws as the rift began to weed out the weak.
The first match of the League of Legends tournament featured MAD Lions versus INTZ, and MAD Lions were in it to win it from the draft. They made aggressive picks in Renekton, Evelynn, Lucian, Jhin, and Pantheon that showed they'd need to be dominant throughout the match to make use of their threatening champions. It certainly didn't help when INTZ's Tay on Urgot misclicked in a gank he received, turning the chance for first blood in what would be a difficult lane for him, to him wasting teleport on a nearby minion. Regardless, Tay didn't go down without a fight, becoming the win condition of the game briefly as he ended up 9/2/3 despite the rocky start before everything -- including ITZ's nexus -- fell apart. MAD Lions utilized their team composition effectively in pushing for fights until they won one, and taking all they could around the map with every success.
The next game featured PSG Talon versus Rainbow7, which centered around the bot lane early game and PSG's bot lane tower working as a 6th member in some unfortunate skirmishes for R7. PSG made clean work of Rainbow7 through taking advantage of their Sett mid's teleport that couldn't be matched by enemy Zoe's cleanse, and their Bard's ultimate on the enemy's immobile Ashe. Overall, it felt as though PSG worked incredibly well as a team, leaving R7 to only react to whatever PSG wanted to do. The game was more one sided, ending with 27 kills for PSG to eight for Rainbow7. As PSG was working with three substitutes, the strong win kept PSG in mind as a team to fear.
INTZ got another champ in the next match versus Legacy Esports, this time with Tay on Vladimir. The team had plenty of small early battles that, though leaning in LGC's favor, did not doom INTZ. INTZ, in fact, ended up with mountain soul and the Vlad became a force to reckon with in team fights. While LGC consistently had kills advantage, after soul, the game tipped to INTZ's favor. After a bad fight at the dragon pit, however, where the Vlad was protecting top from Camille, INTZ lost elder and the game right after. INTZ, although having had some good plays, didn't appear to have properly thought about what they'd need to do to win, and took a fight without their key player, Vlad, with elder dragon up. INTZ has good players, but didn't work with any seemingly solid plan throughout their games, and ended the day 0-2.
LGD versus PSG allowed us to see our first Lillia in Worlds, played by LGD's Peanut. While the teams rivaled each other pretty closely, the kills being 1-2 but the gold lead slightly in LGD's favor in 24 minutes, the fight at ocean dragon resulted in five kills for PSG as they all played around their ultimates and the way they synergized with each other incredibly well. Suddenly, PSG had seven kills to LGD's one, and the game suddenly became PSG's to direct, which they did and ended their day as 2-0. PSG just appeared to know what to do with their composition and executed it as a team whereas LGD couldn't always keep up with their frontline. PSG already seemed to be the best performing team of the day.
The last game featured MAD Lions and Team Liquid, where we got to take a break from the regular ADC pool of Ashe, Senna, and Ezreal for Team Liquid's Tactical on Twitch. Tactical made good use of Twitch as well, securing a small early lead for himself. However, TL's Impact is the one that became one to fear at 7/1/3 with a two-level difference over the enemy Camille. While the game had been even for a good while, Team Liquid dominated the late game teamfights and MAD Lions couldn't seem to find an avenue out, ending their day with an even 1:1. Team Liquid had a clean game, able to spot when they should be aggressive and when to walk away, which made it difficult for MAD Lions to find a way in when they fell behind.
Play-ins continue Saturday, where teams have an opportunity to show their talent, some having a chance to redeem themselves in the process.
T1. Legacy Esports, 1-0
T1. Team Liquid, 1-0
3. MAD Lions, 1-1
4. SuperMassive Esports, 0-0
5. INTZ, 0-2
1. PSG Talon, 2-0
T2. Unicorns of Love, 0-0
T2. V3 Esports, 0-0
T5. LGD Gaming, 0-1
T5. Rainbow 7, 0-1
--Field Level Media