The 2018 League of Legends World Championship kicked off Monday with the beginning of the play-in stage in Seoul, South Korea, as third seeds and wildcard regions duked it out for a spot in the main event.
Starting off the day was North America's Cloud9 picking up a dominant victory over Brazil's KaBuM in Group C. The duo lane of AD carry Zachary "Sneaky" Scuderi on Kai'Sa and support Tristan "Zeyzal" Stidam on Leona was too much for KaBuM to handle, finding first blood as well as additional kills in a 2-vs-2 teamfight. The pair quickly spread the wealth around the map, each finding 10 kill participations on Cloud9's 13 total kills in a swift win.
Moving over to Group D, third seed from the LMS, G-Rex, took on the LCL's Gambit Gaming. This was a slower game than the previous one, but only marginally less one-sided. The relaxed pace suited G-Rex just fine, as its members found farm advantages across the board. As the tempo picked up in the mid game, G-Rex top laner Hsieh "PK" Yu-Ting was impossible for Gambit to deal with in teamfights, and while the latter nearly pulled back into the game with a Baron play, it failed to secure the buff and was taken down.
The third game was the bloodiest yet, as Japan's DetonatioN FocusMe joined the fray against KaBuM. With nearly a kill per minute throughout the game, the teams traded closely until KaBuM pulled ahead in the mid game to take control. However, a beautiful Baron steal by Detonation AD carry Yuta "Yutapon" Sugiura's Varus allowed his team to retake the gold lead and ultimately secure the win.
G-Rex's win over Latin America's Kaos Latin Gaming in Game 4 almost couldn't have been easier, but the same was not the case for Cloud9 when it took on DetonatioN. Led by the signature Ziggs of mid laner "Ceros", DetonatioN consistently won out on early skirmishes, bullying Cloud9 around the map and brute-forcing turrets down. Throughout the mid game, top laner Shunsuke "Evi" Murase used Urgot's ultimate Fear Beyond Death to perfection, dragging the enemy Kindred out of her ultimate time and again. Meanwhile, support Han "viviD" Gi-hun made equally good use of Tahm Kench's Devour, shutting down several Cloud9 engagements. However, as the game progressed further into the contest, Cloud9 finally managed to start fights successfully, and a clean ace while defending its own Nexus turrets allowed the North American team to secure the comeback and a 2-0 record on the day.
Closing out Monday's competition was the final matchup of Group D, as Gambit Gaming and Kaos Latin Gaming each looked to find their first victory of the tournament. However, just as it had against G-Rex earlier in the day, Kaos Latin Gaming struggled to put up any sort of a fight. Gambit dominated from start to finish, taking hardly any casualties and giving up a lone Mountain Drake in terms of objectives before claiming victory just shy of the 30-minute mark.
It was a rough first day of competition for the wildcard regions, as the regional third seeds of Cloud9 and G-Rex both sit atop their respective groups undefeated. Time will tell if the other groups will look the same as the play-in stage continues Tuesday at 4 a.m. ET.