Upsets interrupted the normal cadence of events during the second day of the play-in stage at the 2018 League of Legends World Championship Play-In stage in Seoul, South Korea.
However, the surprising nature of Tuesday's action didn't involve EDward Gaming; the LPL's No. 3 seed more than handled its own, kicking off the day with a crushing win over Latin America North's (LAN) Infinity eSports in Group A action. Infinity might have had a decent draft against EDG but nothing could overcome the sheer skill between these two teams. EDG mid laner Lee "Scout" Ye-chan got things rolling early on as LeBlanc with a solo kill just before three minutes in. EDG quickly capitalized on its lead, picking up several more kills as seemingly everyone came to the mid lane to bully INF's Sergio "Cotopaco" Silva's Lulu. A 2,500-gold lead at nine minutes only grew after EDG picked up a 5-for-2 ace at 12 minutes, eventually leading to as much as a 10,000-gold lead at the 20-minute mark. With Scout leading the way in this one, posting a 6/1/5 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) and a plus-2,068 gold differential at 15 minutes over Cotopaco, EDG cruised to an easy Game 1 win.
EDG refused to slow down later when it took on the Oceanic Pro League representative Dire Wolves later that evening. Veteran jungler Ming "Clearlove7" Kai gave EDG a guiding hand after playing out the early game nearly perfectly, setting EDG up to go 2-0 in Group A. In the match to determine which team got prime positioning for second place in the group, though, slow and steady was the name of the game. Infinity jumped ahead early as jungler Diego "SolidSnake" Vallejo's Skarner picked on Dire Wolves' rookie jungler, Toby "UDYSOF" Horne, and turned that abuse into a gold lead. As time went on, though, Infinity didn't have any answers for the Dire Wolves carries, mid laner Stephen "Triple" Li and AD carry Calvin "k1ng" Truong, on Azir and Tristana, respectively. Scaling into the later stages of the game with a brutal sieging combo in Azir and Tristana, Triple's playmaking ability on Azir put Dire Wolves in the driver's seat, leading to a clean looking 33-minute win. EDG is most likely going to outright win the group and blow through any team in the play-ins on its way to the Worlds Group Stage but Dire Wolves' might cause problems for one of the first seeds going forward.
Meanwhile, in Group B, the European League of Legends Championship Series representatives, G2 Esports, looked shaky throughout the day, dropping its first match to the Turkish terror, SuperMassive eSports. G2 went ahead early as mid laner Luka "Perkz" Perkovic's Akali threatened to take over after a couple of kills went G2's way, but SuperMassive recovered beautifully. Led by support No "SnowFlower" Hoi-jong's Tahm Kench, who played phenomenally well in his return to South Korea where he started his career, SuperMassive overcame an early deficit with decisive mid game shotcalling, eventually turning a 28-minute Baron into a massive game-ending push at 32 minutes. G2 for all the world looked stunned as SuperMassive cleanly rotated between lanes, taking out all of G2's defenses in one fell swoop and putting itself in pole position heading into the second day of group play.
SuperMassive followed basically the same script in its win over Ascension Gaming. Overcoming an early deficit, SuperMassive took control through clean mid game macro play and eventually shut Ascension out of the game through rotations and crisp teamfighting. When it came time for G2 to face Ascension, though, things were far from pretty or clean. G2 looked somewhat shaken after losing to SuperMassive, apart from Perkz, the perennial all-star, fighting to stabilize against an aggressive Ascension Gaming. Perkz played well enough as Ryze but it was his teammates that stepped up when the team needed them. Top laner Martin "Wunder" Hansen took Urgot to the top lane and crushed his opposition while jungler Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski's Camille carried G2 to the win. Active early in the game, Jankos picked up a couple of kills before making a crucial Baron steal at 22 minutes, turning the game irreversibly in G2's favor. While Group B might not be going the way most fans and analysts expect, it remains one of the most competitive and entertaining groups in play-ins history.
Play-ins continue on Wednesday when Group D leader G-Rex takes on Gambit Esports at 4 a.m. ET.