If there’s a script to eSports, it’s that China and Korea always wins. After day one of play, the League of Legends World Championships are following that with one exception. Three of four groups are playing two matches a day, and so far the only victories for North American or European teams are against each other. Otherwise it’s been a stomp across the board - except for a hugely surprising victory by Brazilian wildcards INTZ eSports.
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Here’s their game against Chinese powerhouse Edward Gaming (the best named eSports team in the world):
For an idea of how big an upset this is, EDG went 16-0 in the Chinese League of Legends Summer Split, arguably the second strongest region on the planet behind Korea. They then won the final 3-0 over fellow Worlds competitors Royal Never Give Up, securing a spot at this tournament. This is essentially their first meaningful loss in months.
INTZ on the other hand have the crown of the best team in Brazil, but entered Worlds through the wildcard system that gives generally weaker Proleagues the opportunity to compete on the highest stage. These teams are generally lucky to take any games at all, nevermind off Chinese champions. Last year’s wildcard entrants paiN Gaming and Bangkok Titans went a combined 2-10.
Matches continue today, and throughout the rest of the month before the grand finals in the Staples Center on October 29. Hopes are, as always, high that it won’t be a Korean mirror match.