The first day of the League of Legends Season 2 World Championship quarterfinals featured the best play of the tournament so far and three decisive victories for Korea’s Azubu Frost, Russia’s Moscow 5, and Taiwan’s Taipei Assassins. Team Solomid, North America’ last team standing, went out against Azubu Frost. On the livestream tomorrow at 8 PM UK / 3 PM Eastern, World Elite play CLG EU to determine who moves on to face Azubu Frost in the semifinal round.
The day opened with a great series between M5 and Invictus that showed off M5’s inspired team-fighting and timing, as they abruptly closed an early-game gap and wiped out Invictus in a single big fight. Not to be outdone, Invictus came back just minutes later and got an ace of their own. At 30 minutes, M5 held a 4500 gold lead and just a two-kill advantage. But things swung in their direction fast as they assaulted Invictus’ Inhibitor, drew Invictus out to defend it, then dived past the tower to score three quick kills. With M5 running wild around their inhibitor and facing a huge gold deficit, Invictus voted to surrender.
M5 took that momentum into the second game, where they once again recovered from an early deficit to even the game, won a decisive team fight at 22 minutes, and quickly picked up Baron. When they aced Invictus a few minutes later, Invictus once again GG’d and M5 were on their way to the semifinal.
The GG’s from Invictus were striking, as too many MOBA games drag on into a long, futile endgame. Invictus saved themselves, and viewers, from just such a siege, and M5’s Alexey Ichetovkin (who had been a monster in both games) remarked that he appreciated the respectful gesture, one he thought was a hallmark of the Asian competitive scene. “They lost, they knew they lost, and don’t expect a comeback or think we’ll make mistakes,” he said after the match.
NaJin Sword were stunned to lose two in a row to the Taipei Assassins. The first game was a maddening farm battle for the first twenty minutes as the Assassins slowly built a commanding gold lead and grabbed a handful of opportunistic kills against NaJin. When they moved into the teamfight phase, they won the game decisively as they scored four kills and got a GG from NaJin Sword.
The second match started much more promisingly for NaJin Sword, getting and holding an early lead well into the match. However, Tapei Assassins were able to cut it down and simply managed their fights better, using masterful crowd control to turn teamfights into a series of 5-on-2s and 4-on-1s. Once the match turned against them, NaJin Sword conceded the victory in what was probably the biggest upset of the day.
Team SoloMid were mauled by Azubu Frost, an outcome that TSM had trained hard to avoid since getting wiped out by Azubu Blaze at MLG’s LoL Arena this summer. But Azubu Frost’s mechanics were simply too good, out-farming TSM and refusing the give TSM the unfavorable teamfights they needed to get back in the game. TSM never had an answer to Park “Shy” Sang Myeon, whose Top Lane play was impeccable and devastated TSM in fights. They were never even in Game 1, and Game 2 saw them lose a solid lead at 14 minutes, which led to a series of disastrous fights that gave Azubu Frost the run of the map and an insurmountable gold lead.