IEM Katowice: Recap of Group A


IEM Katowice is off to a good start after a great opening day.

The League of Legends tournament for IEM Katowice started today with Group A playing each other.

Group A consisted of: Royal Never Give Up, Team SoloMid, Origen and Ever. Two teams would move to the semifinals, while the other two teams would be sent back home. Here’s how the day went.

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Team SoloMid vs. ESC Ever

The very first game of the tournament was an entertaining one. TSM had the lead from the very start of the game and did a good job at snowballing their advantage. For most of the game, TSM was making Ever look like a challenger team – and that’s because they are. However, once they built their monster lead, TSM failed to realize their win conditions and started forcing the wrong moves.

TSM continued to group as five in an attempt to overpower Ever for their towers/the game, but that wasn’t going to work. TSM had a 3/0/5 Fiora 20 minutes in, and they refused to let her do what she does best – split push. Who knows why they chose to play that way, but they did.

Ever is a team that wants a lot of skirmishes to occur, and they slowly got back into the game since TSM allowed those moments to happen again and again. Thanks to the long respawn timers in the current season, Ever was able to ace TSM at 36 minutes and push to victory. It speaks to how crazy season six is, because Ever didn’t even have the tier one tower for the lane they pushed to win.

Don’t get it twisted though, TSM deserved to lose the game. It’s bizarre that Ever won in the fashion they did due to how the current season is, but a good team wouldn’t have allowed Ever to reach that point.

Origen vs. Royal Never Give Up

Origen started the game better than they could have asked for as they played the lane swap much better than RNG. They dominated the opening minutes of the game and accumulated a two-tower lead, and they also got a Dragon and Rift Herald in the process.

Their strong early game gave them a 2K gold lead for a long time, but they were never able to do anything with that lead. It was no secret that Chinese teams would have a difficult time adapting to the western lane swaps, but it really wasn’t that big of a deal since they should dominate the other phases of the game – and that’s what happened.

RNG slowly chopped away at the lead by winning skirmishes and rotating around the map better. RNG finally got a gold lead a little after 25 minutes, and they quickly turned that into a monster lead that won them the game five minutes later.

Royal Never Give Up vs. Ever

Ever came into this tournament with the ability to beat some teams, but Royal Never Give Up was not one of those teams. A Korean challenger team simply cannot hang with a top Chinese team.

RNG didn’t blow Ever away immediately, but they always had a lead and continued to make the correct moves to win. Ever is always looking for fights, but guess what, so is RNG – and they are going to fight better.

RNG finally won a little after 30 minutes passed, and their victory guaranteed them a spot in the semifinals.

Origen vs. Team SoloMid

This would be the first three-game series of the tournament, and it was an elimination series that would send the loser home.

Game one was an even match that went all the way to 46 minutes. The difference maker in the game was Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg who had a monster game for TSM on LeBlance: eight kills, zero deaths and five assists. Bjergsen hasn’t had the hard-carry games this year that we are used to seeing him have, but this was definitely his best game of the season.

Game two was another long game that nearly hit 46 minutes, but it was Origen who came out on top of this one as their tournament lives were on the line. It was an even game with small leads that would go back and forth, and Origen were fortunate enough to have the final lead. Bjergsen had another great game, but he couldn’t out-carry Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen who went 13/2/6 on Kalista.

Game three was arguably the most exciting match of the series. Origen surprised everyone by picking Talon in the middle lane, and they were able to have a substantial lead for most of the game. TSM was down 5K gold 23 minutes in, but then they found the perfect fight for themselves and quickly did Baron after. The sequence tied up the game, but the momentum had changed and TSM won the game soon after.

The loss made Origen the first team kicked out of IEM Katowice.

Team SoloMid vs. Ever

This was the rematch from the first game of the day, and it was another elimination series where the loser would be sent home.

TSM’s loss to Ever was about as frustrating as a loss could be, and they just got done playing an intense three-game series, so it wouldn’t have been surprising to see them come out sloppy and unfocused.

That didn’t happen.

Game one was very similar to the first game between the two teams, but this time TSM didn’t throw the game away. They took the lead from the very beginning and never looked back. While Ever tried to put up a good fight and made for some entertaining moments, it was clear that TSM wasn’t going to lose this game.

Game two was the beat down of the day. TSM never gave Ever a chance as they dominated the game from the very beginning. It only took them 25 minutes to win, and they led the game in kills 17-3. TSM saw their opportunity and seized the moment to head for the semifinals, and Ever was kicked out of the tournament in the process.

Day two of IEM Katowice will have the same exact schedule as today, only it will be for Group B and will hopefully have less technical issues.

Group B consists of: SK Telecom T1, Counter Logic Gaming, Qiao Gu Reapers and Fnatic. The first match of the day will be at 6 AM EST between SKT and CLG.