IEM Katowice: Recap of Group B


IEM Katowice is off to a strong start after yesterday, and the action today only made things better.

The second day of group stages for IEM Katowice was for Group B, which consisted of SK Telecom T1 (SKT), Counter Logic Gaming (CLG), Qiao Gu Reapers (QG) and Fnatic (FNC).

Two teams would get to play in the semifinals, and two teams would be sent home earlier than they hoped.

Here’s how it all went down.

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The team composition for SKT was nothing out of the ordinary, but CLG went for a team fight composition with Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaha on Poppy. It’s nice to see them branch out to other play styles, but it’s confusing to see them do it in the very first game of the tournament. It seems like they weren’t confident in their ability to execute a split pushing team against SKT.

SKT didn’t come out and smack CLG around, but the game was always in their control and never seemed in question. CLG played very passive and never made plays – except for Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black who did his best to carry his team. SKT’s gold lead eventually started to become 5K around the 20-minute mark. CLG started a desperate fight 30 minutes in, but SKT were much stronger and rolled over CLG which led to them winning the game.

QG vs. FNC

QG pulled out Ekko in the jungle, but other than that, this was a standard game in the current meta.

QG is known for falling behind in the early game and making up for it with amazing team fights in the mid-late game, but they were ahead the entire time against FNC. A few minutes into the game, QG had a four-man dive bottom that led to Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao getting first blood, and then he got the game’s next two kills as well. 39 minutes in, a fight broke out that resulted in FNC losing four of their members and QG losing none, which led to the game-winning push from the Chinese squad.

SKT vs. QG

A great Korean team against a great Chinese team with the winner advancing to the semifinals. We couldn’t have asked for anything more, but then the game immediately got more interesting in champion select as Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok busted out his famous LeBlanc.

QG came out very aggressive during the lane swap and were actually able to take down an inhibitor tower at only eight minutes in. However, soon after that, team fights started to break out and they all went SKT’s way. Faker gave SKT their first decent lead of the game by getting a triple kill 16 minutes in. Only moments later, Bae “Bang” Jun-sik got a triple kill of his own to create an even greater lead for SKT.

28 minutes in, SKT forced an odd fight that led to Faker and Lee “Duke” Ho-Seong being taken down. QG thought they had an easy Baron as it was a 5v3, but Kang “Blank” Sun-gu was actually able to steal it away and then Bang took down four members of QG. SKT had a 13K gold lead at this point, and they ended up acing QG one last time before winning the game at 35 minutes.

The victory moved SKT into the semifinals.


Game one: The odd thing from this game was Darshan playing Vladimir, but you couldn’t question the pick as CLG grew a 3.5K gold lead at only 12 minutes in. They weren’t making any home run plays, but they were simply playing the lanes and map much better than FNC. That gold lead grew to 6K after CLG picked off three members of FNC in a 4v4.

FNC finally made an aggressive play of their own to get a pick, but Darshan was splitting by himself the entire time and ended up taking an inhibitor and one nexus tower. Once FNC decided to do something about his push, they sent the entire team for him even though they knew all of CLG were around Baron. They ended up killing Darshan, but that led to a free Baron for CLG.

Soon after all of that, CLG got a couple of picks that led to an ace and victory at 40 minutes.

Game two: This game was filled with interesting decisions in champion select as Martin “Rekkles” Larsson brought out Jhin and CLG had a composition that consisted of Ekko top and Pantheon middle.

CLG had a 4K gold lead at 14 minutes for the same reasons they won game one, and things stalled for a long time once they got their lead. At 30 minutes, FNC got a couple of picks that opened up Baron for them, but Darshan was able to miraculously steal it with only an auto. FNC killed him and the rest of CLG, but they were still down by 5K gold at this point and having Baron would have meant a lot.

CLG probably should have ended the game at this point, but they played extremely sloppy and allowed FNC to crawl back into the game. At 37 minutes, FNC got two picks that led to an inhibitor and made their gold deficit only 1K. Not long after that, though, CLG aced FNC and grabbed Baron while only losing two of their own.

Again, CLG didn’t make the right moves to end the game when they could have and the game carried on. 54 minutes in, FNC got a great fight that led to them killing three members of CLG and getting Baron. The move gave FNC a lead that they were able to use to win four minutes later. Rekkles was the star of the game as he went 11/3/17 on Jhin.

Game three: The deciding game for both teams, and they gave us Rekkles on Jhin and Darshan on Vladimir yet again.

The game started off great for CLG as they had two dives in the bottom lane before 10 minutes that gave them a 3K gold lead. FNC was able to cut into the lead quickly by picking off three members of CLG at Dragon and taking the objective for themselves.

One interesting thing about this game was the item adaptation from Yeong-Jin “Gamsu” Noh. Gamsu, on Rammus, rushed Banner of Command as his first item to slow down the split push of Darshan’s Vladimir, and it worked perfectly. Killing a cannon minion with Banner of Command on it proved to be very difficult for Darshan to do.

At 22 minutes, CLG were able to make a single pick that allowed them to take two middle towers and a gold lead over FNC. After that, FNC seemed desperate for some reason and forced an awful fight that led to four of them dying and pushed CLG’s gold lead to 5K.

The game changed at the 28-minute mark, as great plays from both Gamsu and Rekkles led to FNC acing CLG and taking down the Baron. The move made FNC down by only 1K gold and everything was going their way. Three minutes later, FNC made a strong final push to run over CLG and take the game.

CLG was eliminated from the tournament.

QG vs. FNC

Game one: The game was very even for the first 20 minutes as no major moves were made, but QG made a power play 22 minutes in by killing four members of FNC and taking Baron. They had a 4K gold lead at this point, and the rest of the game was them just bullying FNC around.

FNC actually got a great fight for themselves at 31 minutes and took down two players of QG, but the latter was so strong that they were able to ace FNC and take down two inhibitors. Moments after taking the inhibitors, QG made their final push as a team to win at 34 minutes.

Game two: Action started at the very beginning with QG trying a four-man dive on Gamsu and Lee “Spirit” Da-yoon in the top lane. QG did a horrible job at juggling the aggro from the tower, and while they took down Gamsu and Spirit, they lost two of their own and also burned multiple summoner spells. Right after that, FNC made a pick in the jungle to give them a small lead. However, FNC put themselves in a terrible spot 13 minutes in which led to QG killing three of them and taking the gold lead.

A few minutes later is when the game started to get crazy. A fight breaks out that ends with FNC acing QG while only losing two of their own, and immediately after another fight occurs and FNC take down four members of QG while only dropping one of their own. At 22 minutes, FNC ace QG yet again and take Baron to give themselves a 7K gold advantage. Four minutes later, FNC get another ace and push to win the game. Rekkles had another great game on Jhin (7/1/12) and Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten had a great performance on Quinn (8/1/11).

Game three: Rekkles was dominant in all three games he played with Jhin, and QG surprisingly let him have the marksman again.

Rekkles and the rest of FNC carried over the momentum from the previous game and took the game’s early fights. FNC picked off two members of QG at the start of the game, and then they got three more kills six minutes later to give themselves a 3K gold lead at 12 minutes.

FNC’s gold lead only increased as the game progressed, and it grew to a whopping 9K at 24 minutes after they took down four members of QG and killed Baron. The final fight broke out at 32 minutes, and FNC easily aced QG to end the game.

QG was eliminated from the tournament.

That does it for the group stages of IEM Katowice. The semifinals will start tomorrow at 6 AM EST with SKT taking on Team SoloMid. Following that, Royal Never Give Up and Fnatic will play in the second semifinals. The two teams that come out on top will face off in the finals.

Who will be named the champions of IEM Katowice 2016?