The first upset of Worlds: How INTZ shocked EDward Gaming


On day one of Worlds, Brazil’s INTZ took down EDward Gaming and threw Group C into total chaos.

This was supposed to be the year for China’s EDward Gaming. An undefeated split in the intensely combative LoL Pro League (LPL), and a thorough playoff dismantling of rival Royal Never Give Up set them up as one of the favorites to win Worlds. They were playing at the highest level we’ve seen. The only problem? Nobody told INTZ e-Sports.

Even as upsets abounded on Day One, nobody expected this match to be close. EDG was heavy, heavy favorites to win the group and was picked as a contender for the Summoner’s Cup. INTZ? Not so much.

This match generated only a 2/10 watchability rating in our Day One guide. Boy were we wrong.

INTZ e-Sports came to play

INTZ clawed their way into the tournament by winning the CBLoL and then beating out a host of international qualifiers. They were expected to enjoy the Worlds experience and maybe take a game or two off H2K or ahq.

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Some people might feel that because of the disparity in pre-match rankings that EDG blew this one, that the Chinese team again failed to show up. Maybe subbing in mid laner Heo “Pawn” Won-seok for of Lee “Scout” Ye-chan was a mistake. Maybe star jungler Ming “Clearlove” Kai just had a bad game.

But that’s disrespectful to the Brazilian side who came to play with an attitude of confidence. They picked champions that aren’t necessarily considered meta, but that they are clearly practiced on. Their comp sought to punish EDG’s squishy team for extending too far in lane. They showed good awareness of their strengths and limitations and pushed team play to its limit.

EDG started fast

EDG’s began by building a big advantage in the duo lane. Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu and Tian “Meiko” Ye pressured Micael “micaO” Rodrigues off wave after wave, before just killing him near his turret.

But after returning to lane, Deft failed to appreciate how hard micaO was trading with him, and it was an easy double kill for Revolta. It was a huge mistake to trade against Ashe’s superior waveclear with the wave about to crash into his turret and no jungler near.

Those early kills set INTZ jungler Gabriel “Revolta” Henud ahead in a matchup versus Clearlove’s hard-farming Graves. Lee Sin’s ability to invade and affect side lanes really wreaked havoc with EDG’s plan for the game to scale and play a controlled macro style.

A Mouse in a trap

Meanwhile, EDG top laner Chen “Mouse” Yu-Hao’s Irelia had no pressure on Felipe “Yang” Zhao’s Gnar in the top lane. It was surprising to see how little priority EDG put on Gnar with numerous strong mid laners up (INTZ took Gnar with their last pick rotation on the blue side). Yang took two turrets in under 13 minutes, having his way against Mouse’s Irelia.

People often focus on Mouse as one of the weaker members of EDG. But this time, he couldn’t buy enough time for his team and they failed to make plays away from him. He had no pressure on Irelia and every time he ventured too far from base — turret or no turret — Yang and Revolta abused him.

What about Clearlove?

Clearlove is fourth on this year’s World’s Top 20. after a ninth-place ranking last year. He’s regarded as the clear-cut best jungler in the game and has an argument to be the best player in the world. /

Like the rest of the team, Clearlove started well. He read Revolta’s pathing and made proactive plays to defuse early Lee Sin ganks. It wasn’t his fault Deft got dove and died early. After that play, Clearlove baited INTZ into overstaying and got Deft Pawn a few return kills.

But the early kills Revolta got from his Lee Sin turned into two early towers for INTZ.

I wouldn’t say that Clearlove played poorly, but picking a scaling damage-based champion requires the rest of your team to play intelligently and safely until you hit your item spike. EDG failed to do so and made their star jungler look silly. There’s nothing Clearlove can do about Mouse using his dash on a cannon minion and getting insta-bursted. Don’t get me wrong — Revolta’s game was ridiculous, but Clearlove wasn’t the reason EDG lost.

Which underdog do you think can replicate INTZ’s success on Day Two? How will EDG respond to the humiliating loss? Will INTZ prove to actually be good, or was this just a fluke? Find you next time on Worlds 2016.

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