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Worlds 2020 Group B Round-Up - PSG's substitues excel, LGD's last gasp spares blushes, and V3 sent home

Worlds 2020’s first winners and first losers have been decided with Group B’s round-robin complete. In a group that defied all analytical expectations, let’s take stock of the aftermath.
Worlds 2020 Group B Round-Up - PSG's substitues excel, LGD's last gasp spares blushes, and V3 sent home

It was messy, it was a bloodbath, but Group B has been resolved - at least for now. LPL 4th seed and favourites for the group, LGD, barely escaped being eliminated, UoL and PSG turned up to play, Rainbow7 turned around a horror start and V3 couldn’t stick the drafts when it counted.

LoL Worlds 2020 Group B(Picture: LoL Esports)

With the Worlds picture growing clearer, and half the knockout bracket now decided, let's’ delve into it.

Worlds 2020 Group B Round-Up

1st - PSG Talon (4-1)

LoL Worlds 2020 Group B Round Up PSG
PSG’s substitutes deserve all the applause they can receive. (Picture: LoL Esports)

PSG Talon did the unthinkable, placing 1st place in a group not only with the LPL 4th seed but also against the rumoured might of the likes of Unicorns of Love. And they did it with three substitutes.

That is an unheard-of feat. To give context, due to visa restrictions and the general situation with COVID-19, PSG were left bereft of their Mid, Jungle and star ADC. In answer, Riot offered the team a short term loan of other players to tide over the gap. AHQ’s Mid/Jungle duo of Uniboy and Kongyue stepped in, alongside Dee at Bot who was on the rift for the first time in a year, having moved to a coaching role.

In doing so, Riot unwittingly unleashed a PCS super team. Gone was the slow, late-game focussed Talon of Summer Split, and in was an aggressive, skirmishing and mechanically talented roster who had nothing to lose - and everything to gain, as it turned out.

After Unified was able to rejoin the roster at ADC on the final day of groups, PSG’s one obvious weak lane was rectified and they advanced straight to the Worlds group stage after taking down UoL in a tie-breaker match for 1st.

 

 

 

Huge credit has to be given to the Mid/Jungle substitutes who completely revitalised Talon’s playstyle, with Kongyue’s Ekko and Uniboy’s Orianna of particular note. On the other side though, Support Kaiwing was a playmaking wunderkid in group B and was fairly definitely the best support in the group if not play-ins. The question is now, with the starting roster reunited in groups, can Talon continue the momentum, and if so, with what playstyle?

2nd - Unicorns of Love (3-2)

Worlds 2020 Unicorn of Love Group B performance(Picture: LoL Esports)

So close, and yet so far. For the third year in a row the LCL representative finds itself in the play-ins finals. That will not bring back fond memories - the region lost both of those Bo5’s 3-2 to Cloud9 and Splyce respectively. To make matters worse (and the storylines better), MAD Lions, who rebranded from Splyce, may well be the team to face them in said finals…

 

 

 

The Unicorns of Love started Play-ins explosively, going up 2-0 with a characteristic display of Bravado and style. Mages bot, insane outplays on Kassadin mid, and a healthy dose of aggression netted them a place at the top of the table, right alongside PSG Talon.

But for all the flair and talent, there were still cracks in the armour. UoL are never ones to back down from a fight, and they love to overforce an objective. They dropped first to R7 (originally seeming the weakest team in the group) and then again to PSG in a tie-breaker rematch.

Over-aggression and disrespect in-lane and around objectives may have cost UoL automatic entry into Worlds group stage, but any team in Group A that has to face them on their own journey to Groups will have a mighty test ahead of them. The Unicorns will be looking down a potential match-up against MAD or Supermassive hungrily.

3rd - Rainbow7

Rainbow7 Group B Worlds 2020(Picture: LoL Esports)

From 0-2 to 2-2. R7 looked lost after their first showings on the rift, getting dismantled by both V3 and PSG. They looked lost, and MVP Jungler Josedeodo’s very greedy builds were raising eyebrows.

 

 

 

 

Then they took down LGD in a shock upset. Then they took down a rampaging Unicorns squad, and suddenly instead of an early exit they were locked in for knockouts. The turnaround came on the back of a resurgence of form in Mid and Jungle (Aloned’s Lucian and Josedeodo’s Evelynn will be giving UoL nightmares), and some unreal performances from Shadow on Alistair and Nautilus.

With their final game score, Rainbow7 were the only team in group B to avoid a tie-breaker match, and they’ll be eyeing up a struggling LGD as their first knockout opponent with some confidence. Speaking of the LPL 4th seed…

4th - LGD Gaming (2-3)

LGB Gaming Worlds 2020 Group B results(Picture: LoL Esports)

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. LGD have done their level best to pull off a rerun of Worlds 2015, and looked completely lost in both their gameplay and identity for the majority of Play-ins. They only avoided a mortifying early exit from the tournament by beating V3 Esports twice.

 

 

 

On one hand, LGD has shown glimpses of what should have made them clear favourites, with Xiye and Kramer both pulling out moments of mechanical brilliance, and laning fundamentals earning them early advantages in most of their games. Then came the mid-game, where LGD would overforce on split-push comps (that they have shied away from all year), and some of the absolute worst objective set-ups and approaches in the whole of play-ins.

The team fighting, Jungle/Mid focussed team of the LPL was nowhere to be seen for the majority of groups, and they will come into the Knockout Stage with their reputation in tatters. A return to a heavier team fight style, and a less laissez-faire approach to objectives, would serve LGD well. It would be wrong to write them off yet (there’s too much talent for that), but they have a mighty tight turnaround if they want to be ready for the knockout stage by Tuesday.

5th - V3 Esports (1-4)

V3 Esports LoL Esports Worlds 2020(Picture: LoL Esports)

It is a hard Worlds for V3 Esports, who are the first team eliminated from the tournament. Despite a confident win versus Rainbow7, V3 struggled to recover after a crazy game versus UoL went awry after Nomanz Kassadin got out to 4 early kills.

Ever after, the aggressive level 1s and creative map moves that V3 were known for domestically were absent, the early skirmishing and jungle collapses nowhere to be found. Instead, the V3 that took to the rift was timid and unable to cleanly look for engages in the early game they drafted for.

 

 

 

While V3’s Botlane acquitted themselves convincingly across the tournament, with Archer in particular looking very accomplished for a rookie in his first year of competitive play, Midlaner Ace was glaringly outmatched. The lack of Mid-pressure severely hurt Bugi’s impact on the games, and the inability to make much use of the unusual Predator choice on Galio was a serious weakness for the Japanese representatives.

On top of a weak performance from the Midlane (one that wasn’t entirely unexpected), V3’s drafts became a concern too, with Bugi forced onto Sylas in one game, and a widely reviled last draft versus LGD in their tie-breaker that required a heavy snowball that just wasn’t on the cards.

The Japanese representatives will be going home with heavy hearts of what could have been.

Group A will be decided tomorrow, with games beginning at 9:00 am BST. Knockouts will begin the day after on 29/09 at the earlier time of 7:00 am BST.